Who wins the smart home wars, Apple or Google?

Looking for a little more technology in your life… and home? You may soon get your wish, as Google and Apple are said to be announcing their respective forays into smart home technology. What is smart home technology or home automation?

The latest smart home technology will amaze you. (Credit: Meme Generator)

The latest smart home technology will amaze you. (Credit: Meme Generator)

For now, each tech giant plans to give home owners control of their security systems, lighting and even appliances through their smartphones or tablets. Could this be the start of Jetson-like homes that do all the work for us—from turning on the lights when we enter to having dinner on the table when we get home?

The news in smart home technology

Google already owns Nest, maker of a smart thermostat, an acquisition Alana Joli Abbott covered for CengageBrainaic in the January 20, 2014, article “Google acquisitions include Nest Labs smart home company and military robotics.” But according to Brett Molina’s “Tech Five: Google, Apple entering smart home market?” for the May 27, 2014, edition of USAToday, the tech giant is also considering purchasing Dropcam. Molina wrote that Dropcam “makes cameras that let users stream footage to a mobile device or car.”

Meanwhile in other home automation news, Apple is expected to unveil its own foray into smart home technology at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference on June 2, 2014. According to Molina, “The service would allow users to turn their iPhones into remotes that control lights, security systems or household appliances.”

Apple vs. Google

While smart appliances may not be a new thing (others have been attempting them with limited success for over a decade) Apple brings some new potential to the table. In “5 Things Apple Can Bring to the Smart Home” for Mashable on May 26, 2014, Pete Pachal posted about how Apple had been gearing up to take on the smart home arena and why it may succeed where others have not:

  • User experience. Apple is known for a fairly consistent user experience, a problem that smart appliances have faced in the past.
  • A reason to buy. Pachal doesn’t see high consumer demand for smart home technology, but he wrote “The next generation of Apple TV will apparently also double as a smart hub for the home — a clever Trojan horse approach that could quickly insert Apple’s tech into millions of homes.”
  • Established partners. Apple already has many companies in their stable that they sell connected devices from, which sets them up to have some smart home partners ready when they launch.
  • Privacy and security. Google raised consumer concerns when it mentioned featuring ads on its Nest thermostats in the future. Apple will most likely play on those fears to convince people their products will be less intrusive and more secure.
  • Going beyond the home. Apple appears to be offering a more integrated approach, with their iBeacon technology and the possibility of an iWatch. Combined, these would offer “a more complete ‘smart life’ concept than Google does,” according to Pachal.

Good news for investors

Not only are the tech-savvy excited about the potential of such an announcement from tech giant Apple, but also investors are seeing this as the upside they have been waiting for. There has been much talk about when, and if, Apple would debut their next big thing. Investors are hoping that if the rumors about the smart home technology are true, the home automation system will be Apple’s next big thing.

In “Apple to channel George Jetson with smart-home system play” from the May 27, 2014, Wall Street Journal Market Watch blog The Tell, Barbara Kollmeyer discussed the possibilities for Apple, particularly pertaining to profits. Kollmeyer wrote, “The upside for investors is that families wanting a connected-home system will need, you guessed it, more devices.”

Could your home or dorm soon be like the Jetson’s—able to cook your dinner or clean itself because of smart home technology? And is more technology in our lives, and homes, a good thing? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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