Reports: Apple and Google moving deeper into home automation, security


— 6:00 AM on May 27, 2014

Two titans of the tech industry reportedly want to increase their reach into our homes. According to the Financial Times, Apple is prepping home automation software that could be revealed at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week. The software would "turn the iPhone into a remote control for lights, security systems and other household appliances," the Financial Times says, citing "people familiar with the matter." Device makers would be able to build their own hardware for the home automation system, but Apple's seal of approval would be required, much like for third-party iDevice accessories.

As the Financial Times notes, Apple stores already sell several "smart home" products, such as Nest smoke alarms and thermostats, and Dropcam streaming cameras. Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion earlier this year, and it seems the search giant may now have its eyes on Dropcam. "Several people close to Google" tell The Information that the search giant has "considered" acquiring Dropcam. The status of those talks "isn't clear," the site says, but the interest in the wireless camera maker is apparently fueled by a desire to have Nest compete in the home security market.

Although details are scarce on both fronts, the moves make sense. Apple would surely like to extend its highly integrated ecosystem to more devices within the home. Google's Nest acquisition proves that it's serious about home automation, too, and security seems like a natural extension of Nest's current offerings.

Mini cameras are so cheap these days, I've considered installing a few just to spy on my dog while I'm out. Some of the other home automation are also intriguing, and the number of smart devices should explode if the whole "Internet of things" catches on. Have any of you improved your homes with this stuff?

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