A major battle is taking place in the world of tech. On one side, there’s Amazon – the online shopping juggernaut that now provides the world with a massive portion of its cloud computing needs as well as lots of other associated products and services. On the other there’s Google – the search engine that has shifted into becoming a major provider of cloud services as well as dominating online advertising.
The two are also clashing over control of the next generation of tech for the home. As a result, Amazon has pulled sales of the Nest range of smart home accessories from its store.
I’m currently looking at a bunch of smart-home accessories and will be trialing some of the Nest gear (but sadly not the thermostat as that’s not currently available (officially) in Australia.) In a recent call between the retail teams at Amazon and Google, the news was delivered, apparently from a directive by Amazon’s head honcho Jeff Bezos, that Amazon will no longer be selling Nest accessories directly. However, it’s likely third parties using Amazon’s marketplace will continue to offer the Nest accessories.
Smart home accessories will be a fruitful product range for tech companies. While home automation isn’t new it’s only been in the last couple of years that you’ve been able to head to a local electronics store and buy moderately priced gear that you can hook up yourself. When it comes to controlling that gear, Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit have been the easiest way to manage those devices and get them to talk to each other.
Amazon’s play seems to be focussed on “guiding” people away from their competitors towards solutions that work with the Alexa platform.
And this is probably the biggest challenge I’m seeing. I currently have gear from several vendors in place at my home and unless I pay for a multi-standard hub device, like the B.One Hub, getting all the different pieces to work together is a challenge. Either that, or I limit myself to equipment that conforms to one of the standards, potentially locking myself out of some great gear.
We saw Apple do a similar thing when they introduced the Apple Watch, cutting Fitbit out of their online retail stores – although Fitbit saying they wouldn’t play ball wth Apple’s HealthKit framework probably didn’t help matters.