Google IO 15 Keynote AH 47

Brillo & Weave, Google’s IoT Technology Gains Momentum

January 6, 2016 - Written By David Steele

At the end of May 2015, during the Google I/O conference, the company unveiled Project Brillo and accompanying networking protocol, Weave. At the time, Brillo and Weave were announced along with Android Pay and Android Marshmallow’s new features, and many of Brillo and Weave’s features were sidelines for “coming later in the year.” Brillo was set to combine functionality of Nest, the smart home thermostat, Android and Chrome. We did see a number of aspects of Project Brillo fleshed out as 2015 unfolded, such as how the technology is based upon Android but optimized for smaller connected devices and will use a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios for communication. Google’s Weave is the language or networking standard that would allow different devices to communicate with one another, and would be another of Google’s open source software developments. But one thing that the new platform was missing is that of hardware partners.

Seven months later, we are aware of six hardware vendors planning on supporting Brillo and Weave. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, we are aware of six hardware manufacturers over and above Nest (who as part of Alphabet, might reasonably be expected to work with Brillo and Weave technology). These six partners are planning on releasing Brillo or Weave-enabled technology in 2016. The first is Harman, the speaker manufacturer. Harman is being billed as the “first systems integration partner” for Brillo and Weave and have promised to incorporate the new technology later in the year. Harman has also said that it will “simplify the design process for manufacturers by providing support throughout the entire development cycle.”

Harman will be joined by semiconductor designer and manufacturer, Marvell, has announced two microcontrollers that will support Weave, the EZ-Connect MW300 and MW302. This means that other manufacturers can buy these components so as to easily incorporate Weave technology into their hardware. Another business that will be supporting Google’s new IoT technology is ASUS, which already manufacturers Google’s OnHub router. ASUS’ new Internet of Things product portfolio will support Brillo and Weave.

Smart lock manufacturer, Kwikset, will be designing their 2016 locks to support Google’s technology, and this will allow the technology to integrate with Android devices going forwards. The final manufacturer is LG, where here the business has been developing and using smart appliances for some time now, but one of LG’s limiting factors has been how readily accessible these smart devices have been to non-LG products.

With Google’s Brillo technology and Weave networking protocol behind the scenes, providing the necessary encryption and security for interoperation, this should free up these particular device manufacturers to concentrate on building great products to bring to the market. Project Brillo is slowly taking shape and it is hoped Google will be reporting more hardware partners in due course.