The Internet of Things, often referred to as simply IoT, has been steadily creeping into our homes, cities and more. The general idea of all IoT products and systems is connect everything together to make them not only smarter, but more functional and easier to use. Many of you might know of IoT as a smart thermostat such as the Nest, or connected lighting from the likes of Philips. Google finally outlaid their plans for IoT last year during Google I/O 2015 with Brillo and Weave. Confusing for some, Brillo was announced as an Android-based IoT platform for powering low-power devices similar to the way Android powers smartphones and tablets. Meanwhile, Weave was announced as a communications platform you could think of this as a sort of cloud-based service that ferries around data.
During CES 2016, HARMAN, the company that owns brands such as AKG and HARMAN/Kardon is announcing that they have become Google’s first “systems integrations partner” for both Brillo as well as Weave. Considering that HARMAN owns brands responsible for home and portable audio, automotive control units and audio it’ll be interesting to see what HARMAN and Google can come up with. The press release from HARMAN is pretty short and sweet, and it’s unclear if they’re already working on something but it does go on to say that the company will “simplify the design process for manufacturers by providing support throughout the entire development cycle, ranging from initial concept design to final product release”. That makes it seem as though HARMAN is more likely to be a long-term supporter of the overall platform, than an end-product manufacturer.
Regardless of what this means, it’s nice to see that Google’s IoT plans are finally getting off the runway and with a partner like HARMAN it should be fairly easy for big players as well as small to get involved with Google’s new platforms. As Samsung and the likes of LG have already dabbled in IoT before, with the former offering a whole range of products, it looks like any newcomer will have their work cut out for them as we get 2016 under way.