Published on January 25th, 20140
Google’s Nest Lab takes a foothold in people’s homes. Home Automation
Nest Labs acquisition by Google, the most used search engine worldwide, gives them a foothold in people’s homes, but analysts say that their habits of tracking Americans on the Internet have already begun, according to MarketWatch.
Google announced last week that it paid $ 3.2 billion for Nest, a manufacturer of thermostats that can be controlled by smartphones.
Founded in 2010 by two former employees of Apple, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, Nest Labs thermostat is auto adjusting according to user preferences concerning ambient temperature. The device detects if no one is home, so it can reduce the energy consumption of that home.
Nest Labs which manufactures auto adjusts thermostats according to user preferences with regard to the ambient temperature.
Thermostats industry has annual revenues of about $ 3 billion, according to market analysis firm IBISWorld, an increase of 2% per year since 2008.
The company Navigant Research estimates that the appliances operated by smartphones will increase from 612 million dollars in 2012 to 35 billion in 2020.
“Smartphones are becoming increasingly remote controls our lives. It’ll control everything, in homes and cars“, said Jeff Kagan, an technology analyst.
More companies will try to produce such systems in the coming years to monitor almost every movement from inside the house, said Neil Strother, an analyst at Navigant Research.
There is already a small army of apps that do this.
Housing automation company Vivint, purchased in 2012 for $ 2 billion of Blackstone Capital Partners, has 800,000 customers in North America.
IOS app developed by this company acts as a motion detector, security system and remote controlled electronic door lock system.
The Digital Life of AT & T signal, for a subscription that starts at 4.99 dollars per month, that track water leaks, energy usage, unlocked doors and home security cameras.
Belkin technological company even released a smartphone-controlled slow cooker.
How do these applications protect my privacy?
What companies learn when you check in at a restaurant on Facebook or Google Maps is nothing compared to the data that glean from (and possibly use against) consumers in the not-so distant future, believes Adi Kamdar, a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for privacy protection.
“The machines connected to the Internet could report reckless driving, increase or cancelling your insurance. Similarly, a home insurance company might be interested in a smoke detector that goes off several times a day. During a divorce, your spouse subpoenas a thermostat company for records to prove that you set low temperatures in the house, keeping your kids too cold. Is that something you want to even deal with?“, said Kamdar, wondering if people want to be involved in this.
Most companies aggregate data and claim that they do not publish personalized information.
Nest co-founder Matt Rogers, wrote on the company blog that its policy clearly limits the use of customer information to provide and improve products and services.
Similar regulations have companies like SmartThings and Vivint.
Policy on the use of customer information must, however, take account of data piracy.
“What if someone gets into your phone?“, Asked Rick Singer, CEO of GreatApps.com.
In 2011, German researchers Dario Carluccio and Stephan Brinkhau made a presentation on accessing the unencrypted data passing from smart meters to a utility company’s server.
After two days of data analysis, they were able to tell if the home owner is home, whether asleep or is gone, how many computers and televisions are in the house and even if someone is watching TV.