Smart Home Weekly: Google's Bear, TVKit, IPO, China & Smart Kitchen

These past few weeks have been interesting on a number of fronts, and I don't expect things to slow down anytime soon.

A recap:

Lots of Google. I/O is tomorrow, and already we've got news of Google's apparent launch of a IoT-centric OS that has looks like transform the home router business, and what appears to be the company's exploration of new and creative approaches to next-gen smart home interfaces.

Not to be out-rumored, Apple apparently has a new Apple TV SDK coming out at WWDC, and there's some potential significant implications for the smart home. 

Then there's the IPO filing. There's been some good coverage of this, but I had a few thoughts on what it might mean for and its biggest competitor, Icontrol. 

We also learned about Lowe's Iris new head of smart home, Mick Koster.  Nestled in the news of Koster's appointment is some fairly ambiguous language of possible new initiatives we might see out of Lowe's in this space.

And finally, China apparently likes the smart home heat, because it's heading into the smart kitchen in a big way.

As always, subscribe to the Smart Home Weekly if you want to get this in your inbox every week.

Stories below:

Chinese Companies Betting Big on Smart Kitchen

It appears China has woken up to the smart kitchen.  Midea, one of the largest makers of rice cookers in the Chinese market (40% market share), is working with Xiaomi to create a Wi-Fi connected rice cooker. The deal, which had Midea selling $55 million worth of shares to Xiaomi, looks to be only the beginning for Midea, who has indicated they're also working on HomeKit and WeChat (TenCent) integrated air conditioners. Read More.

Alarm.Com IPO Could Propel Company Into New Markets

As many may already know, filed for an IPO late last week. If you're not familiar with the company, you should be. Like Icontrol, they've basically helped usher in the modern managed connected security and smart home services market in the US. sits behind many popular consumer facing security and smart home offerings like those from FrontPoint. Read More.

Is Google's Answer To The Amazon Echo A Fuzzy Toy Bear?

I've written about Google's fairly prolific IP filing behavior before, but this one is pretty interesting and, well, strange.

The BBC discovered a patent application from Google that includes an anthropomorphic device - read child's toy - as a user interface for a home media or smart home network. Read More.

Yale Puts Hold On NFC Smart Lock

Just had an interesting conversation with Jason Williams, the GM of Residential Locks for Assa Abloy (the company behind the Yale lock brand). He told me that while their Zigbee and Z-Wave lock business continues to hum, the NFC lock they announced at CES has been put on hold indefinitely. Read More.

So What About Apple's TVKit & Smart Home?

One of the most interesting things about Apple's forthcoming WWDC is the news they'll finally have a third party app development platform for Apple TV. I, along with pretty much everyone else, have been waiting, and the possibility of Apple creating a TV app platform was one of the reason's I forecasted a $14 billion TV app market back in 2013. Read More.

Lowe's Appoints New GM For Iris Smart Home Group

Got an email from Lowe's this morning to tell me they've appointed a new GM for Lowe's Iris. The new GM, Mick Koster, has been working on Lowe's smart home for some time (I remember he gave me the CES 2014 tour in the Lowe's Iris booth), working as the division's COO since 2010 according to his Linkedin. But now, he'll have to update that Linkedin profile, as he's taking the reins as GM of Lowe's smart home group. He replaces Kevin Meagher, who is leaving for unspecified reasons. The only thing I know is Meagher's departure wasn't sudden, as he told me over a month ago he was transitioning away from Lowe's. Read More.

That's it for this week. Subscribe to the Smart Home Weekly and follow on Twitter to keep updated through the week on the smart home news.


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