It is always easy to criticize

Could Nest struggles set back the IoT Movement?

I came across an exchange on Twitter that led me to this post Google’s Nest struggles could set back the IoT movement. The title makes for an ideal clickbait. Sounds so doomsday!

The article is based on two people criticizing Nest and leading to a clickbait style headline. One of them is Kevin Meagher (before ROC, Kevin used to head Lowe’s Iris, and prior to that Intamac Systems) and he claims that the Nest Thermostat cannot be a “hub”:

Smart home needs “hubs” to connect their various components, and without a product such Revolv, Nest will struggle to scale, according to Meagher. “Nest is very good at smart devices, but that doesn’t make them a smart home provider. That’s where they get confused. A smart home is about working with all the other things in the home.”
Meagher says Nest’s assumption that its thermostat can serve as an IoT hub shows arrogance. “Frankly, Nest is still just a smart thermostat,” he says. “It’s definitely not a smart home, and that’s because they are confused about what they are, and their strategy’s just wrong. The hub strategy’s the only way to go forward.”

Nothing can be further from the truth. The Nest Thermostat packs a punch and in fact it has more or comparable horsepower to the first generation Lowe’s Iris Hub and the first generation Smartthings hub (that hub had a microcontroller, and ran all the logic in the Cloud). I am trying to point out that technically it is. And because Nest is approaching accomplishing the interoperability does not mean that they are not attempting it. They have a large range of products that work with their Thermostat. But like every company they are doing things to retain some semblance of control over their destiny.

David Moss of People Power claims that Nest is creating distrust:

Earlier this week, the company also announced plans to shutter Revolv, a smart home hub manufacturer it acquired in 2014. Nest also said it will stop supporting Revolv.”This move creates a general atmosphere of distrust for consumers who are exploring connected home solutions,” Moss says. “I think this is bad not only for Nest’s brand and Google as it relates to the trust that they’re trying to build in their consumer base, but this is coming at a time when the IoT market is growing and consumer awareness continues to build. Companies in this space really need to band together to make this new phase of the Internet actually work well for real people.”

While folks won’t be happy especially the ones who bought Revolv hub, shutting down of companies is pretty common across the technology industry and even common for product, I don’t see that as a reason why people will not buy Nest Thermostats or why IoT movement will come to a grinding halt. I am certain that most early adopters have experienced this challenge, and Nest acquired Revolv early in the game (and we will never know if they would have remained in existence by themselves.

It is easy to criticize, and extremely hard to bring game-changing products to the market. Nest has made major contributions towards the Consumer IoT movement, whether it introduces new products or not — it has fueled the IoT market more so than many other companies.

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