Nest's New Developer Program Is Another Sign The 'Internet Of Things' Moment Has Arrived

Historically, smart thermostat maker Nest has kept its API behind closed doors, allowing only its proprietary products to communicate and build off its connected home platform. Now, the Google-owned company has made a shift, and launched a developer program that opens its API to outside developers.

The company’s blog explains that this program is to “[allow] everything form lighting to appliances to fitness bands and even cars to securely connect with Nest products.”

“It’s really designed for integration to work across any sized company,” a company spokesperson told BI Intelligence.

With the competition between connected home device makers heating up, Nest is looking to stay ahead of the pack. More companies are entering the space, including Apple, whose HomeKit allows for users to control their home settings with an iOS app. Honeywell too just launched a smart thermostat called Lyric that uses geofencing to sense when users are home or away, and promises to release more apps and products for the Lyric platform.

Nest has generally been considered the frontrunner among connected home device makers ever since the release of its smart thermostat system in 2011. Now, Nest is making a concerted effort to distinguish itself as still the leading connected home device maker.

With Nest’s developer announcement came a list of new Nest-compatible programs: Google, of course, has one using Google Now to control Nest’s settings; laundry machine maker Whirlpool is also using Nest to sense if a user is away from the home and will keep laundry fresh until they come back.

As more Nest apps are developed, BI Intelligence will be watching whether Nest can hold onto its frontrunner status. We’ll also be paying attention to what new features and services get built on top of these connected devices. BI Intelligence estimates that roughly 250,000 Nest thermostats were shipped in the first quarter of 2014 (see chart above). Nest tells us that this move is what “we think is right for the customer experience.”

As connected home platforms become more widely used, companies like Nest will be scrambling to figure out ways to attract more users. With demand for Internet of Things (IoT) heating up — we predict there will be 9 billion connected devices by 2018
— expect to see more connected device companies rolling out these types of enhancements.

This post originally appeared in the Mobile Insider morning brief, available to BI Intelligence subscribers. Sign up to receive the brief every morning in your inbox.

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