Google's Nest continues digesting enzyme-rich startups from the smart home sector, acquiring Revolv this time in a move that brings with it the talent needed to push the Works with Nest platform.
A Google acquisition itself, Nest's purchase of Revolv follows up its $555 million acquisition of Dropcam just a few months earlier. Revolve had already developed its own platform to connect smart products to one another, but the expertise behind that software will go into making Nest's Works with Nest code more attractive to developers of smart things.
"We have been inspired by Nest since our foundation, and are thrilled to be part of the Nest family," says Revolv. Together, we're going to create some amazing products and continue to unify the connected home as part of the Works with Nest program."
As the market for smart products continues to grow, the binding material has remained absent. Hubs can facilitate exchanges between a smart coffeemaker and a smart lamp, but it's the software that lets all three of the components understand each other.
"We are not fans of yet another hub that people should have to worry about," says Matt Rogers, Nest co-founder and VP of engineering. "It's a great team, an unbelievable team. There's a certain amount of expertise in home wireless communications that doesn't exist outside of these 10 people in the world."
In the future of connected homes, an Android or Windows-like market share in the software for smart products could be more profitable than a low-margin wireless hub.
"Nest bought a team of people knowledgeable in the interoperability of a wide variety of radio technology and software protocols in order to make integration easier for partners and customers," says Forrester analyst Frank Gillett.
If Revolv can drive forward the interoperability of Works with Nest and encourage more developers to create hardware compatible with the software, it could give Google the edge needed to win the war for connected homes.
Like its Android operating system, Nest's Works with Nest platform, open software, would invite rival hardware manufacturers or small startups to venture into smart things. It would also move the mobile war deeper into homes and out onto lawns, as Apple has been working on a closed-off ecosystem for smart homes and, in its typical fashion, has been selective in the hardware partners it chooses.