Apple Wants to Be In Charge of the Internet of Things

A still from Apple's WWDC keynote presentation

The Internet of Things (IoT) is, potentially, much more intelligent than its clunky name may imply. Imagine your car speaking to your house, and your phone controlling both. A typical example of the Internet of Things' potential is your car letting you know, once you've driven a mile from your house, that you left your garage door open -- and allowing you to close it. Or imagine playing a song on your home stereo, then having that song continue in your car at the touch of a button.

It's a wide open world, and yesterday Apple made a brief announcement during its WWDC keynote that the company is entering this fast-developing market with what it calls HomeKit.

HomeKit is Apple's attempt to standardize the various protocols (security, communication) that the different "Internet thing" manufacturers use in order to allow devices and appliances and cars and everything else to speak to each seamlessly -- while (naturally) staying within Apple's ecosystem and incentivizing new buyers to join it if they haven't already.

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Of course music companies want in on the IoT. Speaking to Billboard in March, Pandora senior VP Heidi Browning explained that, after the focus on making their service ubiquitous in cars, the connected home was a major focus for the company in the coming year. "It's connected car, connected home, connected consumer," she said. "Creating that seamless experience. So I sign into Pandora once but I can listen to it many places. We want it to easy, simple. We've strived over the past several years to deliver on that promise."

The space, not without its regulatory problems as Politico makes clear, is inexorably on the rise. A study, out today, predicts a three-to-four-fold increase in consumer demand for IoT devices in the coming years, according to Re/code. Google bought IoT device manufacturer Nest for $3.2 billion in February. Google will expand the scope of the company, which now only sells a thermostat and smoke detetector. Sonos, founded in 2002 and the only major music hardware company in the "things space" at the moment, announced in March that its revenue had double over the year previous, to $535 million.