There's no shortage of companies already making devices and services for connected homes, and this week, another one threw its hat into the ring. The security company Vivint just took another step into the Internet of Things with its new Sky hub -- a completely integrated home automation system -- that it says will directly compete with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new HomeKit platform.
But Vivint's system differs drastically from the iMaker's approach -- and it's still unclear whether Apple's open approach will win out over closed systems like Vivint's.
One solution to end them all
Right now, there are a lot of companies making home door locks, lightbulbs, and thermostats that are controlled through a smartphone or tablet via the Internet or Bluetooth. Vivint is attempting to simplify this by not only creating a platform for home automation, but also the products. This means Vivint makes its own thermostat, doors, locks, cameras, etc. that work on its connected home platform. It also means there's absolutely no way another company's products, like the Nest thermostat, would work with Vivint Sky.
In addition to controlling all of Vivint's tech through one app, the devices also monitor a user's habits and then makes suggestions on ways to save energy.
But Apple thinks the Internet of Things, or IoT, home should be built with devices from different companies, all connected to the same platform. And this is where Vivint and Apple's plans differ.
The home Apple built
Vivint made its thoughts on Apple's HomeKit known this week when the company told Mashable that, "Apple's system is a hodgepodge of other third-party gadgets."
At WWDC last week, Apple made a shift from its closed ecosystem roots and debuted the HomeKit platform, which allows connected home products from different companies to communicate with each other and be paired together through Apple's platform, and integrated with Siri.
This means that an iPhone user will soon be able to tell Siri it's time for bed and a Honeywell smart thermostat would lower the temperature, while lights made from Phillips will dim, and Kwikset smart locks will lock the front door simultaneously. Apple's approach is to make the iPad and iPhone the core devices for home automation, removing the need for multiple apps and networks.
Who wins in home automation
While Vivint is releasing its connected home system at the right time, I have a hard time believing the company can win out over Apple's approach of integrating devices from across the smart home market. Even Samsung, who revealed its SmartHome platform for its own devices earlier this year, plans to open up the system to other non-Samsung home automation products as well.
Soon, the Internet of Things will be a system of interconnected devices and systems communicating with us and each other, and no single company will be able to dictate how that communication is done -- which leaves the space wide open for Apple's collaborative HomeKit approach.