Pic Google is expanding its smart-home tech offerings with a networked security camera that could be the first hardware to run its cutdown Android OS, Brillo.
The search giant's Nest arm – famous for its smart thermostat – will unveil a new version of the wireless camera Dropcam called the Nest Cam next week. The new camera will integrate with the company's existing thermostat and could not only use Brillo, as well as its new Weave and Thread internet of things protocols.
Nest announced last week it will be holding a press conference on 17 June but yesterday, eagle-eyed Google followers happened on documents filed with the FCC that point to a new camera. Such documents are required for products that use wireless frequencies.
Despite asking for non-technical details on the Nest Cam to be kept confidential for 180 days, Android blog Droid Life was leaked pictures of the camera, and of the software that will be used to connect it to other smart-home technologies.
Nest acquired Dropcam in June 2014 and has continued to sell and improve the product, but the new Nest Cam will be a slimmed down and upgraded version. Most significantly, it will be wall-mountable and uses Bluetooth (BLE4.0).
Mo' standards, mo' confusion?
Nest/Google may also use to the launch to push their two IoT standards - Weave and Thread.
Weave is a cross-platform communications layer standard to allow IoT devices to talk to one another (including products not running Brillo) and exchange useful data.
Thread, meanwhile, is a mesh-networking standard that sends and shares that information. Thread is Google's effort (along with Samsung, ARM, Silicon Labs and others) to devise a simple, secure, low-power standard which puts it into competition with the two biggest IoT standards - ZigBee and Z-Wave - although ZigBee and Thread has agreed to interoperate.
In an effort to make the multitude of new and existing devices to work together, Google is planning to push a standard that works across multiple networking protocols: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee (though not, it seems, Z-Wave). It's a relatively open approach aimed at getting everyone on board.
In contrast, Apple has its HomeKit scheme to produce an IoT standard that will make everything interoperate. Apple has taken a different and potentially riskier route of insisting that all smart-tech hardware includes its authentication chip for additional security.
But back to the camera, due to be announced next week. We don't the price or when it will be available for example. But it is safe to assume it will take the Dropcam Pro specs of HD video sent over Wi-Fi.
Updated Nest software may use Google's new standards and protocols to allow the camera to connect and interact with the firm's thermostat and smoke detector. It is also possible that the other Thread companies may show some of their products interacting with the Google eco-system.
For that we will have to wait until the official event next week. ®