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Nest gobbles up Revolv for the engineers, not the hub

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Nest has acquired Revolv, the company that made a $300 smart home hub packed with radios that aimed to bring all your existing connected devices — from a Sonos speaker to old-school sensors — together into one home automation application. According to an FAQ on the Revolv site, the Revolv hub will no longer be available for new customers, although existing customers will still receive customer support.

It sounds like Nest was after the engineering team with Matt Rogers, a co-founder and Nest’s VP of engineering, telling ReCode:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]“We are not fans of yet another hub that people should have to worry about. 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.”

This makes sense. The folks at Nest are betting big on building ways to integrate with a variety of products from other vendors such as Whirlpool, Mercedes and more. Today it actually announced five new partners, including the Pebble watch, Life360, the ivee voice control system and the WallyHome temperature sensors from SNUPI Technologies. The partnerships include the Rachio outdoor sprinkler system, which can be set to go off if your Nest Protect alarm is set off for a certain amount of time.

I’m curious to see how these partnerships will work. So far, the Nest integration experiments with companies including LIFX, Logitech, Whirlpool, Dropcam and others have been a bit disappointing. Some of the promised integrations from the last launch aren’t out yet, and those that are feel limited. I’m still waiting for that life-changing combination to come out of the Nest developer program.

However, the team at Revolv has been working on getting disparate devices to work together for more than two years at Revolv’s Boulder, Colo. headquarters. My hope is that with this deal and an increasing number of integration partners we start to see more options available to consumers to link their devices outside of the Nest thermostat and Protect. Right now, that’s the focus of the program, but it’s also limiting because the connections all depend on either the home’s temperature, the Protect’s status or the Home and Away setting to trigger a change.

For many consumers this will be enough, but I suspect as they play around with home automation, they’ll realize they can do more but won’t have the tools in the Nest program they need. Revolv’s software and radio expertise could let Nest layer in those tools for advanced users when the time is right. Maybe Nest CEO Tony Fadell can explain a bit of thinking around this deal at our Roadmap conference next month in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Nest is looking like the company to approach if you have a smart home device that needs a giant corporate home. After Google purchased Nest for $3.2 billion early this year, the company then acquired Dropcam for $550 million. While the price tag for Revolv likely wasn’t that high, it’s a nice grab for some smart people.

4 Responses to “Nest gobbles up Revolv for the engineers, not the hub”

  1. Interesting how all the media is buying the (as always excellent from Revolv) spin and hyperbole and not seeming vaguely interested that the company has simply walked away form every device is sold and every customer that has wriggled while waiting for the much hyped ‘next thing’ (last month it was IFTT support, but it was a ‘coming soon’, – not that you could glean that from the announcement, only when quizzed did they say ‘next month’ which, of course, has come and gone).

    Does nobody in the tech media pay attention or care?

  2. David Janes

    I agree with John’s comments to some degree – buying from small innovative companies is always risky, especially in tech. If they’re “funded”, it’s almost guaranteed they’ll sell out some day (though this doesn’t necessarily mean products are going to stop working) or they’re going to go out of business. Look at all the computer products that were around in the late 70s, all except two disappeared and are now just historical curiosities. But then again if you want to be an early adopter – and that’s us – then maybe that’s what you’re signing up for.

    At least with Revolv I assume all the other hardware you own will keep working with something else. With “requires cloud API” type devices, you’re really in trouble. Companies / products like Electric Imp scare me – if they go away, everything you’ve built around them is bricked.

    Ideally _all_ the peripherals we buy for our home / SMB IoT setups won’t have a cloud dependency, so there’s a use-path into the future.

  3. You should do an article on how Revolv sold out for big money and is laughing all the way to the bank on the back of its customers. The announced they no long will produce revolve and I’m sure promised updates and service will stop as well. If this is the way that innovative new business owners do business and shows their business ethics then we are in a lot of trouble. This is what Josh who’s with Revolv posted on their community sight, “I know that this is a frustrating experience. Whenever someone buys a product from a small company there is always the chance that the company will be acquired by a larger company and changes will take place. I don’t know how this risk can be avoided except to strictly buy from large companies. We appreciate that you supported us with your purchase and we hope that you will continue to support our vision for the conscious smart home by following us in the Works With Nest program.
    If you are within the 30-day window you can return your hub. Email us at [email protected] with a copy of your receipt and we will begin processing your return.”
    Really, so I guess we shouldn’t buy products from small innovative business. Revolv saw a way to make a ton of money and said screw our customers who supported us and who’s hard earned money built this company. I for one want my $300 back and will not buy form Nest or Google as well. They also must lack business ethics to let this deal happen.

  4. Roost Smart Battery for the win. No need to buy an overpriced Nest Protect if the Smart Battery can give you the same core functionality.

    I just hope the Smart Battery can be customized for sending HTTP GET/POST requests to user-specified URLs when the alarm or low battery is triggered. This would allow owners to integrate the battery with any IoT API platform. Plus, if the Roost Cloud is offline, important notifications won’t be sent. Custom HTTP Get/Push to URLs solves this problem too.
    Go Roost!