Nest gobbles up Revolv for the engineers, not the hub

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.”
[/blockquote]

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.