Android@Home – A profitable Business Idea?

Maybe you’ve read my last blog post where I explained what Android@Home is and how one can use it. Today I want to continue with that topic, but instead of just explaining what Android@Home is, I would like to focus on the business aspect, because I wonder what the main idea is? Is it clever to publish such a big project, although other companies already failed? How can companies profit from Android@Home? What if Google sells the collection of personal information to other companies in order to make profit?

Are you curious now? Then let’s take a look at what I found out.

What is the main idea? 

The idea is to make Android the core intelligence behind the smart home and then create an ecosystem that would make this possible.”

Enderle, the principal analyst at Enderle Group


Is it clever to publish such a big project, although other companies already failed and how can Google and other companies profit from Android@Home?

Right now it’s perfect timing to launch this ambitious and new project, because Apple can´t offer anything alike yet and other companies failed because of high prices or the complications a user has to face if he tries to install the home automation system by himself. Furthermore, it seems to have a promising future since they want to invent a new communications protocol that interlinks the Android @ Home hub and a device with a controllable receiver. Basically, Android@Home is supposed to be an open source, thus it’s completely open for developers to explore and write their own applications. Accordingly, every company which cooperates with Google will probably profit, since Google is omnipresent and highly successful, because it counts 100 million activated Android devices and 4.5 billion apps installed at the moment. Moreover, companies can produce, next to normal appliances, new WLAN/Bluetooth/USB compatible appliances; hence they could enter a new market. At the moment there are only few companies known that want to be part of that new project. One of those companies is Lighting Science, a company that already presented a new bulb at I/O Conference in San Francisco. These light bulbs will be available at the end of this year. According to Robert Nazarian they will cost around 30$ each. Consequently it would be quite expensive if you replace every light bulb in your house. In his blog Nazarian mentions another important aspect. He says that other technologies like X10, Insteon, ZigBee, and Z-Wave tried to make home automation mainstream, but failed because of the price. Will project Android@Home fail too because of the high prices? Nazarian reasons that ultimately prices will go down and I think he’s right, because the greater the competitive rivalry among the companies the more the prices will go down (at least in theory). Thus, the cheaper Android@Home gets the more people will buy it, probably making Android@Home a successful and profitable invention for every company being part of the project.

What if Google sells the collection of personal information to other companies in order to make profit?

According to LinuxInsider one should worry about privacy. As you might have heard, in 2008 Google confessed that they had checked Gmails to add advertising that would fit in with context, thus they obviously violated the law of privacy and didn’t appear trustworthy.  Now LinuxInsider points out that something alike can happen again, because Google could sell all the personal information collected to other businesses. Those companies could then profit from that additional information, since they are then able to do personalized advertising. Randy Abrams, director, technical education at ESET gave the following example: If you turn your lights of in the evening a merchant might receive this information hence he’s able to send you the appropriate ads, because it seems likely that you leave the house for dinner. Another aspect LinuxInsider describes is that if merchants are able to get that information criminals will probably too. In this way they could use the information to watch for you leaving the house…

Of course Google would profit from selling that information, nevertheless I think they should think about their reputation, because if people become aware of Google selling their information to other companies they would lose their trust in Android@Home system and Google…

In the next couple of month we will see how Google´s plans work out, nevertheless I´m convinced that they will capture the market of home automation in the future.

One thought on “Android@Home – A profitable Business Idea?

  1. Hi Franzi!

    Very interesting post! I actually had a discussion about that Android@Home topic recently, as a friend of my parents is planning to build a new house and he is thinking about equipping it with the newest technology (he is a medical scientist so he will probably even be able to afford that…). As you already described I think that Android@Home offers a lot of good opportunities. Also as you can see at the example of my parent’s friend even “normal” people are already thinking about investing in something like this in order to live in a modern environment. Therefore I agree with you that there will definitely be a market for this technology in the future especially as it will probably improve further and the price might become more and more reasonable and affordable.
    But still you made some very strong points at the end of the article. In my opinion security should always have top priority and as long as this can’t be completely warranted I as a customer would probably keep my fingers away from it…
    I think you wrote a well reflected and critical post. And who knows what the future brings…?!

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