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Two Internet of Things acquisitions in 1st two weeks of 2014

We're now 2 weeks into 2014, and we've had two acquisitions of start-up companies in the Internet of Things area. One of these deals, yesterday's acquisition of Nest by Google for around $3.2 billion, will get a lot of media attention because the buyer was Google. The other, last week's acquisition of ThingWorx by PTC for around $130 million, will get a lot less attention. But it's the two together that are huge news for technology trends in 2014.

When we published our first report on Internet of Things in July, 2013, people were saying things like "is the Internet of Things really going to happen," "will people really want it?" and "what's the point?" Now, a half a year later, the Internet of Things is clearly on the way, and people are discussing the implications and concerns.

Nest and ThinkWorx are two of the more than thirty companies profiled in our report. They each demonstrate a different approach to implementing the Internet of Things, and their acquirers are examples of two very different ways of bringing the Internet of Things to market.

Nest has built an intelligent and connected thermostat. Its intelligence enables it to learn the patterns in the home and adjust itself accordingly. For example, if homeowners turn out the lights and go to bed every night at 10pm, Nest can learn to turn off the heat slightly before they do so. Its connectivity enables it to be controlled from a homeowner's smartphone, for example, turning on the heat while driving home from work so that the house is toasty warm when you walk in the door. More recently they've branched into intelligent and connected smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Google's acquisition of Nest follows years of efforts by the search giant to enter the market directly. Their Android@Home and other related projects have been trying to bring utility meters and thermostats on-line for years. But this project failed and was shut down in 2011. With the Nest acquistion, Google has bought their way back into success in this new and clearly growing area. And Nest has found a home that can truly get them into a lot of homes.

ThingWorx approached IoT from the other direction, building a comprehensive platform for building Internet of Things networks. The ThingWorx platform integrates sensors and devices, business logic, and storage, with a codeless mashup builder and REST API for programming how they all work together.

PTC's acquisition of ThingWorx brings the Internet of Things into much more mainstream IT. PTC develops solutions that are used by manufacturing companies to design, manage and improve their product development and manufacturing processes. ThingWorx will enable PTC to support companies that are building IoT products or are using IoT technologies in their operations.

These two acquisitions are only two of the many recent developments in Internet of Things. Three months ago ARM acquired another IoT company, SensiNode, in an ongoing battle between chip and mobile companies for control of the Internet of Things. Qualcomm and Intel have been very active in the area as well.

As 2014 gets started, nobody is doubting that the Internet of Things is coming. What will be next?

To learn more about the technology R&D and start-up companies underlying the Internet of Things, check out our comprehensive report (click here). Three out of the thirty companies we profiled have been acquired, and there's more to come.....

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