According to Gartner, an information technology research firm, there will be 6.4 billion Internet-connected devices in 2016 and 21 billion by 2020. But all those technologies could be useless to homeowners if none of them can communicate with one another.
A new piece from The Atlantic shows how the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act could keep smart home devices from working with one another. For example, the same copyright law that allowed music companies to prevent people from copying their songs allows digital tech companies to prevent people from copying their software. For example, Google can prevent people from using the Nest's coding. However, by revoking this access to the coding, no other devices outside Google could communicate with it.
Philips recently rolled out a hardware update that prevented its Hue light bulbs from integrating with non-Hue bulbs. Consumer complaints overwhelmed the manufacturer, and a few days later, they removed the update.
Bruce Scheier writes:
For the Internet of Things to provide any value, what we need is a world that looks like the automotive industry, where you can go to a store and buy replacement parts made by a wide variety of different manufacturers. Instead, the Internet of Things is on track to become a battleground of competing standards, as companies try to build monopolies by locking each other out.