Google’s Secret Weapon In The Battle For Internet Of Things: Academia

Can Google’s new grant program clean up a notoriously messy new category of technologies and devices? When it comes to building up clout in an emerging industry, Google pulls out all the stops. And doing that usually involves spending lots of money.

Google Research, Google’s portal to the academic world, is making major investments right now, building up an innovation and research program dedicated to the nascent collection of products and technologies collectively known as the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s created a research grant program called Open Web of Things to attract talent to the company, as well as to fund and give technical support to promising research groups in academia. The application process is now closed, and Google will choose the recipients by this spring.

With Google’s acquisition of Nest a year behind us, it’s about time that the company began to reinforce its standing in the IoT world. The topic dominated the product announcements at this year’s CES. Congress now has a caucus dedicated to it. And according to Gartner Research, smart home technology could add $1.9 trillion to the world’s economy by 2020.

But exactly how the Internet of Things will become a trillion dollar industry remains be seen. It’s unclear who will own your data once it reaches the cloud and how secure it will be when it travels from device to device. And there’s much left to figure out concerning data models and analytics. … (read more)