Apple and Google's Next Battleground?

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The Apple 2014 Worldwide Developer Conference might involve more than OSX and iOS updates-- the Financial Times reports the event will have company revealing a "big play" in the home automation arena.

SmarthomeAccording to the FT's anonymous sources this will involve "a new software platform that would turn the iPhone into a remote control for lights, security systems and other household appliances." Apple already owns the patents for such a system featuring location-based control (via Bluetooth and iBeacon, perhaps?) of lighting and other connected devices.

The platform will even involve a "Made for iPhone"-style scheme for the makers of devices compatible with the system, and the company will emphasise privacy as a plus over Google's "multi-device future" plans, the FT continues.

Unsurprisingly Apple itself refuses to comment over the alleged plans, which might be a reaction to Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of smart thermostat maker Nest and the Samsung Smart Home automation platform.

Not that Google is sitting on its laurels-- if one is to believe The Information the search giant plans to expand further into smart home space via the acquisition of connected camera maker Dropcam.

DropcamThe flagship Dropcam product is a wifi-enabled camera with cloud-based recording allowing users to check footage at anytime and anywhere from any internet-enabled device.  It also sells Tabs, small motion sensors providing extra monitoring in places cameras cannot go. In other words it's a product range that should fit nicely in Google's modus operandi.

The Information gives no further details on the supposed acquisition, and describes the status of any Google-Dropcam talks as not clear.

Mainstream smart home adoption is still in early days, but according to IHS it is set to grow massively-- the analyst predicts the global installed base for global cloud-based automation (i.e. the mass-market solutions Apple and Google are said to be dabbling in) will grow from 5.6 million in 2013 to 44.6m by 2018.

Go Apple Sees the Light in Push for Jetsons-Style Home Automation (FT.com)

Go Google Eyes Home Security, Dropcam (The Information)

Go Dropcam