With a new, open platform debuting this fall, the European manufacturer is setting its sights on a more unified smart home.
BSH, the European manufacturer behind brands like Bosch and Siemens, announced a new smart home platform today, including an app that will offer consumers control over all of their connected appliances -- even ones from rival manufacturers. The app, Home Connect, will make its debut this fall at the IFA consumer electronics conference in Berlin, along with the first connected appliances from Bosch and Siemens.
Speaking at an IFA event in Belek, Turkey, Home Connect Project Manager Claudia Häpp explained that while 90 percent of households feature appliances from different brands, 66 percent of consumers want to be able to control them all from a single app. That's the ultimate goal for Home Connect, which will be available on iOS devices by the year's end, with an Android version due out in early 2015.
Home Connect looks similar to what we've seen from manufacturers like Samsung and LG, both of which debuted proprietary smart home platforms earlier this year at CES. But Home Connect's open platform approach is a new development in the major appliance space, with BSH calling it, "the first solution in the world that allows for more than one brand of household appliance to be controlled through one app."
It's difficult to imagine rival manufacturers rushing to embrace Home Connect after pouring money into their own closed smart home platforms. Still, smaller brands without a platform of their own might see major value in using Home Connect as a solid foundation for new connected appliances.
This kind of open platform integration has worked well in the small appliance space, with products like Philips Hue LEDs and the SmartThings home-automation system using the power of third-party development to build robust smart home ecosystems. As BSH continues to develop Home Connect, it will be interesting to see if it's an approach that pays off in the large appliance space, too.