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Old Dec 20, 2012, 03:56 PM   #1
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Apple in Talks to Acquire Home Automation Firm R2 Studios




Apple, Microsoft and Google are all potential buyers for home automation firm R2 Studios, part of the id8 Group founded by Blake Krikorian, according to the Wall Street Journal. He was the founder of Sling Media, makers of the SlingBox that was later sold to EchoStar/Dish Network.

R2 Studios sole public product is an Android client for Crestron whole-home control systems. Crestron released its own clients for the iPhone and iPad several years ago.

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R2 Studios, which is developing home-media and automation technology, has remained largely mum about its plans but last year released an app that turns Android phones into touch panels for controlling heating and lighting systems wirelessly. R2 Studios also holds some patents related to controlling electronic devices and interfaces.

The status of the discussion and terms under consideration remain unclear. A deal may not happen and some talks may be preliminary.
The WSJ reports that R2 also owns some patents related to "controlling electronic devices and interfaces", in addition to its existing app work. R2 could fit in nicely with Apple's rumored expansion plans, including its efforts to remake television viewing.

The market for home automation has been seeing a lot of activity recently, with former Apple executive Tony Fadell's company releasing the Nest thermostat last year. AT&T has announced plans to get into the home automation market as well.

Article Link: Apple in Talks to Acquire Home Automation Firm R2 Studios
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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When Siri turns into Jarvis.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:06 PM   #3
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Would love to have that capability on my iPhone and iPad! My Harmony remote is not bad, but it could do so much more.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:08 PM   #4
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That's what you call inserting a commercial into your demo. Could have have name dropped more companies and products. Let's see...Android Android Android Galaxy, Tab, Dell, HTC, yadda yadda yadda.

We get it...they're funding you but try and make it a bit less obvious next time mmm'kay?

That being said I'm encouraged that Apple wants to get into more of the Home Auto biz. This area needs that next level push to take it mainstream. Apple's got much of the pieces together.

Whole lineup on Bluetooth 4.0 (save for the Mac Pro) - Check

Airplay gaining momentum - Check

Low cost server (Mac mini) - Check

Mobile platform - double check
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:08 PM   #5
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This is good. X10 is like a bajillion years old and still hardly anyone uses it. We need something better.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 10:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ollyb View Post
This is good. X10 is like a bajillion years old and still hardly anyone uses it. We need something better.
There are better alternatives... like Insteon. But in reality, the market for home automation is small - limited to rich home owners and geeks.

----------

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Originally Posted by Aeolius View Post
or perhaps Leap Motion
At 69.99 I think the price is right!

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Originally Posted by Benjamins View Post
You know who Apple should buy?
Nest.
Until more homes have zoned duct work, Nest won't work all that well.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 10:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by coolspot18 View Post
There are better alternatives... like Insteon. But in reality, the market for home automation is small - limited to rich home owners and geeks.
The tablet market was pretty small before the iPad came out.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 11:05 AM   #8
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This is good. X10 is like a bajillion years old and still hardly anyone uses it. We need something better.
Absolutely! X10 is unreliable and too many devices simply don't work.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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If Shark Tank has taught me anything, it's that it's all about the patents.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:09 PM   #10
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If Apple thinks the TV is a hobby, what would they consider this? I don't see it happening.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:10 PM   #11
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If Apple thinks the TV is a hobby, what would they consider this? I don't see it happening.
But Tim recently stated in his Forbes interview that they have an intense interest in this hobby.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:10 PM   #12
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Huh...

If Apple really wanted to take over the world they'd buy out Nuance. Those folks have some serious tech, but more importantly have serious talent that is bringing the future closer.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:12 PM   #13
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Huh...

If Apple really wanted to take over the world they'd buy out Nuance. Those folks have some serious tech, but more importantly have serious talent that is bringing the future closer.
Too expensive
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:16 PM   #14
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Too expensive
Ain't that the truth. $150+ Billion doesn't buy what it used to, I guess.

Maybe Apple thinks they have something to bring home automation more into the mainstream? Makes me wonder what they think they have to offer grow what is an awfully niche market?
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Yujenisis View Post
Ain't that the truth. $150+ Billion doesn't buy what it used to, I guess.

Maybe Apple thinks they have something to bring home automation more into the mainstream? Makes me wonder what they think they have to offer grow what is an awfully niche market?
Nuance would take near 10 billion to acquire. Much of their business is in IVR system for corporations and not really something Apple would want. I agree their patents and IP on voice enabled tech is top class but at this point it's likely cheaper (far cheaper) to license their tech and not buy the cow.

As far as home automation is concerned we need something that is pretty extensible.

Ideally it would support Zigbee, Zwave, Insteon and other plug in formats. Maybe it would be even better to spearhead a more sophisticated control protocol that works well via wired or wireless.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:26 PM   #16
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Makes me wonder what they think they have to offer grow what is an awfully niche market?
With emerging products like Twine , Nest , and hue , coupled with a myriad of app-enabled accessories it's no wonder Apple has started to take notice of the home automation segment.

Granted, we already have solutions such as INSTEON + Indigo but competition is a good thing.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:50 PM   #17
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With emerging products like Twine , Nest , and hue , coupled with a myriad of app-enabled accessories it's no wonder Apple has started to take notice of the home automation segment.

Granted, we already have solutions such as INSTEON + Indigo but competition is a good thing.
Thanks for the tip on Twine, I wasn't aware of this one.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 11:16 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Yujenisis View Post
Ain't that the truth. $150+ Billion doesn't buy what it used to, I guess.

Maybe Apple thinks they have something to bring home automation more into the mainstream? Makes me wonder what they think they have to offer grow what is an awfully niche market?
Well, the retail price for a 9" Crestron touchpad is in the thousands. An iPad is $500. That's a pretty good market "offer" if you ask me.

I've been waiting for a push by somebody in the home control market since the iPad was announced. Perhaps Apple is finally doing something.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:18 PM   #19
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Home automation is a great area for expansion. Think what Apple has done so far has been life-changing? Think of what they could do with home automation.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:22 PM   #20
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I don't know why this hasn't happened sooner. It should be much simpler to set up a home so that you can control lights, locks, oven, thermostat, etc. from your phone.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:27 PM   #21
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iHome.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:27 PM   #22
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Apple should buy Control4. That would be a nice fit
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:39 PM   #23
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I don't know why this hasn't happened sooner. It should be much simpler to set up a home so that you can control lights, locks, oven, thermostat, etc. from your phone.
A lot of this stuff is not consumer friendly at all. For much of it people use an electrician and specialized hardware.

Sure, many can replace a themostat, but where are you going to control an oven? Through the oven? The Socket? The panel?

And wireless door locks? Sounds like a very niche product. Lighting control, again where, at the switch? Panel? Bulb?

Unfortunately, while nearly everything in my house is 15 years old or less, I would say that in many cases the technology driving it is either 30 years old+ or incremental improvements on 30 year old+ tech.

Whatever they do, it will likely be a play on media, followed potentially by energy monitoring.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 09:13 AM   #24
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Home automation is a great area for expansion. Think what Apple has done so far has been life-changing? Think of what they could do with home automation.
If apple came out with something like this, I would purchase it with no hesitation. The ease of use and hassle free setup that they have on existing products put them over android for me (I have a buddy with a android/windows 7 ecosystem and my apple setup is wayyyyy better).

I could only imagine how they would takeover home automation
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 09:26 AM   #25
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I don't usually wade into these speculative product threads, but... I think many of you are looking far down the road into possibilities, which may or may not exist. More immediate, I think the AppleTV needs to have a way to control the other devices it is connected to. I would bet apple will put the talent and technology it acquires into developing an easy, fool proof, multi-manufacturer, compatible way of controlling AV receivers, cable boxes (maybe not this one), dvd players, tvs, etc.

I use a harmony remote, and it works fine, but if you can say, Siri, lets play a game, and it turns on the TV, the receiver to the correct input, etc... Or Siri, can you play this music through the whole house except for the front porch. and it would manage turning on other amplifiers, airplay settings, etc. The hard part will be getting apple to acknowledge that this can't just be a closed eco system, it is going to have to work with other products

I think that is the first step, unifying the control structure of the livingroom/hometheater. Then maybe lighting, but I doubt it. I work a lot with lighting and dimmers and control technologies - new homes that aren't custom won't be built with the new technology (like motorized breaker panels, and central control structures and energy management) 'cause it is too expensive and the average consumer won't know what it is. Custom homes alone aren't a large enough market. Having your control at the end of the distribution (in the bulb, x10 modules, insteon, etc) would require way too many models of product, Apple is about simplicity.

Perhaps there is an iCloud like portal, and some custom libraries that interpet signals from an apple tv into control signals for specific appliances at your house. Those get sent bck to the appleTV from the cloud where they are broadcast to your network aware technology...
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