Google Wants an IOT-First OS. How Would it Look Like?

In recent days, there have been some speculation in the market about Google starting an effort for creating a new operating system (OS) optimized for the internet of things (IOT). The news were somewhat surprising as Google’s efforts around IOT have been centered around the Android platform. However, if we did did a little deeper, the premise of a new OS starts to make sense.

Google’s initial efforts to adapt Android to IOT scenarios seems logical as they have been mostly focused on wearable’s. The similarities between the user experiences in mobile and wearable’s as well as the part that many wearable’s rely on mobile apps as the main user interface mechanism make Android an ideal candidate to power the first generation of wearable’s. . However, the Android model falls short when we start considering other IOT scenarios such as industrial enterprise solutions or autonomous vehicles. In order to become a viable option for IOT , an OS must have some very specific characteristics. Here are a few ideas:

— Adapter for device components: An IOT OS should provide an adapter mechanism that allow manufacturers to integrate their IOT devices with the OS.

— Frameworks for well-known device components: In addition to the adapter framework, an IOT-First OS should include default functionality for well-known components such as camera, accelerometer, clock and other key components of IOT devices.

— In-Device Application framework: An IOT-First OS should enable the mechanisms for developing, deploying and running applications in an IOT device. It would be interesting to see if the “app” metaphor of the mobile OS still remains in the IOT era.
— Access to relevant external data sources: An IOT-First OS should abstract the access top data sources that are commonly used in IOT solutions. Weather forecast is a great example of a commonly used data source in IOT applications.

— IOT cloud services integration: In the same way that mobile OS such as Android and IOS provide integration with a default group of cloud services, an IOT-First OS should provide out-of-the-box integration with cloud services from platforms like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud or Bluemix.

— User Interface: While we all agree that an IOT-First OS should provide some sort of user interface, it would be interesting to see if this one is a brand new concept or simply an extension of the “app” model used in mobile OS.

There are just some of the concepts I think could be relevant in an IOT-First OS. The idea seems incredibly intriguing but there are some important questions that need to be address. More about that in a future post :)

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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