Google and ADT have announced, “a long-term, strategic partnership” that will see Google invest $450 million in ADT and the two companies combine their smart home and home security lineup. Google says the two companies will work together to “create the next generation of the helpful home,” while ADT says the deal “will combine Nest’s award-winning hardware and services, powered by Google’s machine-learning technology, with ADT’s installation, service and professional monitoring.” A site detailing the collaboration is up at adt.com/google.
Google and ADT have both been working toward smart home security solutions over the years. Google is coming from the position of an Internet company moving into smart homes, while ADT is starting from an old-school home-security company that doesn’t want to get run over by these smart home upstarts. By now, both have covered the same areas and have a ton of overlap. There are Google and ADT smartphone apps, smart displays, security cameras, smoke detectors, and, of course, home-security systems, with motion detectors, entryway sensors, keychain presence sensors, security keypads, and monthly subscriptions. (Google’s security solution is the not-very-well-known Nest Secure).
Google doesn’t have an in-house solution for professional remote monitoring, but Nest Secure worked with Brinks Home Security monitoring. ADT doesn’t have an in-house solution for smart home automation like voice commands and smart speakers, but ADT devices worked with Z-Wave, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa devices.
Merging the Google and ADT product lines seems to mean Nest hardware with ADT monitoring and installation. ADT CEO Jim DeVries spoke to the Financial Times (paywalled) and categorized his company’s hardware relationship with Google as “exclusive,” meaning ADT will only sell Google devices in the future.
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A big shoutout in both press releases is given to ADT’s army of installers, which, for Google, will be one of the main business improvements. Smart home solutions, especially ones that want every door and window to be monitored, can involve purchasing and installing dozens of devices. The prospect of even planning for a system like this can be too much for many potential customers, but now an ADT installer can show up and handle everything from estimates to installations using Google hardware.
Google’s $450 million will get a 6.6 percent stake in ADT. ADT says “Each company will commit an additional $150 million, subject to the achievement of certain milestones, to be used for co-marketing, product development, technology and employee training to advance the partnership.
Nest has been going through a rocky transition from standalone company to Google sub-brand lately. Google shut down the “Works with Nest” ecosystem, breaking third-party apps and device interoperability. It killed Nest accounts and forced Google accounts on users while merging what was previously considered sensitive smart home data into Google’s Big Data collection. The changes have reportedly lead to some third-party installers dumping Nest products for less restrictive alternatives. Google has also extended the Nest brand to most of its smart home products. That means Google Home speakers, Google Wi-Fi, and Chromecast will eventually all live under the Google Nest sub-brand, e.g., “Google Home” is now the “Google Nest Home.”
While the deal will eventually see ADT exclusively install Google hardware, but getting there will take some time. ADT says it “expects to offer certain Google devices to its customers beginning this year and to expand the integration in 2021.”