Digital health and Google's $3.2B Nest buy

By Brian Dolan
06:25 am

Nest ThermostatGoogle got the digital health community talking in the past few weeks as its meeting with the FDA first emerged in reports sparse on details. Soon after the company announced its Google[x] team's project for glucose sensing contact lenses, which more than one MobiHealthNews reader has panned as a non-starter.

Perhaps even more interestingly, the company's high-profile acquisition of smart thermostat company Nest for $3.2 billion has drummed up some speculation around Google's interest in the Internet of Things and the Connected Home, which Forrester Research VP and Principal Analyst Frank Gillett summed up nicely in a recent column over at Forbes.

If Google is interested in a company like Nest, which helps people track and manage their home energy usage, it follows that any number of digital health tracking companies could be on Google's acquisition radar, right?

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While Gillett is mostly focused on sucking the wind out of the hype surrounding the Google-Nest deal, he apparently agrees that Google might make a move to acquire the digital health equivalent of Nest -- if such a company exists today.

"This won’t ignite an M&A rush," he writes. "There aren’t many companies or talent available for acquisition, not at the level of Nest. Two I would call out as very interesting: SmartThings, in Virginia, is building a home hub to link together disparate smart products and connect them to it’s cloud service platform. I spoke to the CEO, Alex Hawkinson, last week at CES – they’ve got 5,000 developers on their platform already. The other is Withings, in France. CEO Cédric Hutchings leads a team that has built software interconnects with dozens of services for the results from their body scale, blood pressure cuff, and activity monitor."

Withings is an interesting choice, but there are many contenders. What do you think: Is this the beginning of Google's connected home strategy?


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