When Google Inc. purchased one of the world’s most progressive home-automation companies, Nest, for a hefty $3.2 billion in January this year, we had high hopes that the Internet of Things revolution had just hit the big time. Indeed, we have not been disappointed with some recent news coming from the Nest camp.
Late last month, Nest announced that it will now also allow other companies to create new apps that can communicate with the company’s home automated devices. This will be the first time that Nest has allowed access to its products to outside parties, and according to the company, the demand is certainly there with more than 5,000 developers having already expressed their interest in developing apps for the suite of products that Nest sells.
This could lead to a huge selection of apps and services being available for the smart-home products in the future, similar to the way in which smart-phones have become rich with extra services over the years.
So far the Nest Labs’ Developer Program has confirmed an impressive list of partnerships that will come with a “Works with Nest” indicator.
The line-up includes parent company Google; remote control producer Logitech; washer-dryer stalwart Whirlpool Corp; luxury brand Mercedes-Benz; and makers of automatic garage doors, Chamberlain.
The new partnership with Chamberlain, for example, will soon mean that the Nest Thermostat will know from the closing of a garage door that residents are away from home and that the heat can be turned off. Similarly, working with smart-LED bulb-maker LIFX will result in the light bulbs in a home flashing red if the Nest Protect Smoke Detector senses some smoke in the house.
The Nest Learning Thermostat
Over time, the Nest Thermostat learns the heating and cooling preferences in a home over time, meaning it doesn’t have to be programmed and can help to save time and money over the long run.
The device also offers energy savings, is easy to install, stylish looking and can be monitored via through your smartphone, even when you’re not at home. The thermostat can differentiate between weekday and weekend energy patterns and will, for instance, learn to heat up later on weekend mornings than weekdays, or run during the days when residents tend to be at home.
The Protect Smoke Detector
Nest’s Smoke Detector provides a stylish new take on the boring old smoke alarm that most people don’t tend to think twice about. The Protect unit is both a Wi-Fi-ready smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector. The software integration means that users can receive alerts to their Nest smart-phone app, as well as wave off false alarms with the simple wave of a hand.
On top of these advances in technology, Nest also recently announced its intended acquisition of Dropcam, the video-monitoring home security service recently profiled on this blog. Nest is set to pay $555 million to acquire the popular brand and will, as a result, be able to expand into the home security and video monitoring fields – a good integration with its current home-automation suite of products.
Currently the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Protect Smoke Detector are available for purchase online at sites like Nest.com, Amazon.com, and BestBuy.com. The Thermostat retails for around USD $250 and the Protect unit for approximately USD $99.