What Is Nest, And Could It Change Our Lives?
What is Nest? Throughout all the hype and debate we’ve been subjected to regarding its recent purchase by Google, very few people have actually sat down and tried to explain what Nest could do for us.
Nest Labs is the home gadget maker founded by iPod inventor Tony Fadell, currently manufacturing a series of smart detectors, tools and accessories for the home that are intended to make the less exciting household necessities that bit more fun. The company specialises in safety and saving energy right now, but is ultimately expected to expand into ‘smart’ appliances that will make even the simplest of things around the home easier to do.
Google’s recent acquisition of Nest simply reflects the growing consumer trend for home automation, or the ‘internet of things’ as it has been commonly termed. It is an industry predicted to be worth $48 billion by 2018, having grown rapidly in the last 5 years thanks to faster wireless networking and the increasing desire to save money on household bills.
So if Nest does everything it claims it does (and could do, in the not-so-far-off future), then what could this mean for us?
1. Home Safety Would No Longer Be Annoying.
Nest’s leading product, the Nest Protect detector, is designed to give better protection from smoke and carbon dioxide through its refusal to ‘cry wolf’ like so many other smoke detectors nowadays. We bet our bottom dollar that yours is currently disconnected, unattached, or had a flat battery for the last five years, just like 73% of US homes that experienced a fire, despite having a smoke alarm.
That won’t happen with the Nest Protect, which uses its ‘Heads Up’ feature to raise awareness before going all out like its a full-blown emergency. Unlike other smoke alarms, it uses a human voice to give information about the source of the danger and its level of urgency, and can be silenced simply with a wave of the hand if it starts whining when you’re making toast.
2. Learn To Forget About Energy Management.
If you’re sick of being lectured about the importance of energy preservation and climate change, the Nest Thermostat will equip you with all you need to show the world that you’re doing your bit…and it will cost you next to zero effort.
The Nest Thermostat, Nest’s second innovation, learns your schedule and programs itself to change temperature at the right times. It’s easy to programme for those of us who have never bothered to ‘program’ a thermostat before in our lives. Simply set an ‘away’ temperature, and turn down the ‘stat at nighttime. Within a short space of time, Nest will learn these settings and do it for you, with the Leaf Indicator letting your know when energy is being saved. Thanks to its intuitive ability, the Nest Thermostat has been predicted to lower heating and cooling bills by 20%.
3. Enjoy Under-Floor Heating Like It Was Supposed To Be.
Most people feel they need to work hard to get an under-floor heating system that works completely in sync with their routine, planning ahead in advance to ensure that rooms are warm at the right times. With Nest True Radiant, you can enjoy an under-floor heating system that works in adherence with your needs.
By syncing with the Nest Thermostat, True Radiant uses the current temperature in the home, the weather outside, and how your system has worked in the past, to time the heating of your floors and rooms for when you wake up or arrive home from work. No more cold toes in the mornings!
4. Go From Warm Home…To Warm Office.
When setting up the Nest Thermostat, you can select ‘Business’ instead of ‘Home’ so that your workplace can benefit from it’s smart, lazy-boy perks. The thermostat understands that offices and homes have different needs, so will adjust its schedule accordingly. Nest will turn down to save energy when the last employee has left for the evening, and automatically returns to its normal schedule when the first guy arrives in the morning. Of course, if your office is more of a work hard, play hard kind of place (leading to unexpected overnight stays) you can always turn off the auto-away feature.
‘Business’ thermostat mode also provides a thermostat ‘lock’, which is the requirement of a pass code to change the temperature outside of its usual range. This is designed to prevent just about anybody from meddling with the office heating schedule…but we can’t help but question its practicality, as once one person is trusted with the code on a one time occasion, there’s a chance the whole office might have it.
Bosses can look forward to having access to a monthly energy report that details your office’s energy history and helps to highlight where your workplace could be using less. Perhaps its time to change the timer on those auto lights out front…
5. Be Aware And In Control…Always.
We’ve probably all dreamed about the idea of having complete control over the running of the home, even when you’re not there. This is a technology that is becoming increasingly achievable, thanks to mobile apps that allow you to schedule recordings of your favourite shows, or switch on the porch lights when it gets dark.
Nest is no stranger to this whole control thing, using mobile synchronization with the Nest Protect to warn you of a potential danger even when you’re not in the house, so you can make sure your loved ones are safe. And of course the Nest app also allows you to control multiple Nest Thermostats at once, meaning the ‘stats in your home are in sync and not wasting energy competing with one another. If you’re a business-owner, you can use the app to control all of the thermostats in your office, or indeed several offices – a boon if you’re intent on saving energy costs.
And last but not least, its worth adding that your kids will be able to install the thermostat for you. No, really. According to Nest developers, fitting the Nest Thermostat is so easy, a child could do it. And one does, right here.
On the whole, its difficult to argue that Nest’s products are just another tech fad. This is about more than mere flashiness, or gadget boredom. Nest is doing what many home appliance manufacturers probably intended to do before, but lacked the right resources and know-how. It’s making our homes safer and more friendly in a simple yet revolutionary way. And we feel fully inclined to just sit back and let it.