A "Nest" for the Nest
[Originally posted on December 20, 2015] Home automation is still in its infancy compared with many of the other "digital disciplines" represented on this website. For this reason, combined with the fact that Apple has yet to make its foray with full force into this arena, you may see less frequent posting of content on this "Home Automation" blog than you might see elsewhere on this site, at least for now.
That said, there are some interesting things happening in the home automation space and the "internet of things", as it is sometimes called, is already upon us. It's mainly a question of whether or not we will happen to notice the degree to which technology is becoming imbedded in most every aspect of today's household, not to mention automobiles and other forms of transportation.
This opening blog will relate my brief, but positive, experience thus far with three different products marketed under the "Nest" product name, a company which recently was acquired by Google.
1. I started with a Nest thermostat, a wifi-aware thermostatic device that replaces your traditional thermostat and "learns" your behaviors regarding the use of the room(s) where the thermostat is located. At present, I have only one Nest thermostat installed, which controls one of the seven heating zones that make up my gas-fired hot water baseboard heating system. As such, it does not control the whole house heating and also does not address cooling (because I use window air conditioners). However, I like the ease of use and the readability of the temperature control display and I believe it shows great promise for a technology area that has seen little real innovation or regard for the user until now.
2. The same goes for smoke and CO2 detectors, where Nest has introduced smart (and speech-enabled) detectors that communicate with one another and, like the Nest thermostats, allow you to monitor and control the devices remotely via a mobile app.
3. Lastly, I recently installed a Nest camera, which has great (1080p) HD resolution, wide camera angles and a night vision capability. The cameras can be viewed live via an excellent mobile app (the same app used to monitor and control the thermostats and detectors). This camera supplements a few cameras currently in place as part of my ADT security system. Everything about this camera is a step up from what the ADT cameras provide, so I'm looking forward to many continuing advances in this area. As someone who had their house ransacked by thieves 5 years ago when my home security system was not functional, I find that these cameras provide significant peace of mind.
So, in my view, Nest makes quality products with a high "ease of use" factor reminiscent of the innovations coming out of Apple with regularity these days. I welcome the trend of others following their lead.