What Is Nest?

This niche home automation company is making a name for itself

Nest thermostat
Nest

If you haven’t heard about Nest yet, you probably will very soon. Nest is one of most popular smart home automation companies, and it is gaining more followers with devices designed to make homes smarter. In addition to the Nest Learning Thermostat, the company also produces a smart smoke detector (which is also a smart carbon monoxide detector) and a series of smart cameras for both indoors and outdoors.

Who Owns Nest?

In a much talked about acquisition in 2014, Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion. The acquisition help grow Google’s Internet of Things portfolio, giving them a head start over Microsoft and Apple in this ever-expanding marketplace. However, there was some concern about privacy issues, with the devices attached to the Google name, so growth for Nest products has been slower than initially expected. Despite this small bump in the road, Nest is growing rapidly and has become a household name, due in large part to the ease of use of the smart devices

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Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat Learns from You
Nest.com

The Nest Learning Thermostat, which comes with a variety of different colored rings to fit with your home’s décor, features an easy-to-read display with the ability to control your heating and hot water automatically. In just a week, the thermostat will learn when and how you like the temperature of your home. When you’re at home, it will raise the temperature and when you go out, it will turn it down, ultimately saving you energy. 

The device monitors your activity and builds a schedule based around this data. It will turn down your heating at night and raise it in the morning so you wake up to a nice warm house. As you leave for work, the Nest thermostat will detect you’ve left using sensors and your smartphone location, and set itself to Eco Temperatures to save energy.

If you’re out of the home but your children are on their way home, pick up your smartphone and adjust the temperature remotely via the Nest app.

More Than Just Environmental Controls

The latest version of the Nest Learning Thermostat allows you to control your hot water tank with its hot water schedule, all adjustable from the app. Forgot to turn off the hot water while you’re away? No problem. Got guests staying and need extra hot water? No problem.  The Nest thermostat handles this for you.

The thermostat’s Energy History and monthly Home Reports show you how much energy you use daily. You can see when and where energy is used in the home, and the report recommends how you can use less energy.  Every time you change the temperature in the home to save energy, Nest will reward you with a Leaf. With continued usage, the Nest Leaf learns how Nest can help you save energy, applying different temperatures for different families.

Another added feature to the latest Nest Learning Thermostat is Farsight. The thermostat will light up and show you temperature, time or weather. You can even choose an analogue or digital clock face. 

Working with the Nest Heat Link, the thermostat works with your boiler to control the heating and hot water. The Heat Link can connect with  your boiler wireless or using your existing thermostat wires, then ‘talks’ to the thermostat to modulate heat.

The Nest app connects via WiFi, allowing you to control the temperature of your home remotely. 

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Nest Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detection

Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
Nest.com

Nest Protect is a smart home smoke and carbon monoxide detector that communicates with you via your smartphone so that you know immediately if there is a problem.

Nest Protect features a Split-Spectrum Sensor, which is the technology used by Nest to detect a wide range of smoke events, including smoldering fires and fast flaming fires. The devices also tests itself automatically to ensure accuracy, and it lasts for up to ten years. It includes an alarm you can silence from your phone remotely. A human voice provides early warning if there is a smoke event and tells you where the danger is so that you can act accordingly. 

Nest Protect also features a carbon monoxide detector to ensure that your family is protected from this colorless, odorless gas.

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Nest Indoor and Outdoor Cameras

Nest Cam Indoor camera shown sitting on a mantle.
Nest.com

The Nest Cam family of cameras that can be used indoors or outdoors mean you won’t miss a second of what goes on in and outside your home. The Nest Cams plug are connected to a main power supply and come with all-glass lenses for close-up tracking view. 

The cameras have some useful features, including:

  • The ability to distinguish people from objects.
  • The system can send you alerts if someone activates the camera.
  • It can scare off intruders or allow you to have a conversation with friends and family members.
  • Face recognition alerts you to familiar faces and strangers.
  • 24/7 cloud storage gives you thirty days of recorded video history, with the ability to create and share clips.

Nest Compatible Devices

Nest is also interoperable with a variety of other smart home products. The Works with Nest Store lists all of the home automation products that are compatible. For example, Philips Hue lights and Wemo switches automatically connect with Works with Nest without any need for complex set up processes.

For broader home automation, a Nest-compatible smart home hub can help you connect Nest with other non-Nest products to create an entire smart home program.