Nest Labs was a home automation specialist company that produced programmable Wi-Fi-enabled products that can be remotely controlled through a Web service or an associated smart home app. Nest Labs was acquired by Google in 2015. Today, all of Google’s home electronic products are marketed under the brand Google Nest.
Two Apple engineers, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, founded Nest in 2010. Fadell was originally inspired by the inadequacies of thermostats for settings appropriate to his vacation home. The resulting product – the Nest Learning Thermostat – was introduced in October 2011.
Nest expanded from thermostats to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in 2013, then security cameras with the acquisition of Dropcam in June 2014.
Nest Labs was acquired by Google in January 2015 for $3.2 billion. Since Google’s reorganization later in the same year, Nest Labs, like Google itself, became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. From 2015-2018 Nest operated independently of Google. In 2018, Nest was merged into Google’s home devices unit. In May 2019, Google announced that all of its home electronics products would be marketed under the brand Google Nest.
Key Product Lines
Nest technologies enable intelligent control of thermostats and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems to make for a more comfortable home. The products save money through efficient use and integrate home safety and security features. Nest devices are inter-connected through Weave, a protocol based on IEEE 802.15.4 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n.
Nest Learning Thermostat gathers data from experience and programs itself for temperatures the owners prefer. Once established, the product automatically adjusts for wake and sleep and home and away times, as well as seasonal changes. The thermostat can also notify owners if the temperature gets too high or too low, enabling them to avoid frozen pipes or an overheated pet. The Nest Learning Thermostat is the first thermostat to get ENERGY STAR certified.
Nest Protect is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector with battery-operated and AC versions. Protect can turn off the furnace in the event of a potential fire and can be silenced by a smartphone-generated command. Nest Protect’s “Split-Spectrum Sensor” uses two wavelengths of light to look for different types of fires. The product also includes home/away awareness.
Nest Cam is a webcam designed for monitoring the home; the owner can view streamed video on a smartphone. The camera includes motion and sound detection, night vision and activity alerts. Audio capability means that the user can speak to someone in the home environment. Nest Cam IQ offers additional capabilities, such as the ability to differentiate between a person and a pet, and automatically zoom in on people.
Nest Hello is a video doorbell that enables owners to use their smartphone to see and talk to people who come to their door. Nest Hello is designed to show people head to toe, and can detect person, motion and sound. Owners can respond verbally or use pre-recorded responses.
Nest Secure is a home alarm system that owners can arm and disarm from anywhere. Owners can choose how much time they have to arm or disarm the alarm before it goes off, including No Delay for doors that are used infrequently. Features like Pathlight help owners find their way in the dark, while Dog Pass prevents small pets from setting off the alarm.
Nest x Yale Lock is a key-free deadbolt that connects to the Nest app, enabling owners to lock and unlock their door from anywhere. Owners can create passcodes for family and other trusted guests, and receive alerts whenever someone unlocks or locks the door. Owners can also lock and check their door status hands free, using the Google Assistant.
Nest Aware is a subscription-based service that provides 24/7 continuous video recording for up to 30 days. Owners receive intelligent alerts (for example, the service can identify familiar faces versus a stranger) and can identify important areas for which they want to receive a special alert if something happens there.
The Nest Learning Thermostat was well-received. One month after its release, the Consumer Electronics Association recognized the thermostat with its Best of Innovations Award in the Eco-Design and Sustainable Technology category. The smart thermostat market has since grown considerably, but the Nest Learning Thermostat continues to win high-praise from owners and product reviewers.