September 25, 2013
Nest To Bring New Tech Savvy Smoke Detector To Homes
[ Watch the Video: Nest Aims To Make Your Home Safer With 'Smart' Smoke Detector ]
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Nest thermostats have been a popular and stylish choice for homeowners who want control over their energy costs and indoor climate since their release in late 2011. Now Nest Labs, the maker of the Wi-Fi-connected thermostat, says its next big project will also belong in the home.
According to sources, Nest Labs will soon unveil a smoke detector called “Protect.” Both the smoke detector and the thermostat will be connected to one another, creating a unified approach to indoor climate and safety. Like the thermostat, Protect is also said to be connected to the Internet and presumably controlled or monitored through a companion iOS app.
Early reports claimed Protect would ship with a subscription monitoring service to issue alerts to homeowners when things go awry in the home, though this has since been denied.
Like the Nest thermostat, the Protect is expected to be packed with sensors to give homeowners a bevy of data. According to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, some sources say the two Nest devices could communicate with one another without an additional Wi-Fi chip in the smoke detector. Sources also said Protect could come with motion sensors, which would allow users to silence any alarms by waving their hand in front of it.
Though Nest got some quick attention early on, no doubt helped by the fame of founder Tony Fadell, who is often hailed as the “Father of the iPod,” many have been wondering what Nest’s next move could be. Some had assumed recent hiring by the company meant it would be working on an audio device for the home.
In a recent interview, Nest co-founder Matt Rogers said the company was aiming to replace “all the other unloved white plastic crap in your home” before saying a new device was forthcoming. A smoke detector could be another strong push into the home, offering protection and plenty of data, all available on an iPhone or iPad.
Nest has continued to improve its thermostat offering, as well. Earlier this spring the company announced a new software upgrade which allowed the thermostat to detect when it’s in direct sunlight. As many thermostats are placed in areas of the home where they receive a hefty dose of sunlight during the middle of the day, they can often misread the ambient temperature and turn on the air when it may not be necessary. Nest’s new software contains an algorithm to take direct sunlight into consideration and adjust itself accordingly.
The new software update, which was delivered over the air through homeowners’ Wi-Fi networks, also delivered a feature called 'Cool to Dry.' This feature turns on the air conditioner when the built-in humidity sensor detects high levels of humidity. This keeps homes dry and free of unhealthy mold spores. Once the home reaches a safe level, the air is turned off. The Nest aims to get humidity down to 55 percent, however if it can't do this it will only cool to 75 percent, or five degrees below the user set limit, whichever is higher.
The Nest thermostat is available in the Apple store and on Amazon for $250.