Nest: the slow, steady approach to the smart home

Nest has launched its second product: Nest Protect, a smart smoke detector. And it shows that the company wants to make the internet of things consumer-friendly

I’ve not paid much attention to Nest up until now. That was a mistake. Their first major product – a thermostat – was kind of interesting, but not much use to me because of the way my home is heated.

My eyes have been opened, though, by the release of their latest product: a smoke detector. This is a company that knows how to take dull, unloved parts of your home and make them look interesting. But the design – striking though it is – isn’t what makes this really interesting to me. No, it’s the fact that it feels like Nest is slowly building out a sophisticated connected home, but it’s doing it tiny stages. It’s replacing those dull, forgettable pieces of home tech with sexy new gadgets – and wiring them together.

The interesting thing about the Nest and the Nest Protect is that they can actually work together:

It senses carbon monoxide and connects to your Nest Thermostat through your Nest Account. So it can automatically shut down the furnace, a possible source of CO poisoning, when the carbon monoxide alarm goes off.

This is a small, subtle bit of interplay. But it’s the first step to making the various devices in your house talk to one another – and to you. This is the internet of things as a consumer package, rather than a techie toy.

If only they were available in Europe