Nest Labs have their sights set on updating another key part of our homes, with a report that the company is prepping a new smoke detector that will expand their connect home product portfolio. Nest was founded by Tony Fadell, formerly of Apple and best known for being the ‘Father of the iPod’. Jessica Lessin writes that the new smoke detector could go on sale by the end of this year, but little else is known of the product.
Nest launched its learning thermostat to rave reviews and plans might be to make it the hub of what the company views as a connected home. Nest currently uses WiFi to connect to a home router. Users can access their thermostat from anywhere using a standard web browser or one of the associated Nest apps. One thought is that the Nest be the center point of connectivity, allowing the new smoke detector to benefit from greater battery life. The Nest regularly receives software updates, so the company could theoretically push an update to support new products. It would also allow for low-power devices, since they wouldn’t need a WiFi chip. The Nest is wired, so power is only an issue during extended outages. This could prove to be an improvement over traditional, battery-operated smoke and fire detectors. When a battery is about to die on a smoke detector, it will emit a loud beep. This could be handled by a notification on your smartphone.
The Nest is billed as a thermostat that will save you money. As the owner of two of the first generation models, I can certainly attest to the stranglehold I’ve been able to get on my heating and cooling bills. It’s not without its quirks, as on occasion, it’s gone offline for no apparent reason. Having your thermostat offline is not critical. A connected smoke detector is a whole new bowl of wax. Chances are that any smoke and carbon monoxide detector would still function, albeit without connectivity.
Why It Matters
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are cheap, running around $20. If you are away from home, alarms will only do so much. Sure your neighbors might take notice and call for help, but they could also write it off as being an errant car alarm. If you have pets at home, a connected smoke alarm can alert you, so that you can take action. Either by calling a neighbor, the fire department or rushing home. What Nest is considering is nothing terribly new. A number of home alarm systems offer connected smoke detectors. When combined with a monthly monitoring service, the proper authorities will be notified in the event of a fire. They too will send notifications to a smartphone app. I currently have wired smoke/carbon detectors throughout my home, but went the extra step to add a connected smoke detector. When away from home, I can rest easy that my cats are safe.
While you can purchase one today, it requires a much larger and costly setup that is part of entire security system. Nest could take that out of the equation, offering a simple, lower-cost setup. I’m of the opinion that a subscription service is vital, but that could certainly be optional, putting the onus on the user to take action – no different than with traditional detectors, only you are notified while out of the home.
I’ve seen differing opinions on whether this is a worthwhile endeavor for Nest. If you own a Nest, it seems like a great option to protect your family, pets and home. Would you consider adding a connected smoke detector to your home?
Source: Jessica Lessin