Nest: A Home Automation and Security PowerhouseBy - 03/22/2018
It’s been several years since Nest Labs became one of the most successful home automation companies, all thanks to their first breakthrough device, the Nest Learning Thermostat. It was such a success that in 2014 Alphabet, formerly Google, bought out the company for a whopping $3.2B.
However, in recent years, things for Nest have been slow-moving. They stuck with three types of products: thermostats, security cameras, and smoke alarms. Other smart home companies slowly gained on Nest. Fortunately, Nest isn’t one to go down without a fight, so they’ve punched back with several new devices. Nest’s products still fall into three categories—security, energy savings, and fire protection—but their new products target new markets. Will this move lead Nest back to its former glory?
Products That Save Energy
Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation
Nest’s first product, the Learning Thermostat, changed the way we view thermostats. It’s a thermostat that is functional and smart and yet still looks good.
One of the Thermostat’s trademark features is the Nest Leaf, a leaf-like icon that shows up when you’re saving energy. And saving energy is easy thanks to built-in features like learning, Nest Sense, a monthly Home Report, and the ability to control your thermostat from anywhere using the Nest App.
In addition to energy-saving features, the 3rd Gen Nest Thermostat can help you avoid costly repairs by notifying you of possible defects.
Nest Thermostat E
While some people like Nest Thermostat’s flashy appearance, others prefer something subtle, which is one of the main differences between Nest Learning and Nest E.
Nest E is a toned down, cheaper version of the Nest Learning Thermostat. Instead of a bright, large screen, it has a softer, frosted appearance. The colored metal ring you’ll find around the Nest Thermostat was also replaced by a white polycarbonate ring with a ceramic-feel, making the device even less noticeable.
In addition to looks, Nest E is compatible with fewer HVAC systems and Nest’s Farsight feature was replaced by a Nearsight feature.
Nest Temperature Sensor
To further improve your thermostat experience, Nest recently launched the Nest Temperature Sensor. The sensor is a 2-inch wide puck-shaped device that measures the temperature in a room. It exclusively connects to 3rd Generation Nest Learning Thermostats and Nest E.
When the sensor takes a room’s temperature, it reports the temperature back to your thermostat. The thermostat uses that information to optimize the temperature in important rooms. You can also set a target temperature for each room equipped with a Temperature Sensor and tell Nest which room to prioritize during certain time periods. For example, during the day, you can prioritize the living room and prioritize your bedroom at night.
The Temperature Sensor is priced at $39 and you can add up to six sensors per home.
Products For Home Security
Nest Cam Variants
Regarding home security, Nest started with cameras. Dropcam was the first followed by Nest Cam. In 2016, they launched Nest Cam Outdoor. Recently, they released Nest Cam IQ followed by the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. The cameras can work alone, but they’re better with Nest Aware, a subscription service that provides cloud storage and additional security features.
Nest Cam & Nest Cam Outdoor
Though Nest Cam was released a couple of years ago, it’s kept up-to-date thanks to frequent firmware updates. Updates to the cloud have enabled features such as person detection and advanced sound detection.
The camera features a 1080p resolution, night vision, motion and sound detection with smartphone notification, two-way voice, and live streaming. It sells for $199.00 and it only requires Wi-Fi and AC power to function.
Feature-wise, Nest Cam Outdoor is no different from Nest Cam Indoor. What makes it different is its ability to live outdoors. Designed to withstand harsh weather conditions (IP65 Rating), even its power cord is weatherproof.
As mentioned earlier, you can make both Nest Cam and Nest Cam Outdoor even more intelligent by subscribing to Nest Aware. Without Nest Aware, the two cameras can detect motion and sound and save snapshots of events in the cloud for 3 hours.
With Nest Aware, you’ll be able to save 5, 10, or 30 days of continuous video. If you think continuous recording will make it tough to look for events, Nest is a step ahead of you. Nest Aware offers a feature called Sightline, which bookmarks events so you can quickly scroll through them to find what’s important to you. Also, Nest Aware unlocks new abilities such as Activity Zones (select areas that need monitoring), person detection (knows if a motion event was caused by a person), and timelapse. You can even combine person detection with Activity Zones and define whether you want Nest Cam to send you to person alerts detected within zones or outside zones.
|Without Nest Aware||With Nest Aware|
|Video History:||3 Hour Snapshots||5, 10, or 30 Days Video History|
|Continuous Video Recording:|
|Zoom 8x:||Yes, 12x for Nest Cam IQ||Yes, 12x for Nest Cam IQ|
|Person Alerts:||Nest Cam IQ and Nest Hello Only|
|Familiar Face Alerts||Nest Cam IQ and Nest Hello Only|
|Supersight Tracking||Nest IQ Only||Nest IQ Only|
|Create Clips and Timelapses:|
|Share Live Streams:|
|Dog Barking/Person Speaking Alerts|
Nest Cam IQ & Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Nest Cam IQ is a ‘higher-end’ version of Nest Cam; however, the base of the camera is the same as Nest Cam. It streams in 1080p at 30fps, it has a viewing angle of 130°, and night vision. What’s not the same is Nest Cam IQ’s 4K image sensor. The high-resolution image sensor makes it possible for the camera to offer Supersight Tracking. If the camera detects a person, it will automatically zoom in and track their movement. In theory, this feature can help you identify intruders easily. However, when we tested the camera, we found that it wasn’t very accurate.
Besides having a better image sensor, Nest Cam IQ also offers new features. First is Person Detection. Nest Cam also offers Person Detection, but only if you subscribe to Nest Aware. With Nest Cam IQ, this feature is available out-of-the-box. Second, it offers access to Google Assistant. You can speak to Google Assistant, a voice-enabled AI powered by Google, using Nest Cam IQ by saying “Ok, Google.”
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, as you’ve probably guessed, is simply an outdoor, weatherproof version of Nest Cam IQ. It also offers Person Detection and Supersight Tracking. What it doesn’t and won’t offer is Google Assistant. That feature is exclusive to Nest Cam IQ.
With Nest Cam IQ and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, you can still subscribe to Nest Aware. In fact, a Nest Aware subscription with these two cameras offers greater benefits. For one, instead of Person Detection, Nest Aware offers Familiar Face Alerts a.k.a. facial recognition. Although this feature isn’t 100% accurate at the moment, Nest has announced that they will continue to improve it over the next few months. Also, Nest Cam IQ’s sound detection becomes more intelligent with Nest Aware. It can recognize and distinguish between the sound of dogs barking and people talking. Cloud storage, Activity Zones, and Timelapse are all still included.
Nest also ships a security system.
The $399 Nest Secure starter kit includes a Nest Guard (hub), two Nest Detects (multi-sensor), and two Nest Tags (RFID tags).
The Nest Guard is a small, puck-shaped hub that serves as the central alarm panel. It has a built-in battery backup that can last for 12 hours on full charge, a keypad for arming/disarming the system, an 85 dB siren, a motion sensor, and tamper detector.
The Nest Detect is a door/window sensor and motion sensor in one device. Though it’s a competent contact sensor, its motion sensor has a limited viewing angle of 54° and can only detect motion from 15 ft. away. Nest Detect also serves as a pathlight, and it can detect tampering.
Finally, the Nest Tag is an RFID tag that you can pass out to people you trust. The holder of the tag can arm/disarm your system by tapping the tag onto the surface of your Nest Guard.
Nest Secure can function as a self-monitored or professionally monitored alarm that runs on the Weave wireless protocol. Using Weave, Nest Secure can function even if your internet is down.
As a side note, if you’re a Nest Cam user with a Nest Aware subscription, Nest Secure alarm events will show up on your camera’s Sightline feature as a red bar. If Nest Secure detects an alarm event, you can go straight to Nest Cam’s Sightline and tap on the red bar to see what’s been recorded during the event.
Also, Nest Secure works with Google Assistant, the AI voice assistant from Google. Using your voice, you can ask Google Assistant to arm your Nest Secure system, but you CAN’T disarm it. You can also ask for status reports.
Nest also ships a video doorbell called Nest Hello. Nest Hello offers HD live streaming, two-way audio, ring alerts, and motion detection with Person Detection. It also offers optional facial recognition via Nest Aware which can interestingly tie into your Google Home device. Alternatively, you can leave messages on the device itself. For example, you can program your Nest Hello to say, “No one’s home right now, but the key is under the vase,” if it sees your dog walker. Or if it recognizes your dog walker, it can trigger your Google Home to announce her arrival. You can order Nest Hello for $229.00.
Nest x Yale
Nest, in collaboration with Yale, has launched another security accessory for your front door: the Nest x Yale smart lock. Nest x Yale offers typical smart lock features. You can lock, unlock, and monitor its status using the Nest App and grant temporary or permanent permission to other users. In addition, as a part of the Nest ecosystem, Nest x Yale can influence your Nest devices’ modes. For example, if you lock the door then leave, Nest Secure, Nest Cam, and Nest Thermostat can all switch to Away mode. If you unlock the door, they will switch to Home mode. Another unique thing about Nest x Yale is that it also runs on Weave protocol, allowing it to communicate with your Nest devices even if your internet is down.
Nest x Yale sells for $249 for the lock-only kit or $279 for the lock + Nest Connect kit. The Nest x Yale lock requires Nest Connect (or Nest Guard if you have the Nest Secure system) to work with the Nest App. The lock is available in Satin Nickel, Polished Brass, and Oil Rubbed Bronze finishes.
Nest Protect: Fire Safety
Nest’s final product is related to fire safety. Nest Protect addresses one of the most significant problems with traditional smoke alarms: Blaring alarms with little information. There are also smaller problems that can cause headaches including an alarm chirping at 3 am because the battery is low or false alarms due to that lasagna you forgot about. Yanking your detector off the ceiling to silence it is not a good plan. Fortunately, Nest Protect addresses traditional problems and more.
Instead of a siren, Nest Protect informs you using a friendly, calm, human-esque voice. It tells you not only when there’s an alarm but also where the alarm is located within your home. “Heads-up, there’s smoke in the kitchen.” “Emergency, there’s smoke in the living room.”
Even when you’re not at home, Nest Protect can send you alerts using your smartphone. Those alerts become even more intelligent if you own a Nest Cam or other Nest Device. If Nest Protect detects fire or carbon monoxide, it triggers your Nest Cam to record and send video alerts that show you what’s really going on. This feature is available to all Nest Cam and Nest Protect users, whether you’re a Nest Aware subscriber or not.
False alarms? Nest is trying to improve Nest Protect’s sensors. The 2nd Generation Nest Protect was revamped with a Split-Spectrum sensor which offers faster detection and greater accuracy. It knows the difference between steam/cooking and fire smoke.
Unfortunately, the technology can’t eliminate false alarms. With this in mind, Nest allows you to silence false alarms using the Nest app.
Finally, Nest’s Nightly Promise is a visual confirmation that you can sleep chirp-free. Before bed, Nest Protect will glow a soft green. This is the device’s way of letting you know that all is well. The device has tested itself and will protect you without waking you. Sweet dreams!
Works With Nest: A Seamless Home Automation Solution
The Works With Nest program is arguably Nest’s greatest success.
Home automation products were available long before Nest, but there were problems. In general, smart home devices were limited and disjointed. If you had five home automation products, you had five apps to control your home. Through the Nest app, you can control your Nest Cams, Nest Thermostats, Nest Secure system, Nest Hello, Nest x Yale, and Nest Protect. Works with Nest brings even more products into the family by connecting Nest products to third-party devices including security devices, cars, smart home devices, and wearables. This program makes your home ‘thoughtful.’
Over 100 devices, apps, and services are currently a part of this program. Most are big names in the home automation industry, and the number of compatible devices continues to grow. Check out our Guide to Smart Home Compatibility for more information on the Works with Nest program.
Last Updated 03/22/2018
Nest Temperature Sensors
Read Previous Updates
02/01/2018 Added Nest x Yale
10/16/2017 Adding new products including Nest E, Nest IQ, Nest Protect, and Hello