The promise of a smart home looks to finally be here. We may not have flying cars, but at least your A/C will be controllable from a seated position. If that’s not American, I don’t know what is. With Google I/O set to kickoff, Nest has announced a new developer program and API that will allow other smart devices to communicate with the Nest Protect and thermostat.
Before you start to worry about a plethora of apps, the roll-out is selective and from companies we all know. Mercedes, Whirlpool, Jawbone and Logitech are among the first to release features for the two devices. I’m assuming the Jawbone allows you to talk to your air conditioner.
New features include some rather promising ones. Say for example the Nest Protect goes off, signalling a fire. LIFX’s lights can flash red to help signal the hearing impaired. That’s a great integration of the two devices. Chamberlain’s garage door opener will ‘talk’ to the Nest Thermostat to tell it if the owner of the house is leaving or arriving.
Good news for other potential partners, Nest’s developers tools are web-based and companies will incur no additional costs to make the devices work together.
The big worry with Google acquiring Nest is privacy concerns. People don’t want to see ads popping up on their devices, and Nest has worked to calm fears. The company insists it has a paid business model and ads will never appear. In Nest’s Dropcam acquisition, they mentioned this and pushed back that they would share data with their parent company. “Nest has a paid-for business model, and ads are not part of our strategy.”
Any data that is collected is permission-based only, and the Nest maintains that they will keep no more than a 10-day trail of data. What the data can be used for is increased deals for Nest. Already they have been approached by insurance companies that want to ensure their customers have working smoke detectors. Yeah, we all forget to replace the batteries.
For now the smart home we have been promised for decades is still in the distance. But, with companies working together, your smartphone seems to be only years away from controlling core functions of your home. Now, if we can just get those flying cars.