The world of Home Automation continues to evolve on a daily basis. While new (or improving) gadgets abound regularly, ease of use continues to be a big factor in the market as well. With many different companies providing so many different options, it’s easy to get caught up in the number of different apps your Smartphone needs (I’ve lost count how many different devices are using which app in my house, and it’s basically just become habitual for me to go scrolling for all the apps.) Among other things, some of the new features Nest are introducing in their Home Automation enhancements are combining functionality with familiar faces.
Get it all started with the Nest Learning Thermostat, one of the most clever and dynamic smart products out on the market. The Nest is one of the few that don’t require a 24 Volt system for operation, meaning that for the many of us with just heat furnaces, a smart thermostat is a possibility. Here’s an overview page at Nest’s website if you believe, or know you have a low voltage system. Nest also includes a compatibility checker at the bottom of that page, and if you’re still unsure after going through it, you can simply email Nest and they’ll do the rest of the work for you.
Nest core products now available at Best Buy and online at BestBuy.ca
Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector (Battery Operated)
For all of you world travelers and snowbirds, with the winter months coming up, you might find Home Automation to be the way you want to go to give your houses that “lived in” feel, especially if you don’t have a housesitter, or somebody coming in on a regular basis. In the heating season, it will also help you keep track of the temperature and happenings in your home, especially since you want to keep those pipes and windows from freezing.
Let’s take a look at the “Works with Nest” program and how it boosts Home Automation capability in your house. Most of the functionality described will be available to you right from the Nest App, or with very minimal work on your end to get things set up.
What is “Works with Nest?”
The term “Works with Nest” corresponds to the entire network of products your Nest products can work with. Conversely, it’s also for the way your Nest products can be configured to correspond with the wide variety of products that support it. Nest products now work beyond your smartphone, and the number of different ways you can operate your products, or have them work for your preferences are now basically endless.
One of the nicest and most convenient applications comes through IFTTT (If this then that) functionality. Within it, you can create recipes to bolster the functionality or communication of your devices. For example, I live about a half hour away from my mom. If she’s going away on vacation, and she’s got a Nest Thermostat, we can use IFTTT to notify me, for example, if the house isn’t heating, or if the furnace turns on. If mom has the Nest Protect Smoke Detector, we can set an IFTTT recipe to tell me if smoke has been detected in the house while she’s out of town.
Remember that IFTTT is also available for other smart home product lines, including Belkin WeMo, so you can customize things even further (like having your lights come on with the thermostat at certain times of day and such.)
One of my least favourite things in life is waking up to a cold house (or cooler than ideal) and waiting for it to warm up while I shiver over a cup of coffee. It’s also pretty counterproductive to leave the furnace running at hot temperatures all night. I also don’t take my smartphone up to bed with me every night. Fortunately, there IS a device to help all my personal neurosis. The Jawbone UP24 is a wearable device that can tell when you are awake or asleep and more than just a standard run of the matter pedometer. How’d you like to have your Nest thermostat power on when you wake up and having your home be nice and warm by the time you’ve finished taking a shower and brushing your teeth and such? Wear the UP24, and it will notify Nest that you’re awake and that you demand a warm house. Consider it done.
On a side note, Jawbone UP24 also works with IFTTT, so you can use it to do other things than just warm your house.
Chamberlain now “Works with Nest” too
The Chamberlain MyQ was my first foray into home automation, and still the thing I use the most (especially when I have family visiting from out of town who I just hand my garage door opener to!) The Chamberlain MyQ has a cross-app partnership with Nest now too. You’ve got your choice now of operating your MyQ through the Nest app and vice versa. The MyQ app in return does contain boss mode settings which will allow you to override anybody who is tinkering with the device past your desired settings. The MyQ functionality is fairly linear if you think about it, and probably not something you want to drop into multiple logic requests (such as turning the heat on when you open the garage door, for example,) but is a great win for users like myself who now don’t have to go through a separate app just to open the door.
Creating a Safer Space with Nest and Dropcam
One of the most recent additions to the Works with Nest program is Dropcam, whom the former acquired earlier in the summer. What does the half-billion dollar acquisition net you? Major piece of mind. Nest communicates with your Dropcam so that if there’s an alert (like smoke detection,) Dropcam immediately starts recording, even if you don’t pay for cloud storage. If your thermostat senses a sizable change in temperature, same thing. Whether it’s something as simple as your dog escaping a crate, or as unfortunate as an open window or attempted robbery, Nest and Dropcam are paired together to provide you with a greater sense of piece of mind (and even fun evidence for later on when you tell your kid how you caught them red handed eating out of the fridge at 3 AM!)
Control the temperature from a remote control
Another major aspect of the big Nest integration are for those of you who own Logitech Harmony Ultimate remotes. You can bring up your one (or all) Nest thermostats right off the remote’s interface and change the temperature without missing a single minute of your favourite show. You can even have your Nest deterred from thinking you’re away from the house (this is pretty crucial for you NFL fans who don’t move off the couch from 10 AM to 10 PM on Sundays) and kicking in your auto-away settings. Importantly, the Harmony Ultimate will respect any lock settings, so it can’t be used as a backdoor to change somebody’s preferred settings. Right now, as mentioned, the feature does only work with the Harmony Ultimate remote and not the others.
Perhaps one of the neatest features have been saved for you late model Mercedes Benz owners. If your Benz is outfitted with the Drive Kit Plus. you can now communicate with your Nest thermometer, and have your home ready and heated/cooled the way you like it when you get home. Neat isn’t it? This is just the beginning of the “Works with Nest” program, with other companies being reached out to and joining on a consistent basis. Nest even has a Developer Program in which your companies may be able to jump aboard, or you can keep track of which devices are the next to join. Google Now, for example, will be a participant come this fall, where you’ll simply be able to speak to your smartphone and have it communicate with your Nest Device. Would you like your home to be room temperature by the time you arrive from work or class? Have a quick chat with your phone and it will be done. Let’s face it. It’s 2014. Your home should be doing the work for you nowadays instead of vice versa. The possibilities are already endless, but the potential is limitless. Get in tune with Nest and its growing network of smart home magic today at Best Buy and BestBuy.ca
Nest core products now available at Best Buy and online at BestBuy.ca
Here is a useful graphic that illustrates Nest’s smart home integration strategy: