In part two of my seven-part smart home series, I share my experiences to date with third generation Nest Thermostat. Last week, I called on Geek Squad and they saved the day. Today, I share why the smart thermostat is a hot home automation device. In my time I have used it, I am discovering ways it can help reduce the hydro bill and can work together with other devices through the “Works with Nest” function.
Nest is arguably the most popular devices in the home automation category. After bursting into homes to control temperatures within and when far away just a few years ago, it was purchased by Google in $3.2B in 2014 and focuses on three main products tucked into the Nest family:
- Nest Thermostat: now on to its third generation in just five years
- Nest Protect: a smart smoke alarm and CO2 detector that is available in wired and battery-powered Since it belongs under the Nest banner, heaven forbid if a fire were ever to happen, Nest Protect communicates with Nest Thermostat to shut off the furnace and Nest Cam to record footage. Read more about the Protect online here
- Nest Cam: formerly known as Drop Cam, this smart camera is a compact wi-fi camera that can communicate with both its thermostat and detector cousins to record what is happening, e.g. when you are away from home, it can automatically record. Or, if there is danger, it will be prompted to turn on
Much like other smart home devices, the Nest app is the command centre. The app is free to download for both Android and Apple (iOS) users and easy to use. A multi-purpose app, it allows you to stay connected to any or all Nest devices, providing the home’s energy use, safety info, such as smoke and carbon monoxide updates, or the ability to watch video footage live or recorded (for a monthly fee).
I am enjoying Nest Thermostat so far. I appreciate how the app allows the freedom to completely control the thermostat anywhere you are in the world, all you need is a wireless connection. With a swipe or tap your mobile device screen, you can go beyond what a typical home thermostat can provide, including scheduling when you want the heat or cold to turn out or view energy usage for the past week, or earlier, and more.
You can also control Nest as you would a regular thermostat through the rotating dial. Check out the seven menu options you can manually control Nest:
Why the third gen Nest is the best on the market today
You can read all about the upgrades made to the third generation Nest Thermostat in Best Buy Canada’s Plug-in Editor’s Matt Paligaru’s blog post here, but here are three improvements that make it head and shoulders above previous models:
- Bigger screen makes it is easier to read. Now, I know I’m not getting any younger, but the 40 per cent larger screen does help me see the thermostat fairly comfortably when I’m not wearing my glasses and doing things like taking the dog out for a walk in the mornings. Additionally, it offers a better sense when I’m in the living room where the thermostat sits to provide features such as current time and temperature info
- Better furnace monitoring. “Furnace Heats-Up” is a new function that monitors my forced-air furnace, keeping track of the times it automatically turns off to prevent over-heating. If a potential threat is detected, alerts will be sent via the Nest app
- Stronger wifi connection. Compared to the second generation model, the third generation’s wireless capabilities are enhanced to 802.11b/g/n at 2.4GHz AND also 5GHz a/b/g/n
The Nest Thermostat learns your preferences
In addition to remotely controlling your thermostat through the Nest app, the thermostat can literally know as time goes on and “learn” how you like temperatures indoors. As quickly as one week, it can understand your preferences and program itself. If you disagree with a setting, such as maybe you were sick one week and wanted the home toastier inside, you can manually change or delete settings through the smartphone app, or even from Nest’s website.
What is Works with Nest?
Outside Nest’s family of three products, the smart home goes beyond a thermostat, smoke/ carbon monoxide detector and indoor camera. That is why the “Works with Nest” (WWN) selection of products that are not manufactured by Google, but compatible with Nest products and the app. WWN helps smart home users spending more money to purchase a wireless hub to group and control connected home devices from one app – Nest can do this for you. As long as the smart home device has the WWN badge on its packaging, it is compatible with Nest products and the app.
Much like the Nest Thermostat, WWN creates an ecosystem that anticipates user preferences for home comfort, can reduce energy consumption, provide safety and more.
But it’s not all about the Nest app to make the WWN ecosystem function. Nest can also connect with third party home control systems and software to control Nest products rather than the app if preferred.
At fine retailers like Best Buy, there are now nearly 20 products available to build out a smart home based on how connected you would like the roof over your head.
Already own the second generation Nest thermostat?
If you already have the second generation Nest Thermostat and you are hoping to upgrade, it is easy to make the transition. After chatting with my Geek Squad installers who set-up my unit, they shared the base and wiring that is used to setup the second generation thermostat is identical for the third. What this means is you can simply remove the older model and plug in the newer one.
Now five years in the smart home game and three generations later, the Nest Thermostat has proven itself as a flagship smart home product in the category. Given the popularity of the Nest Thermostat and what it can do with the WWN platform, it has positioned itself as the central nervous system of any connected home.
Check back next week right here on Plug-in and discover other products I will add to my Toronto smart home. Specifically, I will demonstrate why Nest is an excellent foundation to build a smart home and why WWN is a practical feature.