Nest heats up interest in the Internet of things with a new thermostat


Slimmed down: The new model has a thinner profile yet a larger, display that can sense people moving near it — AFP Relaxnews

Slimmed down: The new model has a thinner profile yet a larger, display that can sense people moving near it — AFP Relaxnews

After LG unveiled a new range of sensors that can make existing appliances like the washing machine and the fridge a little smarter in a bid to reignite interest in the connected home, Nest, the first Internet of Things poster child, has taken the wraps off its third-generation smart thermostat – a device that could well succeed in getting consumers to take notice.

The new model is more slender looking thanks to a thinner profile yet has a larger, easier-to-read display that can sense people moving near it and in doing so automatically display information such as temperature or settings.

With the second-generation device, the user needed to be within a meter before it would wake up, but now it can spring into action when someone on the other side of the room makes a move and thanks to a brighter, bigger screen, the information should be easier to see from a distance.

But as well as aesthetics, the new device can also offer diagnostics and trouble-shooting advice for owners that have a heating or forced air furnace installed as part of their home heating system.

The original device was the gadget that really got consumers talking about the Internet of Things and connected homes in excited tones. And four years after the first thermostat launched it is still one of the very few smart devices that stands up to consumer scrutiny in that it delivers two tangible benefits: it is easier and more intuitive to use than a traditional thermostat and saves users money.

"The Nest Learning Thermostat has been proven by third-party researchers to save people, on average, about 10% to 12% on their heating bills and about 15% on their cooling bills," said Maxime Veron, head of hardware product marketing, Nest. "Millions of Nest homes around the world have saved approximately four billion kilowatt hours of energy compared to what they would have used if they'd left their thermostats at a consistent temperature."

At this year's IFA, which opens its doors to the public in Berlin, the connected home and the Internet of Things are going to be of huge focus. Samsung is promising to reveal something special and alongside its SmartThinQ sensors that smarten up existing appliances, while LG will be demonstrating its latest-generation smart ovens and air conditioning units at this year's event.

But away from smart appliances, there will also be a host of devices and systems which, like the Nest, have a tangible appeal in the present rather than the future, such as the Tado. Like Nest, it offers smart, learning controls for heating and cooling but because it's aimed at EU residents, can automatically manage radiator and floor heater controls.

As for the latest Nest thermostat, it goes on sale on Tuesday, priced US$250 (RM1,055). — AFP Relaxnews