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Nest home automation opens to developers, adds more partners


June 25, 2014

Nest is letting developers get hands-on with creating new ways to use the company's home automation

Nest is letting developers get hands-on with creating new ways to use the company's home automation

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Nest Labs has announced the launch of a developer program designed to drastically expand the diversity of its home automation devices and the number of products they interact with. Names like Mercedes-Benz, Jawbone and Google Now are already in the mix.

When Google acquired Nest in January, official details were slim as to what the company intended to do with what was then only a smart thermostat and fire and carbon monoxide sensor system. This announcement makes it clear that Google aims to increase Nest's depth, both through official partnerships and organically, through opening up developer opportunities into the system.

Initially, “Works with Nest” compatibility will allow Nest to securely interact with products like Mercedes-Benz cars, Jawbone fitness and sleep bracelet, Whirlpool washers and dryers, and LIFX lights. Compatible devices will be able to send information back to the Nest, or be aided in making smarter decisions based on the information the Nest is gathering.

Developers looking to make their products integrate their products into the Nest ecosystem can do so using API hooks in to functionality such as Home and Away states, smoke and carbon monoxide alerts, and peak rush energy hour events. Nest Labs says that customers always need to authorize any interactions, and promises that only the minimum of information needed is shared to any application, and is kept both private and secure.

Mercedes-Benz is integrating with Nest to offer drivers the ability to coordinate their home temperature with arrival estimates (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

LIFX lights, for example, can flash in different colors to get the attention of those who are deaf in the event of a fire alert. Mercedes-Benz cars can send information back to the Nest thermostat about estimated arrival times, allowing it to start heating or cooling at an optimal time.

The IFTT service (If This Then That) can now use Nest information as both triggers and actions (the “then” and the “that”) to create customized and automatic cues. So a user can say things like: "Nest, if my Jawbone UP24 band indicates I'm asleep, please decrease the temperature in my house to 67 degrees." The company already has mixed several IFTT "recipes" to try.

Later this year, any user with an Android phone running Google Now will be able to talk to their Nest with the greeting that most Android users are familiar with: “Ok, Google,” then adding in any instructions, such as “When I get home, start the dryer.”

Google I/O will feature a session for interested Nest developers on June 26.

The video below details more uses of the new Works with Nest program.

Source: Nest Labs

About the Author
Heidi Hoopes Heidi measures her life with the motley things she's done in the name of scientific exploration. While formally educated in biology and chemistry, informally she learns from adventures and hobbies with her family. Her simple pleasures in life are finding turtles while jogging and obsessively winnowing through her genetic data. All articles by Heidi Hoopes
1 Comment

There is a mindset among some in the criminal comunity who think it is great fun to trash a house instead of just breaking in and taking whatever they can grab before escaping. It would be awful to arrive home in mid winter to find that not only was your house freezing cold and the pipes frozen, but also you could not get the heating system operating again until the central controller had been replaced with a new one. Not being able to park your Merc in the garage because the automatic doors would not open would be only a minor inconvenience in comparison to what it could mean in some circumstances. I am in the process of installing a wood burning stove in my living room as an emergency back-up should my central heating system let me down.

Other than the above considerations, I imagine that the systems design team will have a very enjoyable time expanding the applications with which it will integrate. I just hope that they take into account the need for an emergency override for all safety critical appliances.

Mel Tisdale
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