I’m in the long, arduous process of buying a house right now.
Like any house hunter, I look forward to when it’s all over. And not just because it’ll mean not having to deal with banks and home inspectors anymore, but also because I’ll get to install one of these…
The Most Excited You’ll Ever Be About a Thermostat
It’s called Nest, a device that replaces – and revolutionizes – what’s usually considered one of the most boring parts of your home: the thermostat.
It looks like a polished hockey puck with a vibrant display. And instead of a slider or button controls, temperature adjustments are made with a dial built-in to the outside of the device.
Nest is way more than a pretty version of your standard thermostat, however.
Here are a few of its key features that have me tuned in, some of which were just improved with a software update this week.
Intelligence: Each time you set the device, Nest learns your behavior. So it records when you set the thermostat – and to which level – and sets up its own schedule accordingly.
It also learns how long it takes to get your house to certain temperatures. So when you set it, Nest can give you an estimate of how long you’ll have to wait before the house heats or cools to that new temperature.
Motion Detection: With most thermostats nowadays, if you forget to turn them off, your heater or air conditioner will run all day – something you’ll regret when examining your energy bill. But Nest comes with a motion detector that realizes when no one’s home. It then enters “away” mode, switching off the furnace and air conditioner to save power.
Regular Feedback: Nest shows a 10-day history that details exactly when systems kicked in, and whether you or Nest was responsible for each adjustment. And if your heating and cooling history are considered energy efficient, you’re awarded with a leaf icon next to the day. Nice touch.
Connectivity: It also connects to the internet, which means you can change settings and check the temperature of your house from any mobile device or PC. So if you like your house to be an icebox when you get home from work on a hot summer day, you can get the A/C running with a few taps on your smartphone.
Simplicity: At the end of the day, the thermostat’s simplicity might rank as its most appealing feature. Some have called this the iPhone of thermostats, and not just because it was designed by former Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) engineers. Its creators made it as intuitive as a high-tech thermostat can get, resisting the urge to turn the device into another complex gizmo packed with hundreds of useless features and applications. I mean, do you really need to play Angry Birds and update your Facebook status while adjusting the air conditioner?
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As Nest’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Erik Charlton, wrote on the company’s website, “Complexity is easy… It’s simplicity that’s hard. To make a great product, you have to define its core – a single challenge – and painfully, painstakingly eliminate creative features to stay true to the product and its purpose.”
Bottom line: Nest offers a potent combination of simplicity, attractive design and cost savings that’s bound to get more and more consumers rethinking their homes’ current prehistoric temperature-monitoring technology.
On another note, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a possible acquisition from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) down the road. After all, with Nest’s ability to tap into wireless networks, it fits perfectly into Google’s Android@Home project, which aims to get everything in our homes – from refrigerators to washing machines – tapped into the internet.