Nest Labs

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Nest Labs
Industry Home automation
Headquarters Palo Alto, California, United States
Area served United States
Canada
United Kingdom
Products Thermostats, Smoke/CO alarms
Employees 460 (2014)[1]
Parent Google Inc.
Website www.nest.com

Nest Labs is a home automation company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, that designs and manufactures sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostats and smoke detectors. Co-founded by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers in 2010, the start-up company quickly grew to have more than 130 employees by the end of 2012.[2]

The company introduced its first product, the Nest Learning Thermostat, in 2011. In October 2013, Nest Labs announced the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector.[3]

On January 14, 2014, Google acquired Nest Labs for US$3.2 billion and left Nest Labs to use its own brand.[4][5] Nest Labs continues to grow quickly with more than 460 employees in mid-2014.[1]

History[edit]

Nest Labs was founded in 2010 by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers.[6] The idea came when Fadell took a couple of years off and built a vacation home. He was unimpressed with all of the available thermostats and decided to design a new, better one, around which Nest Labs was built.[1]

Early investors in Nest Labs included Shasta Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.[7][8][9][10] On January 13, 2014, Google announced plans to acquire Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in cash. Google completed the acquisition the next day, on January 14, 2014.[11]

In June 2014, it was announced that Nest would buy camera startup Dropcam for $555 million.[12] With the purchase, Dropcam is tightly integrated with other Nest products; if the Protect alarm goes off the Dropcam can automatically start recording, and the Thermostat can use Dropcam to sense for motion.[13]

In September 2014, the Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect became available in Belgium, France, Ireland and the Netherlands. Initially they are sold in approximately 400 retail stores across Europe with another 150 stores to be added by the end of the year.[14]

Products[edit]

Nest Learning Thermostat[edit]

The Nest Learning Thermostat is an electronic, programmable, and self-learning Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat that optimizes heating and cooling of homes and businesses to conserve energy.[15]

Specifications[edit]

Device
Photo
Model
(Codename)
Version Released Wi-Fi ZigBee 24V 120–
240V
Multiple
Zones
1 - 2
Stage
Cooling
1 - 3
Stage
Heating
Forced
Air
Radiant Heat
Pump
Oil Gas Electric Hybrid
Systems
Humidistat
Nest Base No Serial.png Diamond[16] 1.10 Q4
2011
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Single
Stage
Only
1-2
stage
only
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Nest Base of hardware revision 1.12.jpg Diamond 1.12 Q1
2012
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Single
Stage
Only
1-2
stage
only
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Diamond 1.13 Q?
201?
Yes Yes Yes No Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ?
Nest Base of version 2.jpg Display 2.6 Q3
2012
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Both All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nest Base of version 2.jpg Display 2.8 Q3
2013
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Both All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Hardware[edit]

The Nest Thermostat's front screen
Nest Learning Thermostat showing weather's impact on energy usage

Nest is compatible with most standard HVAC systems that use central heating and cooling and uses industry standard connections to facilitate the control of these appliances. Systems that use 120–240V current are not compatible with Nest and without new hardware, will not be able to support this voltage.[17]

Nest consists of two primary pieces of hardware. The display contains the main printed circuit board (PCB) and rotating ring, and the base (pictured) houses the connection terminals, bubble level, and holes for wall anchors. Neither can function independently; if separated, the display becomes inactive until reconnected to the base.[18]

Software[edit]

The Nest Thermostat is built around an operating system that allows interaction with the thermostat via spinning and clicking of its control wheel, which brings up option menus for switching from heating to cooling, access to device settings, energy history, and scheduling. Users can control Nest without a touch screen or other input device. As the thermostat is connected to the Internet, the company can push updates to fix bugs, improve performance and add additional features. For updates to occur automatically, the thermostat must be connected to Wi‑Fi and the battery must have at least a 3.7V charge to give enough power to complete the download and installation of the update.[19]

The Nest Thermostat has had a number of software updates.[20]

The operating system itself is based on Linux 2.6.37 and many other free software components.[21] To comply with the terms of the GPLv3 license under which some components are available, Nest Labs also provides a special firmware image which will unlock the system so that it will accept unsigned firmware images. While the thermostat software by Nest Labs itself remains proprietary, a third party has reimplemented the basic logic in an open source replacement called FreeAbode.

Availability[edit]

Nest is only currently available for sale in the United States, Canada[22] and the United Kingdom.[23] It is, however, compatible with many heating and cooling automation systems in other countries.[24] Nest Labs have surveyed existing users known to be outside the areas where it is officially available. Use of the thermostat outside the United States and Canada is complicated by the software setting time and other functions based on the ZIP code. For international users this means they must either disable Wi‑Fi to set the time correctly or use the nearest U.S. zipcode which may result in erratic behavior as the thermostat makes faulty assumptions about inactivity corresponding with either sleep or the home's occupants being away.[25]

Recently a man-in-the-middle hack allows worldwide users to set up their timezone and local weather.[26]

In an effort to increase the number of homes using their learning thermostats, Nest began to partner with energy companies. In February 2014, Direct Energy and Nest laboratories launched their Comfort and Control plan. The plan allowed Canadian customers in Alberta to receive a learning thermostat when they signed up for an 5 year electricity contract.[27] In April 2014, Nest announced a partnership with the United Kingdom energy supplier nPower. The partnership offers customers a cut on the Nest installation price and locked energy prices for 5 years, when customers receive both gas and electricity from nPower and paying with direct debit.[28] In June 2014, Direct Energy and Nest Laboratories expanded the package to Direct Energy's United States market.[29]

Nest Protect[edit]

Nest Protect

In October 2013, Nest announced its second product, the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. The Nest Protect is only available in white (black Nest Protects stopped being made on and after the 3rd April 2014[citation needed]) and is available in battery or AC-powered models. The Nest Protect features a multicolored light ring which is color-coded to indicate different operations, such as yellow to indicate an early warning or red if an alarm is sounding. The ring also has a motion detector which turns it white briefly when someone passes under to provide illumination. The Nest Protect is voice-activated and warns of an alarm sounding briefly before it does. It is also able to communicate with the Nest Thermostat to provide the Auto-Away feature information that someone is present in the house, as well as to shut off the furnace in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide. The Nest Protect also features a controversial Wave Silence feature to stop an alarm from sounding with a wave in the event of a potential false alarm. It is available for sale in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

On April 3, 2014, sales of the Nest Protect were suspended, due to the potential for the alarm feature to be accidentally disabled.[30] [31][32] 440,000 existing Nest Protect units were recalled because of this problem on May 21, 2014 and a software update was distributed to disable this functionality.[33][34]

Litigation[edit]

In February 2012 Honeywell filed a lawsuit claiming that some of its patents had been infringed by Nest; Nest has said that it will fight the lawsuit.

On April 12, 2012, Nest publicly announced they will see Honeywell all the way to court as they believe that none of the seven allegedly infringed patents were actually violated. Honeywell is claiming that Nest has infringed on patents pertaining to remotely controlling a thermostat, power-stealing thermostats, and thermostats designed around a circular, interactive design, similar to the popular Honeywell T87. However, Honeywell held patents that were almost identical to those that expired in 2004. Nest has taken the stance that they will see this through to a patent court as they suspect Honeywell is trying to harass them litigiously and financially out of business.[35]

On May 14, 2013, Allure Energy, Inc. ("Allure") was issued a patent by the USPTO titled "Auto-Adaptable Energy Management Apparatus." The very same day, Allure filed a lawsuit against Nest and two other defendants in the Eastern District of Texas alleging Nest was infringing their newly issued patent; the lawsuit is ongoing.[36]

On September 11, 2013, Nest announced that it entered into a patent license agreement with Intellectual Ventures. Additionally, Nest announced that it was acquiring several of Intellectual Venture's patents that will help Nest to better defend their products from patent infringement claims.[37] It is unclear how many patents Nest licensed and purchased from Intellectual Ventures.

On November 4, 2013, BRK Brands, Inc. ("BRK"), maker of the First Alert brand of smoke detectors, filed a lawsuit against Nest in the Illinois Northern District Court alleging Nest's newly released Nest Protect product infringes claims from six of its patents.[38][39]

Parody after Google acquisition[edit]

In 7 May 2014, German activist group Peng! Collective released a parody website named Google Nest, satirizing Google’s privacy policies and practices with fake products imitating Google art style, supposedly created as a result "of an intensive period of studying user behavior" in response to the "public debate around privacy and government surveillance".[39][40][41] The site described four purported new services lampooning Google’s data gathering tendencies made possible with Nest's technology: Google Trust, Google Hug, Google Bee and Google Bye, respectively a "data insurance" paid with personal data, a location service encouraging in-person emotional interactions, a "personal drone", and a memorial website created from automatically collected information.[42]

The next day, Google trademark lawyers issued a cease-and-desist letter to Peng, asking them to change the site and to transfer the domain name to Google.[43] The site replaced its content with a note explaining the situation, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation responded on behalf of Peng with a public letter saying that noncommercial political commentary is not prohibited under trademark law,[43] and that the site wouldn't likely be confused after the ample press coverage received.[44]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Is Tony Fadell the next Steve Jobs.. or Larry Page?". 2014-06-15. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  2. ^ Levy, Steven (October 8, 2013). "Nest Gives the Lowly Smoke Detector a Brain — And a Voice". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  3. ^ Patel, Nilay (October 8, 2013). "Fire drill: can Tony Fadell and Nest build a better smoke detector?". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Google to Acquire Nest". Google. 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2014-01-13. 
  5. ^ Dana Wollman (January 13, 2014). "Google acquires Nest's line of home automation products for $3.2 billion, pledges continued support for iOS". Engadget. 
  6. ^ Winkler, Rolfe; Wakabayashi, Daisuke (January 14, 2014). "Google Pays $3.2 Billion for Nest Labs". The Wall Street Journal. p. B1. 
  7. ^ Constine, Josh (January 13, 2014). "Who Gets Rich From Google Buying Nest? Kleiner Returns 20X On $20M, Shasta Nets ~$200M". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ Oreskovic, Alexei; Gupta, Poornima (January 14, 2014). "Kleiner Perkins, Shasta Ventures make about 20x their money on Nest Labs – Reuters". PEHub. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  9. ^ "For Nest Investor Shasta Ventures, Persistence Pays". Strictlyvc.com. January 13, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Nest (company profile)". Shasta Ventures. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Google to Acquire Nest – Investor Relations – Google". Investor.google.com. 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  12. ^ Ankit Ajmera (23 June 2014). "Google's Nest to buy Dropcam for $555 million". Reuters. 
  13. ^ "Here's How Nest Will Work Together With Your Dropcam Now". Gizmodo. 9 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm Coming to France, Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland". Buisness Wire. 6 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Pogue, David (November 30, 2011). "A Thermostat That’s Clever, Not Clunky". New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  16. ^ "How do I know if my heating and cooling system works with Nest?". Support.nest.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Power Specifications for the Nest Learning Thermostat". Support.nest.com. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  18. ^ "The Nest Learning Thermostat will not turn on after installation". Support.nest.com. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  19. ^ "How do I update the software on my Nest Learning Thermostat?". Support.nest.com. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  20. ^ "Nest Learning Thermostat software update history". Support.nest.com. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Nest Learning Thermostat open source compliance". Nest.com. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Nest thermostat is coming to Canada". Nest.com. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  23. ^ "The UK just got a little more comfy.". Nest.com. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  24. ^ "What's new in the Nest Thermostat's 4.0 software update?". Nest.com. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  25. ^ "Nest’s smart Thermostat is now available to buy in the UK, priced from £179". thenextweb.com. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  26. ^ "Nest thermostat in Europe Hacks". Motote.blogspot.com.es. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  27. ^ "Direct Energy to offer Nest thermostats to new Ohio customers". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  28. ^ "Nest smart thermostat comes to nPower, cools your energy bill". cnet.com. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  29. ^ "Nest Partners With Direct Energy to Offer Smart Home Utility Service Package". mashable.com. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  30. ^ Nest Halts Sales of Smart Fire Alarm After Discovering Dangerous Flaw - Slashdot
  31. ^ Google's Nest Stops Selling Its Smart Smoke Alarm For Now Due To Faulty Feature
  32. ^ Google-owned Nest halts sales of its Protect smoke alarm
  33. ^ "Nest Labs Recalls to Repair Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarms Due to Failure to Sound Alert". CPSC.gov. 2014-05-21. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  34. ^ By Tom Cheredar, VentureBeat."/ Nest recalls 440K smoke alarms that shut off unintentionally." May 21, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  35. ^ Brinks, Kate (April 12, 2012). "Nest Counters Honeywell Allegations of Patent Infringement". Nest.com. Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Allure Energy Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit against Nest Labs". Business Wire. 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  37. ^ "Nest Enters Into Patent Sale Agreement and License Agreement with Intellectual Ventures". Intellectual Ventures. 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  38. ^ "First Alert sues Nest over smoke detector patents on voice alerts and vents". The Verge. 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  39. ^ a b "Google Nest". Archived from the original on 7 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  40. ^ Jessica Hullinger. "How activists fooled the internet with these convincing new Google Nest products". Fast Co.Create. Fast Company. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  41. ^ Ellen Huet. "Google Nest Spoof By German Activists Promises Eerie, Data-Driven Future". Forbes. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  42. ^ Darrell Etherington (7 May 2014). "Google Nest Parody Protest Site Holds A Funhouse Mirror Up To The Search Giant". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  43. ^ a b Joe Mullin (21 May 2014). "Google scolded for "polite trademark bullying" of parody site". Ars Technica. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  44. ^ Corynne McSherry. "Re: google-nest.org". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Nest Labs at Wikimedia Commons