The biggest news in electronics the week after the giant CES (Consumer Electronics Show) wasn’t even talked about at CES because it happened the very next day. Google puts up $3.2 Billion to buy Nest, the three year old company started by former Apple design guys Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. Nest is best known as the manufacturer of the “Learning Thermostat” that’s connected via Wi-Fi to a network and saves the user money by “learning” how the homeowner or business keeps the HVAC temperature and automatically takes over after a few weeks of manual use.
Once Nest learns what the room temperature likes and dislikes are, the network-based thermostat actually monitors room occupancy (through motion and sound sensors) and outdoor temperature and humidity (through it’s connection to the internet and location-based connectivity) and makes the indoor temperature what you’d make it on your own. It not only saves money by auto-management of temperature, but also provides custom programming for the user via Wi-Fi, and phone apps so that it can be controlled and programmed at will. In addition, Nest automatically generates a usage report that’s emailed and available on-line to the user.
But, late last year, Nest also launched a network-connected smoke and carbon monoxide detector that also can be programmed and controlled the same way the HVAC controller can — and it can proactively notify the police and fire departments (as well as you).
Well, yesterday, Nest was given a $3.2 Billion offering from Google. Yes, $3.2 Billion.
Unless, of course, one of those three behemoths buys AMX or Crestron.
Short of that, be ready for some BIG-TIME competition in our market.
Nest, in three years, has done what AMX and Crestron simply haven’t been able to do in 20-some years — simplify control of something super-complex. They can say whatever they want, use any and every excuse in the book and swear by their version of simplicity, but it doesn’t come close to what Nest has done. Nest has Apple-fied the HVAC world.
And, don’t kid yourself that Google can’t aggregate control of TVs, security systems, content and rooms into a Nest-like interface. They can. And, if they want to, they will.
Like it or not, this is the way of the future.