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Google Bought Smart-Home Company Nest, What Does This Mean For the Security Sector?

In case this is news to you, here’s the skinny:

Nest was a young Palo Alto company, co-founded in 2010 by former Apple engineer Tony Fadell, and specializes in developing hardware and software to build a “smart home” that can be managed in a user-friendly manner. Nest manufactures home devices like energy-saving thermostats and smoke/Carbon Monoxdide detectors that prioritize sleek design alongside functionality.

Earlier this January, Google shocked the tech world by announcing their purchase of Nest in its entirety for $3.2 billion; nearly 10 times more than Nest’s annual revenue. The price tag alone indicates this is a big deal, but what exactly does this mean for you and the security industry? It may not directly affect the home security industry, as Nest does not monitor or sell security products; however, it does relate to security in two major ways.

Nest’s thermostat and smoke detectors are products to make you home more efficient. The thermostat was engineered to have “artificial intuition” and the ability to learn your behaviors and preferences, and adjusts the temperature automatically over time. Conveniently controlled remotely from a smartphone, the thermostat can also be programmed to automatically conserve electricity during peak hours and save you money. In a similar fashion, the smoke and CO detectors work synergistically with the thermostat to have more accurate readings and better altering capabilities. Nest has over 100 patents granted on this growing smart technology and nearly 200 more on file with the US Patent Office. Small but mighty, Nest quickly became a major contender in residential automation. Security manufacturers like Honeywell have taken notice. The buyout from Google backs their research and patent production in a variety of technology arenas with a serious punch.

The Nest products were meticulously designed and have been described by the New York Times as “gorgeous, elegant and very, very smart.” However, perhaps more unique is despite the revolutionary qualities of Nest’s products, they are also affordable. The Nest thermostats run around $250, and this is promised to pay for itself as it saves an average of 20% off of your monthly electricity bill. The smoke and CO detectors sell for $129. Both of these devices were built with the end-user in mind during the installation process; hundreds of happy customers all agree in their reviews that the items were not overly complicated and could be installed without the help and extra cost of an outside party. In contrast, similar products that are incorporated into residential security systems typically have an installation fee that raises the cost higher than that of the Nest products.

Though Google’s purchase of Nest has sparked a running joke, “if your house is on fire you’ll get Gmail ads for fire extinguishers,” expect to see some changes made in the world of home security, especially the realm of design. The popularity Nest gained in its short 3+ years proves that there is a growing demand for smart-home products, and consumers prefer a device that is not an aesthetic eyesore staring at them from their living room.

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