Nest Announces New Alarm System, Smart Doorbell, and Outdoor Cam IQ

Alphabet-owned Nest Labs today held an event in San Francisco to unveil a whole new range of Nest home security products. Nest products don't integrate with Apple's HomeKit setup, but are popular competing connected home solutions.

Starting in 2018, Nest will release the Hello, a small smart doorbell device that's able to stream 160 degree HD live video from your door directly to your phone. It will capture a photo of a person standing at your door even when the bell isn't rung, and the Hello supports audio so you can speak with whoever's at the door.


With Nest's $10 monthly service, Hello will continually monitor all activity outside the door, and Nest is working on features like Warm Welcome, which will activate a light as someone approaches the door, both as a greeting and to ward off thieves. Nest plans to release the Hello Doorbell Cam in early 2018, but a price hasn't been provided.

Nest also introduced the new Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, the outdoor sibling of the Nest Cam IQ announced in late May. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is weatherproof (with an IP66 rating) and offers the same 4K high-quality recording and smart features like facial recognition and smart alerts. It comes with a tamper-resistant mount, and with Nest Aware ($10/month), features 10 days of recording and facial recognition. At $349, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is $50 more expensive than the indoor version.


Nest has also announced plans to bring Google Assistant to its Nest Cam IQ Indoor, with the feature available to all current and future Nest Cam IQ owners.

Nest's biggest announcement this morning was the $499 Nest Secure, a Nest-branded multi-component alarm system that includes a Nest Guard, two Nest Detects, and two Nest Tags. The Nest Guard, a palm-sized puck with a keypad, is the main component (aka the brains) of the security system and is used to arm and disarm it. It can be mounted on a wall or placed on table for use wherever it's convenient.

The Nest Detect is designed to be mounted in door frames and windows to detect motion in a room or an unauthorized breech of a window or door. Nest Secure only ships with two, but additional Nest Detect modules can be purchased for $59 so an entire house can be outfitted.

Two included Nest Tag keychains (more can be purchased for $25) are available to quickly arm and disarm the Nest Secure without needing to enter the security code of the device each time. Several smart features are built in, like automatic times for arming and disarming the Nest Secure. A 24/7 monitoring service is available through Moni Smart Security for $5 per month, putting Nest Secure on par with more well-known security systems.


Nest Secure integrates with all other Nest products, like security cameras, with everything accessible in the Nest app. Nest Secure will go on sale in the United States this November at a starting price of $499.

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Nest Announces the Thermostat E With a New Design and a Lower Price

Nest today announced the $169 Nest Thermostat E, a more affordable version of its original $250 smart home thermostat from 2011 with most of the same features, but with a less conspicuous design.

Replacing the metallic look of its predecessor, the new HVAC energy-saving device features a soft-touch plastic white control ring around a black display, which lies behind a frosted screen to make the thermostat blend in to most home environments.


The display itself offers a more basic readout than previous Nest's, showing the temperature only. When the frosted display is off, the screen is grey. When it’s on, it displays soft text and images that are designed to be easy to see and read with a slight glow. The display uses an ambient light sensor to share information at just the right brightness.

Meanwhile the unit's innards have been simplified, which means the Thermostat E doesn't offer the same wide compatibility with various U.S. domestic setups as the pricier device, so check before ordering.

Like the original Nest, the Thermostat E learns the user's temperature preferences over time, smartly adjusting them on the fly depending on the circumstances. Alternatively, the Thermostat E can be set up on a simple schedule, based on an average of thousands of schedules already learned by the company's devices. Users can adjust temperature using the control ring or via Nest's iOS app for remote access.

The Thermostat E costs $169, while the original Nest Learning Thermostat will remain available to buy for $250. The new thermostat can be ordered from Thursday on the company's website, with shipping set to start on September 1 and availability in retail stores from September 10.

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Nest Will Automatically Pre-Cool Homes Participating in New ‘Solar Eclipse Rush Hour’ Program

Smart thermostat company Nest this week announced a new energy saving initiative coming on the day of the total solar eclipse, August 21, 2017. During the eclipse, clean solar energy will be reduced and in some areas of the United States traditional power plants will have to fire up in order to cover the energy shortfall for a brief period of time.


Nest's solution is a "Solar Eclipse Rush Hour" setting that will be sent to thermostats across the U.S. days ahead of the eclipse. The program will help offset the drop in energy production during the eclipse by automatically pre-cooling homes ahead of time. Once users notice the message, and agree to participate, the Nest Thermostat will lower the temperature of their home before the eclipse.
So, we’re encouraging people across the US to help offset this drop in energy production by pre-cooling their homes before the eclipse. If you don’t own a Nest thermostat, you can manually adjust the temperature by one or two degrees during the eclipse. If you join, a few hours before the eclipse hits your area, your Nest Thermostat may automatically pre-cool your home so that you can save energy during the eclipse. After the eclipse, your thermostat will go back to its regular schedule.
The company said that with enough Nest devices participating, users will be able to "meaningfully reduce" energy demand during the eclipse. Of course, if the temperature becomes too warm during the time of the eclipse, users can still manually change the temperature at any time. Once the eclipse has ended, Nest will go back to its regular schedule of warming and cooling.


Nest's new Solar Eclipse Rush Hour is part of the Rush Hour program that began back in 2013, which has a similar energy-saving goal. In that program, Nest Thermostats warn users of when a high-demand energy period is coming, particularly during warm days when many people will activate their air conditioners. If participating, Nest will automatically pre-cool the home and keep its energy output low during the Rush Hour -- enough to keep users comfortable -- and then return to regular programming afterward.

Over the summer, a rumor came out that Nest was potentially considering adding HomeKit support into its smart thermostat products. However, a subsequent report that cited a Nest employee said that the company has "no immediate plans" to support Apple's smart home platform and "no roadmap" for such an update. Apple has a few smart thermostats it highlights and sells in the HomeKit section of its online store, including those made by ecobee, iDevices, and Honeywell.

In regards to the eclipse, the partial phase will hit Oregon at around 9 a.m. PT on August 21, with totality occurring about one hour later. For more local times on when the eclipse will be near your area, and the safety precautions you should take when trying to view the event, check out NASA's web page.

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HomeKit Support for Nest Smart Products Unlikely Anytime Soon

Rumors that smart thermostat maker Nest is considering adding Apple HomeKit support to its product range appear to be premature, according to a report on Thursday. AppleInsider spoke to a Nest employee who apparently confirmed there are "no immediate plans" to support Apple's smart home platform and "no roadmap" for such a migration.

The rumors were apparently stoked by Apple's announcement at the Worldwide Developers Conference that it has taken steps to make it easier for third parties to integrate the smart home platform into their devices, followed by a comment recently attributed to Nest that it would "consider HomeKit".


At the present time, HomeKit-enabled smart products require a hardware authentication chip to make them compatible with Apple's Made-For-iPhone program. At WWDC, however, Apple said it was updating its specification so that smart products won't have to include a hardware chip and will be able to authenticate through software instead. The news sparked suggestions that some older products could theoretically be upgraded to support HomeKit using a firmware upgrade.

HomeKit has enjoyed fairly wide support among smart gadget manufacturers, but the Google-owned Nest brand has never been on that list. Apple removed Nest products from its stores in 2015 shortly after the first HomeKit-compatible products became available for purchase.

Nest owners needn't completely give up hope for HomeKit support, as manufacturers have occasionally added the standard to products via upgrades well after they have come to market. Add to that Apple's looser licensing and authentication restrictions for HomeKit and it's not impossible that Nest will come around to the platform one day.

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Nest Announces Cam IQ, a $299 4K Smart Home Camera With Facial Recognition

Nest unveiled a new smart security camera today called the Nest Cam IQ, an indoor 4K device capable of increasing footage resolution when it detects unusual or suspicious activity in the home.

Using built-in smart capabilities powered by Google's AI for facial recognition, the Nest Cam IQ is able to identify a person in its visual range, which automatically triggers a notification alert that includes a zoomed-in photo of the figure.


A variation on the same feature called "Supersight" appears in the mobile app feed, as a zoomed picture-in-picture inset of any figures identified in the camera's field of view. The Nest Cam IQ also tracks the subject as it moves and provides a close-up of the face to make it easier to spot identifying features.

Additional smart features are in store for Nest owners who sign up to a Nest Aware subscription, such as the ability to identify and remember family members and trusted familiar faces, as well as the ability to recognize specific audio cues like conversations and barking dogs.

Elsewhere, the Nest Cam IQ comes with a weighted base and tilting head, invisible infrared LED emitters, high-powered speakers, and a three-microphone array for improved background noise suppression and echo cancelation.

The Nest Cam IQ costs $299 in the U.S. and can be pre-ordered today on the company's website, which also sells the Nest Cam and Nest Cam Outdoor. Shipping is expected to start at the end of June.

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Nest Earth Day Discounts Include $30 Off Learning Thermostat, $50 Off Combo Purchase With Google Home

Nest recently announced a new discount has launched for customers looking to purchase the company's Nest Learning Thermostat, allowing them to buy the IoT temperature-controlling device for $219 on its website, totaling $30 in savings. Nest founder and chief product officer Matt Rogers announced the temporary deal in a blog post this week, which he said is tied into upcoming celebrations surrounding Earth Day.

As such, Nest Learning Thermostat's $219 price tag will only remain available to customers until Earth Day, on Saturday, April 22. In the post, Rogers mentioned that since the Nest Learning Thermostat's launch in 2011, the device has "saved over 12 billion kWh of energy," which equates to "enough to power New York City for 81 days."

For us, home isn’t just an address where we raise our families. It’s the world we inhabit, and it’s our only one. As the late Carl Sagan noted in his book Pale Blue Dot, “On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives." So it’s up to us to take care of Earth, for all the generations to come.

In honor of Earth Day, we want to help more people save energy with a Nest Thermostat. Reversing decades of global warming is a huge challenge. But we believe that together, we can change climate change.
Customers also interested in Google Home have a chance to save a little more as well, as Nest also announced a combo deal where purchasing both the Nest Learning Thermostat and Google Home at the same time will earn users $50 in savings. Instead of paying $378 for both devices, customers taking advantage of the Earth Day deal will pay $328. On their own, Google Home costs $129 while Nest Learning Thermostat costs $249.

For those unaware, Google Home is Google's smart home hub, which includes voice controls for numerous home automation tasks like controlling temperature by connecting to Nest.

Last month it was rumored that Nest is working on a cheaper version of its Learning Thermostat that would cost somewhere under $200 in a bid to gain "a bigger share of the connected home market." Cost-cutting measures might include a Nest Learning Thermostat made with less expensive components and potentially one that would lack the current version's metal edges. Also reported to be in the works by Nest are sensors that would let users control temperature room-by-room, an alarm system, digital doorbell, and updated indoor camera.


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Nest Reportedly Working on Cheaper ‘Learning Thermostat’ to Sell for Under $200

Nest is in the process of making a cheaper edition of its Nest Learning Thermostat as well as a new line of home security products, according to someone familiar with the company's plans speaking with Bloomberg. Nest is said to be "seeking a bigger share of the connected home market" in its move to make a cheaper version of its flagship thermostat device.

The cheaper Nest Learning Thermostat would sell for under $200, while the current edition of the device is priced at $249 on the Nest Store. The cheaper model is believed to keep the same temperature learning functionality of the thermostat, but be manufactured with less expensive components and potentially do away with the current version's metal edges.


Nest is also said to be developing sensors that will act as expansions to existing thermostat systems, and allow users to control the temperature of specific rooms instead of just the entire home. The cheaper thermostat is predicted to launch by next year.
The company is working on a version of its "learning thermostat," which adjusts the temperature based on usage patterns, that would sell for under $200, the person said. The current version sells for $249. The cheaper model would include less expensive components and at least one internal prototype lacks the flagship model's metal edges, the person said.

A home-security alarm system, a digital doorbell and an updated indoor security camera are also in the works, representing potential good news for a company that has struggled to release many new products.
An all-new home security alarm system, digital doorbell, and updated indoor camera "are also in the works." The home security system will have a central hub with a keypad that connects to a collection of alarm sensors that users place on windows and doors.

After being set up, it will act like a normal security system and ring when the home is entered until the right code is entered on the keypad hub. A keyring fob accessory can also be used to initiate and disable the alarm in lieu of typing in a code. Like all of Nest's products, a connected iOS app will allow home owners to disengage the alarm to let specific people into a home when they are away.

An update to the Nest Indoor Cam could see a way for the camera to identify specific people within its range, according to the person familiar with Nest's plans, who also detailed the company's intention to launch a digital doorbell system with a video camera and face-to-face communication via the mobile app. The home security system is believed to arrive this year, the updated Nest Indoor Cam could launch as soon as this fall, and the digital doorbell is estimated to see a debut sometime in 2018.


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Nest Adds Two-Factor Authentication to Increase Security for Nest Cams and Thermostats

Smart home accessory company Nest today announced the addition of two-factor authentication into its mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, which will act as an extra layer of security that prevents intrusions into a user's Nest account. The company said that these extra security measures can help prevent malicious access to private information, particularly camera feeds of Nest Cam products.

To activate two-factor authentication, users can find a toggle menu in the Account Security settings of the official Nest app. After "2-step verification" is toggled on, users will have to sign in again by typing in a traditional email and password. Two-factor authentication makes the process more secure by then texting a verification code to an approved device, which Nest owners will then have to enter into the app to gain access to their Nest products.

We all know data security is a moving target. Technology keeps advancing, but so do the people who want to break into your email, your credit card or any other account they can get their hands on. But your home is your safe haven, where private information should stay private. So today we’re adding a new layer of security with the introduction of two-factor authentication.

You may have seen or used two-factor authentication before, probably to get into your email or bank account. It’s simple but very effective – even if someone figures out your password, they still need to actually get their hands on your phone to get into your account. It takes a minute or two for our customers, but for hackers working from computers all over the world, things get a whole lot harder.
Nest said that this isn't the first time it has updated security across all of its products, and the company intends to continue rolling out security and privacy-focused tweaks to Nest Thermostats, Nest Protect smoke alarms, and Nest Cameras "as new technologies become available or we learn about new threats."

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Nest App Gains Automatic Door Detection and Better Notifications With Animated Previews

An update to the Nest app is rolling out today, bringing with it a new feature that lets Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor automatically detect doors within their field of view, further allowing users to set these thresholds as "Activity Zones" with warning-based notifications attached to them. The feature will be available only to those who have the company's $10/month subscription service Nest Aware.
Specified Activity Zones have been part of Nest for years, but required users to manually draw the areas that they wanted a Nest Camera to detect. With the door detection, Nest will intelligently find and mark a new door-based Activity Zone and then notify the owner, who can then choose to keep or get rid of the zone. Nest said that the new door detection abilities have been made possible thanks to the company's deep learning algorithms that have recognized patterns over time.

Nest Protect owners will also receive improved alerts -- with a connected Nest Cam, owners will get live video notifications when smoke or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are detected. The company said the update is "another way Nest products work better together."

An example of Nest's new automatic door detection feature

Another part of the update, also exclusive to Nest Aware subscribers, is the introduction of rich notifications on iOS 10, letting Nest Cam owners glimpse an animated preview of the camera's video clip whenever action happens in the Activity Zone of a door. Android owners are also getting preview notifications, as well as a way to add shortcuts to favorite Nest products on the Android desktop.

Nest said that it hopes these feature tweaks and updates will "cut down on unwanted alerts and make the ones you do get more helpful." Nest is available on the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Dropcam Co-Founder Greg Duffy Joins Apple

dropcamGreg Duffy, the founder and former CEO of security camera company Dropcam, has accepted a role at Apple and will be leaving Google, reports The Information.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed that Duffy has been hired by Apple, but didn't share details on his role at the company. The Information speculates that he could be leading a special project at Apple, given his background.

Duffy who co-founded Dropcam in 2009, led the company until it was acquired by Google-owned Nest for $555 million in mid-2014. Duffy spent several months working for Nest before departing the company in January of 2015 amid rumors of a culture clash between Nest and Dropcam.

Duffy was reportedly unhappy with the way Nest founder Tony Fadell ran the Alphabet-owned subsidiary, going as far as referring to him as a "tyrant bureaucrat."

At any given time, Apple has multiple "special projects" going on behind the scenes, so it's difficult to speculate on what Duffy could be working on at the company. Apple is rumored to have a range of exploratory products in the works, including the Apple Car, an Amazon Echo-style home hub, an AR product, and more.


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