It’s almost hard to believe that then Google, now Alphabet, bought Nest in January, 2014 when looking at Nest’s evolving product line since then. There’s been very little notable Google influence. With several new hardware products announced today, however, that’s changing.
At a press event on Wednesday, Nest introduced another outdoor camera as well as a security system and doorbell, and announced the addition of Google Assistant features to a current camera, while further supporting both the Weave and Thread protocols.
Interestingly the Thread Group noted something that Nest didn’t say much about: A Thread-based router called the Nest Connect. Here’s a picture of it from the Nest press site.
In an emailed statement, Grant Erickson, president of the Thread Group said, “Nest Detect relies on Thread’s low power architecture to last for long periods of time on one battery. Nest Connect is a Thread router, which seamlessly extends both the reach and connectivity of the Thread network. Nest Guard provides seamless IP-based routing between Thread, Wi-Fi, and cellular, and their interoperability with the Yale Linus Lock is the posterchild of Thread’s benefits in action.”
That sounds like a potential method to address the security challenges of using a traditional Wi-Fi network or router to secure IoT devices but we’ll have to dig for more information since Nest didn’t mention this.
Let’s move on to what Nest did announce.
First up for owners of the currently available Nest Cam IQ security camera that launched in May of this year: With a software update coming “this winter”, you’ll be able to speak to Google Assistant through the camera. No, you won’t be streaming music through the little speaker in the camera but you can ask for information or speak commands to your other connected devices such as lights and doors.
New to Nest’s lineup is an outdoor Nest Cam IQ Outdoor which is IP66 rated for dust and moisture. This unit isn’t battery powered so you’ll need to hardwire it through the walls of your home. Like its indoor namesake, the outdoor camera has IQ technology to recognize people and alert you when it recognizes someone. Pre-orders start today for $359 and the device will begin shipping in November in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
The Nest Hello doorbell is also new but won’t be arriving until early 2018 and no price was announced.
As you’d expect, it has a video camera (with High Dynamic Range support!) as well as night vision, a 160-degree field of view and a speaker so you can remotely see who’s at the door and speak to them from the comfort of nearly anywhere. The Nest Aware subscription service can notify you when a particular person is seen by the doorbell.
Lastly is the Nest Secure alarm system, which is comprised of several components and available in November in a starter pack for $499.
Nest Guard is the Wi-Fi-enabled heart and hub of the system that also acts as a keypad for arming or disarming, a motion sensor and “a friendly voice” as well as an 85dB siren. You can monitor the alarm system yourself or pay a monthly fee to MONI for them to monitor it, just like a traditional security company would do.
Ideally, you’d place Nest Guard near the exit to your home similar to any centralized alarm panel. Included in the starter pack are a pair of magnetic Nest Detect window or door sensors and two Nest Tags: NFC Fobs to disable the system without tapping a passcode. Nest will also be offering a cellular backup service for Nest Secure in the future for either $5 monthly or $50 per year.
The system is smart in a similar fashion to the original Nest thermostat. It can ping you if it realizes you left home and didn’t arm the security features, for example. You can also leave the security system armed but open a door — say to let a pet outside — without tripping the siren: There’s a button on the Nest Detect sensors for this situation. And walking past a Detect at night fires up a small nightlight on the bottom of the sensor so you don’t trip on Fido’s toys.
All in all, the new product line is what I’d expect from a smart device company: Adding intelligence and convenience to traditionally “dumb”, mundane systems. Nest says its new products will seamlessly work with the Nest mobile app. It also touted the Works With Nest program as a way for other device makers supporting Weave and Thread to integrate with the system in the future.