With Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs, it is only going to be a matter of time before home owners who have Nest's learning thermostat would be able to say, "Okay Google, turn the temperature to 72 degrees."
And with Nest's newly launched Works with Nest developer program, that's not the only thing home owners will be able to do with their smart thermostat. The developer program, which was announced last year, has attracted the interest of more than 5,000 developers and, in fact, has already produced a number of innovative home appliance integrations in the thermostat's platform.
"What we're doing is making it possible for your Nest devices to securely interact with the things you already use every day," writes Nest founder and head of engineering Matt Rogers. "Things like lights, appliances, fitness bands and even cars. Because when we make connections between these different parts of your life, we can create personalize experiences that do even more to keep you comfortable and safe."
In short, Nest wants its smart thermostat to become the central hub of a smart, "conscious and thoughtful" home. It may seem strange to think that the low and humble thermostat can do that, but Nest's flagship product isn't just any old thermostat. It is jam-packed with motion sensors and an ability to learn user behavior over time. It also has Wi-Fi and has untapped wireless ZigBee protocol that can be used for personal area networks.
Established brands such as Mercedes Benz, Whirlpool and Logitech and startups such as Jawbone and IFTTT have already signed on to the program and have already come up with products stamped with the Works with Nest certification.
With Mercedes Benz leading the league of developers wanting to work with Nest, a user's car can now tell the smart thermostat to adjust the heat because the user is now coming home. Whirlpool has also come up with a dryer that can connect to the thermostat. When the thermostat sees that home owners aren't around, it tells the dryer to switch to fan fresh mode to keep clothes wrinkle-free or to a longer, more energy-saving cycle. As for Logitech, it has created a universal remote control that can tweak the thermostat's controls.
Sleep-tracking app Jawbone has also integrated with Nest so that the thermostat automatically turns the temperature up or down when users go to bed or wake up in the morning. IFTTT also joined in with a way to program "if this then that commands" into the smart home hub, such as "If my Nest Protect detects smoke, send me a text message."
For developers short on cash, Nest and Google, in partnership with Kleiner Perkins Caufieldd & Byers, have set up the Thoughtful Things Fund to ensure that new ideas are brought to the smart home.