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Since Nest Labs started selling its learning thermostat in 2011, consumers have responded to its simplicity and how well it works. It wasn’t the first thermostat on the market, but it likely helped accelerate the transition to more connected homes. Today, the company has several announcements to promote this space and improve its Works with Nest program.
Starting today, Nest Labs is introducing a new device-to-device communication protocol called Weave – which works without Wi-Fi – into its development platform. Initial launch partners include P&G, GE branded lighting controls, Hunter Douglas, Philips Hue, iHome and Lutron Electronics.
Developers can also now rely on Nest Cam, thanks to the open availability of a new camera API. In addition, there is now a Works with Nest store that offers a catalog of all third-party integrations with the Nest product line.
More than 11,000 developers have accessed Nest’s API to link their smart products to its offerings. Much of this is driven by customer demand as more and more people search for ‘smart’ devices and tools.
âPeople just want homes to be better,â Greg Hu, senior manager of the Nest Platform, told VentureBeat. âWe believe that people don’t walk into a store looking for a connected home hub. All of these things work on their own, and now they can work together. It all starts with good products.
Everything Nest has done so far has focused on cloud-to-cloud integrations, but relied on Wi-Fi for communication. Nest Weave offers an improved protocol that uses not only Wi-Fi, but also Thread, to deliver reliability, security, low latency and more.
You might be thinking that Nest Weave is the exact same thing Google announced this year at its I / O Developer Conference. However, the company told us that Nest Weave is a proprietary app protocol that Nest has used in its own products and now offers to developers. He worked with Google on his version, which has the broader goal of impacting the wider Internet of Things space.
One of the selling points of Nest Weave is the money it saves. Hu said that while there are many connected objects, such as light bulbs, TVs, and locks, the fact that they use Wi-Fi can make them expensive to use. With Weave, these costs should be reduced.
By not using Wi-Fi, Weave also improves latency. The company told us that the devices can communicate directly with end-to-end latency of less than 100 milliseconds, much faster than over standard internet connections.
An example of Nest Weave in action can be seen with Yale’s new Linus lock. This smart home door lock lets you check whether the door is open or closed, set up access codes to provide different levels of access, and more, all through the Nest app. Thanks to Weave, the lock communicates with any Nest product in the house without the need for Wi-Fi. If a burglar cut the internet connection, the Linus lock would still remain functional, collecting up to 10 days of history and using a magnetometer to make sure the door is fully closed.
Security appliance maker Tyco is one of Nest Weave’s launch partners and uses technology to make its window sensors more connected. As Hu explained to us, these sensors cannot work over Wi-Fi and needed another way to connect at home. This is where Weave is supposed to shine – better network redundancy to ensure that there aren’t as many vulnerabilities and that devices perform as expected.
To help with development, Nest has partnered with Dialog, Freescale, Qualcomm Technologies and Silicon Labs to provide kits that get developers up and running quickly. The goal is to make sure Nest integration is a priority at every step of the development process – from creation to launch – and by partnering with chipmakers, Nest wants to step in early.
Nest also offers integration with its main app, which means that if developers don’t have the capabilities to build their own mobile app, they can plug into Nest’s.
âCreating a connected product is difficult,â said Matt Rogers, Nest’s vice president of engineering. âWe have been doing this for five years and have direct experience of the challenges. That’s why we want to make it easier for developers … [They] have an end-to-end solution when working with Nest and can only use the parts of the program that meet their needs. “
Nest Weave, along with the Nest app integration, will be available to developers in 2016. Nest does not charge developers for using this protocol.
Building around the Nest Cam with a new API
Over a year ago, Nest struck a $ 555 million deal to acquire connected camera company Dropcam. The two entities eventually merged, resulting in the launch of a renowned device called the Nest Cam earlier this year. Now, the company allows developers to access the camera through a new camera API, which was not available until today.
Aubrey Thelen, head of developer relations at Nest, told us things like basic camera control, motion and sound events, and camera clip extraction are all possible through the API. . At launch in August, Philips Hue, Mimo, Skybell and Petnet are the first developers to have access to it.
As example integrations, Nest Cam can do things like send you a snapshot of anyone trying to access your August smart lock, or, if you’ve left your house without turning off the lights, detect the ‘lighting and automatically take over this.
Interested developers can visit the Nest Developer Site where they will have access to all technical documents and the API – a standard REST API that requires little overhead. There are no costs or fees associated with its use and the call limits are based on customer experience.
Access to the API is now open to all developers. All integrations with the aforementioned launch partners will be available later this month.
Find your integrations in the Works with Nest store
So far, we’ve talked about allowing third-party devices to connect to Nest products as part of the company’s Works with Nest program. And while there have been many launch partners and different integrations, until now there hasn’t been a central place to find verified partners.
With the Works with Nest store, accessible both online and in the Nest app, certified products are showcased to help customers realize just how vast the connected home ecosystem is. âIt’s about finding out and helping the customer find out what else works with their home,â Hu told us.
All of the developers listed in the store have been certified by the Nest Developer Program, and the store gives small developers the option to release their product.
Nest says its store won’t be available to customers until the end of the year, but developers interested in seeing their products appear can head to their site for more information.
Even with the debut of Amazon Echo, ivee Voice, and many other hubs all trying to capitalize on the smart home trend, Nest isn’t let down. âThe developers understand that Nest is all about the home, almost more than any business,â Hu told us. âWe have started to bring technology home and we remain committed to bringing this technology into our daily lives. “
Hu said Nest probably won’t install a hub, adding, âWe don’t think customers want a hub. They don’t want to have to oppose everything. They just want it to work. They want to control the integration, but they don’t want to configure it. It’s not [something thatâs] customer friendliness.
Each of the Nest products is a hub in itself, and the company hopes developers can use them as the foundation from which to build smarter things.
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