Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 04, 2016, 02:28:06 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat  (Read 6818 times)

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« on: December 07, 2011, 12:39:44 PM »
Every so often someone takes an existing piece of technology and finally gets it exactly right.

Over at MIT's Technology Review blogger Dave Zax has a write-up on a smart thermostat that lives up to the name.

Rather than being merely programmable (such devices have been available for years) this soon to be released* device from Nest Labs was designed with adaptive learning features. Instead of programming it via the usual time/temp settings scroll & set screens, you simply set it how you like it. The device then learns your preferences and patterns such that you don't need to do anything with it after a few days. It "knows" how you like to keep your home heated/cooled after that. Changes made with the seasons also get incorporated into its memory. Very slick. And exactly the way devices like this should work.

neststat.jpgQuietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat

From the article:

Quote
A Smart, Sexy—Thermostat?!

Nest's new device is both; it looks gorgeous and can cut your monthly bill by learning your heating habits.

David Zax 12/06/2011



Consider the thermostat.

That in itself, I know, is asking a lot. What could be more boring, less worthy of consideration, than that bland gray panel on your wall?

But the thermostat, it turns out, is wildly important to our energy consumption: it controls up to half our energy bills. There are reportedly 250 million thermostats in the U.S., with 10 million more purchased every year. One recent innovation, the programmable thermostat, wound up being a complete failure: most users don't program it at all, leading the government to exclude the device from its Energy Star program.

If someone could finally hack the thermostat—finally get it right—it would be a big deal. And there's reason to believe that a company called Nest might be doing just that. Run by Tony Fadell, who helped design the iPod, Nest has actually designed a thermostat that is smart, and dare I say it, even a little bit sexy.

The Nest's central feature is that it learns. I tried to program my thermostat once, and it was a nightmare. As a writer, I keep somewhat unusual hours—when exactly would I be heading out on weekdays, and when on weekends? For me, the most intuitive way to use a thermostat is simply to turn the dial when I want it hotter, or colder.

The Nest lets you do just that—simply turn the dial—and it's smart enough to then learn your schedule as it goes. In about a week, it has learned your habits, and sets its own schedule. In other words, it programs itself.

Of course Nest Labs could have let it go at that. But realizing we're in a much more tightly linked environment today thanks to the dual blessing/curse of smartphone and wifi technologies, they also took the next logical step and made it reachable via smartphone or laptop:

Quote
Are you the kind of person who tends to make it halfway to the office before you suddenly remember you forgot to adjust the thermostat before leaving? No problem. You can control the Nest remotely, via smart phone or laptop. Those pangs of guilt are instantly assuaged.

Link to full blog post here.



There's a neat little animation put out by Nest that explains how their little prodigy works:



They also have an instructional video and a web widget that allows you to determine if your current heating wiring is compatible with their device. Talk about not missing a trick!



All in all, a brilliant device coupled with a company that also has the ability to provide an excellently designed website and well done presentations. That attention to detail is sorely lacking in most companies these days. Including the ones that should know better.

I don't normally get enthused over gadgets or tech these days. But every once in a while I run into somebody, or something, that just gets it so correct - and on so many levels - that the magic comes back.

Check it out when you get a chance! 8) :Thmbsup:


-------------

Disclaimer: 40hz isn't affiliated with Nest Labs. He's just very impressed with them.


-------------

* UPDATE: This device is in production. It is, however, currently sold out for 2011. It will be available again starting in "early 2012." Price is $249 USD.


« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 01:03:19 PM by 40hz »

zridling

  • Friend of the Site
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,292
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2011, 03:22:53 PM »
Oh I would love that! I love a cold house year 'round. Alas, I'd rather save the $249 for a new computer in 2012.

skwire

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,664
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 07:13:06 AM »
Alas, I'd rather save the $249 for a new computer in 2012.

Agreed.  As slick as it appears to be, I think it's grossly overpriced.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 07:55:07 AM »
Alas, I'd rather save the $249 for a new computer in 2012.

Agreed.  As slick as it appears to be, I think it's grossly overpriced.

Think it depends in where you live, what you're paying for heating and cooling, and how you calculate it.

If I could trim both bills by 4-5% of what I'm currently paying I'd easily break even within the first year. Not to mention becoming 'greener' in the process. Worst case it might take up to 18 months. After that, it's pure gravy.

And if you figure this device has an operational life of 5 to 10 years(?) - it provides a very tidy return on investment.


Every little bit helps.   :)

« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 08:02:08 AM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 10:25:02 AM »
Sorry 40, I gotta go with skwire on this one. We just got a programmable thermostat last summer for like $50. It don't "think" (e.g. guess...), it just does what it's told. M-F up a little during the day, and back down a bit at 5 until about 9 (yada yada yada). schedule is simple and don't need learned.

Not to mention (for the extra $200) you get a device that is trying to allow for every adjustment it given to by factoring it into the grand scheme ... Which is nice assuming you aren't having thermostat wars due to one party being cold (Freezing my F'ing Ass Off), and one party who is Menopausal (and sits in front of a fan running on high while outside in 40F deg weather, because it's "hot").

IF the device was actually that smart it would self destruct after "learning" what ^its New Job^ actually entailed keeping up with.

mrainey

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
    • View Profile
    • Website
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 11:13:50 AM »
Quote
Which is nice assuming you aren't having thermostat wars

You got that right.
Software For Metalworking
http://closetolerancesoftware.com

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 12:43:28 PM »
IF the device was actually that smart it would self destruct after "learning" what ^its New Job^ actually entailed keeping up with.

Amazing how someone can draw such certain conclusions with zero evidence and a complete lack of actual testing or experience to go on.   ;)

Oh well...that same 'methodology' of "proof by assertion" works for the government anytime energy policy or global warming comes up - so why not here? It's semi-related.  ;D

As with any technology, individual mileage will vary. In this particular case, I'm looking at it from my perspective of two adults (who are out for fairly long periods at a time) with three temp zones in their living space. To me this looks like it might be worth a try once a little more  realworld customer experience comes to light.

As far as cost...well...that's relative too. Just this week I was very seriously contemplating purchasing a $299 video camera mentioned here that I have zero need for - and absolutely no justification in getting - other than I'd really like having it. So this device is just one more possible use for disposable income.

I don't personally care about this particular device's price tag. What I am interested in is how it points the way to where so much of our basic control devices may be heading.

Just my 2¢  8)



mrainey

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
    • View Profile
    • Website
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 01:35:19 PM »
You share or have shared a living space with a female and still think the Nest can learn to keep things comfortable for all?

Let us know how it works out.  Something that would do that is every man's dream.
Software For Metalworking
http://closetolerancesoftware.com

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 05:10:12 PM »
IF the device was actually that smart it would self destruct after "learning" what ^its New Job^ actually entailed keeping up with.

Amazing how someone can draw such certain conclusions with zero evidence and a complete lack of actual testing or experience to go on.   ;)

Quite to the contrary my friend. My experience comes from 20 years of marriage, and in understanding the environmental requirements that the device is to be subjected to. I'm allowing the thing to opt for an honerable death, instead of forcing it to constantly fail to anticipate when one member of the household will attempt to compensate for a "Hot Flash". Google Menopause ... You'll understand then.

You share or have shared a living space with a female and still think the Nest can learn to keep things comfortable for all?

Let us know how it works out.  Something that would do that is every man's dream.

^He^ knows...


;)

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 05:19:01 PM »
I give up. :-\

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,713
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2011, 07:11:47 PM »
It looks cool but I'm also a skeptic. I think that for it to learn what you want it to do, you'd need to have a fairly rigid/regular schedule of when you heat or cool your house. But if you already have a regular schedule of when you heat or cool your house you could just buy a cheaper programmable thermostat and enter your schedule into it and be done with it, then put that saved $200 toward a nifty video camera you have no need for. ;) :P


erikts

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 152
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Quietly brilliant piece of technology - the NEST thermostat
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2012, 01:22:52 AM »
Honeywell Files Patent Lawsuit Against Smart Thermostat Developer Nest

Quote
Interestingly, Honeywell recently told GigaOm that it killed off its smarter, learning thermostats years ago, instead focusing on ‘adding intelligence to digital and connected thermostats.