High Hopes for Nest

I’m one of those people who likes others to share my excitement. When I learn about a new product I think is really cool, I want my friends and family to be thrilled about it too. This is why I hope the new Nest thermostat is everything it claims to be, and I also hope it catches on with consumers.

Many connected thermostats are on the market, but none has broken away and made a name for itself with the general public. When was the last time your (non-techie) friends engaged you in a chat about the benefits of controlling their thermostat from their smartphone? Nest from Nest Labs aims to change that. The company wants to create the iPhone of connected thermostats, and I’m hopeful they will succeed.

Nest certainly sounds cool. One of the problems with traditional programmable thermostats is that it turned out people didn’t want to program them. Nest removes this hassle by learning a household’s behaviors and preferences, such as what temperature they like to keep the home in the evenings. It then creates a schedule on its own.

The device also encourages you to save energy by helping you choose more energy-efficient temperatures. If you turn down the heat a bit, you will see a green leaf icon on the display—a little reward for altering your behavior. Sensors can also determine when the house is empty and will set the temperature accordingly to save energy.

So Nest seems simple, and it seems stylish. The Wi-Fi-connected thermostat turns blue when cooling and red when heating, and its silver finish is supposed to reflect the wall color to help it blend in. I’m already thinking about how nifty it would be to have one on my wall, glowing red in the winter and blue in the summer, and rewarding me with tiny leaves when I save some energy.

Nest Labs will even bundle installation with the purchase of the thermostat, so buyers don’t have to think about how to install the thing. I think the company has hit on a key aspect of what makes for great products: Don’t make people do any more work than absolutely necessary. I’m eager to see if this strategy will pay off. I hope this product lives up to my expectations and that it can be more than just another connected thermostat nobody knows about.

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