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Prediction: Nest Will Open API, Integrate with Home Automation by CEDIA 2013

CE Pro is calling it: Famously proprietary Nest thermostats will have an open API and two-way integration with home automation by CEDIA Expo 2013 in September.


By CEDIA Expo 2013 I predict we’ll see Nest thermostats integrated with other home automation subsystems. Just kidding about that Sonos thing.

Nest has a cute little Internet-enabled learning thermostat that doesn’t really do much except look pretty since it is famously proprietary and won’t integrate with a home automation system.

CE Pro predicts (OK, I predict) all that will change soon, when Nest CEO Tony Fadell delivers the keynote address at CEDIA Expo 2013, Sept. 25-28 in Denver.

I’m guessing Fadell will announce Nest finally is opening its API for third-party integration, like all of the other Internet-of-Things in its class: Belkin Wemo, Philips Hue, Withings (healthy stuff), Fitbit (more healthy stuff), Ecobee (thermostats) and wannabes like Ube (light switches) and Lockitron (door locks).

Integrators have been banging their heads since 2012 when Nest started shipping because consumers like the shiny puck but the product doesn’t integrate with home automation. In other words, you can set an “Away” mode for your home to arm the security system and turn off the lights … but not set back the thermostat.

RELATED: Smart Thermostat Knows When You’ll Be Home

There are more than a dozen thermostats that do work nicely within a whole-house system (like Honeywell, which has sued Nest for patent infringement) but Nest isn’t one of them.

How 25 smart home projects are faring on Kickstarter and elsewhere: smart bulbs, smart locks, energy management and other home automation devices. Don’t miss CE Pro’s exclusive roundup.

The code has been cracked, of course, but Nest has threatened companies who want to market products that exploit the knowledge.

In fact, on a recent visit to the Detroit offices of iRule, I saw their home automation system operating a Nest thermostat, with two-way feedback – all developed without help from Nest.

iRule principal Itai Ben-Gal claimed to know nothing about Nest’s plans for integration but says if and when the company decides to play nice, “we’ll be ready.”

I’m 99 percent sure that Nest will announce its readiness at CEDIA Expo. Why else would Fadell be keynoting the industry’s most important event for integrators?

More importantly, why else would Nest take a booth at the show? They would otherwise only be ostracized.

Already, Fadell and CEDIA are facing flak by integrators demanding to know why an anti-integration company would be headlining the big show. (Personally, I’m not bothered. I’m sure Fadell has some great lessons to impart, regardless).

I think attendees will be pleased to learn that indeed Nest is opening up its protocol, I surmise. In fact, I suspect we’ll see other exhibitors showing their Nest modules at the show.

Although I’m almost positive that Nest will open its API, I have one big question: will it finally do something with that ZigBee radio that lies dormant in there?

And, finally … will Sonos follow suit?!

Home automation startup Ivee shows integration with Nest thermostats ... are they jumping the gun or just kidding?
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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Energy Management · Events · CEDIA · Nest · Internet Of Things · Iot · Cedia 2013 · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

14 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Dave Perrico  on  07/24  at  12:57 PM

We have Nest integration now and it was a bear to reverse engineer the web interface. I could never understand why they never released a public api. Also Sonos has a wonderfully rich api. It’s all there in UPNP calls. We have very robust Sonos integration in our software.


Posted by Dan Lowitz  on  07/24  at  12:57 PM

“Nest has a cute little Internet-enabled learning thermostat that doesn’t really do much except look pretty since it is famously proprietary and won’t integrate with a home automation system.”

Airwave. Auto-Away. Usage History and Tables. Auto Schedule. Remote Access from ANYWHERE without VPN, DNS etc. The thing is brilliant and doesn’t really need to integrate. I would prefer it did but what would be the real benefits of integration? One less app to open? Assuming you really needed access to your thermostat from elsewhere. Since it knows you aren’t home and will know if someone comes home. The quote above is silly. Come on, you are better than that.

Posted by Dan Lowitz  on  07/24  at  01:06 PM

No common required, direct sunlight rejection. Etc. etc. etc.

Posted by jbrown  on  07/24  at  01:36 PM

Who cares if the Nest can be integrated? As you said, “there are more than a dozen thermostats that do work nicely within a whole-house system”. Nest is for people who are too slow to program a $49 Honeywell thermostat from Home Depot, and too cheap or too afraid of technology to put in a real automation system. Let them have their Nest, we don’t need it.

Jason B. Brown

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  07/24  at  01:58 PM

Dan, indeed it does a lot of nifty things but everyone I talk to who has one says they bought it cuz it looks cool. And plenty of them have disabled the auto functions. To be sure, Nest has done fine without integration, just like Sonos.

jbrown ... dealers care because their clients are insisting on the thing.

Posted by jbrown  on  07/24  at  02:26 PM

Then dealers need to educate their clients better, Julie. It’s simple, I arm my alarm and my whole house knows I’m away. Lights go off and the thermostat goes up to 80. I disarm it and it knows I’m back. Lights come on and the thermostat runs its program. Who needs a Nest? It doesn’t know I went to bed early, but my automation system does when I press “good night” on by bedside keypad and guess what? Lights go off and my thermostat goes to the bedtime temperature. Meanwhile, the retarded Nest just sits there, on the wall, being stupid and not covering the hole in the wall from the old thermostat.

Jason B. Brown

Posted by GM  on  07/24  at  05:49 PM

Makes sense, especially since AVAD is distributing Nest.

Maybe SONY will pony up next…

Posted by mark barber  on  07/25  at  04:15 AM

I could never understand , there has been a solution there forever and Nest shut it down…....DUH , integrators sell too!

Posted by Ted Fagenson  on  07/25  at  05:24 AM

With Nest’s heritage coming from Apple, they are much more likely to want to own the whole home automation and security solution rather than open up their APIs to integrators. It is much more likely that they will begin shipping additional endpoints such as web cameras, door locks, etc. that mirrors their “cool” industrial design approach and build an on-going revenue stream.  Look out Lowes and ADT ‘cause Nest is coming.

Posted by Dan Lowitz  on  07/25  at  07:22 AM

@ Jason,

The automation based thermostat is the stupid one, it needs to be told everything. Nest just knows. The only real benefit to tying the thermostat into the security system is if you are willing and able to program the system (most integrators I know are neither) to shut down areas if windows or doors are open and base that programming on the exterior temperature. Otherwise the Nest does just fine. Also looks cool so people want it. Lutron, HAI, Crestron thermostats all look awful.

Posted by  on  07/25  at  07:32 AM

@ jbrown - you mentioned each night before bed you press your “good night” button.  In this scenario user-interaction is required to let the system know what you’re doing.  Your thermostat didn’t know what to do until you told it what you wanted it to do.  It just happens to come from your tabletop controller rather than direct interaction.  Is your point that your thermostat can receive this input and the Nest can’t? 

It’s important to recognize that it doesn’t matter what T-stat anyone chooses to use.  The whole point of Nest is that it requires no user interaction - ever.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  07/25  at  07:39 AM

GoQ—Yes, that’s the point. Nest doesn’t know if you’re having a party or if you’re a crotchety old lady like me who needs a blast of cold air in the night.

Key thing is ... look at Ivee application at the bottom of the story. It would be nice to include Nest in third-party developments like voice control.

Dan—Obviously I’m exaggerating that the Nest does nothing productive. I agree with you also that it’s not a deal breaker any more to open multiple apps.

Posted by Todd Nelson  on  07/25  at  08:00 AM

Nest may be pretty, but I had to replace one at a customer’s house at 7 o’clock at night. The owner had been complaining that his house seemed to be warmer than the Nest said it was for about 3 days, but that he could live with it. Then, late one afternoon he called and said his house had been getting warmer during the day, no matter where he set the thermostat. He said he had called Nest and they told him to immediately remove the whole thermostat before it could damage the rest of his HVAC system. I brought him a Honeywell thermostat and put it in, as he had already removed the Nest. So I’m not in any rush to install another Nest. While this may have been just an anomaly, there are too many other proven units on the market that do integrate with whole house control to bother with the possibility of another after hours call.

Posted by jbrown  on  07/25  at  09:08 AM

Yeah, the Nest looks great with that big white hemorrhoid you need to cover a single gang mudring. You notice they don’t include it in any of the marketing pictures. Wonder why?

The automation thermostat works. Every time. How is that stupid? When you give an employee a task and he does it, do you call him stupid? Or is it the guy who does a bunch of stuff on his own that’s never really right?

Whatever, this is too much effort for a hypothetical scenario. I’m out. You guys have fun.


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