Nest Opens API for Thermostat; Control4 is First Home Automation Partner

Nest CEO Tony Fadell announces at CEDIA Expo 2013 an open API and developer program for its learning thermostats. Control4 is first and only home automation partner announced.

Nest Opens API for Thermostat; Control4 is First Home Automation Partner
Nest thermostat in Control4 booth at CEDIA Expo 2013 (not much to see here ...)
Julie Jacobson · September 26, 2013

Nest has finally opened its famously closed software for integrating its IP-enabled learning thermostat with third-party home automation systems. Control4, the first and (currently) only partner is showing Nest integrated with lights, thermostats, motorized shades and other smart devices at CEDIA Expo 2013 this week in Denver.

Nest CEO Tony Fadell made the announcement tonight during his keynote address at the Expo. (although we predicted it two months ago).

“Tony reached out to us,” says Eric Anderson, senior VP Products at Control4. “We were sort of flattered that they would come to us first.”

He says dealers “get so many requests from people who want to integrate the Nest thermostat with other things in the house.”

“We’ve been incredibly focused with the company growing at a rapid rate,” says Nest senior product manager Greg Hu in an interview with CE Pro. “The group focused on delivering the best user experience.”

Also, Nest is working hard to put together a solid developer program, which will be launched in Q1 2014.

In the meantime, at, the company is “asking developers to tell us what they’re interested in doing,” says Hu. “We want to be very, very thoughtful.”

He does say that the API is “incredibly flexible for developers,” and expects it to be deployed for a variety of products and services for everything from pricey home automation systems to simple DIY apps such as ifttt.

Integration is via Nest’s cloud service, which pushes the thermostat states to (in this case) Control4’s cloud and ultimately to the home’s control system.

The learning features of Nest are not incorporated into the driver, and in the event of conflict between Control4 and Nest … the thermostat wins.

You can’t schedule the thermostats through Control4: “If I start externally mucking with their [Nest’s] schedule, there’s no telling what I would do to their own heuristic schedule,” Anderson says of their algorithms Nest builds around user behavior.

If a consumer must have the Nest thermostat, they will be able to integrate with Control4, but the richest experience is reserved for Control4’s own thermostats.

For instance, in Control4 if you change the temperature, the system asks if you want to revert to the usual setting in two hours or some other time period.  The feature is built into the firmware of the thermostat. No can do with Nest.

“Technically you could do it in code, but it’s relatively cumbersome,” Anderson says.

The Nest demo in the Control4 booth (#608) at CEDIA will be nothing too interesting for those of us in the industry – it looks just like any other thermostat integration.

Nest, too, is at the show with a booth to “highlight what integration would look like,” says Nest spokesperson Zoz Cuccias.

She notes that many CE pros are installing Nest today (often begrudgingly because the thermostats don’t integrate) so CEDIA Expo presents a good opportunity to create a dialog with integrators.

“We are members of CEDIA,” Cuccias says. “It will be nice to continue our partnership [with Control4 and integrators] in a public place.”

Furthermore, “I think this will be a good time to get to know Tony [Fadell], to bring in a personal touch,” she says.

Oh, and, by the way ... Hu would say nothing about that ZigBee radio that has been sitting dormant in Nest since day 1.

Nest thermostat in Control4 booth at CEDIA Expo 2013 (not much to see here ...)

  About the Author

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. Email Julie at

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  Article Topics

News · CEDIA · Control4 · Nest · All Topics
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