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.
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.
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.
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.
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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?!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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