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Why is Nest’s New Non-learning Thermostat Important to the Smart Home?

by William Ablondi | Oct 14, 2020

On October 12, 2020 Nest announced its first new thermostat in about two years.

Key attributes:

  • It’s the least expensive of the Nest lineup: $129 vs $249 for the Nest Learning Thermostat and $169 for the nest Thermostat E
  • Its design is much sleeker than its older siblings :


Instead of rotating the face of the unit, the user touches and swipe down the side to adjust the temperature setting.

  • Uses Google’s Soli radar (first introduced on the Pixel 4 phone) to detect when someone walks by to automatically turn on the screen, but gesture controls are not enabled. It also can adjust the temperature setting when it detects that no one is at home.
  • It doesn’t “learn” users activity and automatically adjust temperature, but it can recommend schedules to adjust temperatures for more efficient energy usage… like Alexa Hunches (see Amazon Expanding Its Smart Home Services Business)
  • And, most interesting to us it uses Google’s new HVAC monitoring technology to notify a user if something isn’t working properly and can recommend a professional who is able to fix it. Nest says,” There will be issues that your thermostat won’t catch—but over time and through your feedback, Nest thermostats will get smarter and better at detecting more and more possible problems.”

Predictive Analytics Will Spur Smart Home Growth

I don’t want to go hyperbolic here, but we at Strategy Analytics see predictive analytics as moving the smart home toward the Intelligent Home. Controlling devices remotely with a smartphone app is often convenient, efficient and… cool, but it’s not really a smart activity. Yes, we classify devices that can be controlled remotely as smart, but we’re on the lookout for really smart or intelligent activities and Google’s new thermostat appears to fall into this more advanced category. We haven’t reviewed its capabilities in detail, but we will.

My colleague Jack Narcotta has delved into the subject of predictive analytics in an insightful report Predictive Analytics: Powering the Shift from Smart Home to Intelligent Home he published about a year ago. If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth a read given current trends in the smart home market. In the report Jack details some of the initiatives of companies such as Resideo and Trane in this same HVAC space. It’s interesting to see Google jump into this sector.

But Google’s interest (IMHO) has nothing to do with the HVAC market; it has all to do with the DATA! Of course Google will use the data it collects for advertising purposes, but can also employ it to benefit their device users as it is with the new Nest thermostat.  Google states:  “If your Nest Thermostat notices that something’s not right, it sends an alert via the Home app or email. From there, you can schedule a visit from a qualified technician through our partner Handy to find someone in your area with preferred pricing, flexible online scheduling and money-back guarantee. This feature will start rolling out to all eligible Nest thermostats in the U.S. and Canada later this month with the ability to book a pro available in most markets.”

The basic value proposition of the Smart Home is: Simplifying People’s Lives! I believe that products like the new Nest thermostat are beginning to address this value proposition which Google refers to the “helpful home”. As one who has experienced HVAC problems over the years, this feature can simplify my life and this is why I think Nest’s new non-learning thermostat is important to the Smart Home.




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