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Living Thermostat from Nest leads the way for affordable smart home technology


All week, the Internet has been abuzz about a home tech innovation from the team of designers that helped develop the first 18 generations of Apple’s iPod, as well as the first three iPhone models.

The Nest Living Thermostat, like Apple’s aforementioned wonder gadgets, features an easy-to-use interface that allows homeowners to, in one week, program the thermostat to adjust to their schedule. Like other smart home gadgets and appliances, the Living Thermostat utilizes a WiFi connection so it can be controlled remotely by computer, smartphone or tablet. It also collects data based on home usage to self-regulate and kick in when heat or air-conditioning is most needed.

The Living Thermostat falls into the “smart home tech” category of appliances and devices, which by loose definition means it has the ability to collect data and adjust output based on user habits and remote control to help increase energy efficiency.

Earlier this month, Farhod Manjoo of the New York Times wrote about smart home tech slowly gaining mainstream momentum:

“…While much of the necessary technology exists, easy-to-use smart-home systems have always been the province of the ultra-wealthy. Economical D.I.Y. alternatives for the rest of us, including partial home-automation devices like universal remotes for entertainment systems and devices that control appliances remotely, have largely fallen short of the home-automation dream.

“The good news is that the prices on that other route to a smart home, customized systems installed by professionals, are slowly starting to fall. Some upper-middle-class people may already be able to afford a professionally designed setup that controls at least a complete entertainment system, or maybe one that controls a few items, like the TV, the lights, the thermostat, the door locks and, say, the coffee maker, while others may be able to afford them soon.”

What does that mean for builders? Prepare for a new wave of tech that will positively re-shape the homeowner experience. It should be a lot of fun.