Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest, the company founded by the former Apple designer Tony Fadell has a new version of its “self-learning thermostat” coming out later this month. The main physical difference of the body is that it is 20 percent slimmer than the first generation. The body is now stainless steel allowing the thermostat to blend into the wall by reflecting the already painted color. Also, Nest will now work with ninety-five percent of heating and cooling systems in the United States. The compatibility of the thermostat will incline possible customers to buy this product, resulting in higher profits. Another difference between the first and second generation is now the thermostat is very easy to install. But what makes this thermostat different than all of the others? Easy, Nest has an expert system built within it.
This thermostat is bringing convenience for the customer to a whole new level. The new software uses statistical analysis to make the thermostat adapt to a personal system and environment. Nest programs itself and creates personalized schedules based on the temperature changes you’ve made and continually adapts to your changing life. After leaving the house, Nest will sense there is no one with its motion detector and will automatically adjust the temperature to avoid heating or cooling and empty home. People may say that $250 dollars is expensive for a thermostat, but in the end, Nest will save you money on your monthly bill.  
In my eyes, it is clear that the company values product leadership, but the product itself values customer intimacy. Having both value disciplines puts the company in a better place in the eyes of potential and current buyers.
Customer intimacy plays a huge roll in the way the product functions. The expert system has the ability to reach specicified temperatures at specified times requested by the user. If you want 68 degrees at 7pm, you got it. And the best part about this expert system is that it connects to Wi-Fi from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. If you wanted to, you could, change the temperature of your home while you are at work through the Nest app or by simply logging onto their website. I find this aspect of the thermostat to be incredible. I heard professor talk about something like this in class, but I thought that the actual use of it was far from today. Also, since the thermostat can connect to Wi-Fi whenever there is a software update, the thermostat will be able to update itself, yet again making things easier for the user. Nest not only wants to get to know you but it wants you to know it; so when you request to turn the temperate down, not only will Nest comply, but also will show the approximate time it will take until the room reaches the desired temperature.  
Another way the thermostat excels in customer intimacy is by using the Wi-Fi to check the current weather conditions at the location of your home. The thermostat is trying to get to know you, so it wants to figure out how you react and tour energy use to specific weather conditions.  Nest is looking to save the customer money; you could view it as an electric coupon for your heating and cooling bill.
When thinking about the thermostat and the expert system built within it I am in a complete state of amazement, and can only imagine what is to come in the future. Not going to lie, it kind of creeps me out how my thermostat could have some sort of brain, but that is the future, and we have to accept it. These future expert systems will be more convenient and help people save money and time, which is why I believe they will do so well once in the market.

A quick look at the Nest thermostat, isn't it awesome!


1 comment:

  1. Alanna, this is a very interesting topic, and one that can benefit many different types of homes. My family has a thermostat that we can program to alter the temperatures, day-to-day depending on our schedule. I have always thought this was neat technology until I had a day off from school in the winter and realized the heat was off and I thought I was going to freeze. On these occasions, I would love to have a Nest thermostat that would be able to sense that I am in the house before I realize I need to change the temperature when it is already too late. I am a little skeptical, however, about how this thermostat can be in one room and sense that a person is in the opposite side of the house, but if it works, I definitely think this product will be a great investment for people with irregular schedules to consider.

    Along with Nest’s feature to recognize that a person is the house, maybe this technology could use it’s Wifi capabilities to notify the owner, on his or her smartphone, that someone is in the house at a certain time when no one is expected to be there. This could be useful in the case of a house burglary.

    Also, another great feature of this product is its ability to take into account outside weather that goes against the seasonal norm. For instance, even though we started having a few cold weeks in the dorms on campus, the heat would not be turned on because the temperature was not consistently cold yet. This resulted in many nights of sleeping in sweatpants, sweatshirts, winter socks, and extra blankets because the AC made our room colder than outside. If Loyola had this technology, it might have been easier to predict that the weather was going to get cold and prepare accordingly, instead of waiting until it happened and not being able to do anything about it.

    Similarly, with Hurricane Sandy’s approach, Nest would be a great asset to have. Because this is such an irregular weather pattern than we have experienced in the last few weeks, having a thermostat adjust itself can be so much easier than someone forgetting to make a change and suffering the consequences later.

    One more feature that I thought was very unique is Nest’s smartphone and wifi capabilities. This is being seen with many new products on the market today, but being able to control your thermostat using your phone is pretty awesome. For a family whose tech-savvy person travels a lot, having this is great. My mom always struggles with technology, including our thermostat. She never knows if changing it had any effect. So, it would be very beneficial if my dad had a way to change this while he was away on business. Also, I think it’s great that Nest tells you the time a room will reach the desired temperature so that people know not to panic if 2 minutes after changing the thermostat, the temperature doesn’t seem to have changed.

    I think this is a very innovative product that will definitely be a favorite many consumers. This seems to be the new age of technology, so it’s very cool to see a thermostat that is keeping up with the technological desires of people.