Smart home stalwart Nest has announced two new features aimed at helping families coordinate their activities and ensuring that nobody is left “in the dark.”
The Alphabet-owned company has today lifted the lid on Family Accounts, which lets up to 10 people in the same household connect to the Nest app with their own credentials, rather than having to share login details. In effect, this means that everyone living under the same roof can take control of the thermostat, view live video streams, receive alerts, and view stats in the monthly report. The new family-focused accounts also serve the second of the new features that’s being unveiled today — Home/Away Assist.
With Home/Away Assist, Nest uses its backend smarts (read: algorithms), existing activity sensor data, and the location data from the multiple phones that are signed up to Family Account to detect whether someone is home or away with greater accuracy. For example, rather than a thermostat switching off when the main account-holder leaves home with their smartphone, it now has more data at its disposal and will only switch to “Away” if everyone in the house is out. While it could do that before with activity sensors, the feature obviously didn’t work if somebody was in a room without sensors.
So rather relying on geofencing and data from a single phone’s location — which doesn’t always work well in a busy household — and the activity sensors, Nest is upping the number of data points at its disposal.
“We’ve wanted to do Home/Away Assist for a long time now,” explained Michele Turner, head of product marketing, apps, and services at Nest. “But more importantly, we wanted to do it right, by combining sensor data, algorithms, and multiple phones. We think we’ve nailed it.”
While this update has direct ramifications for Nest’s own suite of products, which includes thermostats and video cameras, Nest’s platform is also open to third-party developers, so today’s news has ramifications for an array of smart home products — from keyless locks to home lighting. Just imagine — now when you leave home with your smartphone in tow, everyone else in the house doesn’t have to be plunged into darkness.
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