At the Terra Gallery in San Francisco this morning, the Google-owned automation company Nest announced a refreshed lineup of smart-home products: the second-generation Nest Protect and Nest Cam.
The new Nest Protect is a much improved version of the company’s intelligent smoke detector. It’s 11 percent smaller and packs a “split spectrum” sensor array that Nest says doesn’t raise false alarms, a notorious and well-publicized problem with the first-generation Protect. (Just in case it doesn’t quite work as described, you can now silence alarms through the Nest app for smartphones.) The new sensors confer additional benefits, too: Steam shouldn’t set it off anymore, and it can now determine the difference between fast- and slow-burning fires and dispatch alerts accordingly.
Better adeptness at fire detection aside, the refreshed Protect can automatically shut off your furnace when it detects carbon monoxide and will test its speaker and horn with a built-in microphone once each month (thankfully only when it thinks you’re not home). It’s designed to keep bugs and debris out and last 10 years, Nest CEO Tony Fadell said, and will go on sale next month for $100. It’s available for pre-order starting today.
The second-generation Protect isn’t the only new product Nest showed off today. The Nest Cam, borne of the company’s $555 million Dropcam purchase last year, is a revamping and rebranding of the acquired firm’s products. It’s in many ways similar to its 2013 predecessor, the Dropcam Pro but features a sturdier stand of zinc alloy and a magnet for sticking it on metallic surfaces. The Nest Cam retails for the same price, $199, and features 1080p, 30-frames-per-second recording with up to 8x zoom at a wide-angle (130 degree) field of view. It has a built-in microphone, speaker, and infrared night vision with a range of up to 20 feet. And it integrates with Nest’s existing services and software; you can view footage from the Nest app on Android and iOS and receive alerts when people exit and enter your designated Activity Zones.
Speaking of Activity Zones, Nest’s greatly enhanced its algorithms to detect specific activities. Don’t want anyone to raid the cookie jar? Nest Cam will “tell you when something out of the ordinary happens.” The improved detection ties into Nest’s new back-end subscription service, Nest Aware, which extends its capabilities even further. You can upload footage to cloud storage for safe keeping (up to 30 days’ worth), which Nest will scan and sort by “interest level.” You can also quickly save and share clips and configure any connected Protect smoke detectors to initiate recordings when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected. It’ll run you $10 a month.
Most of that management is done through the revamped app Nest demonstrated. Designed as a single point of control for all your Nest devices, it’s compatible with both older and newer products and is set to land later this year.
Nest’s new products give it an unprecedented look into the homes of its users, a fact it’s fully cognizant of: The company announced Nest Safety Rewards, a program that’ll provide a free Nest Protect and discounts (up to five percent) on home insurance if you have Nest Protect. You’ll have to share info with your insurance company as part of the terms, but Nest says no personal information is shared and you can opt out at any time. Liberty Mutual and American Family were named as partners.
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