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Hot on the heels of its recent 3.2 billion dollar acquisition by Google, Nest is already expanding into new markets in other parts of the globe. Today, the company is launching it’s infamous (and somewhat controversial) Learning Thermostat in the UK — the first market for the device outside of North America.
But making the jump across the pond wasn’t quite as easy as you’d think. There’s a reason this launch comes nearly three full years after Nest debuted in the states. In order to work in the UK, Nest had to rework the thermostat to comply with completely different voltages that those in the US — not to mention different home heating infrastructures. Unlike the “forced air” systems widely used in the US, UK households typically employ “radiant” systems, which in Britain mostly means gas boilers that run heated water through pipes and into radiators. This required Nest to build an entirely new device –called Heat Link– which sits between the thermostat and the boiler, and controls the latter.
And that’s not all they had to change either. In addition to accommodating the UK’s different voltage requirements and infrastructure, Nest also had to overcome a number of regulatory hurdles before it could sell to the UK. In the US, Learning Thermostats were basically ready to go straight out of the box, but in the UK, users will need to have the devices professionally installed. For this reason, Nest had to train a network of tradespeople who can help users get company’s high-tech thermostats up and running in their homes.
It definitely took some extra effort, but now that all the groundwork has been laid, Nest has a solid foothold from which to push into other European markets — ones that are similar to the UK in terms of home heating architecture and consumer preferences.
The new thermostats will sell for £179 for hardware-only, or £249 with installation included. Find out more here.
[image via Cnet]
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