Many of you may know that I am a gadget aficionado. I like to keep up with the latest trends and gadgets and check them out. Often times, after the initial fanfare is over and the early adopters (or pioneers) grab them, we find out that they aren’t ready for prime time. But, we are up for the bumps, bugs, and updates needed to get them into their final form.
On the gadget roundup piece that I wrote last year I highlighted a great gadget that has gone mainstream; the Nest thermostat. For those who have not heard of it, the Nest thermostat connects via wifi to your home network for remote control capabilities and learns your habits of turning the temperature up and down to save you energy. I bought in and have four Nest thermostats in my home and one at my office in Milwaukee. Since my initial purchase, the Nest II has come out with more features and a thinner profile.
I was a bit surprised this week when I received an e-mail with Nest’s latest product, the Nest Protect, a smoke and carbon monoxide detector. With features such as remote control, spoken alarms, interconnectivity, and ongoing monitoring, it sounds like a great step for Nest. Thinking about it more, a few things concerned me. Technology is a powerful tool, but in all reality sometimes technology doesn’t work.
Being a firefighter for my local town for the past seven years has taught me that working smoke detectors and an escape plan are the best things families can do to survive a fire in their homes. I am sure Nest Protect can play into that to make some of the annoyances of the smoke detectors of today a bit more livable. They did the same thinking with the creation of their thermostat; totally reinventing something that was a commodity to become a market leader.
The issue here is that now your life will depend on this new reinvention of the smoke and carbon monoxide detector. I know that the Nest Protect has been thoroughly tested and certified, but at the same time, I think about using technology for technology’s sake. Something looking great on paper may lose its luster once you think it through. And at $129/ detector, outfitting your home may not be a cheap undertaking.
It will be interesting to see if Nest Protect hits the market in the same way as their thermostat offering. My guess is that people may think twice given the price point and the life safety aspects. Technology is a great thing when applied in the right way. In this case, I am not sure it has been.