Home Automation

Nest Partners Offer Remote Sensors, Optimization

Update (3/15/18): Note that as of March 2018, Stack Bulbs are no longer available for purchase, and the latest generation of WallyHome sensors (now owned by Sears Holdings) no longer integrate with Nest. Nest itself, however, has announced remote sensors of its own, available now for pre-order.

For quite a while now, we’ve been among those loudly complaining about how the Nest Thermostat needs to offer remote sensors. Sure, the Nest Protect can help your thermostat recognize whether you’re home or away, but what about addressing temperature variances from room to room in your home? Many homes have the thermostat located in an area that doesn’t see heavy use or traffic, like a dining room or a hallway. If your family spends most of its time in the family room, and that room tends to run colder than other areas of your home, then your Nest thermostat likely isn’t monitoring the ambient temperature where you want it to.

Several thermostat solutions are offering remote sensors to assist with this problem, either optimizing the temperature for specific rooms or normalizing temperature across rooms, by monitoring the temperature in multiple locations around your home. The Ecobee3 is likely the newest and most interesting such offering, now available at retail outlets including Best Buy and Amazon.com. But Nest, on its own, does not offer such capabilities.

Well there’s good news: Several of the Works with Nest partners—companies who have established certified integrations with Nest products—are or will be extending your Nest thermostat’s sensor network. Products like SNUPI Technologies’ Wally sensor network and Stack’s occupancy-sensing Alba bulbs are both Works with Nest certified, and they will help your Nest thermostat better maintain a comfortable temperature around your home.

Stack help Nest optimize temperaturesAlba. We talked about Alba on Home: On when the product was first announced last Fall. Stack’s Alba bulbs use sensors to monitor ambient light and occupancy so they can provide light where you need it most. And with Stack’s Works with Nest tie-in, your Alba bulbs will know where you are in your home and help Nest optimize the temperature for that room. Does your Living room tend to run cooler than the rest of the house? Or maybe the Kitchen is usually hotter? Just let Stack know which rooms trend warmer or cooler, and their sensors will help your Nest better optimize the temperature in your home so it’s most comfortable where you need it to be. Alba bulbs are expected to ship later this Spring (2015).

Wally sensorWally. SNUPI Technologies’ WallyHome sensor network provides you with on-site or remote insight into moisture, temperature, and humidity conditions around your home. And now that
network can also function as remote sensors for your Nest thermostat. Their low-power sensors can monitor the temperature in different rooms, giving you and Nest a better picture of your home’s temperature variances. You can set schedules through Wally to optimize the temperature for a particular space in a manner that meets the needs of your family. Wake up warm in the bedroom, keep the nursery comfortable in the evening, or just permanently optimize the temperature for a different room than where your Nest thermostat resides. Wally sells a whole-home kit for $299 with a hub, or separately, requiring at least one sensor and a hub.

In addition to location-based temperature optimization, both products also have the ability to help Nest determine if you’re home or away.

We still don’t know if we’ll ever see native [read: Nest branded] remote temperature sensors for the Nest thermostat like Ecobee and other products are offering, but in the meantime, Works with Nest may be your best bet for optimizing the temperature around your…nest [yeah, we couldn’t resist].

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About the author

Richard Gunther

Richard is a digital consultant with a life-long interest in consumer electronics. He has been immersed in smart home tech for decades now and hosts The DMZ's home automation podcast, Home: On and co-hosts Entertainment 2.0 with Josh Pollard. Richard looks at products through an experience lens, always seeking the right mix of utility and delight.