Nest Partners Offer Remote Sensors, Optimization

Feb 22, 2015 by

Update: Note that as of November 2015, Stack bulbs have yet to ship and Sears Holdings has acquired the Wally sensors IP after SNUPI stopped development and production earlier this year. At this point, we cannot recommend  Nest if you require remote temperature sensing for your thermostat.

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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  • Mark Swanson

    Richard, I love your show and listen regularly on Stitcher.

    I remember the interview with the EcoBee product management representative. You aired it just after I bought my Nest. I was looking for a way to return it as soon as I heard the description of the new EcoBee 3 thermostat. Ug!

    Do you have any idea when/if Nest will introduce a competing solution for remote temperature control? Now that our kids have grown and left the house, the only temperature we care about at night is our bedroom temperature. It would be great to switch thermostat control from the living room to the master bedroom at night.

    Thanks

  • Richard Gunther

    At this point, the only two available sensor solutions in the Works with Nest partner portfolio are Stack Lighting and Zuli—and both now only monitor motion/occupancy. Zuli’s is used to extend Home/Away monitoring, and Stack Lighting will do that plus allow you to adjust temperatures based on whether monitored rooms run hot or cold. Unfortunately, that’s the best we have for now.

    You’ve pointed out one of the weakest links in Nest’s offering, and frankly we’re astounded that they haven’t yet addressed this.