Smoke detector Stories November 20, 2014

The Nest smoke detector may look decidedly old-fashioned if one Apple patent ever makes it into production. Apple has patented the idea of embedding smoke detectors into “electronic devices” and using those devices to provide a comprehensive response to a fire.

In response to detecting smoke with the smoke detector, the electronic device may issue an alert or take other suitable action. The electronic device may transmit alerts to nearby electronic devices and to remote electronic devices such as electronic devices at emergency services facilities. Alerts may contain maps and graphical representations of buildings in which smoke has been detected. Motion detectors and other sensors and circuitry may be used in determining whether electronic devices are being used by users and may be used in determining where the electronic devices are located. Alerts may contain information on the location of detected smoke and building occupants.

In other words, your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad or Mac could detect smoke, alert you, alert other devices within range, activate sprinklers, call emergency services and use the fact that an iDevice is moving or in use to tell fire crews where in the building you and your family members are …  expand full story

Smoke detector Stories January 20, 2014

Any data gathered by Google-owned Nest devices will be “transparent and opt-in,” says Tony Fadell

Photo: websummit.net

Nest CEO and ‘father of the iPod’ Tony Fadell has responded to data privacy concerns expressed after the company was acquired by Google, stating that there have not yet been any changes to the data collected by the smart thermostat and smoke detector, and that any future changes would be both transparent and opt-in.

At this point, there are no changes. The data that we collect is all about our products and improving them.

If there were ever any changes whatsoever, we would be sure to be transparent about it, number one, and number two for you to opt-in to it … 

Fadell gave the assurances during an interview at the Digital-Life-Design conference (via TNW). He also said that he was excited by the conversations he’d had with Larry Page and other Google execs when discussing future plans.

We were finishing each other’s sentences, and the visions that we had were just so large and so great, and they weren’t scared by them. We were both getting exhilarated by what could change and how things could change, and that we could have the ability to change those things together.

Apple senior VP Phil Schiller unfollowed both Fadell and Nest on Twitter following the acquisition.

Smoke detector Stories November 14, 2013

Nest app update rolling out soon with refreshed interface, Nest Protect compatibility, and more

The Nest Learning Thermostat and its companion iPhone app are receiving up new updates soon, according to a post on the Nest blog. The updated app will get a full makeover, including easier access to certain settings and functions of the Nest thermostat. Also included in the new app is support for the Nest Protect smoke detector.

The app’s new interface will make it easier to check or set the status of your Nest thermostat.

Pretty much everything you need to know is there at first glance:

  • The temperature outdoors, visible on the top left.
  • The weather, now with animated clouds, shimmering blue skies or swirls of snow.
  • A big button that lets you instantly switch between home and away. No more tilting your phone into landscape mode to set Away manually.
  • The temperature you’ve set on your Nest Thermostat. If it’s not currently heating or cooling, the thermostat icon will be black. As heat or AC turns on, it’ll turn orange or blue.
  • An icon representing all the Nest Protects in your home. If everything’s ok, you’ll see a green ring. If you’re getting a Heads-Up or Emergency Alarm, the ring will change color to yellow or red.

The update will also introduce new features for the Nest Protect:

  • Every alarm in your home will be listed by room name, and you’ll be able to quickly scan to see if everything’s ok.
  • You’ll see basic status—green, yellow or red—for both smoke and carbon monoxide.
  • “Last update” indicates the last time your Nest Protect connected to Wi-Fi, reporting the status of its batteries and sensors. Assuming there’s no emergency, this happens every half hour in a wired Nest Protect and, to save power, every 24 hours in a battery-powered Nest Protect. If there’s a Heads-Up or an emergency, Nest Protect immediately connects to Wi-Fi to update its status and send you a message in the app.
  • “Last manual test” refers to the last time you manually tested Nest Protect by pushing the Nest button. We recommend testing monthly—it can be a regular fire drill with your family.
  • “Battery life” just tells you if you have to replace your batteries or not.

Finally, the thermostat itself will be getting a few enhancements via an automatic software update. The new software includes features such as “quiet time” mode, changes to its heating algorithm to help keep energy costs down during the winter, and more.

  • Quiet Time is a brand new 4.0 feature that allows you to set times when noisy stand-alone humidifiers and dehumidifiers won’t turn on, regardless of the humidity. That can keep the house quiet in critical moments, like your kid’s afternoon nap.
  • Heat Pump Balance is getting an upgrade, making Balanced and Comfort settings more efficient and using multiple stages of heat for pre-heating.
  • Your Nest Thermostat is now smarter about when to switch between fuel types in dual-fuel systems in order to better protect your system and provide more consistent heating.
  • Your Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat can now connect to improve the Auto-Away algorithm and shut down your heating system if there’s a CO emergency.

The updated app will be rolling out in the iTunes Store in the next few days. The software update on the thermostat will be applied automatically.

Smoke detector Stories October 8, 2013

The Nest Protect has a nice glow :-)

The Nest Protect has a nice glow :-)

We originally reported last month that Nest Labs, the company founded by famed iPod creator Tony Fadell, was readying its next product for launch soon: the smart fire detector. Nest Labs officially announced today that the ‘Nest Protect’ will be joining the lineup with the smart thermostat.

The Nest Protect detects smoke and carbon monoxide and addressses some of the flaws of modern smoke detectors and of course connects it to your iPhone in the process:

Nest believes that safety shouldn’t be annoying, so they started from scratch and built a new smoke + CO detector, the way it should be done, with advanced features under a sleek interface:

· Heads-Up: Instead of just beeping at you, Nest Protect gives you helpful vocal warnings before conditions get dangerous. And if you have more than one Nest Protect in the home, you can connect them so you’ll know where the danger is, no matter which room you’re in.

· Nest Wave: No more climbing on chairs to reach your detector. You can silence Nest Protect by simply waving at it.

· Mobile app: Get low-battery alerts and Emergency Alarm notifications on your smartphone or tablet.

· Pathlight: Nest Protect glows white as you pass under it at night, lighting your way in the dark.

The smoke + carbon monoxide detector itself has a design similar to our Apple products as it resembles Apple’s previous generation Airport Extreme base station. I really like the idea of silencing an alarm with just a wave. Wrestling with a tiny disengage button in a commotion is the last thing anyone wants. Check out availability information and the official promotional video below:  expand full story

Smoke detector Stories September 25, 2013

Nest Labs, the high-profile startup created by “father of the iPod” Tony Fadell, is reportedly planning to set its sights on a hi-tech smoke detector, following the successful launch of its Learning Thermostat.

Former WSJ journalist Jessica Lessin cites “people close to the startup” as saying that the new device could go on sale later this year. It’s speculated that the smoke detector would also detect carbon monoxide, and would be offered with a subscription-based monitoring service. More mundanely, it could be silenced simply by waving at it (I’m probably not the only person whose cooking requires the occasional ability to silence a smoke detector …).

And the company doesn’t plan to stop there …  expand full story

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