What to Read Next

Nest and Google Launch Developer Program for Smart-Home Communication

June 24, 2014

The Google-owned company that has already made a name for itself thanks to its smart, learning thermostat wants to open up its software platform to other companies so that different devices — from ovens and light bulbs to fitness trackers and even cars — will all be on speaking terms when the Internet of things becomes the next big thing.

To ensure that the home of the future is truly connected rather than digitally segregated, Nest is launching a developer program that will let any company or individual access its software in order to create apps and other features that plug in to or interact with Nest products.

“The Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect alarm are already helping people save energy, stay comfortable, and improve home safety — but that’s only the beginning,” said Matt Rogers, founder and vice president of engineering at Nest. “Our goal has always been to bring this kind of thoughtfulness to the rest of your home and life — and that’s what the Nest Developer Program is all about. To kick off the program, we’ve worked with iconic brands like Mercedes-Benz and Whirlpool, as well as new industry leaders like Jawbone and LIFX, to build seamless, secure, and practical Works with Nest experiences for the home.”

Mercedes-Benz has already developed a feature that connects its cars to the Nest thermostat so that as the car arrives the thermostat powers up, and when the car pulls away it powers down. And, of course, the thermostat can also be accessed via the car’s infotainment system for fine tuning.

In a similar move,Jawbone’s UP smartband knows when you’re asleep and when you’re awake and can use this information to make the thermostat even more efficient.

As for Nest’s smoke alarm, Protect, LIFX, which makes connected lighting systems, has developed a feature that will make the lights throughout your home glow red when elevated levels of smoke or carbon monoxide are detected.

“When we first heard about the Nest Developer Program, we knew we wanted to be a part of it,” said Phil Bosua, LIFX founder and CEO. “Nest brings a whole other dimension to LIFX. Who would have thought by combining Nest products and LIFX products, we could help save lives?”

But this is just the start, Google voice integration will be coming later this year so that homeowners will be able to speak to all of their Nest-integrated connected devices and, of course, as more companies join the developer program, further integrations and services will be announced.

As such, much in the same way that Apple wants to make the iPhone the “hub” of the connected home, Google is looking to put Nest at the heart of the home of tomorrow. And the good news is that although iOS and Android are fierce competitors when it comes to smartphones and tablets, both Apple and Google are taking the open-source route when it comes to smart and connected homes.

And if relations continue in the same vein, then consumers will be able to buy connected devices and smart appliances with confidence, knowing that a device built by one firm will be on speaking terms with an appliance built by another.