From the horse’s mouth
Nest Labs have been associated with a room thermostat that is described as the “iPhone of thermostats”. This unit, which was available in the USA for the last few years, connects to your home network and your central-heating system This also allows for a continual “learning-mode” for its operation and your computer or mobile devices work as extra control surfaces whether through a Web front or a client-side app.
But the UK has a different central-heating-control need especially as most houses use a boiler which heats up water which is pumped to radiator panels located in each room of the house. These systems also heat up the household’s domestic-hot-water supply either through the boiler itself or a heat-exchange tank located upstairs in the house.
A lot of these systems are managed by a time switch located near the boiler as the main control surface and may not have a room thermostat, with the householder overriding or “playing around” with the time switch for the heat to satisfy their comfort requirement. This kind of system has become a challenge for anyone designing a smart thermostat that is intended to work with any residential heating system and I have previously wrote an article about a network-enabled thermostat system targeted specifically at these systems.
Nest have modified this network-capable thermostat to cater for the UK central-heating system by implementing a control module that is connected to the boiler. The thermostat uses a wireless link to control the boiler to provide heat as necessary. At the moment, it doesn’t have the ability to manage the domestic-hot-water function that these heating systems also provide.
It is released now with an installed price of GBP£249 or a “do-it-yourself” price of GBP£179. This has also been the chance for Nest to release their Nest Connect connected smoke/carbon-monoxide alarm which also implements a “dashboard” on your smartphone. As well, Nest releasing their online smart thermostat in to the UK market is the start of them “getting their claws” in to the rest of Europe where most countries their implement this kind of heating system.
Personally it is the sign of a trend where this year could be the availability of smart heating controls for the UK and European markets.