Nest Labs gets into talking smoke detectors

Nest Labs gets into talking smoke detectors

By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Nest Labs has a new gadget to sell & it’s another little-noticed, pedestrian home device: smoke detectors.

The Silicon Valley startup that elevated the lowly thermostat with attention-grabbing designs is now launching a $129 “Nest Protect,” a smoke & carbon monoxide detector that speaks & responds to hand gestures.

Nest – co-founded by Apple alums Tony Fadell & Matt Rogers – has embedded its sleek gadget with a female voice that warns users when smoke & carbon monoxide levels obtain dangerously high.

Users can wave a hand to silence alarms, & select to receive alerts on their smartphone or tablet, Matt Rogers said in an interview with Reuters.

“It’s really approximately finding the unloved & these things are incredibly significant that you cannot live without,” he said, when asked why Nest decided to work on a smoke detector. “Yet they don’t work. They are frustrating. They are ugly.”

Rogers said there really has been no innovation in this market for many years & is ripe for disruption.

The market for smoke & carbon monoxide detectors is three to four times bigger than thermostats, Nest’s first device that retails for $249, Rogers said. “We are again looking at the top end of the market.”

The new device has a battery life between three & seven years, & comes in black & white. It will first go on sale in the United States, Canada & United Kingdom. And the smoke alarm can be set to warn in either English, French or Spanish.

Nest Protect includes nine sensors to assist detect hand gestures & other movements. The device can moreover act as a low-powered night light that automatically switches on when someone walks under it.

The new gadget goes on sale in November at retailers such as Best Buy & Home Depot, or online at

Nest, which counts Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures & Shasta Ventures among its investors, employs a large number of designers & engineers from Silicon Valley firms like Apple & Google Inc.

It gained a large following with its first thermostat – a round, brushed-metal device with a convex glass screen that displays temperature & changes hue to match the color of the wall it attaches to. It moreover tracks usage & employs that data to automatically set heating & cooling temperatures.

Nest now has approximately 280 employees, up from 90 in 2011.

“It’s been an absolute ride,” Rogers said of Nest’s journey from a startup in stealth mode to a recognized brand in home automation.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Source: “Reuters”

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