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Nest Labs revamps its entire product line: Goodbye Dropcam, hello Nest Cam

Michael Brown | June 19, 2015
Nest Labs launched two products today: its first security camera, a slimmed-down version of the popular Dropcam Pro called the Nest Cam, and a second-generation Nest Protect smoke and carbon-monoxide detector. The company also announced a software update for its Nest Learning Thermostat that adds at least one new feature: notifications when temperatures in the home drop low enough to freeze pipes. And for the first time, consumers who have all three devices in their homes will be able to access each device from a single app.

Experts say you check the status of your smoke alarm every month to make sure it's in working order, but no one actually remembers to do so. The new Nest Protect will automatically check itself monthly to ensure it's in working order, testing its speaker and horn and using its built-in microphone to ensure they went off.

You can also manually check the alarm using the app on your smartphone or tablet. For even more peace of mind, a new feature called Whole Home Nightly Promise will trigger every Nest Protect in your home to generate a green glow when you turn out the lights to report that everything is in working order, or a yellow glow if there's something amiss with any of them. This feature is available in both first- and second-generation Nest Protects.

What's missing

One feature notably absent from the Nest Cam is facial recognition. The ArcSoft Simplicam and more recently, the Netatmo Welcome home-security cameras can both detect human faces and identify who that person is. These cameras will send alerts when an unrecognized person passes in front of the camera, so you're not bombarded with alarming messages about motion detected in your home.

Today's announcements unify three elements of Nest Labs' connected-home strategy: Security cameras, climate control, and fire protection. Like Apple with its HomeKit initiative, however, Nest still has a long way to go when it comes to offering a complete  connected-home strategy, one that includes lighting controls, smart door locks, door/window sensors, and other home systems.

Nest won't try to reinvent any of those wheels, relying instead on third-party products that use its Thread low-power network protocol. I'm also waiting to see if the company will do anything with the awesome Revolv smart hub that it acquired — and promptly killed — in 2014.


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