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With Nest Weave, Nest Labs seeks to establish a de facto connected-home standard

Michael Brown | Oct. 2, 2015
The protocol enables appliances, thermostats, door locks, and other devices to communicate with each other and with Nest products.

Mesh networks aren’t new, of course. Z-Wave devices—light switches, thermostats, door locks, motion sensors, and more—also form a mesh network. And Z-Wave is the technology that Nest Weave will compete with most. Z-Wave has enjoyed significant success in the connected-home market, but one of the factors that have prevented Z-Wave from becoming even bigger in this space is that it’s a single-source technology. If you want to build a Z-Wave-compatible product, you must buy the chips from either Sigma Designs or the one company Sigma has allowed to become a second source: Mitsumi.

Yale Linus lock
Yale’s new Linus lock (named for the company’s founder) will be one of the first Weave-compatible products. Credit: Yale

Nest Labs doesn’t make chips, but it's lined up at least four manufacturers to support Nest Weave in its silicon: Freescale, Silicon Labs, Dialog, and Qualcomm Technologies (a Qualcomm subsidiary). Manufacturers are much more apt to incorporate a new technology when they can secure the needed parts from multiple sources that are all competing for their business.

Strong third-party OEM support

Nest is coming out of the gate with a strong slate of third-party partners that consumers will be more familiar with, too, including Yale locks. Yale, a Z-Wave early adopter, will incorporate Nest Wave into its new Linus deadbolt (named after the company’s founder, who invented the cylinder pin-tumbler lock in 1843).

One of the Linus lock’s key features will be a message that flashes on its numeric keypad if a Nest Protect installed in the home detects the presence of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Using a magnet, the lock can detect if the bolt is extended, locking the door, or if it’s retracted to enable the door to open. The lock can also set a Nest thermostat to “away” mode when it’s locked (I asked how the lock would know that the resident was leaving or locking the door from the inside, but Hu demurred). The Linus lock will be available in early 2016.

Nest provided these other examples of how the third-party products can interact with Nest devices:

  • August smart lock: When someone unlocks the door, Nest Cam will show an animation that can be viewed from the August app.

  • Philips Hue LED lighting: When the Nest Cam senses motion, it will trigger the lights to turn on to fool a potential burglar into thinking someone is home. In the absence of motion, the lights can turn off to save energy.

  • Skybell video doorbell: If the Nest Cam detects motion when everyone is away, it will trigger the doorbell cam to record a video clip. You’ll also be able to turn the Nest Cam on or off from the Skybell app.

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