Now, let’s get down to business and discuss the birds and the bees…
When it comes to heating your home, your first decision will likely centre around which company to entrust your warmth and comfort to. In the smart thermostats sphere, there are two brands that dominate – Nest and Hive.
It’s not hard to envisage that names derived from the animal kingdom, such as these, will inevitably spawn a variety of copy-cat companies in the future. Perhaps, in years to come, we’ll have the pleasure of reviewing the wares of Burrow, Den and Sanctuary. Or, my personal favourite – Sett...
The branding would be monochrome (naturally!), and puns around the simplicity of use would roll off the tongue with ease:
No more badgering your other
half to turn up the heating.
Sett it from your Smartphone!
However, the benefits of utilising smart technology to maintain your home’s heating and hot water run far deeper than clever marketing materials or trendy devices.
I, myself, flew to Nest. Having been impressed with other lines in their range – namely their smoke alarms, security cameras and video doorbell – it made sense to run my smart home ecosystem through a single app.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is a sight to behold. Gone are the days of tacky yellowing plastic with hard-to-navigate controls. The Nest Thermostat’s beauty lies with its simplicity. With its circular, dial-based design and premium stainless steel finish, it’s a welcome – stylish, even - addition to your hallway. Designed to simultaneously stand out and fit in, it has quickly become a must-have gadget for thousands of homes across the globe.
For many, the attractive design and easy-to-use functions suffice. But does it meet the needs of a life-long gadget fanatic with more than just a passing interest in technology?
The short answer is “yes”.
The operative word here is “learning”. The Nest Thermostat doesn’t simply do as it’s told. It tracks daily usage and fluctuates temperatures to provide the most cost-effective solution for your household’s habits.
During the first few days of usage, the Nest device will record your preferred temperatures throughout the day and night, and programme itself accordingly. If you go out for the day or away for the weekend, it automatically turns the heating down to a custom Eco mode, saving you money on your energy bills and looking after the environment in the process.
Many of my favourite smart devices on the market today are simple, streamlined solutions to the fundamental challenges that we face on a day-to-day basis.
My biggest challenge, as I’m sure it is for many, is a lack of time.
I work in a busy, demanding role requiring regular international travel. I work long hours and rarely switch off. However, I’m also a family man and treasure every second of the “free time” that I get to spend with my wife and children.
The prospect of dedicating even just a few minutes of that precious time each week to programming a thermostat or manually switching on an immersion heater before I can enjoy a soak in the bath is, therefore, not a welcome one.
In truth, even writing that sentence makes me physically cringe. It’s a prime candidate for a retweet by Middle Class Problems, on a par with “Too self-conscious to pay for Starbucks with the Apple Watch”, or “I need an emoji for having to clean the house before my cleaner shows up to clean my house.”
However, the reality is that those small moments spent doing trivial, meaningless or habitual activities add up over time and suddenly don’t feel so inconsequential. Especially when time with your children or focusing on your health or nurturing friendships is at stake. Setting the thermostat – as an action in itself - does not add value to your life in the way that taking your kids to the park does. In the same way, hoovering the house or mowing the lawn don’t enrich your waking hours. They are the necessities of adulthood which very few people actively enjoy.
So, what those clever folks at Nest (and Hive, and similar companies) offer is an automated solution to an everyday niggle. I no longer need to remember to turn the hot water on if I’m having a shower at the weekend – it remembers for me. I don’t have to manually turn the temperature down before venturing upstairs to bed at night, it does it for me.
What’s more, no matter where I am in the world, I can change the temperature or turn on the hot water in mere seconds using the Nest app whilst simultaneously reassuring myself that my home is safe and secure.
The word “nest” invokes images of birds incubating their eggs and sheltering their young from harm, intent on keeping them safe and warm. Likewise, the Nest range of products afford that same level of security and warmth for me and my family. Even more importantly though, they offer peace of mind and that, for me, is priceless.