Nest Introduces Intelligent Smoke Alarm


Today Nest, the makers of the smart thermostat, introduced Nest Protect, an intelligent smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. I heard rumors about the Nest Protect for a while now but discounted them. I wasn't sure it made sense to have an intelligent smoke alarm. But after thinking about it more and reading the information on Nest's site, I'm in.

I hate the smoke detectors in my house and the fact is, I just don't trust them. Thankfully I've never had a fire, but a couple months ago I was woken up in the middle of the night (it's always the middle of the night) with alarms blaring signaling carbon monoxide warnings. I played it safe and called the fire department, two hours later got the all clear. Needless to say I was done sleeping for the night and didn't sleep well the next few days waiting for alarms to sound again. The firefighters told me it's "very common" for these alarms to go off for no reason. Great.

A couple weeks later I tried Dan Benjamin's famous Bacon Method. Unfortunately it didn't go so well, the glass dish I was cooking the bacon in exploded and grease spewed everywhere. (Dr. Drang is supposed to be working on an analysis.) My house was filled with smoke as the grease burned off in the oven. Thankfully, no fire. Did my smoke alarm let out so much as a chirp? Nope.

This weekend I was dutifully changing batteries in my smoke detectors and something about that didn't make them happy and off they all went again. Ridiculious.

Will Nest's product be any better? I don't know, but at this point I'm ready to try something new. Nest Protect releases in November starting at $129. Ideally you'd have Nest Protect units to replace all the smoke alarms in your home. Nest will give you recommended guidelines for where the units should be placed. For me this would mean buying five units which is going to get expensive. However, this is a Nest product so it comes with some smart features.

First, the Nest Protect units will network with each other and connect to the Nest App to display the status of each room of your home and other information including the status of your batteries. Instead of traditional beeps, Nest Protect uses vocal alarms to explain the nature of the danger. In order to prevent false alarms (say from failed bacon experiments) Nest Protect will give you a "heads up" warning before going into full-blown alarm mode. You simply waive your hand at the Nest Protect to preemptively hush the coming alarm.

Nest Protect will detect the lighting level in your home and will glow when it senses movement. If you're running out of a dark house because of a fire, or just getting up to get a glass of water, it provides additional lighting. Nest Protect will also interact with an existing Nest Thermostat and shut down a gas heater if it senses higher than normal carbon monoxide levels.

There are a couple different versions of Nest Protect. Color options include black and white. There are also battery powered models as well as a wired version for homes with existing wiring. Nest has a model that is coming soon that will integrate with alarm systems, I'll probably hold out for that model. You can find more information on Nest's site. You can also pre-order from Amazon.