Nest Protect – A New Home Security Solution?

Posted by , , at 7:45 am

If you follow trends in home improvement or technology, chances are you’ve heard of the Nest Thermostat, a re-imagining of the traditional home thermostat. Nest Labs, the mind behind it, is now trying to do the same thing with another device found in many homes: the smoke detector.

Introducing the Nest Protect, a modern update to what many consider an unattractive, boring and annoying piece of hardware. Like the Thermostat, it features a sleek and modern design, which makes it very easy on the eyes. The main feature of the Protect is that upon sensing an emergency, it will tell you by voice, letting you know precisely where it’s happening. Not only that, it will also display different colors depending on the level of the emergency. A little bit of smoke from the toaster will be yellow, while a full kitchen blaze will be red. The device is scheduled to release in November 2013.

Nest Protect can talk, it can change colors, and it’s aesthetically pleasing, but what about the original smoke sensor? What exactly is wrong with it that required the need for such a drastic overhaul?

The Forgotten Smoke Detector

Ask any homeowner about their smoke detector and more often than not, you’ll either hear that “it’s just there”, or “it’s annoying.” That’s precisely the problem – most homeowners completely forget that they even have a smoke detector, meaning they forget to replace the batteries when necessary, resulting in a useless sensor. If they’re not forgetting, they’re completely turning off the smoke detector to get rid of the annoying beeps.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), almost two-thirds of US home fire deaths happened in homes with no smoke alarm or had a smoke alarm, but it was turned off or defective. The NFPA also reports that 73% of home fires, in which smoke alarms failed, were due to missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.

The fact that homeowners are turning off their smoke detectors – sensors meant to protect you – is a serious sign that something needed to change. Nest Protect is trying to do that by getting rid of those annoying beeps and replacing it with a soothing voice that will calmly explain the situation. It will also send notifications to your phone, so you’ll be aware wherever you are.

Concerns from a Security System Owner’s Perspective

There’s no question that the Nest Protect is an innovative take on a bland household device, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Take a look at the Nest Thermostat – it’s a finished product, but there are still a number of users complaining about bugs and errors. For a sensor designed to protect your home, you don’t want bugs or errors. There are other questions as well:

  1. How often will it go off due to false alarms? Often, the annoying beeps from the traditional smoke detector were set off by non-emergencies, like steam from the shower. As of now, there’s nothing to say that this won’t happen with the Nest Protect. There may no longer be an annoying beep, but that doesn’t mean false alarms are gone as well.
  2. Is the Nest Protect worth it? At a price of $129 per sensor, it’s certainly not cheap. Other smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be found for $100 or cheaper. Many states have laws that require homes to have multiple smoke detectors, so it can be costly to replace all the smoke detectors already in your home.
  3. How effective is a security sensor that’s not being monitored? That’s the biggest concern of ours when it comes to the Nest Protect. It may have the ability to talk and it may have the ability to send alerts, but none of that will matter if the user is not home or doesn’t have their phone.

For example: you’re in a meeting at work and cannot check your phone. You forgot to put out a candle and a fire breaks out in your home and Nest Protect is sending alerts to you. Unfortunately, you’re unaware and still have 30 minutes left in the meeting. An hour later, you’re receiving a call from the fire department saying a part of your home has burned down.

The Importance of Home Monitoring

When it comes to home security, you want to have a security system that is monitored. In the example above, a FrontPoint Security Smoke and Heat Sensor might have made the difference. Like the Nest Protect, the Smoke and Heat Sensor would have detected the fire and tried to alert you via texts (included with Interactive Monitoring). The Monitoring Station would have also been alerted and would try to call you to confirm the emergency. If you couldn’t pick up because you were in the meeting, the fire department would have been dispatched. This is the difference between a fire that did minimal damage, and a fire that burnt down your entire house.

Breeding Innovation

The home security industry can certainly take note of what Nest Labs is doing though. Modernizing common devices like the thermostat and smoke detector have brought attention to what used to be household afterthoughts. Innovation is key, especially in the home security industry. New ideas mean new ways to protect your home. FrontPoint Security will certainly be keeping an eye on Nest Labs and figuring out ways to incorporate similar technologies into our wireless security system.

The Nest Protect has some incredible features, but doesn’t do enough to improve the most important feature of a smoke detector: security. Nothing shows that the Protect is more reliable or safer than a monitored smoke detector. Sleek designs and cool features are always a plus, but not at the expense of protection. When it comes to security sensors, you need a monitoring station behind them. It’s always reassuring to know that someone is watching your back, so why should a security sensor be any different?

Comments (22)

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  1. Grace J. Manlapaz

    Having a nest thermostat, would security alarm be integrated in this type of device, if not what alarm system is good .

  2. MikeL

    I have to say that I like the Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat VERY much. In the future, If it comes down choosing BETWEEN a company that integrates that technology and one that doesn’t I would definitely go with the company that does. The Nest devices are just plain SMARTER than the other options available from Frontpoint. Frontpoint needs to start considering this soon.

  3. Manish Sharma

    When would FrontPoint provide Nest Protect and Echo integration? At this day and time, this is too late already.

    • Katie Rynex

      Manish, while we do not currently have any updates on the integration of Nest Products, we are happy to let you know that you can integrate your system with your Amazon Echo! Thanks for reaching out and please give us a call if you need any help setting up your Echo with your system.

  4. Ckburks

    I am already using Nest protect and thermostat and going to upgrade to the cameras soon. Are there any updates to integrating Frontpoint into it? I know alarm.com (our app) will work on their end according to commercials.

    • Katie Rynex

      Thank you for reaching out! At this time Nest camera integration is not available at this time but our product team is always testing new equipment to add to our system. If this does become available we will let you, and all of our customer know via email. Hope this was helpful!

  5. Robin

    I agree with the questions about integrating the Nest products into Frontpoint Security. We have been looking at Vivint and Frontpoint for years now. I have been against Vivint because of their customer service ratings but I love their equipment. I recently looked at Vivint again when a friend signed up and was pleasantly surprised they have improved, and even MORE surprised that they incorporate Nest and Amazon Echo since these are things we have in our home already. I am really wanting to go with frontpoint because of their ratings and history, but since Vivint will allow me to use my Nest products, I would rather go that route instead of having to replace such an expensive and awesome thermostat.

  6. kristen

    Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written much better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He continually kept preaching about this. I will send this article to him.
    Pretty sure he’s going to have a very good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Alex

    From what I’ve seen, Nest seems uninterested in interoperating with other devices.

    The one advantage they offer is, if your furnace is a forced-air type, the Nest Protect will tell the Nest Thermostat to turn off the furnace in case of fire to prevent the blower from fanning the flames.

    • Roy

      Not sure how much research you tried to do but Nest has a long list of systems and devices they integrate with including other security systems like ADT and SimplySafe. FrontPoint needs to play a bit of catch up here. If I were making a buying decision today from scratch this would be a deal breaker for me picking FrontPoint.

  8. BUck Jackson

    When is FrontPoint going to support NEST as one of their supported sensors? Instead of finding faults, why not let the customer choose? If they’ve already made an investment, it only provides more value but supporting what will likely be the top home automation company, now owned by Google.

  9. Eric

    The one thing Nest does that no Frontpoint detector offers is hardwired power. If you’re building a new house in an area where code requires hardwired installation (like my area), you’re out of luck with the current line of Frontpoint detectors. It would be great if Frontpoint would link to Nest Protect’s to allow monitoring and alerts.

  10. david tay

    In addition, if you look at the functionality of Nest protect, the pricing is actually quite good since it incorporates a heat + smoke + co sensors. Comparing it against the GE sensors used for ALARM.com, the pricing is competitive.

    The problem with the Nest protect is twofold –
    1. The real competition is against the unmonitored single function units
    2. It is currently very difficult to convince customers of the value of getting multiple multi function warning devices.

  11. david tay

    In addition, if you look at the functionality of Nest protect, the pricing is actually quite good since it incorporates a heat + smoke + co sensors. Comparing it against the GE sensors used for ALARM.com, the pricing is competitive.

    The problem with the Nest protect is twofold –
    1. The real competition is against the unmonitored single function units
    2. It is currently very difficult to convince customers of the value of getting multiple multi function warning devices.

  12. david tay

    The nest devices are readily integrable into alarm systems since the communication is via Zigbee or Wifi. The hooks are already in place. All that’s really left is for a forward looking alarm solutions provider to work with home automation device manufacturers to ensure a seamless integration.

  13. david tay

    The nest devices are readily integrable into alarm systems since the communication is via Zigbee or Wifi. The hooks are already in place. All that’s really left is for a forward looking alarm solutions provider to work with home automation device manufacturers to ensure a seamless integration.

  14. David Tay

    All the necessary hooks are in place for the nest line of thermostats, smoke/ heat/CO detectors to be integrated with an alarm monitoring service. It would be prudent to initiate efforts to inter operate with Zigbee and Enocean devices.

  15. David Tay

    All the necessary hooks are in place for the nest line of thermostats, smoke/ heat/CO detectors to be integrated with an alarm monitoring service. It would be prudent to initiate efforts to inter operate with Zigbee and Enocean devices.

  16. Stan Poe

    Seems like they (Nest, Inc.) may just be “onto something”… yet no “quite there” at this point. -Stan Poe / Biehler-Poe Enterprises, llc

    Oh, by the way… We love us some FrontPoint Security “peace o’ mind”! 😉

  17. Stan Poe

    Seems like they (Nest, Inc.) may just be “onto something”… yet no “quite there” at this point. -Stan Poe / Biehler-Poe Enterprises, llc

    Oh, by the way… We love us some FrontPoint Security “peace o’ mind”! 😉

  18. gd

    Why don’t you integrate your services with their detector? A great combination.

  19. gd

    Why don’t you integrate your services with their detector? A great combination.

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