Nest smart home: Everything you need to know

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Nest is bringing Aussie households into the smart home age.

Founded back in 2010, Nest is one of the biggest names in the home automation business – so big, in fact, that Google went and bought the company in 2014 for the tidy sum of US$3.2 billion. That purchase spurred Nest's growth and from its initial staff of 280 employees, the company exploded to more than 1,100 strong by the end of 2015.

Despite Nest's success, though, the company's smart home devices have long been unavailable for purchase in Australia. Sure, you could always get a friend to ship you one from America, but you'd lose certain functionality and have a tough time dealing with international customer support.

Thankfully, importing is no longer the only option for Aussies looking to upgrade their homes with Nest's smart devices. As of July 2017, Nest has launched in Australia. Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Protect are currently available to purchase both as standalone devices, and while there's no confirmation as yet, it's likely the rest of Nest's smart home lineup will hit Aussie shores in the coming months.

Curious what Nest's smart devices have to offer? Let's take a look:

Nest's smart home range

nest-cam-indoorNest Cam Indoor/Nest Cam Outdoor

Nest's smart security camera line begins with Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor. Both offer the exact same functionality – the only difference between the two is Nest Cam Outdoor's weatherproof camera head and longer power cord. That aside, both cameras support 1080p live-streaming of everything they see, letting you check up on your house any hour of the day no matter where you are in the world.

Of course, having to watch your house 24/7 would defeat the purpose of a smart security camera, which is why Nest Cam will send you an alert if it detects any suspicious sounds or movement. If it turns out to just be the cat climbing onto the kitchen bench, you can make use of Nest Cam's built-in speaker to tell the naughty feline off.

Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor are both available for $319 each.


Nest Protectnest-protect

Nest Protect is an intelligent smoke and carbon monoxide detector that alerts you to hazards at home even when you're away on holiday. Through the Nest mobile app, Nest Protect will send you a warning the moment its commercial-grade photoelectric sensor detects an increase in smoke or CO2 levels. Its sensor is sharp enough to tell the difference between smoke and steam, too, ensuring you'll face fewer false alarms.

You won't have to worry about Nest Protect's siren failing, either. The smart device tests itself when no one's at home, sounding its alarm and making sure its built-in microphone picks it up loud and clear. When the unthinkable does happen and Nest Protect identifies a fire, it'll warn you well in advance with a recorded message delivered in a calm human voice, giving you a chance to handle the emergency quietly before it unleashes the full power of its siren.

Nest Protect is available for $189.


nest-thermostatNest Thermostat

A Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat with plenty of smarts, Nest Thermostat takes care of the heating and cooling in your house for you. Once you've spent a week manually adjusting its temperature settings, Nest Thermostat will have assembled an energy profile based on your daily schedule and your heating/cooling preferences. From then on, it'll take control of your heaters and air conditioners and optimise their energy usage to save you money, shifting into power-saving mode when no one's home and dialling down the temperature when you go to bed.

Nest Thermostat is not yet available in Australia.


Nest Cam IQnest-cam-iq

An upgraded version of Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam IQ sports a keener 8-megapixel camera with a 4K sensor capable of up to 12x digital zoom. It also supports HDR imaging and can tell whether it's looking at a person or an object. When it spots a person, it can even zoom in and track them as they walk across the room.

Nest Cam IQ also features a more powerful speaker than Nest Cam Indoor – seven times more powerful, to be exact. The camera's listening capabilities get an upgrade, too, with the addition of two extra microphones and built-in echo suppression and noise cancellation.

Nest Cam IQ is not yet available in Australia.


Nest Awarenest-aware

If you're looking for even more peace of mind than Nest's smart cameras offer on their own, Nest Aware might be the answer. It's a subscription security service provided by Nest that adds extra features to all three Nest Cams, bolstering their abilities with online video storage and cloud-based image-processing features.

With a Nest Aware subscription, both Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor gain the ability to distinguish between people, pets and inanimate objects. Because Nest Cam IQ already has this ability, it is instead upgraded with the means to recognise familiar faces and alert you when it sees someone it knows – or someone it doesn’t.

As a Nest Aware subscriber, you can also specify activity zones inside any Nest Cam's field of view and receive special alerts whenever any motion or sound is detected within them. This lets you glean more information from your Nest Cam's alerts, making it easier to quickly differentiate between the harmless wanderings of your dog and a stranger walking in through the front door.

Nest Aware subscriptions come in two flavours: a Basic tier that stores the last 10 days of Nest Cam video online, and an Extended tier that stores the last 30 days of video online. While the Basic tier will set you back $14 a month, while pricing for the Extended tier has not yet been announced.


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Picture: Shutterstock

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