Since Google’s acquisition of Nest, the home technology company has somewhat stalled, both in terms of releasing new products and developing existing ones. Now, despite a joint venture with home security experts Yale being announced nearly 12 months ago, their first product together, the Linus Lock, has been postponed until 2017.
While this certainly isn’t the first tech product to experience a delay, given the current situation at Nest it is slightly worrying. And despite Nest’s initial fanfare about the partnership, only a solitary Facebook post from Yale’s Real Living page, and a graphic update on the official Linus Lock minisite have acknowledged the change.
Nest has long boasted of its extensive catalogue of ‘Works with Nest’ partners – and while a few are genuinely useful collaborations – unfortunately most are lacklustre to say the least. The problem is simple: Nest only really has one main interactive ability – motion-sensing through its flagship thermostat. And with that only comes two variables, a user can either be ‘Home’ and ‘Away’ from their house.
So when it comes to interacting with other products, the options are severely limited. The Linus Lock is the perfect example; while the promo video looks great, in reality the only useful additional feature that differs from Yale’s other smart locks is that your Nest can tell the lock that it thinks you are ‘Away’ and lock the house. Great, but hardly revolutionary.
Nest also claims it will also allow the Linus Lock to “show a caution symbol” if there is Carbon Monoxide detected by any of your Nest Protect smoke alarms, a feature made fairly redundant by the fact that you should already have had several warnings on your Nest app long before you reached your front door.
Indeed, all the main features of the Linus Lock come solely from Yale, not Nest – keyless locking of your house; monitoring who comes and goes; setting temporary passwords for visitors – the Nest integration seems virtually irrelevant. Yes, you will be able do certain things through the Nest app, but when you already have the Yale app, why bother?
Which brings us to the real worrying question – for such a simple product integration, why the huge delay? The current Yale smart locks already integrate with Samsung’s SmartThings, so there’s already a firm precedent there. Unfortunately for Nest, it looks like just another stumbling block in escaping the recent rapid decline. Certainly the critics that say the company has started lacking innovation are looking evermore correct.
The wider problem for Nest is becoming fast apparent – despite having three excellent products, it’s clear that in a world where users are desperate for cohesion and simplicity, a thermostat, smoke alarms and security cameras have very little that connect them in the every-growing smart home setup. As stand-alone products they lead their individual fields, but as a cohesive trio they lack any real useful integration, seemingly missing the other home security products that would tie the package together.
Quite what fills this huge gap remains to be seen, but given Nest chooses to remain apart from Samsung’s SmartThings and Apple’s HomeKit they could soon find themselves as a peripheral company rather than a market innovator and all-in-one smart home platform, if things don’t change quickly.