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Nest - Smoke Detector: Winner or Loser?

October 9, 2013 | Blog


Is the Nest Protect Smoke detector as world-changing as the Nest Learning Thermostat? Has Nest Labs done it again with the Nest Protect? 

Tony Fadell, Matt Rogers and Nest Labs have done it again… or have they?  The Nest Protect is the worlds first smoke detector to combine wifi connectivity, voice warning (think siri on the wall), early warning, and motion sensing wave off for home safety and comfort.

Nest Protect(smoke detector) is a departure from their thermostat which was primarily marketed as a product focused on helping consumers save on their utility bills through lower HVAC usage.  Saving money being the primary motivator for people to purchase the t-stat in droves.  Nest labs’ latest product launch reveals the corporate focus of the emerging company.  It is clear that their long term visions is focused on home automation.  Yes, home automation is an increasingly emerging market however is nest’s leading edge too early?  Total home automation is attractive to a smaller percent of consumer than saving on utility.  Therefore the Nest Protect will lead to much more depressed sales than with the Nest Learning Thermostat?  This is value dilemma and deeply important for nest’s future. Their focus will lead to either Nest’s domination or disappointment.  This boils down to whether consumers will embrace the Nest Protect or just view it as something too expensive for its novel benefits.

Nest labs is exercising great wisdom by diversifying their product line to prevent them from being a one trick pony especially as other Thermostat providers narrow in on nest however is this expansion the right move?

Lets overview the product itself and see if the benefits are as compelling for the smoke and CO detector as the Nest learning thermostat.


Compelling Benefits of Nest Protect Smoke Detector

Mobile – just like the Nest thermostat the smoke detector connects to your home wifi.  The smoke detectors and thermostat can all communicate to ensure greater comfort (ie. not turn off the system prematurely by detecting you within the house).  Edward Snowden would probably not be a fan of this feature.

Nest protect -iphone app communicates with thermostat and other smoke detectors

Talking – Say what?!?! A Smoke detector with a voice? No you can’t have conversation with you’re smoke detector but it will tell you where in your house CO or Smoke is being detected.  Extremely useful especially when thinking of your family’s safety.

Pre-Alarm – Ever waved and upside down broom at your smoke detector?  The Nest Protect will allow you the opportunity to tell it that you are just cooking.  You can literally wave off the alarm.  Creepy but extremely useful.

Color – You have to expect with nest labs that they will attempt to go against the grain with their product.  Their Smoke detector is square instead of the traditional circle.  It also comes in two color options. Black and White.

color options for nest protect smoke detector – black and white

Value Dilemma for Nest Labs $129 Smoke Detector


Price –  Nest Protect is the most expensive CO and Smoke detector I’ve seen.  Average prices for smoke detectors are in the range of $15-$40.  The Nest Protect is $100 more expensive than the average smoke detector.  The argument then is that this is no “average smoke detector”.  Sure but compared to the Learning thermostat the price point of $249 was comparable to high end honeywell models but with much better look, feel and features with the proposition that you would save even more money with the Nest than with competitors units.  With the Tstat the proposition was a much more compelling value to the consumer than with the new improved smoke detector.  I believe this will result in lower sales compared to the Nest learning thermostat and adoption of the product will be limited to a higher end early adopter techy type consumers.


The Nest Smoke detector is an incredible product where Nest labs has once again redefined what a traditional home appliance can be.  Yet is this new market disruption going to create as big of waves?  I think probably not.  The value proposition is too weak for the average consumer.  Instead we will see the product purchased by consumers who are of a higher strata than a mainline adoption.

Thats just our opinion at Mission Air Conditioning. Let us know what you think.

Pictures on this page come from www.Nest.com



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