Smart homes devices maker Nest is coming to Europe

8 Sep 2014

Smart homes appliance maker Nest, creator of self-learning thermostats and smoke and carbon alarms, is going to be selling its technology in Ireland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands within the coming month.

Nest, which Google acquired earlier this year for US$3.2bn in cash, is the brainchild of iPod creator Tony Fadell. The Nest team is on a mission to re-invent devices in the home, such as thermostats and fire alarms, into vital energy and life-saving digital technologies.

Since its launch in 2011, the Nest Learning Thermostat has been a consistent best-seller, and the recently launched Protect (Smoke + CO Alarm) has had rave reviews.

Despite Nest only being officially available in the US, Canada and the UK, Nest’s head of business Erik Charlton said people have been buying the devices on eBay and while on holidays, and the devices are installed in more than 120 countries.

One of the reasons holding Nest back has been ensuring sufficient service and engineering support is on the ground. Another is different plumbing standards and rules that exist between North America and Europe. For example, in Ireland, a boiling system called the immersion is pretty much a cultural obsession, so it would be interesting to see how Nest gets its head around that one.

“Soon the people of Belgium, France, Ireland and the Netherlands will be able to just buy the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm themselves,” Charlton said.

“In 400 stores by the end of the month, in fact, and more to come. And the Nests they buy will speak to them in the language of their home country.”

A forerunner for the internet of things

In the UK, Nest has expanded by 100 stores since April and the number of Nest professional installers in the UK has grown from 200 to more than 900.

“We’re also building our energy partnerships in Europe, and energy companies such as Npower are already including Nest Thermostats with their plans.”

Charlton said the technology – which is a forerunner of the promise of the internet of things – has been receiving rave reviews around the world.

“Part of it may be how the rest of their home connects to Nest – how your Mercedes can tell your thermostat you’re getting home soon, or the Nest Protect can flash your LIFX bulbs when there’s a fire. When everything works with Nest, suddenly there’s a lot less to worry about.

“And that’s the feeling we can’t wait to bring to Europe. This month people in Belgium, France, Ireland and the Netherlands can install Nest in their houses, chateaus, canal homes and cottages. The rest of the world isn’t very far behind.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years