NEST Waving Goodbye To Protect – For Now

NEST Labs has asked all retailers and installers to stop selling their Protect family of smoke/co alarms immediately.  Why?  One of the features of the NEST Protect, is the ability to quickly and easily silence a nuisance alarm by simply waving one’s hands, rather than having to find a ladder or madly waive a towel around and run for the doors.  Apparently however, according to their CEO, there is a very remote possibility that this WAVE feature could be activated during a real emergency.  No reports of this happening in the field, but as a preventative measure they have automatically deactivated this feature on any units that are installed and connected to their cloud portal, and are advising everyone to turn off the feature or connect to the cloud to have it automatically deactivated.

NEST Labs CEO Tony Fadell posted the following statement on their web page.

Bravo to NEST for being safety conscious.  The question in my mind, is exactly how does this get accidentally activated?  Is it from someone madly screaming and yelling, and running for the doors?  Or perhaps waving for help from a window?  Surely at that point, we know there’s a fire right?   Or is it something else like the heat of the fire itself creating a ‘fake wave’.  I guess time will tell.  NEST says they will re-launch the product when they are 100% sure that this feature is working as planned.

NEST Labs is known for taking ordinary products like a thermostat, and giving them exceptional abilities.  Their thermostat has been a huge success because it was in many ways easier to use than a regular thermostat, but had the smarts to known when to adjust heating and cooling levels, how long it takes your home to heat up or cool down, what the weather is like outside, and it learned your routine to match your lifestyle and save money.  Their newest product, the NEST Protect, has been well received and combines a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm in to an equally intelligent device that knows if there’s just a little smoke (burning your toast?), talks to your furnace through the NEST thermostat, to shut it off it CO is detected and so on.  Simply brilliant.

The product line was so smart, that Google bought them for about $3.2B just recently.  No doubt this news will be fodder for all sorts of feedback and reactions from the press and the competition.