Nest Protect: The smart smoke alarm is back

Nest, the smart home device manufacturer recently acquired by Google, has relaunched its smart smoke alarm Protect.

As the internet of things becomes everyday vocabulary to a growing base of smart home consumers, Nest is leading the way with its connected smoke alarm and thermostat devices.

Following a major safety flaw, the intelligent smoke and carbon monoxide detector is now back on the market for a reduced price of $99 (previously $130).

Wave your arms to turn it off

The original device worked with a function that allowed users to wave and turn off the alarm if smoke was detected. But when designers realised that users were also likely to wave their arms when on fire (and thereby inadvertently shut off the alarm), 440,000 devices was promptly recalled.

After all, how smart can a product be if it can’t tell the difference between, “Ok, false alarm” and “Argh, it burns”.

Smart warnings

“Burned the toast? Nest Protect won’t just start yelling at you,” the website claims. Nest has developed a “Heads-Up” function for its smoke alarms that gives users pre-warning about where the problem is and the option to ignore it.

The smoke alarm is also designed to work in sync with Nest’s smart thermostat. For example, if the device detects carbon monoxide, it can tell the thermostat to shut off the gas.

Do we really need all this smart junk?

“Connectedness means more way for things to go wrong,” IoT expert Claire Rowland recently told her audience at a Webinale keynote in Berlin. A smoke alarm that can shut off the heating in case of emergency sounds both useful and potential nuisance.

SEE ALSO: The successes and failures of the internet of things

There’s great potential for smart devices like remotely controllable ovens and smart heating systems. And with a sleek design that could easily be by Apple, it’s unlikely that Nest will have any trouble selling to tech nerds and safety fanatics.

But connectivity issues, battery usage and buggy software isn’t something many users will look forward to in everyday household items. By taking analogue products into the digital world, the Internet of Things has the potential to add a whole new kind of problems to products that never had them before.

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