You have to admire Nest. If you have no idea who Nest is do yourself a favour and follow the link.
They took one of the most mundane and least thought of devices in your home, your thermostat, made it beautiful, smart (as in saves you money), and functional, and gave it a very sexy app to manage it from your phone, tablet or desktop, anywhere. And they timed their product to leverage the inevitable trends of a world energy shortage, the "Internet of Things" and home automation, perfectly. Either that or they were just plain lucky, but given how well thought out everything is, I doubt it.
They didn't get distracted, they just focussed on one thing, kept the functionality simple (or at least the appearance of simple), and didn't look anywhere else till they had it nailed. And nail it they did.
Then, as of last week, they released the smartest smoke and CO2 detector I know of and made sure that it extended the functionality of the Nest Thermostat by incorporating motion detectors that help your Nest Thermostat know when your home, and when you're not home. Home means heat or cooling. Away means not so much. Energy savings!
I have three Nest Thermostats. Yes, I am a convert. I will buy smoke and CO2 detectors. Guaranteed.
What's next? Light switches that know when you're in a room and turn on, not in a room and turn off? Or maybe even better, know when no one is home and they need to make it look like you are? And now you have all of those motion detectors helping reduce your energy bill. What's next, not hard to imagine smart wall receptacles as well?
And then once you have the whole house set for motion detection why not just add an an alarm system that goes off if you aren't who you say you are? But now things are starting to get complicated and going in many directions all at once. Risky. Wait, they are not going to build all of it, they all announced that they are releasing an open API and will allow anyone and everyone to build on top of their platform.
What did I learn? I think it comes down to this:
- Reinvent the mundane and ignored (they are ripe for change)
- Make sure it is on path with the inevitable trends of the world
- Don't get distracted, keep your product simple, stay focussed, but have a plan to build on it
- Add to it, one step at a time, and keep building a platform that can feed your growth
- Open it up, so that everyone else can feed your growth
Thanks for the lesson Nest