Nest this week announced an entire range of new products for the connected home. The security cameras and smart smoke detector sure are neat, but there's a much bigger and more interesting picture here. Nest has furthered the notion that APIs are the new tool through which businesses forge relationships.
Nest revealed four new products: the Nest Cam, Nest Protect, Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest app 5.0. The webcam records 1080p HD video, has better motion alerts, and has improved night vision. The Nest Protect smoke detector uses split-spectrum sensors to differentiate between types of smoke and potential fires. It can tell the difference between burnt toast and an honest-to-goodness blaze. The Nest Thermostat can send notifications when the temperature drops too low and communicates better with other Nest products. Last, the fully revised app gives smartphone owners control over all three of these devices.
The Nest Developer Program, Works with Nest, makes it possible for Nest devices to interact with other products. The program includes, you guessed it, an API so developers can incorporate Nest functionality into their own products, apps or services. This creates two opportunities for Nest: one with consumers and one with other businesses. Nest even gave us an example.
American Family is a Madison, Wisconsin-based insurance company. It partnered with Nest and offers its own customers Nest Safety Rewards. Nest owners can enroll with American Family and receive discounted home insurance rates thanks to the Nest Protect thermostat.
Insurance companies know that Nest Protect, which also detects carbon monoxide, can help keep families safer. Some of the new features include self-testing to make sure the device is functioning properly at all times. Moreover, the improved app gives homeowners detailed visibility into the health of the smoke detector and the conditions in their homes.
That data is also shared with American Family via monthly reports generated by Nest Protect. This way the insurance company knows its insured customers have a functional smoke detector in the home. Interestingly, Nest won't tell American Family if the alarm actually goes off, or if the Nest Protect loses power or Wi-Fi connectivity.
What does American Family get from Nest? Well, early adopters keen to connect their homes now have a reason to pick American Family over other insurance providers. Further, American Family is creating goodwill with its customers, which improves its prospects of keeping those customers over time.
This can all be pinned on the power of APIs.
The connected home represents a massive opportunity for businesses and developers alike. Apple, Google, Samsung and many others have created a growing ecosystem of devices, apps and services that all rely on underlying APIs so everything can communicate effectively. In fact, the Platform makers are counting on developers to jump in feet first and come up with cool stuff to make their own products more appealing.
This is just one scenario aided by APIs. There are countless others.