Dana Wollman of Engadget on the latest talk of the town, the Nest thermostate:
According to Nest, the thermostat takes about a week to start picking up on your routine, at which point it adjusts the temperature accordingly. It knows, for instance, that the whole family’s out of the house by 9am, and that people start trickling back in around four in the afternoon. That’s all thanks to a collection of six sensors, which keep tabs on metrics like temperature, ambient light, humidity and motion — whether it’s fingers about to touch the display or people passing in and out of the room.
A very clever idea to be certain. We are definitely on our way to smarter and more efficient houses. There are a couple of downsides though. First off, it’s $250, which is mighty steep for a thermostat. Second, the sensors are in the thermostat itself, so it has to be in a high traffic area to be effective.
My grandma had her thermostat in her living room where no one ever went except when company was over. It would have been useless to detect ambient light and motion. I think the target audience for this will end up being people in small condos/apartments with money to burn.