Nest Labs To Open Up Its Learning Thermostat To Developers

The Nest Learning Thermostat is about to get a little smarter (and perhaps the forthcoming Protect). Speaking at CEDIA Expo 2013, Tony Fadell, the company’s co-founder and CEO, just detailed an API that’s aimed at developers looking to integrate the Learning Thermostat within their ecosystem. Want one app to control your smart lighting, fan, security system and climate control? This API could be the missing link to a truly smart home.

The CEDIA Expo trade show is the perfect venue for this announcement. The show is headlined by the large home automation companies. Control4, AMX, Creston are the big draws, and attendees flock to the CEDIA Expo to learn about the latest in home automation. And now, with Nest, developers and installers can incorporate the swanky (and smart) thermostat into high-end home automation installs.

But Nest foresees a bigger draw for this API than just home automation companies.

“We not looking for just large companies,” said Greg Hu, Nest Senior Product Manager, adding “companies not historically in the home automation space. This is for any company or product helping to drive comfort in the home.”

He added that with this API, companies making web-connected home lighting or fans could incorporate control of the Learning Thermostat.

“Since we launched in 2011, there’s been steady demand from the developer community for Nest to create an API,” said Matt Rogers, Nest founder and vice president of engineering. “While we’ve always wanted to create a Nest Developer Program, our first priority was to build a great product, customer experience and team. We’ve defined what the Nest experience should be. And now we’re getting ready to open our doors.”

This API is Nest’s answer to the Learning Thermostat’s lack of Z-Wave or ZigBee wireless communication. Nest came under fire from the CEDIA crowd when the Learning Thermostat launched since it wouldn’t work within even $100k home automation systems. The thermostat wasn’t friendly with others. It wouldn’t talk to other home automation products using the legacy home automation protocols. This API could change everything.

In theory, with this API, the Nest Learning Thermostat could become just another step in a home theater macro or security system profile. Click “Watch a Movie on a Control4 remote (or Control4 iPad app) and the lights will dim, the projector will blink to life, the receiver will click to the correct input, and, for some reason, if the person wanted, the Nest Learning Thermostat could drop the temperature a few degrees to encourage cuddling while watching the movie.

“We’ve been working with Nest to bring our customers and installers a level of integration that previously hasn’t been available with the Nest Learning Thermostat,” said Eric Anderson, senior vice president, products at Control4. “For customers, the partnership means they’ll be able to control their Nest thermostats through any Control4 interface such as a remote, touch screen or mobile app.”

With long time Apple veteran Tony Fadell at the helm, it should not come as a surprise that Nest is following Apple’s game plan. The company released its first shiny object, improved upon it and released a second generation — all the while ignoring the outside noise. Now, some two years after the first generation hit, the company is opening up the device to developers in an attempt to create a thriving ecosystem.

The API will be released to the public in early 2014. Fadell failed to announce the Protect or indicate if this API will work with that product at launch.