back to article Nest reveals the first truly connected home

After years of hype, the connected home is finally here thanks to a range of new products available this week from Google-owned Nest. Having announced back in September that it would launch a new smart security system, doorbell and lock, the company finally put the last two into the market this week, as well as a new, smarter …

  1. Overflowing Stack

    There are companies linking all these things together from different brands.

    MyAV is one example in the smart home entertainment side of things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There are companies linking all these things together from different brands.

      Inter-operability shouldn't be provided by the client, it should be provided by the protocol..

      The biggest problem with the current market is the larger brands are trying to create "walled gardens", with both Nest and Hive (the biggest names that come to mind), spurning the inter-operable standards such as Z-Wave and Zigbee - Just so they can rip customers off, for example, the Hive door sensor is £45. where you can get the same function from a Zigbee door sensor that costs < £10..

      As somebody who's played with stuff quite a bit, my advise is: If you like to tinker. check out SmartThings (Or a similar z-wave/zigbee hub, you can even script with them), if you want something that just works and are flush with cash, try Hive/Nest.. If your neither, then wait, this market has a way to go before its mature..

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: There are companies linking all these things together from different brands.

        ...trying to create "walled gardens" ... Just so they can rip customers off

        The walled garden approach is more about data gathering than hardware revenue. Google, Amazon, etc collect mass quantities of data from these in-home sensors and their various control hubs and smart assistants. Each additional sensor that they can access means more of that sweet, sweet user data.

        The real rip-off will come when they combine the above-mentioned sensor data with everything else that they know about you, and then use / monetize the resultant psychographic profile for their (and their "partners'") benefit, and to your detriment, over and over and over again.

        I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would willingly install a corporate surveillance device in their home -- much less an entire connected suite of them. Corporations exist for exactly one reason: to return value to shareholders. If data can be monetized, it will. (Spoiler alert: it can.) Anyone who thinks they're just collecting all this data "to improve your user experience" is (a) hopelessly ignorant, and (b) exactly their target market.

        1. K Silver badge

          Re: There are companies linking all these things together from different brands.

          Of course data has value, but I think that is secondary here - with Hive/Nest, the real value is being able to demand premium prices, but also the subscription and micr-transactions.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Abandon hope...

    All ye etc.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Abandon hope...

      i was more wondering what would happen if you put 240v rather than 9 into the terminals. that would certainly make the lock abandon all hope.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Abandon hope...

        I was wondering if you'd pop the lock just by touching the lock with a 9 volt while the AA batteries were still functional or even a car battery. Your idea sounds like a lot more fun.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Abandon hope...

          I was wondering if you'd pop the lock just by touching the lock with a 9 volt while the AA batteries were still functional

          In a proper design (I know, I know), the 9V terminals would be used to power the lock's logic so that the keypad/RFID/DNA-scanner/whatever can take input again and open the door. And ideally (I know, I know) those external terminals would be protected against overvoltage and reverse polarity.

          So your connecting a 9V battery to a still functioning lock would not matter. Now, 240VAC, or several tens of kV from one of those piezo-electric gas igniters, a miniature Tesla coil or something similar, that would be quite a different matter ...

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Abandon hope...

        that would certainly make the lock abandon all hope.

        s/hope/magic smoke/

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like the idea of a smart home but I don't want the IoT internet angle. At some point I'll shift my arse and get some pi zero w's and look into building and designing something myself. It can't really be that hard to say detect my phone when I come to the front door and open the door (before anyone says security, I'll have an app with rotating keys on the phone using both wifi and bluetooth that creates a new random pairing once it connects to the wifi or something like that), camera's can be done through open source software, add in motion detection/sensors, door sensors, redundancy with a 4g connection/ups/battery back up and a bell box. I could even get it to ring me/text me if I'm out in case there's a problem. I can dream I suppose.

    1. Craig 2

      Re. I like the idea of a smart home but I don't want the IoT internet angle....

      Precisely.

      Integrated & connected home good....

      Integrated & connected to everything else Google already know about you BAD.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Re. I like the idea of a smart home but I don't want the IoT internet angle....

        whilst i might do something like that for my shed as a "wonder if", ill be sticking to a 5 lever mortice key for a while.

        we run a net2 paxton system at work and that thing is fairly buggy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re. I like the idea of a smart home but I don't want the IoT internet angle....

          Agreed, the only problem with powered magnetic locks is power or a doctor with a comb.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re. I like the idea of a smart home but I don't want the IoT internet angle....

        "Integrated & connected to everything else Google already know about you BAD."

        Yep at least Alexa and Hive are not made by a company that specialises in spying on you. No way I would buy anything Nest now it's part of Google.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Re. I like the idea of a smart home but I don't want the IoT internet angle....

          Yep at least Alexa and Hive are not made by a company that specialises in spying on you.

          You sure?

  4. jake Silver badge

    Doorbell as a cost center.

    The mind absolutely boggles.

    My decades old X10 kit can do pretty much the same exact things[0], cheaper and without subscription costs ... but nobody bought into that, either.

    [0] Sans facial recognition, of course, but rumor has it people are pretty good at that without the help of computers. YMMV.

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: Doorbell as a cost center.

      Do people go to peoples' doors any more? I mean anyone you actually know?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Doorbell as a cost center.

        "Do people go to peoples' doors any more? I mean anyone you actually know?"

        Yes.

        1. hugo tyson

          Re: Doorbell as a cost center.

          But are they ever actually *welcome* ? Unless you're expecting them by prior arrangement.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Doorbell as a cost center.

      Jake mentioned, "My decades old X10 kit..."

      You're reminding me of my own X10 Great Disappointment.

      I wanted my bedside incandescent light bulb to turn on slowly in the morning, like a sunrise.

      I bought a bunch of the $20 modules and a $100 standalone timer controller.

      Issues: Controller spent its days watching the AC power sinwave; any deviation from a perfect sinwave caused it to empty its memory. The Lamp Module would reach 10% by rudely coming on at 100% and then dimming back to 10%. Leaving it running at 10% all night caused acoustic noise and RF EMI. It refused to run at 0% without pulsing to 100% to get to 10%. All the tea in China couldn't get it to mimic a sunrise. The hard relay Modules sounded like a gunshot.

      The whole X10 system was a fiasco.

      Thanks for the painful memories. ;-)

  5. JakeMS Silver badge

    Soo...

    Not a chance. No way in hell am I adding this stuff to my home.

    Too many risks. Look at cars with smart locks, your car can be borrowed by a thief without your keys, they can disable the alarm, unlock the car, switch the engine on and drive away, all without breaking any windows or hot wiring etc.

    Basically, like this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szbZwjmu0H0

    Would you want that ability on your home too? I know I wouldn't!

    I love new tech, but this is too far even for me!

    PS: Nope, no Alexa and such here either.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Soo...

      Totally agree. I already have no need to punch noisy keypads, or fiddle with keys, and I don't need my phone. I have one encrypted keyfob to open the garage door and, while the door is opening, I have the encrypted thingamabob to shut down the alarm. Nice, clean, no panick and I do it whilst sitting in the car, so no sweat either.

      Oh and, by the way, my alarm keypad has never made a sound since I had the first one installed back in 1998.

      What else do I not have ? I don't have an unknown hack opening my house to God only knows who; I don't have the need to sweat about what happens to my lock if the power shuts down 5 minutes after I leave for a 3-day trip and, most importantly, I don't have Google spying on my every action in my own house.

      So I'll happily leave this "wonderful" new technology to all the people who think their lives will be better with it, but don't actually need it. And I will also be happy for the physically handicapped who will likely welcome a home system that they can easily control from one point, even if it means someone else might be able to as well.

      1. Richard Jones 1
        Unhappy

        Re: Soo...

        I have no idea about other people's insurance documents, but mine specify the nature and style of locks I have to use and none of them described in this write up appear to comply with the very specific documentation I hold. That is quite apart from the existing key fob controllers I already use in an otherwise very low technology almost 24 hour a day occupied house. As for equipping more than 10 rooms and about 20 radiators with thermostats and controls that could be disabled on a whim by the supplier, I am sorry I am not smoking what they smoke, neck or whatever. More to the point with more than one person in residence I can only imagine the potential for anarchy even before the network goes down

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Soo...

      "...your car can be borrowed by a thief without your keys..."

      Not that I would endorse these locks to any degree, just out of curiosity and for some perspective - could you tell me how many pins there are in your current mechanical door lock, and how many of them are security pins? Would one need anything more involved than a $5 bump key or rake to open it in a few seconds?

      1. JakeMS Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Soo...

        A bump key may work on the lock. But you see, that's only one part of the puzzle, how would you then disable the alarm that is now going off from the door being opened?

        Older alarm systems (non-smart) have/had backup batteries which in the event of a break in they would continue to go off even in the burger cut the buildings power.

        So aside from either:

        a) knowing the alarms disable pin code

        b) (in some cases) having the disable fob

        c) Going the spy movie route of cracking the code (which may take too long if you're a burger)

        d) Hunting for the alarms main battery box and yanking the battery out

        There is no easy way to stop the alarm. And the methods which you'd need to do so would take far too long from a burgers point of view, unless you live somewhere that no one can hear the alarm going off (They are loud, even more so when you get a power cut through the night which trips the alarm while you're sleeping!!!) and the alarm does not contact the police or a security company.

        With "smart tech" the theory is, like the car an alarm would not even go off if the system was hacked (one way or the other) because it's been fully disabled before it's had a chance to go off.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me get this straight

    People with too much disposable income are too lazy to even flick a switch and that is why a G-owned company will have 24/7 live video from any given door down your road - and people are paying for that, too. That leaves me with a question: Since smart butt-plugs are already a thing, why doesn’t Nest offer those as well? It would be so much more convenient than having to fiddle with the phone at all. Just squeeze hard and make all your surveillance dreams come true.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Let me get this straight

      a G-owned company will have 24/7 live video from any given door down your road"

      There are laws (not currently heavily enforced) in the UK regarding private use of CCTV that look out into public areas. I wonder how things will change if multiple houses front doors have facial recognition cameras running 24/7 and storing 5 days worth of video in the offshore, US based GooBorg cloud?

  7. DougS Silver badge

    Why would anyone PAY for a video recording "service"?

    The most expensive part of a camera system are the cameras. If you want IP cameras it is actually cheaper to buy a system that comes with an NVR (and generally ethernet cables for the PoE the NVR has built in) Add a hard drive to the NVR, and there are cloud options for viewing without opening any ports similar to the "service" Nest offers but its free.

    People are stupid.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Why would anyone PAY for a video recording "service"?

      swann have cheap enough cameras and dvrs. they arent bad as an off the shelf product.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Why would anyone PAY for a video recording "service"?

      If people were smart, half of the retail economy would not exist nor most of the financial industry.

      For that matter, a lot of businesses would be out of business. Which would be just fine with me.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Why would anyone PAY for a video recording "service"?

        @ecofeco

        If people were smart, I would have my jetpack already.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why would anyone PAY for a video recording "service"?

          @ArrZarr

          If people were smart, either we'd have killed each other until there was nobody left, or we'd have stopped trying to.

    3. Grandpa Tom

      Re: Why would anyone PAY for a video recording "service"?

      Rather than putting my security video on my own NAS. I installed my own ethernet powered cameras. Used the APP on my Synology NAS to record the video. I did not port forward the video but prefer to review video from my NAS.

      All video is available via Nextcloud rather than trusting some paid service.

      I have a bluetooth switch on my garage door opener so I can open it with my phone. Considered using a Raspberry Pi on my network to open the garage door but decided I did not want door security available in the internet.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Why would anyone PAY for a video recording "service"?

        Garage door openers are a solved problem, why did you feel you have to reinvent the wheel for that? Much easier to reach up on the ceiling of your car and press a button (whether built in or a little clip on remote) than to mess with your phone.

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Why would anyone PAY for a video recording "service"?

          I open my garage door manually - surely not the only one?

          Zero IOT lock / camera / thermostat etc tat in the house

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Did you ask Dave what he thought about that?

    With the company's smart IQ technology, it may even be able to tell you "Dave is at the door" thanks to facial-recognition.

    What should happen - you'll have to check if your in idIoT doorbell is compliant with GDPR in case Dave doesn't want to be slurped and stored in a Silly Valley data centre.

    What will happen instead - idIoT doorbells will connect to your Facebook photo feed to automatically find out who's there.

    I don't think Kieren is the right reviewer for this kind of tech. They are nice toys but the reviews need someone who will only dole out grudging praise if the security aspect is done right so readers can protect themselves from the oncoming privacy apocalypse. As far as I know, only Ikea does that (it works on a LAN without a connection to the outside world).

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Did you ask Dave what he thought about that?

      "the oncoming privacy apocalypse. As far as I know, only Ikea does that (it works on a LAN without a connection to the outside world)."

      It does seem as though not many years ago, the default would have been to sell an expensive "hub" that acts as the central control for all your security gadgets to lock you into an ecosystem. Now the default is not to sell "something" but sell a "service" that you first pay and arm and a leg for and then continue paying forever and a day to keep it running at full spec. rather than the degraded (or at all) operation you get if you don't pay.

      It's more like extortion than a legal business model. Not to mention that Google/Alphabet/Nest have form for effectively bricking their customers, even those who wanted to carry on paying. The more things change, the more they Revolv.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Did you ask Dave what he thought about that?

        Now the default is not to sell "something" but sell a "service" that you first pay and arm and a leg for and then continue paying forever and a day to keep it running at full spec.

        I blame MBA types for imposing that on us

        1. Naselus

          Re: Did you ask Dave what he thought about that?

          But it's in the cloud, and so therefore no-one understands it and it must be worth spending millions of pounds on.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Did you ask Dave what he thought about that?

        Now the default is not to sell "something" but sell a "service" that you first pay and arm and a leg for and then continue paying forever and a day to keep it running at full spec.

        You can easily see this just about everywhere: subscription services instead of buy once use forever. Software. Cars (private lease). Even home appliances like central heating systems. Just about the only area where I more or less prefer such a subscription is Renault leasing you the batteries for their electric vehicles (and only the batteries). Of course you can put aside that amount of money per month, saving it up for the moment you need to replace them, but if those batteries have degraded sooner than you budgeted for you still have to come up with the moolah one way or another. And as a getaway vehicle for a bank robbery one with degraded batteries is probably not ideal.

        Companies want a steady income stream instead of relying on just item sales. Which tends to become a bit of a problem when you're selling durable consumer goods; you can try to increase repeat sales by selling non-that-durable goods instead but then there's the risk that consumers turn to other brands, exacerbating your problem. So much better if you manage to turn whatever it is you're selling into some kind of subscription, especially if that locks the consumer into a controlled ecosystem.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Did you ask Dave what he thought about that?

          @Stoneshop

          Companies want a steady income stream instead of relying on just item sales

          The Man In The White Suite(1951)

          "An altruistic chemist invents a fabric which resists wear and stain as a boon to humanity, but both big business and labor realize it must be suppressed for economic reasons."

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Did you ask Dave what he thought about that?

            "The Man In The White Suite(1951)"

            He was hiding in your settee/couch?

            Coat. The white one that falls apart over time ----->

  9. handleoclast Silver badge

    Jumpstart

    Wow. Exposing electrical contacts to the outside world is a very clever idea.

    I wonder what would happen if somebody applied high voltage to those contacts. Sufficiently high to blast the electronics to buggery. Which way would it fail? One would hope it would fail locked, otherwise burglars have an easy way in. OTOH, that would allow a DoS attack on your lock (but no worse than superglue in a conventional lock).

    Except I doubt you can guarantee which way it's going to fail, unless Nest put a lot of effort into ensuring it fails locked in those circumstances. And even the best design might behave unpredictably if you used one of these bad boys on it.

    Note that the above device is intended purely for high school science experiments and not for constructing a contact electroshock weapon (like a TASER, but without the dart-firing capability). It would be illegal to use one of these to construct an electroshock weapon. So it's a good thing people can't buy them dirt-cheap on eBay. Ob Big Clive video (contains one of those devices, alcohol, technical stupidity, profanity and electric shock).

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Jumpstart

      to be fair, pouring superglue or epoxy into locks is also and easy way to bugger expensive locks.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Jumpstart

        to be fair, pouring superglue or epoxy into locks is also and easy way to bugger expensive locks.

        Which keeps the lock in the state it's in, usually locked.

        Zapping the electronics may leave the lock in a state where mechanical methods can more easily open it (if such would be necessary at all).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Jumpstart

          "...pouring superglue or epoxy into locks is also and easy way to bugger expensive locks." ...then... "Which keeps the lock in the state it's in, usually locked."

          Next day, the glued-and-screwed expensive door lock will have been replaced with a $10 doorknob from the nearest hardware store. Burglary takes two visits.

    2. Anne-Lise Pasch

      Re: Jumpstart

      Isn't it a law to fail open, so you aren't trapped in the case of a power outage (caused by a fire)? Or do all these smart locks have mechanical options also?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Jumpstart

        Or do all these smart locks have mechanical options also?

        I haven't looked, but I would expect there being a knob* on the inside allowing you to open the door and get out in any case.

        * meaning a protruding bit you can grab and turn or slide to open the door, not the person who bought this stuff.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Jumpstart. Knob on the inside

          That's a rude way to talk about your wife.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The question is...

    What does your Insurance Company make of all this ***p? What if putting one of these in makes your insurance invalid? Do they not advertise 'hey thieves, this twat has money to spend on this stuff. Lets get inside and see what else he has?' or words to that effect.

    I know that mine takes a dim view of anything connected to the Internet.

    That rules out 99.999% of this IoT sh1t then.

    I'll carry on with BS Approved locks for a good few years.

    And no, my name is not Dave.

    1. Compact101

      Re: The question is...

      So crap is a bad word but twat isn't? Surely it's insurance company that should be starred out :)

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: The question is...

        "So crap is a bad word but twat isn't? Surely it's insurance company that should be starred out :)"

        Twat is cognate to the word thwaite which occurs in many names from the old Danelaw and means a garden or cultivated clearing. It seems an odd, Pythonish insult "You are a garden or a cultivated clearing in a wood", but it isn't a rude word. It's a euphemism.

        The way that euphemisms themselves turn into rude words is something else.

        1. handleoclast Silver badge

          Re: The question is...

          The way that euphemisms themselves turn into rude words is something else.

          English euphemisms can be weird even if they don't subsequently become as rude or objectionable as the original word.

          As a child I was puzzled when told that babies were found under gooseberry bushes. Since we had a gooseberry bush in the garden and I'd never found a baby under it, nor did I ever expect to do so, I couldn't imagine why anybody would say such a stupid thing.

          It was several decades later before I learned that "gooseberry bush" was 19th-century slang for pubic hair. Then again, the sole "authority" I can find for that is a columnist in The Telegraph, so it might be wrong. Either way, "babies are found under gooseberry bushes" is a weird thing to say to a child, but if The Torygraph has it right then at least there's a logical explanation behind it.

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: The question is...

        As a colonial, "twat" just sounds too silly when people actually say it to possibly be rude. It immediately loses whatever impact was intended.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: The question is...

          Could that be because colonials (on TV) seem to pronounce it as "twot". It's pronounced twat, rhymes with cat.

          It does sound more aggressive if you pronounce it correctly.

          1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

            Re: The question is...

            It's pronounced twat, rhymes with cat.

            But that's the pronunciation that sounds silliest...

    2. iRadiate

      Re: The question is...

      Locks are one thing but Nest also want to be in the security alarm business and for that you need both the product and the installed to be EN50131 certified. It's a legal requirement. Check the small print in your contents insurance. I've just lost 8k worth of shit from a burglary 2 weeks ago and found my contents were not covered for precisely that reason.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The question is...

        My home insurance demands a multi-point locking system on both front and back doors in the small print which is one up from the 5 lever mortice locks they used to require. I would also recommend sash jammers for upvc doors and windows, not that they will help you that much as someone I know found out when they just removed the whole side frame of the front window to get in and take his car keys, if you ever need a reminder to make sure you turn your alarm on at night then that is it. Luckily he got the car back, always sets the alarm now.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The question is...

      "What if putting one of these in makes your insurance invalid?"

      I'm sure the vendors will be happy to sell you reassuringly expensive insurance. If you've bought the product and are already paying the subscription for that they know they can keep squeezing more out of you.

    4. Naselus

      Re: The question is...

      I think the idea is that this replaces your A-lock rather than your mortis. An A-lock is not really secure, since it's not inside the door and can be jimmied. It's supposed to be a daytime lock - you use it for just-enough security while you're in the home and awake, and are supposed to lock a proper mortis when you want the building to be actually secured.

      Of course, why I'd want to spend upwards of $200 for the sake of replacing a $10 lock I can only use when I'm at home is beyond me.

  11. IceC0ld Bronze badge

    who pays ?

    Who pays, as in, WHEN a house is 'compromised' as it technically won't have been broken into, just the security 'bypassed', will your insurance still pay out ?

    or will they use that as yet another reson NOT to ?

    as for cloud stored cameras v home based, I suppose the cloud based will keep the data intact should you be compromised, wheras your hoe based kit may actually just gwet hoovered up by the bad guys.

    for me, it's a no. far prefer to 'mess about' with keys and pads to keep my place secure - ish

  12. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Nonsense detected

    "...being able to tell Amazon's Alexa to play music or turn up the temperature... No more punching >>noisy<< keypads..."

    "Noisy" keypads.

    Yeah, because yelling "HEY ALEXA, PLEASE ADJUST THE ROOM TEMPERATURE TO 72 DEGREES" across the room is so much quieter than those horrifically noisy thermostat keypads, with buttons that are so incredibly loud that the local airport calls you to complain about the bloody racket.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Nonsense detected

      "Yeah, because yelling "HEY ALEXA, PLEASE ADJUST THE ROOM TEMPERATURE TO 72 DEGREES""

      But 72c will cause burns

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Nonsense detected

        "But 72c will cause burns"

        If you're going to try to correct somebody over your SI-centric twatness, at least have the courtesy to use the correct symbol. That's pronounced "°C". HTH.

        That said, we have a saying for situations where you're too daft to adjust the toy for local conventions: "Stupidity SHOULD hurt!"

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Nonsense detected

          72c may well burn (given c is speed of light in a vacuum, if 72c were possible it would probably feel quite toasty)

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Nonsense detected

            What "warp factor" is 72c?

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Nonsense detected

        But 72c will cause burns

        Ever been to a sauna?

        1. travellingman_us

          Re: Nonsense detected

          If your sauna is at 72 Celcius... (161 Fahrenheit) I hope that it's installed in a burns unit!

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            FAIL

            If your sauna is at 72 Celcius

            then it's too fscking cold. 90 Celcius is getting there. 100 Celcius is just right.

  13. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    The Smart Door Lock power issue

    A solar cell embedded in the lock's upper surface would help in some situations. As part of the design.

    If a couple of AA cells can last for a couple of months, then the lock's power consumption is pretty small. So a small solar cell could make a big difference, assuming it can receive some daylight.

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: The Smart Door Lock power issue

      Car doors have been able to get a power supply for years, if and a bloody big IF you want a toy like this for some obscure reason then do a properly engineered job, not a bodger job with feeble batteries.

  14. iRadiate

    EN50131

    Does nest comply with EN50131; a legal requirement in the UK. Plus the installer must also be EN50131 certified so you can just buy these off Amazon and install away not if you want to be covered by your insurance. A cursory google shows only a few select insurance companies in the US that will cover a home protected by a Nest system

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Software bug and everything stops working for a few weeks - like the Nest thermostats in a recent winter.

    You might pay a subscription - but I bet you end up with bricked devices when the maker decides to bring out a new range of products. Alternatively it will get divested to a competitor who soon makes it EOL - and then offers you new products for another grand or so.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      We are talking about Google here, they will discontinue the service.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        @katrinab

        We are talking about Google here, they will discontinue the service.

        Actually, Google & Facebook may know who the burglar is... unless the burglar turns off their handset well in advance of the act

        1. rmullen0

          Except when you turn it off, it is not actually off.

    2. rmullen0

      Speaking of bricking devices, this is exactly what Acurite is doing with their cloud based service that reads temperature sensors. etc. A product that they only released in September of 2016 is already being killed off and customers are being forced to upgrade. That is the beauty of cloud services. The corporation has the power to do whatever it wants, and you have no say whatsoever.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Speak with your feet

        The corporation has the power to do whatever it wants, and you have no say whatsoever.

        But that would require the customer to not be complacent (or downright lazy).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "like the Nest thermostats in a recent winter"

      Facebook fake news alert....

  16. bazza Silver badge

    The biggest problem with a lot of SmartHome stuff is that it is battery powered. Radiator valves, burglar alarm sensors, door locks, etc would all be significantly more useful if mains powered, for example by Power over Ethernet. Not only does that avoid having to change batteries, but they can have better communications, better functionality. A lot of the things I've tried have been a bit rubbish because the designers have been struggling to make it work on 2 AA cells for a month or so.

    So the sooner they start building homes with Cat5 cable run to every radiator, corner of every ceiling, outside door, window, shed, the sooner they can build things that work properly.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "So the sooner they start building homes with Cat5 cable run to every radiator, corner of every ceiling, outside door, window, shed, the sooner they can build things that work properly."

      It doesn't even need to be that expensive. It's not like you radiator needs to stream 1080p video. Twisted pair should be enough for the low data rates needed for most IoT devices. Or single wire I2C. Radiators already have a ground return path :-)

      1. TomMariner

        Look up Thread.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Twisted pair should be enough for the low data rates needed for most IoT devices."

        X10 style from a nearby power socket gives both power and signalling.

      3. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Radiators already have a ground return path

        They also have a supply of both mechanical energy and heat energy that are capable of being converted into electrical energy...

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Boffin

          They also have a supply of both mechanical energy and heat energy that are capable of being converted into electrical energy...

          That would require flow and/or a temperature difference between radiator and room. If the valve has been shut for a while then both conditions will be absent and you'll have a bit of a bootstrapping problem unless you have some storage element in the valve.

      4. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

        "...building homes with Cat5 cable run to every..."

        JBnb suggested "...building homes with Cat5..."

        I have some experience on this. I'll explain by way of some barely-exaggerated examples.

        New house wired with Cat5, but should have been Cat5e. Or should have been Shielded. Or should have been Cat6 Shielded. Oooh, look Cat7.

        New house prewired with an RG6 coaxial cable to the roof for a satellite dish. Too bad, now they need four such cables.

        Having learned the above lessons, living room TV area has three empty conduits installed, each tube leading to the unfinished basement. Total flexibility, YAY!! Wife then wants 'B' speakers installed in kitchen, but the three conduits are already too full. Should have installed four empty conduits. Maybe five. Or six.

        You CANNOT win.

        My next house will have a goldamn Cable and Wiring Tunnel (six feet wide, eight feet tall) running past every single room, with access ports to each room of about a square meter each. Then it'll be trivial to retrofit some new fiberoptic Cat73c cable, ...or a watermain.

        1. H in The Hague Silver badge

          Re: "...building homes with Cat5 cable run to every..."

          "... area has three empty conduits installed"

          I second that. When refurbishing H Mansion I had empty conduit put in from every room to the basement - has made life much easier. And a tip from my surveyor: if you don't know where your'e going to put the HiFi, etc. just run a plastic ventilation duct or something under the floor along the relevant walls, so you can just drill a hole through the floor, into the duct. Then pulling cables between the HiFi and loudspeakers, central connections in the basement, etc. is really easy.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      So the sooner they start building homes with Cat5 cable run to every radiator, corner of every ceiling, outside door, window, shed, the sooner they can build things that work properly.

      When a friend of mine was planning to have a new dentistry practice built, I advised him to run a silly number of empty conduits from a central utility room to just about everywhere to allow for easy installation of whatever might show up on the market a few years on, requiring some form of connectivity (network, power or even compressed air). This of course in addition to the planned power, water and compressed air.

      1. rmullen0

        What's the compressed air for?

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          What's the compressed air for?

          Ever been to the dentist? They run quite a few things on compressed air.

          Having a dentist friend has some advantages: no fuss about anaesthetics*, and all those grinder bits that are too dull to use on a patient (there might be some exceptions to that) still do just fine for working on electronics casings and stuff.

          * just don't accept that drink afterwards if you're the last patient for the day.

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      "...for example by Power over Ethernet."

      Bazza suggested providing power "... for example by Power over Ethernet."

      Well, if you're going to be running a cable now, then (for some applications, e.g. actuators, sensors) just dispense with the remote Smarts. Use the simpler old-school, hard-wired gadgets that can last for 20 years. The Smart control box would be under the stairs, or in the basement. There may be no need for Smarts at the remote end.

      I recently updated my Alarm Control panel from a mechanical key switch panel to an RFID panel. The first key switch panel had lasted over 25 years. The new wired-in RFID panel was $10 delivered.

      Once you're running cables to a given location, then there may be better faster cheaper options than wireless Smart Home du jour gadgets. At least in some applications.

      Just something to consider while drilling holes and pulling cables.

  17. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Holmes

    I've said it before and I'll say it again

    Like most of the IoT stuff, it's a solution waiting for a problem. There is a very limited use case where it makes sense, but for the majority of people they *already have* perfectly good mature technology doing most of this.

    I can't recall *ever* having had to answer the door when I wasn't in the house... and indeed, I've had *one* break-in in sixty years. The miscreants lifted a paving slab from the street outside, carried it up two flights of external stairs(!), and used it to batter the door down. It's hard to see quite how any of this new technology would have prevented that. As pointed out earlier - a local store of a camera is probably a simpler approach anyway.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I've said it before and I'll say it again

      "Like most of the IoT stuff, it's a solution waiting for a ..."

      As PT Barnum said, there's one born every minute.

    2. el_oscuro

      Re: I've said it before and I'll say it again

      Last week, the county trash pickup damaged our fence, and of course they said they didn't do it. Of course the fence was bent out in a way that only be done by some machinery like they use on the trash trucks. So we are going to get a CCTV system. No IOT shit. Just 2 cameras hooked up to a local DVR.

  18. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Connected Castle

    We have a fully autonomous system of Butlers and Footmen

    Says woman from Windsor

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Connected Castle

      Numerous lone intruders. Michael Fagan in 1982 was actually close enough to have been dangerous if so inclined.

      On the other hand in 2013 Prince Andrew was stopped by police who thought him an intruder

  19. Tim99 Silver badge
    Coat

    "Sounds awful"

    Marvin the paranoid Android.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Sounds awful"

      "Here's another of those self-satisfied doors. Life! Don't talk to me about life.”

  20. ravenviz Silver badge

    The only think I see of any use with any of this is saving energy by having better control of your heating when you're in, or about to be. The rest is just a solution looking for a problem which isn't there. Just imagine having to do things! We are all going to end up like on WALL-E!

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      The only think I see of any use with any of this is saving energy by having better control of your heating when you're in

      Every HVAC person I know says that the most efficient way to run most home systems is to set them at one temperature and leave them alone.

      When you turn off the HVAC, the walls and objects in your house get cold (or hot, depending on climate / season). This means that when the system comes back on, it requires more energy to return the house to the desired temperature.

      I have not done a/b testing of this on my own system; but I follow this advice, and my energy usage is generally in the lowest 1/3 among comparable homes, according to electric company data.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's incorrect. Don't heat empty homes, yes they take longer to warm up, but it's still more efficient to only year when you are around or incoming (which is where nest excels)

        Having run nest thermostat for 3 years now, it paid for itself in 18 months in heating bill savings (around £10 a month), I can literally see the jump down in my online usage account comparing several years of data.

        It's very smart about warm up and cool down times, and outside temps and forecasting z which is where there are huge savings to be had over dumb thermostats.

        The nest protect fire/co2 sensors are also superb. They of course work as offline dumb sensors and are very loud, and have regular selfchecks, but also added online notifications if something is wrong. This is a potential addional life\pet saver...

        Would I get a doorbell cam? Yep. Sounds like a good security addition, and evidence that delivery driver didn't actually ring the bell when they carded me..

        Would I buy door locks? Nope, of course not. That's iot clickbait.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          I have a Hive. Although I'm moderately happy with it, it does none of the clever things you said ( like turn on earlier, weather forecasting ).

          Having read their change logs, it does seem like they have a one man software department.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        When you turn off the HVAC, the walls and objects in your house get cold (or hot, depending on climate / season). This means that when the system comes back on, it requires more energy to return the house to the desired temperature.

        That bit is correct. However, there will still be energy savings because of the lower temperature difference between inside and outside during the time the HVAC is off. And energy loss is proportional to temperature difference across a barrier (walls, windows, roof, floor), so less difference means lower losses.

  21. Tromos

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Damn near everything!

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Very old quotation

    Against man's stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.

  23. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Devil

    what do you mean you don't carry a 9v battery with you at all times?

    No, but I might start to carry them, plus one of these.

    I also might want to test them regarding EMP hardening.

    As an aside, I expect a lot of people to carry USB power banks. If those locks operate on 4 AA's, so 6V, then a power bank with an adapter cable will probably be sufficient to revive a doorlock with dead batteries.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: what do you mean you don't carry a 9v battery with you at all times?

      So rather than a 2" x 1/8th" key that weighs practically nothing, I have to carry a 4"x1/2" power bank that weighs about 8oz.

      That's definitely progress.

  24. Rob 63

    buttons?!

    with one press on a smartphone?! who wants to have to do that? can it not use location based awareness with a sufficient degree of accuracy that it unlocks as i arrive at my front door? one of my favourite things about my hue system is the way my hallway turns on at night (it is quite dark near my door)

    obviously just pray no one ever finds out you have this system or they only have to steal your phone to also gain entry to your entire house and not even be caught on video nicking it all

    1. Sherrie Ludwig

      Re: buttons?!

      "with one press on a smartphone?! who wants to have to do that? can it not use location based awareness with a sufficient degree of accuracy that it unlocks as i arrive at my front door? one of my favourite things about my hue system is the way my hallway turns on at night (it is quite dark near my door)"

      We bought an under $20 bit that screws into the light socket, then screwed the bulb in, that has a light/motion sensor which turns the light on if 1. It's dark outside and 2. It senses motion. Use one on porch light and one on garage outside light.

      Use the visor-mounted opener for garage door, key on house door lock. Save bunches of money and no worries about data-slurping or subscriptions. Yep, first world solution in search of a problem.

  25. steelpillow Silver badge
    Devil

    "Smart security system"

    Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

  26. TomMariner

    One Ruling System

    The goal to all of this is of course that one closed system controls your life. Be it OK Google, Hey Alexa, Bixby, or Siri, the first design criteria is non-compatibility. The consumer MUST not be given the choice of the best individual product -- they may ONLY buy those that are compatible with their system.

    A generation ago there were "minicomputers", with the thousand pound gorilla being Digital Equipment. When they came out with what would be their final system, even the paper for the printer had to be purchased from them. IBM, who had been frozen out of that step in computers, left the system relatively open, even letting Microsoft do their version of the operating system.

    IBM and the rest of the "Personal Computer" crowd won, Digital went out of business.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: One Ruling System

      When they came out with what would be their final system, even the paper for the printer had to be purchased from them.

      EXPN.

  27. AJames

    Alternative integration services IFTTT and Stringify

    I've been experimenting with smart home devices in a small way just for interest: I have Google Home Mini, a Ring doorbell, a Nest Protect smoke/CO alarm, and a handful of TP-Link smart WiFi switches and bulbs. It has been fun and interesting to see what I can do with them, and I do find some of the functions useful. But I can totally appreciate the article's comments on the lack of multi-brand integration and the cost of going with a whole-home solution.

    There is some hope in the form of alternative integration services than can talk to most of these devices, not just local hubs you have to purchase, but free internet services as well. IFTTT is probably the simplest and best know, while Stringify is more powerful. I can for example have the motion-detector presence sensor of the Nest alarm toggle my Home/Away status at Stringify, which in turn controls the daily on/off pattern of my home lights. And I can ask Google Home to run any Stringify routine with a key phrase.

    However it does worry me how much personal information I'm giving away with all these devices. I have little idea how much data is being recorded and retained, or where it's going.

    I also worry that these devices are designed for a relatively short lifespan, and the services that support them could go out of business or radically alter their cost or terms at any time. This is a far cry from home improvements that you install once and then expect to last the lifetime of the home.

    1. handleoclast Silver badge

      Re: Alternative integration services IFTTT and Stringify

      This is a far cry from home improvements that you install once and then expect to last the lifetime of the home.

      My landlord, who also built my home, has a fix for that problem. He doesn't modify your smart gadgets to last longer, he just builds the home to fall apart sooner. Then you'll find that your smart gadget outlasts your home.

  28. rmullen0

    Anyone that buys these products deserves to be spied on and have their privacy violated

    The subject line pretty much says it all. Yeah, I want a thermostat that has a camera in it and a mic so I can be surveiled 24 x 7. That sounds like a great idea given how out of control and corrupt our government is. I'm sure the oligarchs a Google would never conspire and work with the NSA and other government agencies who violate the citizens 4th amendment rights on a massive scale already. Then again, anyone with a smart phone has already given away all their rights.

  29. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    Spy Cloud FAIL

    "Alexa, please notify the Cloud Spying Service that I want to open my front door."

    And of course, when your Internet connection goes down, your whole house stops working. Where are the community projects developing open standards for home automation that don't involve Amazon or Google or Apple slurping up all of the telemetry data from your "smart" home?

  30. DropBear Silver badge

    "For example, Nest has put a "jumpstart" pair of contacts discreetly underneath its Yale smartlock"

    You do realize that's an industry standard feature of every single e-lock of any kind that isn't a complete joke (and arguably of many that are), right? The two different ones that just happen to be on my desk right now both have it without making a fuss out of it...

  31. Cuddles Silver badge

    The future is disappointing

    No flying car, no jetpack, and now "the first truly connected home" turns out to be nothing more than a doorbell and thermostat that can talk to each other for no adequately explained reason. Where's my creepy voyeur robot house voiced by Pierce Brosnan?

  32. Karam

    Money for old rope...

    This article either illustrates the ignorance of the author in this field or is an advertorial for Nest. As the founder of a true integrated and highly connected home automation system (IDRATEK LTD) I can tell you that these products and features do not even come close to what 'truly connected' or 'integrated' actually means. Over 15 years ago we were already delivering something which approaches this description a bit more accurately. Having a single button or voice command doing nultiple things is nothing more exciting that an old fashioned construct such a 'macro' could achieve. The truly important objective of interaction and integration is automation - Things that happen by themselves in as much as they can reasonably do so without significant errors (leading to user irritation). To say nothing of reliability over years of use. The idea of having to connect a 9V battery to circumvent the occasional premature battery failure or having to have an external power supply for a security camera, whilst better than nothing (?) is risible and an indication of how much thought went into quick sales over customer satisfaction and other important factors such as security. No, this does not herald the onset of the 'truly connected home'. This has already been arounfd for over a decade and miles ahead of what is being described here.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Money for old rope...

      Be civil, Karam.

    2. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Money for old rope...

      Send me a product I can review and I'll be delighted to let readers know about it.

  33. jimbo60

    Which Dave?

    Sorry...I was thinking the correct response should be "Dave's not here."

    Then repeat mindlessly multiple times.

    Either way I'm dating myself...

  34. AmyInNH

    "Early adopters", aka road kill on the high tech high way.

    Quite literally, in Tempe, AZ this week.

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