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Nest Labs advances its Weave home automation ecosystem

Oct 2, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,387 views

Nest Labs announced device partners for its Weave home automation protocol using Thread networking, and unveiled a Nest Cam API and a “Works with Nest” store.

Nest thermostat

Google’s Nest Labs subsidiary announced more details about the Weave peer-to-peer networking protocol for home automation devices. Nest, which sells the popular Nest Learning Thermostat and other Linux-based home automation products, says it has added Weave to its Works with Nest connected ecosystem program. It also announced the vendors that will support Weave when it is released in 2016, starting with Yale and its “Linus” smart lock (see farther below).

Other Weave partners include Big Ass Solutions, Daikin North America, GE branded lighting controls, Hunter Douglas, iHome, Legrand, LIFX, Lutron Electronics, P&G, Philips hue, Rachio, Somfy, SkyBell, Tyco, and WeMo. Meanwhile, Dialog, Freescale, and Qualcomm Technologies will offer Nest Weave-certified kits and support in 2016.

Nest Cam

Nest Labs also announced an API for its Nest Cam home surveillance camera, as well as the first round of partners that will support it. In addition, later this year, Nest will launch an online storefront for its Works with Nest partners, making it easier to identify products and apps that work with Nest products.

Weaving with Thread


Nest Weave will initially be available in a version that works on top of the Google-backed Thread wireless mesh standard for home automation, an IPv6-oriented, 6LoWPAN-based alternative to the similarly peer-to-peer ZigBee and Z-Wave standards. In 2016, Google’s OnHub router will support Weave, which will also be released in a WiFi version.

Weave, which is already woven into Nest’s latest products, “solves many issues associated with connecting products in the home, including the ability to connect power-constrained devices as well as devices that require low latency and redundancy,” says Nest. Weave-on-Thread enables a direct connection from smart devices to Nest devices like the Nest Learning Thermostat without relying on the Internet.

Nest Weave conceptual diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Google and Nest initially revealed the IPv6-optimized Weave protocol devices earlier this year, along with an Android-based, IoT oriented Brillo OS that will run on it. Brillo was not mentioned in the Nest announcement, and would appear to be a longer-range project more directly under Google’s control, aimed at a wider IoT market beyond home automation. EETimes quotes a Nest spokesperson as saying Brillo will use another variant of Weave.

Third-party devices can use Nest Weave to talk directly to Nest devices with a simple software update, says Nest. Via the free Nest Weave or Nest’s cloud APIs, developers can access the sensor output of Nest products, including Home and Away states, smoke and carbon monoxide alerts, motion and sound alerts, and peak energy rush hour events. Developers can also integrate their products with the Nest app and apply to have them included in the upcoming Works with Nest Store, says the company. Once certified, they can gain access to Nest’s relationships with more than 40 retailers across 8,000 stores, as well as installation and energy companies.

Advantages of using Nest Weave with Thread include the low (less than 100ms) latency of the secure and self-healing Thread mesh network, says Nest. Thread-connected devices will continue to function even if a device crashes or the WiFi network goes down. Because the Weave and Thread technologies use a mesh network, devices can still run at top efficiency even beyond WiFi range.

Nest Weave is also touted for being able to run on simple MCU- and battery-powered devices with as little as 64KB of RAM. In addition, Weave’s security stack includes application-specific encryption keys, so even if malicious hackers break into one device, they won’t automatically gain access to others, such as a door lock, says Nest.

No, not that Linus

Yale’s Linus lock

The first Weave-ready smart device — the Linus lock by Yale — is named after company founder Linus Yale, who invented the cylinder pin-tumbler lock in 1843. It’s unclear whether the device runs Linux or a simpler RTOS, but it still seems a fitting name for a device that plugs into a Nest product line that runs on Linus Torvalds’ open source OS. In fact, Linux plays a major role in just about all the home automation ecosystems except for Apple’s HomeKit, from Qualcomm’s Alljoyn framework to Samsung’s SmartThings.

Due to ship sometime in 2016, the Linus lock will let users use their mobile Nest app to remotely lock and unlock a door, or see if the door is open or closed. They can also set up passcodes providing different levels of access, and check on who is coming or going. Linus can send safety and security alerts as well as daily, weekly and monthly home access history reports, says Nest.

Nest Cam API


Nest’s new camera API enables developers to connect devices to the Nest Cam home surveillance camera, a major redesign of the Dropcam Pro that was announced in June along with a second generation Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. The first round of partners include August, Mimo, Petnet, Philips, and Skybell, all of which will ship products with the Nest Cam API later this month.

The APIs will enable the same level of integration with the Nest Cam already provided with other Nest products. For example, the Mimo connected baby onesie will turn on Nest Cam when the baby wakes up. The Skybell and the Philips hue lights can be queued up with the Nest Cam’s motion detector to start recording video using the Skybell doorbell camera, or turn off the hue lights or when it appears no one is home.

Further information

The Yale Linus lock and Nest Weave compatible products will ship in 2016. More information on Linus may be found at the Yale Linus teaser page and the Nest Weave announcement page.

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