Apple of their Eye
Nest introduced it’s thermostat to the world in October 2011. It retailed for $249, could be controlled remotely via Wifi and was easier to install, read and adjust than any other programmable thermostat on the market.
It boasted a look, feel and finish worthy of Apple. That’s because it was designed and engineered by Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, two engineers formerly with Apple. Fadell was the Senior VP of Apple’s iPod division and is commonly referred to as “one of the fathers of the iPod.”
Rogers, who had joined Apple as an intern in 2004 worked on Fadell’s team as well as the Cupertino giants flagship product the iPhone which was introduced in 2007. Fadell left Apple in 2008 and reconnected with Rogers a year later. The two met and decided to start their own company.
Reinvent the home thermostat
Their idea was simple. Reinvent the antiquated home thermostat and enable it with new technology then use it as hub or springboard to create other products for the home.
When Nest launched it did so to great critical acclaim and according to Rogers they “blew through their entire inventory in less than two days” Like any new company they suffered growing pains. They hadn’t build a large enough support team to handle customer calls and they needed more units to meet the overwhelming demand for the device. They were able to overcome these initial challenges and opened their online store in 2012.
The folks at Nest brought the attention to detail, simplicity and ease of use that they had learned at Apple in designing the iPod and iPhone to the clunky old thermostat with it’s confusing wiring and hard to read LED displays. Combining learning technology, sensors developed for the medical industry and the new electronics developed for the smartphone, they created something new.
Not only was this new thermostat elegant, it was also intelligent. If it wasn’t the first programmable thermostat, it was certainly the first you could access remotely using a smartphone. It simple interface – a round dial and a button – mimicked the simple scroll wheel of the iPod.
Gobbled up by Google
On January 2014 Google announced that they had acquired Nest for 3.2 billion dollars in cash. In the press release issued by Google, Larry Page acknowledged the successes of his latest acquisition.
“Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family. They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!”
And while Tony Fadell remains in charge and the Nest brand maintains “it’s own distinct brand identity” it is clear that Google saw an opportunity to improve it’s position in the burgeoning internet of things and perhaps fulfill it’s dream of being the leader and the much contested field of home automation.