Nest 3.5: How a Learning Thermostat Company Learns

MAY 17, 2013

Nest is secretive about its future plans—but the company isn’t shy about being in constant learning mode.

Stephen Lacey: May 17, 2013

Just yesterday, Nest announced that it was offering its smart thermostat in 1,000 Home Depot stores, bringing the company's total North American retail reach to 3,000 outlets. The partnership comes after a series of major software upgrades, utility partnerships and an acquisition that mark a noticeable shift for the company.

Nest's founders, who came from Apple, worked on developing the first iPod. While a thermostat is a far different product from an iPod, that connection to a consumer technology giant inevitably brings up parallels between Nest's product and other successful mobile devices. And like Apple, the company is notoriously quiet about the upgrades it's working on.

In light of Nest's recent news, I spoke with Maxime Veron, head of product marketing, about the company's latest technology developments and how it learns from its customers. Although Vernon wouldn't indicate Nest's next moves, its latest announcements may indicate where the company is headed.

Customer engagement and the need to "keep improving"

When it first rolled out in 2011, the thermostat's learning function, which was supposed to adapt to a homeowner's schedule, was criticized by users and reviewers for not working properly. Since that initial launch, the company has upgraded the device from the 1.0 version to a 3.5 version available today. The 3.5 version was the result of a "complete revamp" of the product six months ago.


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