Observations on the Nest Wave Fiasco

Shane Dyer on Google’s Acquisition of Nest
January 14, 2014
Five Steps for Capturing the Connected Customer: Iterate and Grow
May 6, 2014
Show all

As we’ve said before, successful products are victories of verification. But even when things go wrong, the Internet of Things provides solutions that are dramatically better than the alternatives available for non-connected products.

Today the CEO of Nest, Tony Fadell, issued an urgent warning to the owners of Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. In the words of the CEO:

“During recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, we observed a unique combination of circumstances that caused us to question whether the Nest Wave (a feature that enables you to turn off your alarm with a wave of the hand) could be unintentionally activated. This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire.”

This reinforces the importance of product verification. Here at Arrayent our mantra is “successful connected products are victories of verification.” Killer connected products come about when you invest your resources into verifying that the minimum value proposition of your connected product is flawless. And of course, once your core product is rock-solid, you can always build new features into your product via app updates and firmware upgrades.

Yet again, as Slash Gear points out, this recent lesson at Nest’s expense is strangely validating for the Internet of Things. Even when things go wrong, connected products offer dramatically better solutions for problems than their non-connected counterparts. In the case of the Nest Protect, Nest was able to remotely disable the wave feature within 24 hours of announcing the problem in all units connected to the Internet. And because the app is such a core part of the product experience, Nest had a huge list of up-to-date email addresses which they could use to notify customers. Now compare that with the options available to the manufacturers of non-connected smoke alarms: relying on owners to register contact information when they buy products (and update that information whenever they move), posting notices at retailer locations, and placing costly advertisements in the media.