Six Degrees of Nest

“Alexa, set the temperature to 72 downstairs.”

  • The physical device, Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

Echo Dot

  • Incredibly cheap price point (I paid $40)
    • Facilitated by two things
      • Advanced, miniaturized electronics available at scale / cost due to smartphone revolution
      • Amazon’s success and business model in ecommerce
    • Sound capture from 7 microphones
      • Far-field audio capture due to advanced algorithm
      • Beam forming
      • Noise reduction
      • Acoustic echo cancellation

Amazon Echo Microphone Array


  • Voice data is compressed and sent over the network (wi-fi router to cable / ethernet modem)
  • Processed in the Amazon S3 Cloud
  • Algorithms process the audio
  • Realize this is looking for a smart thermostat

Nest Thermostat Third Generation

  • The physical device, Nest.
    • Not an uncomplicated product just as a thermostat
      • Simple, aesthetically pleasing design
        • Tony Faddell (father of iPod—guy sure likes round interfaces)
        • Functionality with wide array of legacy technology (mid-90s furnace in my house)
        • Again, smartphone hardware revolution facilitated this (LCD display, SOC, etc.)
        • Was a startup bought by Google for $2B
    • Uses motion sensors to detect when house is occupied / active
      • Smart features like automatic schedules, auto-away, and more
      • Big data generated from anonymized usage allows for better learning (how to set schedules, how to more efficiently operate (particular equipment, climates, etc.)
    • Configured via smartphone app
  • Nest connected as Skill (Amazon Echo version of app) using an API (application programming interface)
  • Echo uses text to speech to tell me the temperature is now set where I want it
  • LCD illuminates