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Multinational company Nest launches in New Zealand – so are we ready to plunge into the mystifying world of IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is about to hit the New Zealand market in a big way, but the question is – do Kiwis really want a world of internet-embedded objects? We chat with Nest head of product marketing, Lionel Guicherd-Call about its venture into Aotearoa and what it predicts the uptake of IoT products will be like.

A New Zealand IoT report shows 100 billion IoT connections are predicted countrywide by 2025.

For those not in the know, the marriage of the internet and things enable objects to collect data, communicate information and provide services for its human user. Attaining self executing capabilities, smart objects could prospectively solve many of humankind’s most persistent niggles. 

The IoT space is budding in New Zealand with opportunities in agritech, smart cities, environmental measures, household goods and much more. According to the New Zealand IoT alliance, better use of IoT could generate $2.2 billion in net economic benefit over the next decade. We’re also cited amongst the top ranked countries ready to unleash the beast of IoT.

However, it’s not smooth sailing just yet, figures show New Zealand is a latent public, with only 14% of enterprises deploying an IoT solution.

A timely examplar is Nest, a multinational which has recently launched smart household products in New Zealand. Nest is a sister company to internet behemoth Google and is spearheading the way globally for how IoT services can get a foothold in the mainstream market.

The company pride themselves on a simple premise: making dumb household items smart. Amongst the high tech household items is a bevy of smart security cameras, smoke alarms and thermostats. Key products include: The Nest Protect, a smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detector that communicates the severity of a fire to its user, as well as a range of internet connected home security cameras. Another is the IoT powered surveillance camera, which can communicate information about who/what and when somebody or something is entering the house. Additionally, Nest has teamed up with Meridian Energy, who hand out a free Nest smoke alarm to incumbent customers. 

Nest has entered the New Zealand market during a time of need. According to data collected by the NZ Police, January of last year accounted for by far the heaviest period of intended home break ins and burglary, with a hefty 6831 reported incidents. According to a recent Herald article, less than 10% of reported burglaries and unlawful break ins were resolved by police. Nest’s Smart household security systems alert users notifications to their phones, which is connected to the cloud. It gives Nest users a chance to actually yell at intruders in real time through their phone. With HD footage, we might see a higher turnover rate on these convictions.

It will be interesting to see whether New Zealand embrace Nest’s new range of IoT infused products, or will we continue to trust Bruce the guard dog, screeching fire alarms and our keen sense of smell for carbon monoxide?

We talked to Nest’s head of product marketing, Lionel Guicherd-Call about their adventure into the New Zealand market.

Idealog: Where does New Zealand sit relative to the world as far as IoT goes?

Guicherd-Call: New Zealand has been traditionally very technology forward with their uptake of technology, including connected devices, and has strong internet penetration and speeds compared to the rest of the world.

That said we believe the majority of people will buy our products not because they are ‘internet connected’ but because they are the best smoke alarm or security camera on the market that deliver a range of thoughtful features.

Why has Nest decided to launch into New Zealand?

Funnily enough, although we’ve only just launched in New Zealand, there are already Nest devices in Kiwi homes because people love our products so much they bring them back from overseas.

With this launch, we are providing easier access to our products and making services like Nest Aware, our cloud recording service, available. Nest Aware gives you real time-alerts to what’s happening in your home. It records everything in the cloud so you never miss a moment, and it’s so smart it can tell the difference between a person and a dog or a tree.

What are some household appliances at risk of being Nest-ified?

At Nest, our mission is to reinvent unloved products in the home. We started with the thermostat, and then followed fast with smoke alarms, and then home security cameras. We’ve recently expanded our home security range in the US, and we have a very ambitious product roadmap. That said, we don’t just reinvent something for the sake of it. People don’t just go out to the shops and say ‘I want a smart home kit’ — they go out looking for products that solve a genuine problem. That’s what Nest is focused on, creating products that people need and will love.

Lionel Guicherd-Call

What makes Nest Protect superior to the smoke alarms in Kiwi homes now?

Like many other countries throughout the world, New Zealand is still mostly sporting old, antiquated smoke alarms that just are unloved and ignored.

The Nest Protect thinks, speaks and sends alerts to your phone to keep you and your family safe from danger. It knows the difference between your burning toast and a major emergency, allowing you to tap the app on your phone rather than waving a tea towel around. You can also take a comforting look at your ceiling to see the green glow of your Nest Protect, knowing that everything is in check as you go to sleep.

Nest Protect constantly monitors its sensors and batteries, and glows green to assure you that everything is in check. No more whining smoke alarms at 3AM with low battery alerts. With our advanced technology, you can feel confident that your Nest Protect will have your back for 10 years at a time.

As the years have gone by, fires have become quicker burning and more dangerous. To help combat this increased danger, we’ve introduced The Split‑Spectrum Sensor, which uses two wavelengths of light to detect smoke from both fast-burning and smouldering fires.

Another great function of the Nest Protect is the Carbon Monoxide alarm, which protects owners against the gas responsible for far too many avoidable deaths every year. As New Zealand moves into Summer, their risk of these fires and carbon monoxide poisoning go up.

What makes Nest Cams superior to the security cameras in Kiwi homes now?

Nest’s intelligent cameras keep a lookout 24 hours a day, so you don’t have to.

Your security camera shouldn’t sleep on the job. Nest Cam Indoor plugs into the mains power supply so that you never have to worry about dead batteries, staying powered and ready to stop intruders in their tracks. They’re fit with HDR and infrared LEDs which keep a keen eye in midday sun and pitch dark alike, so you have a clear idea of who is at your house, and what they are doing. Like the Nest Protect, Nest Cams are all plugged into your Nest app, keeping you up to date with your security in real time.

Nest Cam looks for motion and listens for loud sounds, like a boom or the crash of a window breaking. And with their state of the art microphones and audio, you can hear and respond to any situation from wherever you may be. This might be reminding your pup to stay off the couch, or yelling to an intruder to let them know the police are on their way. For Nest Cam owners, this has empowered them to scare off would be burglars from their homes, and have the high quality footage to prosecute them. By letting your camera know the important activity zones, like your front door, you’ll also receive app alerts of any motion within these areas.

With the new Nest Cam IQ we’ve added smart recognition, to decipher between strangers and those that you know. When faced with a stranger, IQ takes a 1080 snapshot of their face, and sends you the photo to help you decipher between friend and foe. It will also focus in and trace them around the space with it’s 12X zoom and wide angle lens, helping you understand exactly what they are doing. This supersight can be elevated by a subscription to Nest Aware, our cloud-based service that allows users to store their images for up to 30 days.

What are some examples of how Nest products have helped customers take better care of their family and home?

One of the most rewarding parts about working at Nest is hearing from our customers about how our product have helped them and their families. Shortly after launching the Nest Protect, we heard from the Molica family who after four days after installing our products were alerted to a carbon monoxide leak - a potentially lethal incident. Our products helped keep them safe.

And since launching the first Nest Cam we’ve heard from lots of customers who have stopped burglaries, or been able to help police identify and prosecute intruders, in fact our customers regularly share these clips us to share more widely. You can see some of our favourites here.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. My favourite messages are from people who capture those unmissable moments - a baby’s first steps, the dog getting up to mischief, or in one case a bear walking into the kitchen!

What are some unusual discoveries customers have made through Nest cameras?

If you haven’t heard about the annual Nestie Awards, you should probably check them out! Every year we put together an awards ceremony to recognise our favourite user-submitted videos. They include Timelapse, Security, Pets, Family Moments, Nature and Our Favourites categories.

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