Exclusive: Nest Talks Strategy, Opportunities for Pro Security Channel

Nest talks to SSI about its Nest Secure smart alarm system with monitoring by MONI and its video verification offering through I-View Now aimed at the pro channel.

Exclusive: Nest Talks Strategy, Opportunities for Pro Security Channel

The company whose Learning Thermostat disrupted the climate controls industry tells how it is spreading its wings in the security business.

How did Nest zero-in on video verification and how did the relationship with I-View Now develop?

NITIN VISWANATHAN: As we looked to make a product that’s better for security in general, I-View Now just kept coming up in those conversations as a great group of people who were doing innovative things in the industry. As we got to know more about them, their technology and the potential, it almost felt like a no-brainer for us to support them. One of the most important things to Nest, maybe the most important thing with security, is making sure a consumer gets the response they need for anything that happens in their home.

Nest Labs’ founding product in 2011 was its market-disrupting smart Learning Thermostat.

With I-View Now, if the customer has professional monitoring and there’s an alarm that goes off in that home, the camera can send a clip from the alarm event to the central station where they can use it to help diagnose the issue more quickly. That idea means a lot to us. It means the camera is doing work even if the customer is not actively monitoring it. Even if the customer missed the notifications to their smartphone, the camera may still help make sure any problems at home are being resolved.

Video verification, especially with I-View Now, will help handle false alarms and false alerts more easily, because they can often see on the video that it wasn’t actually a break-in. Maybe the door just flew open. There’s a lot of benefit for consumers in that sense too. This is a service we see more and more interest in nationally. More jurisdictions are requiring some kind of second alarm verification. Plus more people are interested in having cameras at home.

The I-View Now integration delivers dealers a great recurring revenue opportunity that wasn’t there before. In terms of how the integration works, we worked really closely with [I-View Now President] Larry Folsom and his team to figure out what made sense for our cameras. The process is really easy for dealers. Through our Works with Nest partner ecosystem and APIs, dealers can tie together a wide variety of connected home products for their customers.

LARRY FOLSOM: I first started talking with Gene [LaNois] back in 2014. We came up with the idea of the Nest cameras being able to work in the traditional channel with the security systems that dealers were going to sell, and being able to associate those signals in our I-View Now Cloud with their video Cloud and pull them into the central station.

We’ve been fans of this idea for a few years. About a year ago we really started to get to a place where both Nest and our platform had matured where the integration made a lot more sense. What we’re excited about is Nest brings an unbelievable brand, and that brand is obviously about the quality of these products. It’s the quality of the product at a price point that the consumer can now get access to. I think we’re going to see not just the proliferation of video, but also the growth of video services associated with the central station, which is what I think is the pro channel’s backbone.

A leading buzz in the connected home space is voice control. Especially given Nest’s parent company, Google, is at the forefront of that technology, how do you see it integrating with security?

LOW: We’re really excited about using things like Google Assistant. An example of an interesting integration that’s currently live is, let’s say you’re getting dinner ready or maybe holding one of the kids and you hear a noise in the backyard. If your hands are full, you can now use your voice to have the video from your backyard Nest Cam outdoor camera stream onto your Chromecast-enabled TV.

It’s the idea of being able to access the things you would normally do around security, such as wanting to know what a noise was or just checking in on your dog in the backyard. Another cool integration on the horizon is getting announcements through Google Assistant-enabled products like our Nest Hello video doorbell telling you who’s at the front door. Another is using your voice to help operate your Nest security system. Things like that are all in the works and we’re really excited about having that partnership with Google.

(Top) One of the firm’s newest offerings is the Nest Secure alarm system.  (Bottom right) The Nest Hello video doorbell is slated to bow in the first quarter of 2018. (Bottom left) The Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm was the company’s first safety-related offering in 2013.

LANOIS: When you first get into it, you have this “Hey, that’s neat!” attitude. And then as you start to interact with it, you start to realize how infinite the possibilities are that exist with voice control. Everything from turning on and off your lights to controlling your temperature to things we don’t even do today. Everything you do in your home may have the possibility of being operated by your voice, security included.

Given the residential market’s speed of change and intensified competition, DIY and so forth, what would you say to the worried owner of an independent security dealer company who is thinking of getting out of the business?

LANOIS: I would say, “You’d be crazy.” It’s more about taking advantage of what’s being built. Everything that has made your business successful today will continue to do so tomorrow. Instead, it’s about incorporating new and emerging technology as an option to grow your business. Too many possibilities exist. There is such high consumer demand and the growth potential is huge.

About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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