• 03.10.16

Nest Is Learning To Detect When You’re Home

The devices will combine data from their sensors and from phones to know when you’re home or away and adjust thermostat settings.

Nest Is Learning To Detect When You’re Home

Nest smart-home products can now figure out if anyone’s home.


With a new software update, Nest’s cameras, thermostats, and other home automation devices will begin using a mix of phone geolocation data, built-in sensors, and machine learning techniques to figure out if anyone’s at home and adjust settings accordingly, the company said.

“Geofencing alone can get it wrong–turn the lights off when someone’s home,” the Alphabet unit said in a blog post. “Or run the heat when no one is.”

The new feature, called Home/Away Assist, will let Nest Cam security cameras turn on when the house is unattended, Nest thermostats turn up the heat when someone comes home, and Nest Protect smoke detectors run audible tests when nobody’s home, the company said. The company won’t keep track of where users are–only if they’re in or out, according to the blog post.

“Home/Away Assist only needs to know if you’re home or not,” the company says. “And we keep your information safe and secure by encrypting our connections and staying up to date on the latest threats.”

The company also announced a new Family Account feature, letting multiple people under the same roof control Nest devices from their phones without sharing logins and passwords. That will also help the company keep better track of whether any family member is in the house, according to Nest.

About the author

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist living in New Orleans.