In a previous post, the technological basis of NEST has been mentioned. However, people who are interested in building their own self regulating thermostat, as reported here, could be interested in a deeper knowledge of the technological basis below it.
The so called enabling technologies are the technologies that enable the manufacture of a given product. As every thermostat, NEST is based on sensors: its primary function is to measure houses room temperature and switch on and off the heating and cooling systems.
The core enabling technology which NEST is based on, however, is machine learning. This expression is used to state the ability of a computer to identify patterns – exploiting a given set of data – and then adapt its behavior making predictions based on these patterns. This is exactly what NEST does when it learns how to regulate the temperature of one house according to the behavior of the people who live there. It is what makes it different from traditional programmable thermostat, to which you have to give specific instructions manually.
This enabling technology is not something tangible, but is the knowledge of a software code specifically developed by NEST for this purpose. Writing this kind of programmes, however, requires computer skills that not everybody has; here are reported some more instructions for those who are interested in writing their own personal code.
Internet is an enabling technology as well. If you deviate from the usual pattern, for instance you go back home earlier, you should be able to tell NEST to turn the heating on sooner. This can be achieved connecting NEST to your smartphone through a dedicated app. In this way the possibility of connecting devices through internet gives this product the required flexibility to adapt to unexpected events.
Don’t forget Big Data, another enabling technology for NEST: sensitive data are collected and stored by Google, and the sum of the information related to all users could surely reach a critical mass and Big Data issue could be arised by NEST.
In this way we have seen which are NEST’s enabling technologies and which are the bricks you need to create your own intelligent thermostat.