My home thermostat joins the Internet of Everything

I woke up this Saturday morning in Toronto and thought, ‘Man what a long cold winter.’ I also thought of my “To do List” and a bright spot was the arrival of my new Nest Learning Thermostat.

Now everyone in the Cisco Toronto office knows I have a passion for thermostats. Maybe it is my electrical engineering upbringing, my energy management focus, or maybe my past tenures with General Electric and Honeywell. Who knows? 

But this Nest learning thermostat has really got me thinking. It has a clean design, is simple to install, easy to program, wireless, adaptive to my preferences,  internet enabled and even application cloud accessible! Don’t believe me? Check out this video highlighting the capabilities!

This internet-centric device is just one more tip of the multiple spears that are piercing, driving, pushing and pulling building systems and the construction industry forward.

The Home Stat, which is consumer-facing like the smart phone, is just one more resonating touch point for Cisco’s vision entitled the Internet of Everything (IoE).

At Cisco we see a push towards all things becoming intelligent, empowered, internet enabled and connected – like the Nest Learning thermostat.

The explosion of diverse devices is impacting our lives in the areas of entertainment, retail, finance, healthcare, education, transportation and even in the slow-moving, siloed and proprietary commercial construction Industry.

As a member of Cisco’s Business Transformation and Smart Connect Community (BTX + S/CC) team, we are seeing a massive transformation in the architectures, engineering and constructors (AEC) community. We are seeing the move from independent design to integrated design. We are witnessing a change from individual thinking to collaborative team problem solving.

Now, we’re sitting at the table, very early, with key development stakeholders (AEC) . By being early, we have the opportunity to review traditional designs and propose new differentiating business value in the areas of: capital expenditures (CAPEX), operational expenditure (OPEX), total cost of ownership (TCO) and Customer Experience.

New commercial value is being driven by the IP connection of traditional base building systems including:

  1. HVAC  –  “Thermostat”
  2. Lighting  –  “LED lamps”
  3. Physical Security  – “Camera and entry fobs”
  4. Metering  –  “ home hydro meters”

The adoption of IP connection is being accelerated by network convergence both in the wired and wireless space. Think of the entire planet driving on one high speed autobahn. Converging disparate building systems onto one corporate enterprise network is creating new opportunities in the way we design, operate and interface with next generation ‘High Performance Buildings’.

Convergence and IoE for some is foreign and scary. For others it is a no brainer. For the construction industry it is a guiding light.

On this gloomy late winter day, I sit in the kitchen enjoying my coffee and look forward to the coming of spring.

I also look forward to my next blog, which will focus on a number of progressive commercial and education projects across the Canadian landscape where convergence and IoE are being embraced.

Let us know your thoughts on IoE in the comments section below.

Tomorrow Starts Here

About Bill MacGowan

Bill MacGowan is a Vertical Solutions Architect (VSA) for Cisco’s Smart + Connect Real Estate and Smart + Connected Communities Business Team in Canada. Bill has been involved in the new construction and retroft industry for the better part of 30 years. Bill is a former Project Leader in product development for General Electric and the former Energy and Automation Manager for Dominion Food Stores. Bill worked as the Commercial Sales Manager for Honeywell and became the VP of Sales and Marketing for Toronto based Enera Controls in 1989. Bill worked in the Building Automation Systems market in the Toronto area for a number of years and joined Delta Controls, one of the global leading manufacturers of Building Automation and System Integration Platforms in 1994. Bill has been intimately involved with the progress of open communication standards and the promotion of Delta Controls product on a global basis. Through the practical experience of building and positioning an independent controls company and then focusing on customer needs (performance, sustainability, energy) on a national and global basis, Bill has developed considerable knowledge in the arenas of Converged Building Systems, Enterprise Integration and the Delivery of High Performance Business Value. Bill is an honors graduate of the Queens University Electrical Engineering program (1976) and is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) with the American Energy Engineers (AEE) Association. Bill resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Bill MacGowan est architecte de solutions verticales (VSA) pour l’équipe professionnelle Immobilier intelligent et connecté et Communautés intelligentes et connectées Cisco au Canada. Bill a participé activement au secteur de la construction de nouveaux bâtiments et des rénovations durant près de 30 ans. Bill fut chef de projet du développement de nouveaux produits chez General Electric et responsable du département de l’énergie et de l’automatisation de Dominion Food Stores. Bill a ensuite occupé le poste de directeur des ventes commerciales chez Honeywell et, en 1989, il fut nommé vice-président des ventes et du marketing de l’entreprise Enera Controls basée à Toronto. Bill a travaillé dans le marché des systèmes d’automatisation de la construction dans la région de Toronto durant plusieurs années pour accepter un poste à Delta Controls, un des premiers fabricants internationaux de plateformes d’intégration des systèmes et d’automatisation de la construction en 1994. Bill s’est impliqué personnellement dans l’amélioration des standards de communication ouverte et dans la promotion des produits Delta Controls de manière générale. Grâce à son expérience pratique dans la création et l’établissement d’une société de contrôles indépendante, et grâce à la priorité accordée aux besoins du client (performance, fiabilité, énergie) à une échelle nationale et internationale, Bill a acquis des connaissances considérables dans les domaines des systèmes de construction convergents, d’intégration d’entreprise et de valeur commerciale à hautesperformances.Bill est diplômé spécialisé du programme d’ingénierie électrique de la Queens University (1976) et est titulaire du certificat Certified Energy Manager (CEM) auprès de l’Association Energy Engineers (AEE) des États-Unis. Bill vit à Toronto (Ontario) au Canada.
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15 Responses to My home thermostat joins the Internet of Everything

  1. Mike Welch says:

    Great article but I have two question as pioneers of developing smart convergent lighting solutions based on open standard communicating protocols how interoperable are such products from different manufacturers? Second was the thermostat a wireless and batteryless device?

  2. Mike good afternoon and I am glad you enjoyed the article.
    In terms of next generation lighting, POE (Power Over Ethernet) is a prime driver with protocols being secondary. For the NEST product, it is wifi and line powered.
    Let me know if I can be of further service.

  3. Paul Ainsworth says:

    Great article Bill, but I am not a fan of the Nest,personal preference, I guess. I prefer the Eccobee or Honeywell’s new “Redlink” systems.

  4. Paul, all great products and references.
    The explosion of new devices and Eco Partners who are IoE centric is very exciting.

  5. Mike Welch says:

    Hi Bill, further to your response to my earlier posting are you effectively saying the PoE is all that is interoperable with these devices? Meaning if I purchased two or three different manufacturers products they would not inter-operate with each other or their head ends? Also these devices burn power parasitically even when there is no change in operation or information don’t they? I can see why Ethernet per say is a great LAN but aren’t the new generation of wireless/batteryless switches, sensors and actuators based upon global IEC standards a better option at the device level?

  6. Hi Mike,
    nice to hear from you.

    What we are seeing is the movement of devices to either wireless or to POE network connection. Power consumption and usage dictates which connection type is chosen.
    Interoperability on the other hand continues to be implemented through combinations of intelligent devices, middleware applications and enterprise solutions.

    Thank you for your comments!

  7. David Clarkson says:

    how does it sense you coming and going? A real improvement over the old style “programmable” thermostats….

  8. Guneet Bedi says:

    Nice post Bill, and well said about IoE… I looked at the video and this is definitely an amazing product.. Might consider getting it and testing it out too… Being a part of Cisco’s Green IT strategy – I owe this investment :)

    Network convergence is a reality, and we are seeing a very strong adoption amongst customers with our new Unified Access architecture of wired and wireless networks.. Facilities and IT convergence is taking momentum too and I strongly feel will be a reality very soon

  9. Hi Dave, thank you for your comments.

    In addition to temperature and humidity sensing, the NEST has motion sensing which is used to detect presence. When first installed, the NEST goes through a learning period and determines your life style movements.

    Something I find interesting is the connection of the NEST via WI-FI to a Weather Cloud Service.

    With weather data considered, the home can proactively adapt to exterior temperature changes throughout the year.

    As mentioned in the blog, I owe this Experience to Lynn.

  10. Guneet, thank you for your great comments.

    Yes, we are at the Tipping Point for IoE.

    Just as people have become mobilized and connected with their smart phones, devices too will become integrated, interoperable and joined. This JOINING will drive exciting use cases and new value.

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