February 11, 2013

Nest Intentions

We’ve marveled for a while at an innovative thermostat called Nest, designed by the creator of the iPod.
Sleek device, design is in the forefront, which rarely happens in our bean-counter-led corporate world. But bottom line, it’s a smart innovation.

Nest learns movements and patterns in the house and can adjust temps based on actual usage. It also has wireless capabilities, so it can adjust based on reading local weather temps. And it can be controlled remotely. It’s expensive, but saves energy.

All this made us wonder on two levels:

First, why wouldn’t a traditional thermostat company innovate like this? Cannibalize existing sales? Preconceived notion of pricing, tech and its product fit? Staid management? Lack of R&D? All of the above? Should cause all of us to review our own companies and wonder why we miss innovative game changing notions in our own backyards.

Second wonder — this is such an interesting, and almost obvious leapfrog that seems needed (especially in the energy-saving mode we should all be in) — but what else could be i-improved?
A chair cushion that inflates based on weight, or heats and cools based on surrounding temps?
Tire treads that can change based on road conditions?
Education modules that change up lesson plans based on whether a child learns visually, verbally or audibly?

Bringing simple customization and improved technology to long term, accepted standards is helpful in any industry. How about a portable, solar-powered, chilled desert maker? Hello iScream.