Nest Introduces G3 Learning Thermostat

Nest, along with similar “smart home” tools, represents the beginning of insurers’ adoption of Internet of Things capabilities for P&C insurance.

(Image source: Nest Labs.)

Nest Labs (Palo Alto, Calif.) has introduced the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat which has a slimmer profile, a larger high-resolution screen and an updated user interface that the vendor says is desiged to make it easier for users to read temperatures, alerts and messages. The new model also has enhanced software, including Farsight, which automatically displays the target temperature or time when it senses movement in the room, and Furnace Heads-Up, which uses diagnostics to give advance notice about possible problems with a customer’s heating system.

Stephen Applebaum, Managing Partner, Insurance Solutions Group.

Stephen Applebaum, Managing Partner, Insurance Solutions Group.

Tools such as the new Nest model represent the next step in the insurance industry’s adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) following telematics and usage-based insurance (UBI), according to Stephen Applebaum, managing partner, Insurance Solutions Group (Chicago) and co-chair of the Insurance IoT USA Conference.

“Property & Casualty insurance carriers have now begun to realize the transformative potential presented by the broader IoT—not just connected cars but property and people as well,” Applebaum says. “We can expect many more such products and programs to proliferate as more and different IoT devices come to market, consumer and businesses install them and carriers learn how to collect, manage and leverage the torrents of data they disseminate.”

Nest Describes the new features of the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat as follows.

  • Sleek new design: The Nest Thermostat has a 40 percent larger, brighter, high-resolution screen and new graphics so you can see it easier from far away. The crisp display has 229 pixels per inch (PPI), 25 percent more than the 2nd generation Nest Thermostat. The 3rd generation Nest Thermostat also has a slightly thinner profile to be more flush against the wall.
  • Farsight: Previously, you had to be pretty close – about 3 feet (1 meter) away – to get the Nest Thermostat to wake up and turn on the display. Farsight takes advantage of the new high-resolution screen so that you can see useful information on the Nest Thermostat from across the room. You can set the thermostat to display target temperature, an analog clock or digital clock, or turn Farsight off.
  • Furnace Heads-Up: Most heating and forced air furnaces have an automatic shutoff to avoid overheating. The Nest Thermostat will look for shutoff patterns that indicate there’s a persistent problem and if so, you’ll get a Heads-Up message in the Nest app and on the thermostat screen twice per year, and you’ll also get a notice in your monthly Home Report.

The 3rd generation Nest Thermostat will also include the following integrations with Nest Protect and Nest Cam, which were also available in previous generations, according to the vendor.

  • When Nest Protect sounds a Heads-Up or Emergency Alarm for smoke or carbon monoxide (CO), in addition to a Nest app notification you’ll see a message on the Nest Thermostat display to help you know what’s going on. The Nest Thermostat can automatically shut off fossil fuel- based heating systems, which is the leading cause of CO leaks in the home, in case that is the source.
  • Nest Protect enhances the Nest Thermostat’s Auto-Away feature by improving Nest’s knowledge of when you’re home or away.
  • Users can set their Nest Cam to begin automatically recording when they switch their Nest Thermostat into Home or Away mode.

(Related: American Family Insurance’s Homeowners Strategy: IoT-driven Proactive Protection)

Nest has already formed partnership with insurers such as American Family (Madison, Wisc.) and Liberty Mutual (Boston), Applebaum notes. who have installed a Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm can take advantage of Liberty Mutual’s Smart Home Verified Discount program.

“Liberty Mutual plans to offer additional discounts for customers who choose to electronically validate that their smart home safety devices are functioning properly,” Applebaum adds. “This is an evolution of Liberty Mutual’s Protective Devices discount program, which now includes specific discounts for smart-phone enabled smoke alarms as well as new water and theft protection technologies.”

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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