In advance of the planned fall launch of the Nest Cam Outdoor, smart-home technology company Nest Labs has released version 5.6 of the Nest app, which brings new device organization options to the software. With the debut of the Spaces feature, homeowners can group Nest-branded products by room to enable at-a-glance status of devices based on their locations in the home. In addition to Spaces, the refreshed app reflects an effort by Nest to enhance functionality for Nest cameras by unlocking more features, which are enabled for the Nest Cam Indoor and Dropcam products as well as the forthcoming Nest Cam Outdoor.
Prior to this app release, individual Nest Learning Thermostats and Nest cameras were displayed in a flat array of scrollable icons on the home screen, while Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarms were represented as a single icon that could be tapped to see the the status of individual Protects below. With the new hierarchical Spaces—activated by simply turning the setting on in the Nest menu—the home screen immediately transforms into rectangular groupings of device icons, based on locations that were set when the devices were added.
Before or after Spaces is activated, Nest devices can be assigned to any of the predefined room name locations, or alternatively can be assigned to user-defined custom room names. A label feature also enables individual devices to be renamed from their default names to another desired name.
With this iteration of Spaces, room rectangles alphabetically sort based on the room name, and can’t be reordered by dragging. Now, one could force the ordering by defining custom room names prefaced with numerals or other characters, for example, 1. Great Room | 2. Master Bedroom or A. Great Room | B. Master Bedroom and so on. But we would prefer a click-and-drag capability here for optimal flexibility.
There is an additional caveat here with Spaces related to the Nest Protect—which annunciates its room name and the alarm type when an event is detected—in that only predefined room names can be spoken. In settings, another predefined room name can alternatively be selected to have the Protect announce that name, or you can choose to switch off the spoken name portion of the alarm event.
There are a number of additional features for Nest camera users that debut in the redesigned app, including:
Camera feeds on the home screen have been expanded from icons to full-screen width, and enhanced with live streams that are displayed when the app is connected to a WiFi network
Live views from cameras can be shared with other users via a password-protected feature through Secure Private Camera Sharing
Video resolution for the Dropcam Pro has been upgraded to 1080p format
An automatic video quality adjustment feature has been implemented to optimize the viewing experience.
The new Nest app also works with the Apple Watch for the first time, and enables direct control of Nest Learning Thermostats as well as delivery of notifications from other Nest products. The app requires watchOS 2.0 or greater, and also runs on Android Wear devices at version 5.1.1 or higher. And of course, the app is compatible with Apple mobile devices (iOS 8 or greater), Android mobile devices (version 4 or greater), and the latest versions of leading web browsers running on Apple OS X (version 10.9 or higher) and Windows 7 or higher.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.