Nest expands the capabilities of its Works with Nest API

Third-party developers gain access to new smart-home tricks.

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In preparation for Google I/O, Nest Labs announced on Tuesday an expansion of its Works with Nest API (application program interface) to enable third-party developers to add new features to smart-home products that integrate with the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Cam home-security camera, and Nest Protect smoke and carbon-monoxide detector.

Nest detailed three new broad features of its API: Snapshots enables developers to capture frames from the Nest Cam on demand, Activity Zone support enables third-party apps to notify customers of activity in predefined Nest Cam viewing areas, and a third integration that lets third-party apps know when the Nest Thermostat is locked.

Belkin announced earlier Tuesday morning that it had joined the Works with Nest program, and Nest announced a host of enhancements that other developers are incorporating into their product offerings. Lutron’s Caséta Wireless system, for instance, can now automatically turn on controlled lights and open your motorized window shades if the Nest Protect senses smoke or carbon monoxide in the air. Similarly, the button on the SkyBell doorbell camera will turn red in response to a smoke or CO event, warning you of the dangerous conditions before you enter the house.

If you own both a Nest Cam and an August Doorbell Cam, the August app will now let you see a live view from the Nest Cam as well as the doorbell camera. And owners of LIFX smart LED bulbs will be able to have the Nest Cam turn the lights on when there’s motion in a designated activity zone. If you own a Simplehuman smart vanity mirror, you can now use your Nest Cam to capture light settings, and the mirror will match that lighting so your makeup looks just right.

Why this matters: In the absence of universal standards that enable smart-home devices to exchange information, APIs such as this become crucial. Without them, smart devices become isolated islands of intelligence that are unable to communicate with each other. What would be better? Universal standards that eliminate the need for patchworks like this, of course.

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