WiFi devices such as the Nest Thermostat and Ubi are primed to revolutionize home automation in the next few years. Here’s what you need to know about them:


We’re using more and more computer and information technology in our homes for convenience, security and energy efficiency, and this is changing the way we live. What was once the sole preserve of sci-fi could soon become a reality for every man, woman, and child as everything from the locking mechanisms on our doors/windows to the lighting and temperature of our rooms is controlled via WiFi. Home automation may be a quiet revolution, but it’s a rapidly accelerating one, with devices such as the Nest Thermostat and Ubi leading the charge.

Feathering the Nest

When a device is designed by one of the creators of the iPod and iPhone, you know it’s going to generate a lot of interest. The Nest thermostat is the brainchild of former Apple engineer Tony Fadell, and like any Apple product, it’s extremely well designed.

While looking good is all well and fine, how does it work? In a nutshell, the Nest quickly learns the temperature habits of any home and adjusts the heating and cooling patterns to your specified tastes. Pretty soon you’ll never have to adjust a thermostat again, as the Nest sits quietly in the background doing all the work for you. And what’s more, because it never forgets to turn the heating off or on, you’ll save money on utility bills.

A Nest Egg

The Nest thermostat’s built-in motion detector senses when you’re at home and disables the “Away” mode. The screen automatically wakes up when you approach. To display the menu options, or to adjust the temperature manually, you simply turn the wheel and press on the Nest. When the house is cooling, the Nest displays a blue background, and when it is heating, a red one. Best of all, it shows a green leaf when you’re saving energy.

Whenever you modify the overall temperature of your house to match the seasons, the Nest quickly learns any new pattern, and with a Nest app now available for iOS and Android, remotely adjusting the temperature couldn’t be easier. Installing the Nest is relatively painless. You screw the base plate to the wall where your prior thermostat was attached, and the color coded wiring system simplifies the connection process. The Nest comes fully equipped with WiFi so you can hook it up to your home network instantly.

Introducing the Ubi

Alongside the Nest, the Ubi is also helping to create the “smart home” of the future. Short for “ubiquitous” the Ubi plugs into a wall socket and sits, always on, always ready, just waiting to be activated by your voice so it can hook you up to the Internet through a WiFi connection. As soon as you say “Ubi,” the Android-powered device awakes and you’re online, ready for a voice-enabled Internet search or hands-free access to emails.

Of course, that’s only a fraction of what the Ubi is designed for. Its numerous environmental sensors can monitor temperature, humidity, air pressure, and light levels in your home, notifying you of any changes through your mobile or email account. The Ubi’s potential capacity to communicate with other devices, such as baby monitors and home entertainment systems via WiFi or Bluetooth, certainly makes it a device to keep your eye on when it comes to home automation.