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THE NEST LEARNING Thermostat does what a thermostat is supposed to do, turning your heat and AC on and off when you need it. And because it’s a learning thermostat, it does so without manual programming. This beautifully designed object has enough built-in smarts to plausibly save money in your electric and gas bills.

But what’s most intriguing about the Nest Thermostat is how it’s become the center of a connected Nest home ecosystem. The company Nest Labs (which is part of Google, er, Alphabet) recently added a video camera to its product lineup, which includes the thermostat and asmoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Of course, everything works together. Should Nest’s smoke and carbon monoxide detector sense carbon monoxide in your home, for example, it will immediately tell the thermostat to shut down your heat in case the furnace is the culprit. Or should the Nest Cam sense movement in your home when the thermostat believes nobody’s there, alerts can be sent to your phone.

It’s easy to imagine a home of the very near future automated in great part by Nest. We’re just not there yet. But if you really want to begin automating your home right now, the Nest Thermostat makes a great start. There’s a platform called Works With Nest that makes the thermostat interoperable with compatible devices. And even if your smart home devices don’t have the Works With Nest logo on the box, you can still integrate them into your setup using some web-based software.

The Recipes

To make all of your devices talk to each other, look to the cloud. A service called If This Then That (IFTTT) has pre-made recipes that can connect your devices. You can use the service to program your devices to run routines, react to triggers, or pass commands to other devices in your home. The Internet of Things is a string of connections between pieces of hardware, so set them up to control each other.

Pre-heat to 72 Degrees

Getting close to home? Cold outside? Use this IFTTT recipeto have your iOS Location trigger your Nest Thermostat when you’re nearing you home.

I Left the Lights On Again?!?

As soon as your Nest Thermostat determines you aren’t home, it can switch off your lights to save bulb life and electricity costs. Connect your lamps to a Belkin WeMo Switch, then program your Nest to automatically shut them down when you’re not around.

Gee, It’s Hot…

Does it feel hot inside, but maybe not too hot? Never trust you feelings. Your Philips Hue lights will turn red when it heats up inside—pick a temperature at which to trigger the effect and let your Nest do the trick.

High Alert

If Nest knows you’re not home, your home security system should know, too. Use this IFTTT recipe to have your Nest Thermostat arm your Scout Alarm system when you’re not home.

No Burst Pipes On My Watch

It’s the middle of February. You’re on vacation. Your furnace has died. How would you ever know? Instruct your Nest to send you an email if the temperature drops dangerously low in your home.

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