It’s been an exciting 12 months since Nest was acquired by Google. It has exceeded expectations in some departments, such as its ability to maintain its brand independence from Google despite the will of the press and their competitors. Nest also launched a second product, Protect, adding to its successful intelligent thermostat with an intelligent smoke detector. While its launch was a bit rough, with reports of Protect, which shuts off its alarm through motion detection, being shut off unintentionally, the company has not been deterred and continues to roll out across Europe, announced last September. The company also beefed up its security suite with the acquisition of DropCam.
Here in France, competition has also thickened. While the fears of a Google-run household have been dispelled by Nest’s clear positioning that Nest data is stored separately than Google Data, Nest is facing new incumbents, like Qivivo, but also more established competitor Netatmo, who announced a partnership with EDF, which is not only the dominant Electricity provider in France (and thus the best way to access French homes), but also a major energy provider across the European Union – EDF, for example, was the official sponsor of the famous London Eye from 2011 until January of 2015.
When Competition lights a Fire, Nest brings a Fire Truck
In order to push its message to the farthest corners of France (i.e: outside of Paris), Nest brought its famous Nest Fire Truck over from the US and is currently rolling around Paris & the rest of France, stopping frequently to explain the advantages of its Nest Protect and other Home devices.
In its first days on the road, Nest says that even French firefighters are getting excited about the prospect of driving an American Fire Truck, and the bright blue vehicle has been spotted around Paris, with people tweeting #NestCamionPompier (French for #NestFireTruck, of course).
Nest has been very successful with its multi-channel sales channel – online, in select retailers, via partnerships such as with Direct Energy, a competitor to EDF in France – and building brand awareness in France will be critical in 2015 as it looks to show that it can be successful outside of the United States, just as all hardware companies are eventually required to show.