Nest and Electric Ireland announce free thermostats with 2 year plan

By Kyle McInnes on 5 Nov 2014 08:41 am

At Web Summit 2014, in Dublin, Ireland, Tony Fadell of Google took the stage to announce a partnership with Nest and Electric Ireland that would give anyone in Ireland with a 2 year hydro plan a free thermostat with a free installation. The move is interesting because it brings a smartphone-like savings plan to the realm of smart thermostats.

This is potentially a big deal for Nest as it creates a huge incentive for Ireland's 4.6 million residents to upgrade their homes and apartments to energy saving thermostats. While not everyone in the country will be eligible and there are certainly infrastructure issues, it's possible that this is the first of many deals to be struck across the European Union.

In a discussion with Laurie Segall of CNN, Fadell said that Google's expansion of Nest into Europe has not been without its challenges. Some of the major challenges around a European expansion include the fact that homes in Ireland and Europe tend to be much older than homes in the US. Not only are the homes older, but they tend to be wired and plumbed differently. These variations in age, plumbing and electrical are not only different between Ireland and the US, but they vary between countries in the EU. This makes the EU a tough expansion but in terms of users, it clearly can't be ignored.

At a high level, it was also interesting to hear from Fadell on the $3+ billion acquisition by Google and the reasons behind it. When Fadell spoke with Larry Page, he got the sense that Page and Google were patiently investing in the next 20-50 years. This meant that Nest wouldn't be a quick technology play, nor would it be anything to do with growing Adsense. Fadell wanted to be a part of a much bigger, global phenomenon and this would be possible with Google. To summarize, Fadell said it was a "marriage of mission, not a marriage of money."

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Nest and Electric Ireland announce free thermostats with 2 year plan