Thermostat Stories February 18, 2016

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A smart thermostat that you can control from your iPhone is nice, but if you’re a fan of Siri then HomeKit-compatibly is a must. The ecobee3 Wi-Fi thermostat can be controlled using Siri on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, and it uses remote sensors to determine temperature and presence around your home to be smarter about automating your HVAC system. Overall, the thermostat itself is rather slick and the software experience behind it holds up well. If you’re curious about HomeKit and in the market for a smart thermostat, the ecobee3 just might be the best option yet …

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Honeywell’s new Lyric Round thermostat w/ HomeKit now available & in-stock

Honeywell’s new Lyric Round thermostat originally announced back at CES in January and until now up for preorder only is today officially on sale and in-stock for all.

Thermostat Stories January 4, 2016

Honeywell announces HomeKit-enabled Lyric thermostat, available for preorder now

Honeywell has today announced the second-generation version of the Honeywell Lyric thermostat. The first version (currently discounted ahead of the new hardware) was labelled with HomeKit advertising in various places, but that support never materialized. Honeywell has clarified that interested customers will have to buy the new $249 hardware to use the Lyric with HomeKit, currently available for preorder from the Honeywell website.

If you don’t want to wait, check out the ecobee3 system. You can buy a comprehensive thermostat and remote sensor smart home system with full HomeKit support through ecobee today.

Thermostat Stories March 16, 2015

Tado smart thermostat gets IFTTT channel and API, can now control other devices

Tado, the smart thermostat system I reviewed back in 2013, now has an IFTTT channel and an API, allowing it to control other home automation devices.

Tado° users will soon be able to connect their tado° Smart Thermostat to other appliances via IFTTT. This will enable the use of the tado° geolocation feature for purposes other than smart heating or cooling. In the very near future, when a tado° user leaves the house, not only will the heating automatically go to savings mode, but simultaneously the lights switch off, the alarm system activates, the garage door locks and landline calls reroute to their mobile.

The company says that the API will allow developers to integrate Tado into other home automation apps. The company is also working on HomeKit support.

IFTTT introduced three simplified apps last month to make the service more accessible to non-technical users, while rebranding its full-fat app as IF.

Thermostat Stories November 17, 2014

Smart thermostat war heats up as Apple starts selling Nest competitor Ecobee3

Although Apple continues to offer the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect despite Google’s acquisition of the smart device company, the iPhone maker has added a competing Wi-Fi-connected smart thermostat to the lineup. Apple has recently added the Ecobee3 smart Wi-Fi thermostat to the Connected Home section of its online store. The smart thermostat, which can be controlled with an iPhone or iPad, is available for $249.95.

Thermostat Stories May 29, 2014

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Acquiring the Nest Learning Thermostat was Google’s big step into home automation

As first reported on Monday, Apple is said to be preparing a home automation system for debut at WWDC next week. While this was the first anyone had heard of any such plans, several different sources have quickly come together to give an idea of how an “Apple Smart Home” will likely function.

On Monday, as noted above, the Financial Times first reported that Apple’s new program would not consist of a group of first-party automated appliances or other devices connected to an iPhone. Instead, the program will work similarly to Apple’s existing “Made for iPhone” program. Essentially the only role Apple will play is to grant special branding to compliant devices.

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Thermostat Stories May 21, 2014

Google tells the SEC it could soon be serving ads on thermostats and other devices (Update: Google says no ad-based Nest)

 

Those who expressed concern about Google’s acquisition of Nest may have have been right: the company has told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it may choose to serve ads on “refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google made the statement in support of its contention that it shouldn’t have to break out ad revenue from mobile devices.

Google argued that it doesn’t make sense to break out mobile revenue since the definition of mobile will “continue to evolve” as more “smart” devices roll out.

“Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future,” the company said in the filing.

While the statement is purely a defensive one – the company not wanting to share more data than it has to with competitors – the specific thermostat example seems unlikely to have been chosen completely randomly.

Google added the Nest smart thermostat to Google Play three months after purchasing the company. Nest remains on sale in Apple stores, both retail and online.

Nest was created by former Apple engineer Tony Fadell, the man dubbed ‘father of the iPod.’ Fadell sought to allay concerns about Google’s acquisition of the company soon after it was announced, promising that all data collected by Nest was used only to improve the product, and that any changes to that policy would be opt-in. Nothing was said about serving non-personalized ads, however.

Update: Google gave the following statement to Engadget

We are in contact with the SEC to clarify the language in this 2013 filing, which does not reflect Google’s product roadmap. Nest, which we acquired after this filing was made, does not have an ads-based model and has never had any such plans.”

Thermostat Stories January 13, 2014

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Google has confirmed in a press release that it is acquiring Nest Labs, the company behind Nest smart thermostats and fire alarms started by Father of the iPod Tony Fadell. Earlier reports were quickly confirmed along with the transaction price of $3.2 billion in cash in an official announcement posted on the company’s Investor website. In the statement, Google said that Fadell will be staying on board as a Google employee and continuing to run Nest: expand full story

Thermostat Stories January 10, 2014

Eversense-Aura-iBeacon

This week at CES 2014, Allure Energy, makers of a $400 smart thermostat Nest competitor called EverSense, showed off an upcoming add-on to its system that uses Apple’s new Bluetooth LE iBeacon technology. Dubbed “Aura,” the small iBeacons will become an extension to the smart EverSense thermostat by allowing iBeacons to detect iOS devices in proximity and adjust the temperature of a room accordingly. After an initial setup, you’ll be able to adjust the temperature from any room with an Aura iBeacon just by entering the room: expand full story

Thermostat Stories November 25, 2013

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This review has been updated a year in, with an improved thermostat with built-in display and touch-sensitive controls, and new fuel-saving figures.

Affordable home automation has been a long time coming. Frankly, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s the 21st Century and homes still don’t have Star Trek style swishy doors as standard.

But iPhone-controlled heating and lighting is here today. Nest hasn’t yet made it to the UK, so I decided to try out competitor system Tado, which is available in Europe now.

In the UK, it costs £199 if your system already has a wired thermostat, or £278 if it doesn’t. Alternatively, you can rent Tado for either £4.99 or £7.98/month. Looking at my own energy usage before and after, the payback time is a little under three years.

The concept

The idea behind Tado is three-fold. First, automation. As well as the programmable timer you have in any heating system, it also monitors the locations of everyone in the household via their iPhones (or Android phones). If everyone is out, it turns down the heating even if the timer says it should be on.

How much it turns it down depends on how far away you are, because it aims to have it back up to temperature by the time you return. Nip out to the local grocery store, and it won’t adjust it much, drive an hour to work and it’ll turn it down a lot …  expand full story

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