What did the contractor judges have to say about the 2014 Dealer Design Awards gold winner in the Residential Controls, including zoning category? “This is an excellent thermostat with Wi-Fi connectivity that can be a game changer. This is the product of the future. I believe the connected home will replace the service agreement for keeping the client with our company. With connected home services, we will double the people who do business with us each year and not lose to the lower-priced ‘cheap Charlie.’”

Earning this honor and these comments was Honeywell Intl. Inc.’s Redesigned Prestige® IAQ Thermostat. The programmable thermostat uses proprietary RedLINK technology that allows the device to be connected to other HVAC accessories, creating a complete comfort system. A high-definition color display can be adjusted to match customer preferences, and customers choosing to enroll in Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort Services can have access to the thermostat via the Web or on a tablet or smartphone. The Wi-Fi connection has on-thermostat setup to help technicians simplify installation. Other features include the ability for technicians to upload information to the thermostat via a USB, as well as features a 2-wire power hook up.

Although initially designed strictly for residential usage, the completely redesigned Prestige IAQ thermostat can be used for commercial applications, as well. The new device is code compliant for commercial systems. “Designed to meet the unique challenges of commercial applications, the Prestige IAQ is reliable, cost-effective, and easy-to-use,” said the company. “Users can remotely manage multiple buildings, with no need for an onsite technician. Churches, retail, and small manufacturing sites without full-time onsite maintenance crews will benefit from the extensive features and remote access with Prestige IAQ with RedLINK accessories.”

Product design and research stemmed two years as the company gathered input from the customer, sales professionals, and through channel research. From there, Honeywell went on to formulate its target segments and product value. Once complete, the manufacturer took the product to its target markets and tested it in hopes of capturing maximum value for the product and the channel.

Silver Winner

Emerson Climate Technologies Inc.’s White-Rodgers division won silver for the Sensi™ thermostat. The device works with most residential HVAC systems. Applications include gas or oil furnaces, electric heat, heat pump, geothermal systems, or radiant heat with up to four stages of heat and two stages of cool. The unit features remote access from a smartphone, tablet, or computer, and has a mobile app that lets a homeowner manage his or her comfort. Homeowners can manage multiple thermostats on the same app, even at a second home, from any number of connected devices.

The Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat spent approximately three years in research and design. According to the company, the technology to achieve some of the specific features has only been commercialized for about a year. In developing the Sensi thermostat, Emerson Climate Technologies conducted focus groups with contractors as well as homeowners.

The company focused on making the device easy to install and connect. The thermostat works without a C wire, for example, and step-by-step setup is provided in the Sensi thermostat’s mobile app. Contractor branding is available directly in the Sensi app, as well. Registered contractors enter their phone numbers during the installation process, so the homeowner is one touch away from calling them the next time they need service.

Bronze Winner

The Wi-Fi®-capable York® Affinity™ Residential Communicating Control won bronze in the Residential Controls category. The Wi-Fi capability provides homeowners with remote access to the control system from their smartphones or tablet devices using the IntelliComfort™ mobile app. From this app, users can monitor the status of every enabled system device — from the air conditioner to the furnace to the air handler to the heat pump. The connectivity is also said to help contractors by providing what the company calls an intuitive interface, and remote access. Contractors can ask homeowners to provide them with access to automated system faults and notification alerts via email.

The unit has a 4-wire connection to all York Affinity gas furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, and air handlers. The plug-and-play design instantly syncs with an integrated control that connects with each piece of intelligent equipment.

The control has gone through five years of research and development. Zone control is possible for up to six zones, meaning precise comfort levels can be programmed from a single touchscreen. The unit features a high-definition touchscreen with easy-to-read icons. It also displays information in multiple languages, including English and French, and offers either Fahrenheit or Celsius settings.

Publication date: 7/21/2014

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