Intelligent New Products in Home Automation
A sampling of the latest home automation products to hit the market
The home automation market is experiencing explosive growth as wireless technologies continue to improve in quality, reliability, security, and price. According to a new report from Technavio, the global Internet of Things (IoT) devices market is forecast to grow from $7 billion in 2014 to $45 billion by 2019, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 44 percent.
In the HVAC industry, manufacturers are working to meet the growing demand for smart, connected devices homeowners can control from their computers, tablets, and smartphones. Here are a few of the latest products available on the market; products are listed in alphabetical order by manufacturer, and any product questions should be directed to them.
American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning
Product: Gold 824 Control
Description: The American Standard Gold 824 Smart Control in-home, wall-mounted control features a 4 1/3-inch, high-definition, color touchscreen with the ability to program seven days of temperatures with up to six schedules per day. It also includes a five-day weather forecast and weather radar display; an indoor relative humidity display; two selectable auxiliary dry contacts to control a humidifier, dehumidifier, or ventilation system; and HVAC filter, maintenance, and humidifier reminders. The Gold 824 Control connects with Wi-Fi or Ethernet and includes a built-in Nexia™ Bridge acting as a smart home hub, which allows homeowners to connect more than 200 Z-wave devices. The Nexia smart home system integrates all of a home’s smart devices in a single, all-in-one app, granting homeowners reliable control over their homes from anywhere. This smart control is also compatible with conventional 24-V central HVAC, heat pump, and dual-fuel systems.
“With the Gold 824 Control, homeowners now have complete control of their HVAC systems and so much more in the palm of their hands,” said George Land, general manager of connected home solutions at American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning. “The unit’s unique scheduling feature ensures the family is constantly comfortable while also remaining energy efficient.”
Contact: For more information about the Gold 824 Control, visit www.americanstandardair.com or call 800-945-5884.
Product: 8800, 8810, 8820, 8830, and 8840
Description: Aprilaire automation thermostats provide several solutions, from a hardwired, serial-based thermostat to Wi-Fi thermostats controlling not only temperature but also other IAQ features such as humidity, ventilation, and air purity. Products cost $275-$625 with a wide variety of offerings, from a basic thermostat with hard buttons to a top-of-the-line thermostat with a 7-inch color touch panel. Aprilaire also permits installers to use paintable flush-mount remote temperature sensors, which allow thermostats to be remotely located. Humidity control can be programmed as manual or automatic control to ASHRAE 62.2-2010 and -2013 codes with high- and low-temperature and humidity limits. Aprilaire has an open protocol that communicates directly with the home automation control system. The thermostats can also be configured for control with the Aprilaire Wi-Fi Thermostat App. Aprilaire automation thermostats not only control temperature, but also all other IAQ features. Automation thermostats also have an open protocol allowing for local communication with the control system.
“Aprilaire designs its thermostats to ensure reliable control of the HVAC and IAQ systems in addition to protecting it from extreme conditions,” said Jon Fischer, automation sales manager, Aprilaire. “Our domestic tech support is also here to help users partner with the pros in the HVAC industry, ensuring the controls installed are the best fit for clients’ homes.”
Contact: For more information on the 8800, 8810, 8820, 8830, and 8840, visit www.aprilairepartners.com, email email@example.com, or call 888-782-8638.
Product: Carrier Côr™ Thermostat
Description: A heating and cooling system is at the center of what makes a home comfortable and where homeowners spend the most money on energy. Carrier® representatives have developed a thermostat with intelligent controls designed to be the heart of a smarter home where comfort and energy savings go hand-in-hand. Smart features let the thermostat intelligently adapt beyond manual programming for greater efficiency while still meeting the user’s ideal comfort levels. Monthly energy reports in the Web portal show system performance, allowing a user to modify the unit’s settings to maximize savings. Users can count on 110 years of home comfort expertise from the people who invented modern air conditioning.
“We developed the Côr thermostat with the connected homeowner in mind and with the simplicity of the smartphone as our inspiration for an intuitive experience,” said Matthew Pine, vice president, marketing, Carrier. “Feedback in our first year of sales confirmed our research and assumptions about what homeowners expect from a smart thermostat. We’ve been focused during the past year on extending our partnerships and are pleased we’re now able to interface with both Wink and Lutron home automation systems, making the Côr thermostat even more powerful.”
Contact: For more information on the Carrier Côr Thermostat, visit www.carrier.com/cor.
Product: FILTERSCAN Wi-Fi Air Filter Monitor and Notification System
Description: A clogged air filter is a leading cause of heating and cooling system failure. Dirty filters can increase energy consumption by 15 percent and reduce IAQ. FILTERSCAN Wi-Fi removes the guesswork and ensures the filter is replaced at the right time. It works with both residential and commercial systems, including roof-mounted air handlers. The FILTERSCAN Wi-Fi Air Filter Monitor is mounted on the outside of the air handler or plenum and uses an innovative sensor to track the differential pressure inside an HVAC system. It uses that information to determine when the filter is clogged and needs to be serviced. A clog alert is then sent to any designated smartphone, tablet, or other Internet-connected device. The self-calibrating device works with many multi-speed VAV (variable air volume) systems and most air filters. It takes just a few simple tools and a few minutes to install. The filter replacement reminders on smart thermostats are simply timers and do not monitor the true status of the filter.
“As the winner of Popular Science’s Best of What’s New for 2014 in the Home category, it was one of only eight products selected out of thousands of submissions,” said Luis Fernandez, president of CleanAlert.
Contact: For more information on CleanAlert, visit www.cleanalert.com, email
firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 818-444-4569 ext. 105.
Product: ecobee3 smart Wi-Fi thermostat with room sensors
Description: The ecobee3 smart Wi-Fi thermostat and room sensors measure temperature and occupancy in multiple locations, resulting in increased comfort when a user’s present and energy savings when the user’s away. The sleek and functional ecobee3 addresses hot and cold spots in the home and conserves energy to deliver savings. Not every room heats or cools the same. By measuring the temperature in the rooms that matter most, ecobee3 helps address hot and cold spots, keeping a user comfortable. Most homes only need a few sensors; however, if the user’s lucky enough to live in a Chateau, rest assured the ecobee3 supports up to 32 sensors.
Contact: For more information on the ecobee3, visit www.ecobee.com.
Honeywell Intl. Inc.
Product: Lyric Round™ Wi-Fi Thermostat
Description: The second-generation Lyric Round Wi-Fi Thermostat is ideal for customers who want the freedom to stay in touch with their home’s connected systems to maximize savings and comfort. Installers can access the on-screen menu right at the thermostat or by using the Lyric app. Lyric uses a smartphone’s location and can automatically adjust the temperature as customers come and go, delivering comfort when they’re home and savings when they’re away. Lyric is great for families with busy, unpredictable schedules; tech-savvy customers who use apps; customers who don’t program their thermostat and aren’t saving as much as they could; and customers who want to integrate a connected home system. The Lyric features easy setup at the thermostat or through the Lyric app; ecosystem integration that works with Apple® HomeKit™ and Samsung® SmartThings™ for control of connected products ranging from lights to garage doors, delivering an even greater connected home experience; anytime, anywhere control on a smartphone or tablet; smart alerts that send homeowners maintenance notifications and alerts about extreme conditions to help maintain efficiency and extend the life of HVAC
equipment; a convenient at-a-glance weather outlook that helps homeowners plan their day; an intelligent comfort control that maintains comfort by considering indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity; and custom shortcuts.
“Lyric is comfort made simple,” said Ted Booth, design director, Honeywell. “With no complex menus, the Lyric thermostat offers a fun and engaging way to control home comfort.”
Nest Labs Inc.
Product: Third-generation Nest Learning Thermostat
Description: The Nest Thermostat is a connected thermostat that combines learning algorithms to help customers save energy. Using its sensors and algorithms, it learns a homeowner’s schedule and automatically adapts to his or her life. The Nest Thermostat automatically adapts to most HVAC systems and turns on system-specific features, so a contractor only has to carry one model on his or her truck. The Nest Thermostat learns from customers to program itself and turn itself down when no one is home. Customers can control the Nest Thermostat from anywhere using the Nest app. While the Nest Thermostat is great on its own, its true potential is unlocked when working with other Nest products (second-generation Nest Protect smoke + CO alarm, Nest Cam, etc.). All Nest products communicate with one another to keep people comfortable and safe. For example, if Nest Protect detects CO, the Nest Thermostat will automatically turn off the furnace.
“The Nest Thermostat gets better in time with regular, over-the-air software updates as well as a growing list of third-party products that integrate with Nest,” said Gene LaNois, head of professional channel, Nest.
Nexia™, a division of Ingersoll Rand
Products: Nexia Bridge, Trane ComfortLink II XL950 Control, Trane XL824, American Standard Platinum, 950 Control, One Touch
Description: The Nexia Bridge, the hub of the home automation system, allows a user to monitor and control locks, lights, thermostats, and more. By pairing the bridge with smart home thermostats offered by Nexia’s parent company, Ingersoll Rand, the user can monitor and control his or her home’s climate from anywhere in the world. The Nexia One Touch provides quick access to the Nexia automations and modes that may be assigned to the device, eliminating the need to have a smartphone or computer nearby at all times when enjoying the comforts of the home. Install the One Touch near the door to easily control the home when leaving or entering. Sensors installed on windows can communicate with a thermostat, telling it to turn off the air conditioner when a window is open. Similarly, location services on smartphones can inform the thermostat when a homeowner leaves and arrives, enabling setbacks that seamlessly adapt to variations in daily schedules. Connected thermostats are one of the most popular categories of connected devices and one of the most difficult for the average homeowner to install on his or her own. It is a natural entry point for HVAC dealers. With Nexia Diagnostics, technicians have the ability to proactively alert homeowners to maintenance issues that could be compromising efficiency, wasting energy, and leading to costly future repairs.
“HVAC systems are a natural fit with smart home technology, and dealers have the necessary HVAC expertise,” said George Land, general manager of Nexia. “Linking HVAC and smart devices into a single system can turn a mechanical installation into an overall household technology upgrade, which is a uniquely powerful proposition and a powerful competitive differentiator.”
Contact: For more information on the Nexia home automation system, visit www.nexiahome.com, email email@example.com, or call 707-799-2375.
Product: Wiser Air
Description: Wiser Air is a smart, Wi-Fi-connected, home thermostat — the first of its kind sold by Schneider Electric. Built with state-of-the-art technology, it’s a home energy management solution that provides users with control of comfort and savings for peace of mind. It leverages innovative features, like proprietary Comfort Boost technology, which provides 15-60 minutes of on-demand heating or cooling at the touch of a button. With a smartphone-style, high-resolution touchscreen and plug-and-play design, Wiser Air enables intuitive installation, operation, and maintenance. It syncs seamlessly with its mobile app, creating a unified experience across any device or operating system. The thermostat’s sophisticated hardware and Wi-Fi capability supports automatic updates, giving homeowners access to the latest technology advancements over time without needing to purchase a new device. Wiser Air brings Schneider Electric’s 100-plus-year history in energy management to the residential market. It comes equipped with Wiser Forecast, which provides extreme weather alerts and allows the thermostat to adapt to the latest weather information, which increases comfort and energy efficiency. This same top-ranked weather intelligence is used by many utilities, airlines, and sports and entertainment venues, and now is available to homeowners through this exclusive offering.
“Wiser Air fills the gap in the home energy market for smart, easy-to-use solutions that help homeowners simplify energy efficiency,” said Yann Kulp, vice president of residential energy solutions, Schneider Electric. “We’re excited to bring our commercial energy management expertise to the consumer market with a product that puts the user experience first in every aspect.”
Contact: For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 855-559-4737, or visit www.wiserair.com.
Product: ComfortLink™ II XL950
Description: Trane’s ComfortLink™ II XL950 is an easy-to-use advanced control with a 7-inch touchscreen and Wi-Fi connectivity. It connects with Trane’s TruComfort™ variable-speed systems and is zoning-capable for up to eight zones. The thermostat monitors indoor and outdoor temperatures, allowing homeowners to create custom heating and cooling schedules to better manage energy use and comfort. When paired with Nexia™, a smart home system and brand of Ingersoll Rand, homeowners can remotely control their home’s heating and cooling and energy usage from any Web-enabled computer or smartphone for exceptional convenience, reliability, and control. Powered by secure Z-Wave technology, Nexia allows homeowners to expand their systems with hundreds of devices from top manufacturers to create a truly smart home that simplifies everyday life. Nexia’s DIY installation and compatibility with numerous products from the most trusted brands make the system easily expandable and customizable.
“The ComfortLink II XL950 is more than a thermostat — it’s a programmable command center for the home,” said Karl Mutchnik, portfolio manager, HVAC controls, Trane Residential. “When paired correctly with Nexia, homeowners can truly automate their homes to match their lifestyle, ensuring they optimize their energy consumption and get the most from their HVAC systems.”
Contact: For more information about the ComfortLink II XL950, visit www.trane.com or call 800-945-5884.
Products: ColorTouch and Voyager thermostats
Descriptions: Venstar’s ColorTouch® programmable thermostats feature a multifunctional, simple-to-use touchscreen, which can be programmed to display a picture gallery of up to 100 files to be used as a slideshow. Select models feature Wi-Fi inside, allowing a user to connect anytime, anywhere. Venstar’s value-priced Voyager® line of thermostats lets homeowners stay connected with their thermostats as their smart home evolves. Voyager thermostats deliver the latest in connectivity for indoor climate control with a rich feature set that enables users to reduce energy costs with local or remote operation via the Internet of Things, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and Z-Wave.
ColorTouch thermostats are compatible with Venstar’s Skyport™ Cloud Services, which give users access to Venstar’s free Skyport mobile app on their Apple iOS®, Android™, and BlackBerry® mobile devices or directly from the Web to instantly access and control multiple thermostats in numerous locations. Voyager thermostats can be programmed for comfort when the environment is occupied and for energy savings when homeowners are away. Voyager can be personalized to receive custom text messages via the Skyport mobile app. Voyager thermostats enable users to reduce energy costs with local or remote operation via the Internet of Things, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and Z-Wave.
“The new ColorTouch residential thermostats with Wi-Fi inside deliver programmable HVAC control with a customizable touchscreen,” said Steve Dushane, president and CEO of Venstar Inc. “The new ColorTouch thermostats with Wi-Fi give users the ability to control energy usage and reduce costs remotely or by using the high-resolution color touchscreen. From the couch or across town, Venstar’s free Skyport App allows users to control their ColorTouch thermostats with their mobile devices. Venstar’s new line of Voyager thermostats puts the latest in fully featured, connected, indoor comfort control within reach.”
Contact: For more information about the ColorTouch and Voyager thermostats, visit www.venstar.com/thermostats, email email@example.com, or call 818-812-9930.
WaterFurnace Intl. Inc.
Description: Symphony is a Web-enabled home comfort platform specifically designed for WaterFurnace’s geothermal heat pumps, including the 3 Series, 5 Series, and 7 Series systems. It provides detailed feedback on a unit in real time and the tools to control it from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. Symphony marries the Aurora controls of a WaterFurnace geothermal system with the WebLink router, giving both homeowners and dealers access to unit sensors, energy use, and system information from practically anywhere. The system is cloud-based, so there’s no software to install, and it provides control over the entire geothermal system — not just the temperature as found in other smart thermostat systems. The personalized dashboard provides quick access to system settings, operational status and history, alert history, energy usage, zone temperatures, and local weather. Unlike thermostat-only options or whole-home energy-usage portals, Symphony integrates into the control board, representing a complete hardware and software solution for system management. It provides quick and easy access to system status, operation history, alert history, and energy-usage. An Internet-enabled thermostat allows homeowners to change temperature, set a schedule, monitor vacation mode, and more via a smartphone or tablet. Those with WaterFurnace’s IntelliZone2 zoning system can remotely control temperatures and programs for up to six zones. In addition to sending text, email, and push notifications via an available app, the platform allows homeowners to track their system’s energy use over the prior 13 months, including details on equipment staging, heating time, cooling time, and fan use. Symphony also provides homeowners with peace of mind by allowing their installing contractor the ability to access, monitor, configure, and diagnose a system if a problem should occur.
“Our Symphony system can provide equipment alerts and service reminders via email, text message, and in-app notifications to not only the homeowner, but also dealers and contractors,” said Chris Mann, director of residential product engineering, WaterFurnace. “A service technician can log into a homeowner’s system to view faults, operating conditions, and sensor readings — all without having to visit the home. If a service call is needed, the contractor can begin working on the solution immediately, saving the homeowner valuable time.”
White-Rodgers, an Emerson Climate Technologies Inc. brand
Product: Sensi™ Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat
Description: White-Rodgers’ Sensi Wi-Fi programmable thermostat supports home automation technology, including Wink home automation systems, and works directly with Amazon Echo. With no C-wire, the Sensi thermostat is quick and easy to install. Connecting the thermostat to a home Wi-Fi network is also easy with the step-by-step instructions provided in the Sensi mobile app. Using the Sensi thermostat is just as simple. The mobile app helps a homeowner store up to nine different schedules and manage multiple thermostats on the same app — even at a second home. Designed to work with existing wires, Emerson’s Sensi Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat is compatible with most gas, oil, geothermal, heat pump, and radiant heat systems. Contractor branding is available directly in the Sensi mobile app. Registered contractors enter their phone numbers during the installation process placing the homeowner one touch away from them the next time he or she needs service.
“Homeowners desire comfort and convenience to support their busy lifestyles, and this is driving the demand for home automation,” said Ed Blittschau, vice president, marketing, White-Rodgers. “Technology advancements and unique products supporting this trend continue to be introduced to the market. The Sensi thermostat’s open architecture is facilitating our relationships with connected home platforms like Wink and Amazon Echo. With cloud-based upgrades and continued platform additions, contractors can feel confident that offering the Sensi thermostat will continue to meet the expectations of today’s connected homeowner.”
Contact: For more information about the Sensi, visit www.emersonsensi.com.
York, a brand of Johnson Controls Inc.
Product: York touch-screen thermostat with a proprietary hexagon interface
Description: York’s new touchscreen thermostat, with its proprietary, patent pending hexagon interface, completes the York brand home comfort system while offering an advanced thermostat that works with any conventionally wired HVAC system. Featuring an intuitive interface, the thermostat bridges the gap between standard thermostats and smart thermostats, giving the user control over a home’s heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet, but relying on the user for direction using edit, scheduling, and control functions. The Wi-Fi-enabled device is easy to install and service, giving the contractor the ability to preconfigure settings before arriving at a residence. Additionally, by providing the contractor with login information, the homeowner can experience peace of mind by allowing the system to communicate with the contractor. The intuitive thermostat is simple to use and easy to program. It provides real-time system information and fault notifications, as well as a quick-heat/quick-cool feature. The York touchscreen thermostat is a product of Johnson Controls’ advanced quality process, which helps to ensure trouble-free installation, operation, and servicing, making each job more profitable.
“We relied on our experience as the leader in building automation and controls to create a quality thermostat that homeowners can trust — one that completes the York brand home comfort system and offers exceptional control and convenience for any conventionally wired HVAC system,” said Jedidiah Bentz, advanced systems, controls and technology director, unitary products group, Johnson Controls.
Publication date: 3/21/2016