According to a new report from IMS research, worldwide annual shipments of remote access and control thermostats that allow consumers to adjust temperature inhomes via a smartphone and tablet will quadruple within a five-year period ending in 2017. IMS research is a part of Information Handling Services (IHS). The research showed that the reason for this increase is due to the fact that customers are aiming for increased comfort in their residence.

Approximately 3 percent of the 38 million thermostats shipped globally in 2012 gave consumers the ability to remotely adjust the temperature and other comfort settings in their homes through their smartphone or tablet, the study showed. Shipments last year of thermostats with remote access and control functionality amounted to 1.3 million units, with the number projected to increase more than fourfold to 5.9 million units by 2017.

“With the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets, consumers are increasingly looking to control aspects of their lives through their handheld devices,” said William Rhodes, senior market analyst for the Building Technologies Group at IHS. “Turning up the temperature in your home on a colder day while you are commuting home is a very appealing proposition.”

The remote access thermostats—many with built-in Wi-Fi functionality—allow users to carry out a variety of tasks, including changing temperature settings, viewing energy consumption, taking advantage of the latest firmware update from the thermostat provider, and using weather data to optimize the home environment.

While some argue that the ability to change the temperature in one’s home while on holiday could be viewed as somewhat gimmicky, the market continues to incite interest, Rhodes noted, predominately among consumers looking to upgrade older-looking thermostats in their dwellings.

“Historically consumers were only motivated to install a thermostat when they built a new house or when their furnace, boiler, air conditioner, or even thermostat itself broke,” Rhodes explained. “Now, however, connected thermostats are creating new demand in the market as consumers look to enhance their comfort levels.”

North America is leading the trend toward connected thermostats, enjoying a higher shipment penetration than in any other region of the world. Across the United States and Canada, an increasing number of new entrants are also heavily promoting the benefits of remote access and control, helping in turn to drive the market overall.

The ability to control the comfort of one’s home from anywhere in the world is arguably the most heavily publicized trend currently impacting the thermostats market. Even so, the market for remote access and control thermostats is forecast to gain growing interest this year, with shipments in 2013 for the devices climbing a hefty 46 percent to an estimated 1.9 million units. 

Thermostats to Quadruple