WiFi Thermostats and the Dream of the Fully Automated “Smart Home”

Friday, August 29th, 2014

For many homeowners, the dream of a George Jetson-like “smart home” begins with the installation of a programmable thermostat with built-in WiFi. This means it can connect wirelessly to your Internet service at home and be controlled with a smartphone or tablet from any place with WiFi access: your place of work, your local coffee shop, or your hotel in Fiji!

That kind of control and convenience gets the wheels in our head spinning: “Hey … why just the thermostat? I want to control my doors, windows, TV, microwave, refrigerator, fireplace …”

Sounds like it could be a lot of fun! And in fact, many homeowners are exploring home automation, now that broadband Internet has reached most homes and costs of automation systems have become more affordable.

Revenues in the U.S. “connected home” market are expected to hit $10 billion dollars this year and grow to $44 billion by 2017, according to industry analyst GSMA Intelligence. In regard to the HVAC industry, global shipments of connected thermostats grew by 46 percent in 2013 and are expected to quadruple in four years, according to Ingersoll Rand-Nexia Home Intelligence business development manager Mark Schmidt, recently interviewed by The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS.

It’s a big trend that we’re following at Daffan Cooling & Heating, where our techs have been receiving many requests to install WiFi thermostats. In the smart home market right now, it’s the wild, wild West, with many big names gunning to be the top system for connected homes. When the dust settles, who will be left standing? Emerson’s Sensi Google’s Nest, Samsung’s SmartThings? And what connected-device communication protocol will come out on top? X10, Insteon, Z-Wave?

Now it begins to boggle the mind. What we know for sure, the devices and set-up that are most simple for the average consumer will come out on top. Scott Ford, a contributor to Entrepreneur magazine, has an excellent article that examines what needs to happen before automation can gain a foothold in the average U.S. home. Check it out here:

5 Steps the ‘Smart’ Home Industry Must Take to Develop a Consumer Market