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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

The Case Against the Integrated Thermostat

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 2:15 PM

One of the big announcements at the CEDIA Expo this year was Nest finally opening up its API for 3rd party integration, starting with Control4. Before the show, there was a lot of resentment and anger towards Nest for creating a product that was so cool, so cutting edge, so popular and Apple-like and yet one that wouldn’t interface with all of the systems that we install. (I might have been guilty of piling some of this on as well...)

To Tony Fadell’s credit, he made a lot of great points during his keynote speech as to why Nest waited for some time before wanting to open up their product to 3rd party use, citing Apple as precedent and how long it waited before opening up its iron curtain and allowing others to start playing in their orchard. And when Fadell finally made the integration announcement, it was met with immediate approval and applause from the crowd. And I’ll admit, even I was swept up in it. I’ve had many clients that have Nest thermostats, and, boy, oh golly! Wouldn’t it be great to integrate these thermostats with our systems?!

Well, after leaving the Jonestown hysteria that Fadell had woven over the crowd and setting down the only partially finished Kool-Aid, I had a moment of reflection on integrating with thermostats and thought that I’d offer an opposing take.

Integration Upsides

So, what’s the upside to selling and integrating with an HVAC system?

You get to sell a thermostat or two. Depending on the model this might be a couple hundred bucks per unit.

There are a lot of cool things you can do with an integrated HVAC system. Notifications if the house is too hot or cold, as well humidity monitoring, and tying in with programmed scenes and the other things we like to do. This can allow a homeowner peace of mind, being able to check up on a home from anywhere in the world and is especially beneficial for people that own multiple homes. We’ve actually sold control systems solely for the purpose of remotely monitoring and controlling HVAC.

As integrators, we like the idea of creating Smart Homes that integrate all of the subsystems, and HVAC is certainly one of the systems that classically falls under our purview.

Integration Downsides

And what are the downsides? Click here to continue reading and find out...

Categories: October 2013, Rants, CES/CEDIA

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