With summer temperatures already hovering around “Africa-hot” conditions throughout the country, we rely on cooling our abodes more than ever. The smart thermostat – Nest – has made its mark for some time now and continues to show us that we do have control over two important things when cooling our homes: saving money and remaining kind to Mother Earth.
However, like any new product, it has competition – the Canadian born Ecobee3 smart thermostat (founded by Stuart Lombard). Much like the popular Nest brand, the Ecobee3 claims to save dwellers money by sensing if people are in the home (as well as monitoring the weather outside) and adjusts the temperature accordingly. It also has a sleek design like the Nest and basically contains all the same bells and whistles in terms of scheduling features for worry-free environmental control. For some time, both products existed on the same playing field in the smart thermostat market – until now.
Photo: Technobuffalo.com – Apple HomeKit app
The latest game changer that may propel the Ecobee3 way ahead of the Nest (owned by Google) is its recent Apple HomeKit integration feature. Apple began selling the smart thermostat in North American stores this past Tuesday and now with the integration, Ecobee3 users can use Siri for easy temperature changes without having to use the built-in controls at all. The Ecobee3 sells for $250 and if you want to save even more and don’t need the HomeKit integration, you can get the original model at a reduced price on the Ecobee website.
The Bigger Picture Here
Is the Ecobee3 Apple HomeKit integration a direct attempt by Apple to make sure (it’s biggest competitor) Google knows it plans to dominate the smart home market? And that Google’s Smart Thermostat Nest – better be on it’s toes?
According to the Verge, “Siri is starting to take over the smart home. The first products that can be controlled by iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches through HomeKit – Apple’s smart home platform – are going on sale in June and July. The products include light dimmers, air monitors, a thermostat (the Ecobee3), and an entire smart home hub.” All of these products will be controlled through apps and Siri, allowing your domicile to be automated by voice command. Digital Trends reports that Apple also plans to make HomeKit easier to use by adding iCloud support for it in iOS 9 and making HomeKit support native in the next version of the Apple Watch.
Google’s smart home technology is still in the drafting stages according to the Google I/O 2015 conference. However, it does own the Nest, a WiFi Dropcam security camera, a smart smoke detector and according to Zdnet.com it seems to have very big plans (under the umbrella of Project Brillo – a James Bond-type codename for a preview of an Android-based embedded operating system platform) in the works for smart home security devices. We will have to wait and see if Google plans on making an indelible mark on the smart home market, letting Apple know: we hear you – get ready.