How Smart Thermostats Enable the Internet of Things (IoT): Three Key Developments of the Smart Home
Do people want a smart box that can physically control everything in their homes? We posed this question to consumers for the first time, back in 2004.
Being a home automation company in the Netherlands and coming from a background of technology development and IoT enthusiasm, we pioneered remote controlling devices, smart lighting and assisted living, even back then.
Now remember, this was years before the iPhone was introduced. Touchscreens had only just started popping up.
Even though all of these things were already possible, our ambitious plan to “conquer the world” didn’t quite take off in the way we had expected.
Why? It turns out that people didn’t want a mysterious box with the potential to control fully their home. They simply weren’t ready for that concept because they didn’t understand it.
Years later, in 2012, the realization of what people actually wanted came when we partnered with a forward-thinking and leading Dutch energy company, Eneco.
They realized that the energy world is changing and that we have to transition from a central to a decentralized system. From a world with central energy production and delivery over a grid to people’s homes, to a reality where people are generating their own, sustainable energy and using a smart grid.
In this new world, they needed a new business model. They wanted to shift from a traditional supply of energy to a new service model, one that could help them connect with their customers and drastically reduce churn.
The smart thermostat we were developing provided just that. From a smart box concept in 2004, it developed into a new self-learning smart thermostat that incorporated all the features of the original product, but added one big new advantage: an attractive smart energy display.
This suddenly provided a new foothold into the smart home market, allowing multiple features to be introduced to the screen.
It helped to transform the concept of a smart thermostat intended for a niche and ‘geeky’ audience into a mass energy-saving solution.
Now, over 200,000 people have embraced this smart home proposition branded as ‘Toon’ by Eneco in their homes in the Netherlands, putting our product in the top three smart thermostats in Europe.
The case for smart thermostats to provide a platform to the smart home became apparent, as sales continued to grow and we decided to build new features and services on top of our platform quickly after that.
For instance, we connected smart plugs to our smart thermostat, so that consumers can control their lighting and devices and gain unique insights into their usage on a device level.
We also introduced a smoke detection feature that builds on a wireless smoke detector and alerts Eneco’s customers when there is a fire in their homes.
These are just a few of the many examples and opportunities that the platform offers. But there are more.
Indeed, Quby sees the potential for many features to come:
Smarter energy with storage and boiler management