We don’t hear much about Tado, the German startup that offers a heating management unit, which has a basic home away feature whereby the unit turns off whenever no one’s home. Smart thermostats are the low hanging fruit of energy efficiency in the home with HVAC units claiming the lionshare of energy usage in the average home. And Tado offers the most basic feature, which leverages a resident’s cellphone (GPS) to turn off heating when the user is away. Smart thermostats can easily leverage the fact that with smartphones and GPS, we always know where people are.
The price tag for the unit, £249 ($389), is high, more than the cost of Nest’s sleek smart thermostat. But utility rates are also higher in Europe so the cost savings are potentially higher. And with most European countries located in cold climates there’s a large market there. What’s interesting to me also is that Tado is heating focused. I’ve heard folks say that the energy savings from Nest’s thermostats are much higher in the northeast because of the bias toward heating savings, and I wonder if all of these smart thermostats do better managing heating than cooling.
For a thorough look at the internet of things, see GigaOM Research’s “Forecast: smart homes and the internet of things.”