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Name the three most popular smart home categories. You win the prize if your answer is one of the following: smart speakers, smart doorbells, and smart thermostats.

Industry watchers will tell you that it was the Nest smart thermostat, introduced in 2011, that kickstarted the whole smart home trend. This year, according to Strategy Analytics, 50% of all US households contain at least one of these smart home devices.

Once upon a time, there was a Nest

While Nest certainly was not the first smart thermostat, its distinctive-looking, wall-mounted device was different: It used algorithms to observe a household's daily routine and program itself for optimal comfort, and cost- and energy-savings. With the success of Nest, many more manufacturers developed their own smart thermostats.

Among the new players, for example, is Ayla customer Stelpro, a manufacturer of integrated heating devices. Stelpro’s Maestro — Smart Thermostats integrate with the company’s heaters to help consumers maintain comfortable home temperatures, and save energy when they are away. The smart thermostat’s advanced features include personalization, zone control, and geofencing -- a virtual boundary that triggers particular settings when users enter or leave the area.

King I Electronics Co., Ltd., a provider of climate-control solutions, also has partnered with Ayla. King I's smart thermostats use wireless remote sensing applications to enable convenient temperature changes, HVAC system monitoring and maintenance, a vacation mode setting, and programming. As a result, consumers can reduce their energy costs.

Recently, Consumer Reports tested smart thermostats from Ecobee, Google Nest, Honeywell Home, and Schneider Electric and reviewed their features, such as automation, ease of use voice control, and WiFi connectivity.

How much money can a smart thermostat save?

Smart thermostats can save consumers up to $100 per year in energy costs, depending on the brand, the model, and its features.

But, you might ask: Doesn’t a regular old programmable thermostat save money? What makes a smart thermostat different from an older programmable thermostat? Glad you asked.

These are the four areas in which a smart thermostat can excel over a regular programmable thermostat:

  1. Programmability: A smart thermostat is programmable. A regular programmable thermostat isn’t very smart. Many consumers who purchased older, programmable thermostats found them so hard to program that they never took advantage of their energy-savings potential. Happily, smart thermostats either program themselves or are much easier to optimize than older units.
  2. Connectivity: A smart thermostat is connected. Sure, you can adjust the thermostat from the wall unit, but why bother? Especially when you can control the smart thermostat from your couch via voice-activated speaker or mobile device, or away from home with your smartphone or laptop.
  3. Automation: Internet and WiFi aside, a smart thermostat can be connected to older “dumb” heating and cooling units to transform them into smart devices. Even better, though, a smart thermostat can be an integral part of an overall home-automation system when it’s connected to an up-to-date residential HVAC system. Some, for example, use sensors that signal the thermostat to adjust to the temperature in specific home zones or manage a home’s overall humidity.
  4. Energy Monitoring: If you live in an area that gets its electricity from a smart grid, you also can use a smart thermostat to monitor your home’s energy use and adjust the control for even more cost savings.

Ready now to look into a smart thermostat for your home?

Manufacturers: The global smart thermostat market was valued at $849.14 million in 2019, and is expected to reach a value of approximately $2.8 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 23.1% during the forecast period 2020-2025, according to a recent report published by Research and Markets.

Find out how you can participate in this market opportunity by contacting Ayla for a free consultation about designing smart thermostats using Ayla IoT platform services.