Blog

Why Project Thermo: The value prop cheatsheet

In previous posts we’ve talked about why you’d want a smart IoT Thermostat (hint cost savings), and how Project Thermo improves on this. For those that don’t want to read the previous six posts, a summary is below.

Project Thermo Cheatsheet

  • Thinking differently had us minimize what was on the wall, leading to a few benefits, best of which is affordability
  • Minimizing what was on the wall also meant that we moved our brain into the cloud, where we can control them, and make Project Thermo better and smarter over time, just like your favourite apps.
  • Minimizing what was on the wall also meant we moved control to your mobile devices for a better user experience than  we could ever do on the wall. If your smart phone is better than the computers that put a man on the moon, it should be good enough for controlling the temperature of your house.
  • Notification and reminders will not only remind you about the little things, like changing the furnace filter, it will also notify you about the big things, like a significant drop in temperature, to make life easier and give you more peace of mind.
  • Information is about giving you the data you need, in the way you need it, so you know what your furnace is doing and why. This allows you to have the information to make better decisions easier, saving you more money, and giving you better control over your house.
  • Finally, Project Thermo works across multiple devices to collaboratively control the temperature across your house holistically.

These are the reasons why we believe in Project Thermo. Giving you more control, more information, and a better experience so that you can affordably save more money on your energy bill.

 

Why Project Thermo: Collaborating across devices

 

Last post we talked about understanding what your thermostat is doing, why and when, to make better decisions. In another post we talked about the benefits of having our brains in the cloud. This post is about how the two of these come together to solve the problem of having more than one thermostat.

Two thermostats – the art of balance

Not everyone has just one thermostat. When you have multiple thermostats they know nothing of each other. They each have a mind of their own and you have to be the “computer” that keeps them working together. If you adjust the temperature of one thermostat, you have to adjust the others correspondingly and to the correct ratio or they won’t be in balance anymore. This is not a problem for everyone, but anyone who has more than one thermostat has lived this problem.

Turn one thermostat up on a cold day, without adjusting the other properly and the harmony can be broken. One will turn on more often, and the other may not turn on at all anymore, making part of the house colder when the intent was to make the house warmer. Anyone with multiple thermostats has spent plenty of time trying to find that perfect balance between the two thermostats so that their house is heated properly. If you are really unluckily you have to do this dance every summer and winter.

Because we moved Project Thermo’s brains into the cloud, the “master brain” resides in the web and not in the individual units on your wall, or in your head. This means that we work with both thermostats to collaborate and optimize heating or cooling across your house rather than at a single device. Now you don’t have to be the middle man trying to maintain balance, you can just easily adjust the temperature and maintain synchronicity.

Why Project Thermo: The power of information

In our previous post we talked about how notifications can let you know of events in your house. This comes from power of data, which is what this post is about.

Knowing is half the battle

Unlike regular programmable thermostats, Project Thermo is connected to the internet and regularly logs and records the temperature. It also records when your furnace, air conditioner, or fan turn on and off, what the temperature was set for, and when the temperature was increased or decreased and by whom. We feel the key to making better decisions is to know what your thermostat is doing, when, and why.

We use this data to help manage your thermostat, to make it better, to look for trends and issues, and to notify you of events. However, you can also use this data to understand what your house is doing to make better decisions and save more money. When you understand why your thermostat is doing what it does, you can make better decisions, and then see the results of your actions.

While data is good for computers, data for humans isn’t enough. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so we present the data visually and thoughtfully so it is simple yet powerful to understand. Project Thermo gives you visual data and trends allowing you to better understand your house and make better decisions more easily.

Trending data is also great for automatically identifying potential problems before they become issues. Maybe you turned the fan on and forgot about it? Maybe your furnace is not working properly? Maybe something external (like an open front door or a fire) is affecting the temperature. Because we regularly log data we can find anomalies and let you know.

How do you tell if you are being green and saving money, if you have nothing to compare to? Data on its own is helpful, but data aggregated across time and space can make it even more powerful and help provide even more context. Looking at trends over time and across multiple users allows us to benchmark, contrast, and compare. This then allows us to provide more context to your data.  Project Thermo helps you understand how well you are doing at being energy efficient, or maybe it will help you identify problems with your furnace efficiency or leaky windows. Knowing how well you are doing relative to other users in your area gives you something to compare to, to celebrate success, or identify issues.

As GI-Joe taught us, knowing is half the battle, so Project Thermo provides you the data and context you need, to do the most with the information, to make better decisions easier.

Why Project Thermo: Notifications for a better you

In previous posts we talked about how Project Thermo gives you a better user experience and how programmable thermostats can be better for your health. This post combines the two to talk about how Project Thermo can use your devices to promote better health and peace of mind.

Notifications for health and peace of mind.

How often do you look at your thermostat? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Do you even notice it, or do you only look at when you adjust the temperature? Unlike regular thermostats, mobile devices can create notifications that are better at getting your attention. Mobile devices also allow us to send notifications which alert you to important reminders or identify potential problems you may not be aware of.

As your furnace and air conditioner manipulate the air you breath, it is important that you maintain and service them regularly. Sometimes that’s as simple as changing the air filter or sometimes that is more involved like annual servicing or cleaning your furnace ducts.  Not only can we remind you about these minor but important events, but we can even help you order filters from Amazon and have it shipped to your house, making the task that much easier.

Project Thermo can also send you reminders for more worrisome things such as your furnace running straight without shutting off, that you left the exhaust / fan on when you accidentally burnt the toast at breakfast, or that your house is getting warmer or colder than it should be.

Notifications can help with health, chores and peace of mind. Even if the thermostat on the wall told you this, would you even notice it? We’re pretty sure you’ll notice the notification on your phone and tablet, which means you can act faster.

Why Project Thermo: A better experience on your devices

In a previous post we asked why people stood in a random hallway tapping on the wall when they could use their smart phone on the couch. In this post we talk about how Project Thermo changes that.

A better experience

Thermostats on the wall are limited in what they can do, and how they act. Furthermore, the more interactive and usable companies make them the more expensive they get. Smart phones, tablets and PCs have much more capability than any box on your wall. Smart phones are called super computers in your pocket, so why not use that?

A phone or a laptop not only gives you a larger screen giving us more room to work with, touchscreens and apps give us more creativity and control and the opportunity to give you a much better user experience. This also allows us to easily add features like voice controls, keyboards, pinch and zoom, menus, options, etc, and as we mentioned last post, since it’s an app, we can easily update it to make it better and add new features over time.

Using the power and convenience of your devices makes Project Thermo more affordable and more usable because we use the screens that you already own, and are always nearby and handy. Whether on the couch, or at the office, we use your devices to provide you with a better experience than anything we can put on the wall.

Why Project Thermo: Getting better over time

In our last post we talked about how minimizing what is on the wall led to other benefits such as being more affordable, which everyone can appreciate. In this post we will elaborate on why having your brains in the cloud is better than on the wall.

Getting smarter and better with age

Most programmable thermostats haven’t changed since they left the factory. They run exactly the same programming they did when they were created a decade or two ago. While this worked in the 80s and 90s, it seems like less of a benefit with today’s smart phones and updating apps.

Why shouldn’t your thermostat get smarter and better over time? Why shouldn’t you get new features, and a better thermostat over time? By minimizing what is on the wall, we moved our software from the individual units on the wall, which are hard to control and even harder to upgrade, to the cloud where we can we control it and where we can easily upgrade it to give you more and better features and new functionality. We can upgrade your thermostat like smartphone apps, getting better week by week, month by month.

Moving our brains to the cloud also allows us to be more flexible. This means that instead of having the standard wake/leave/home/sleep cycle, you can add a multitude of schedules to accommodate your lifestyle. Yoga on Tuesdays nights? Check. Early starts on Thursday? Check. Eat lunch at home? Check. You can control your schedules to fit your lifestyle however you see fit. Giving you maximum comfort and maximum savings.

With our brains in the cloud, not only do you get a more affordable thermostat, you get a thermostat that can easily get better and give you more features over time, while giving you more control to save more money.

Why Project Thermo: Looking at things differently

In our last post we talked about how smart thermostats can save you money when heating and cooling your house and improve your sleep and health, leading to a better environment, and a happier healthier you with more money in your pocket.

This begs the question of what Project Thermo offers over existing smart thermostats. In startup parlance, the question is what is Project Thermo’s value proposition. In this post we cover how Project Thermo is looking at things slightly differently than our competitors, and why that matters.

Minimizing what’s on the wall

The trend for smart IoT thermostats seems to be to add more features to the wall to make the device even fancier and more complex. While this makes for some cool and interesting technology, it comes with a price, literally a price tag. The fancier and more interesting the smart thermostat, the more expensive it is.

We took a different approach. Why do you need all that stuff on the wall? Why are you standing in a random hallway tapping on the wall when you can stay seated on the couch using the phone or tablet you already have in hand. Not only is it more convenient, it allows us to give a much better user experience, which we’ll talk about in a future post.

By minimizing what is on the wall we also moved our brains into the cloud. This means our software sits in the web, were we can control it, update it, and easily add new features to make your thermostat smarter and better. We will also cover this in more detail in a future post.

Minimizing what’s on the wall also minimizes the amount of things that can go wrong, and the probability that hardware becomes obsolete, but the biggest benefit for most of us is that by minimizing what is on the wall, we can make Project Thermo affordable. This means it costs you less to save more money on your energy bills. For those of you that need multiple thermostats the savings are compounded.

We don’t want to make the thermostat fancier, we want the thermostat to be invisible on the wall, or even disappear. We are still creating a great modern smart IoT thermostat with all the functionally you’d expect from modern technology. By looking at things differently we can make it affordable, even more affordable than some of the programmable thermostats created over a decade ago that are still on the market.

Project Thermo: Why a smart thermostat?

As I talk to people about Project Thermo I stumbled across something that caught me off guard, some people asked me why you’d want a smart thermostat. People who understand smart thermostats get Project Thermo, but apparently there are still people that don’t understand why you’d want a smart thermostat. This post is for them.

What is a smart thermostat?

Smart, programmable, or setback thermostats have been around for quite a while. Mechanical versions were invented by Mr. Honeywell in the early 1900s, with digital versions coming to market in the 80s. In it’s basic form, a programmable thermostat changes the thermostat setting based on the time of day, meaning that your thermostat’s set temperature changes throughout the day instead of staying constant.

Why a smart thermostat?

So smart thermostats have been around for a really long time, but why? Simple, cost savings. By heating or cooling at specific times (rather than constantly) you can save money. It costs a lot of money to heat or cool your house when you aren’t using it while at work. By changing your thermostat  6º C / 10º F for 8 hours a day, you can save 10% or more on your energy costs. You can also lower the temperature when you sleep to save more money (an additional 10% or more) while getting a better night’s sleep. So a smart thermostat is about keeping the house comfortable when you are home, and saving energy and money when you are not. Not only is it better for the environment, and your pocket book, it’s better for you.

Programmable thermostats have gotten better over time, but they still tend to be rigid and limited in their functionality and flexibility. The internet of things (IoT) is taking things one step further by connecting your thermostat to the internet and collecting and analyzing the data to run your furnace even more efficiently while also allowing you to control it either locally or remotely on your devices. Smart thermostats have improved the market greatly by learning from the data and adapting your schedule to you rather than a simple home / away / asleep / awake schedule, allowing more convenience, flexibility and potentially more savings.

Why Project Thermo?

Smart thermostats help save you money. There are some great ones on the market, but  they are expensive, and clunky. Why do you have to stand in a random hallway tapping on the wall? With all the amazing technology we have today, we think that there is room for improvement so we created Project Thermo to give you:

  • an affordable smart IoT thermostat,
  • that is infinitely customizable to fit your lifestyle,
  • with a much easier user experience on your devices,
  • that will get smarter and better over time (like an app on your phone)
  • and give you data to help you understand what your furnace is doing, when and why so you can make better decisions and save more money.

Why Project Thermo? A better planet, a better happier you, with more money in your pocket.

Project Thermo: Why not get smarter

In our last posting we talked about how a Chromebit as a thermostat, while really overkill, would still be cheaper and better than most of the current programmable thermostats on the market. While it would make an interesting thermostat it still has a limitation as it’s brains are still sitting on your wall. That makes it more difficult to upgrade, which makes it more difficult to make it better and smarter over time.

If a Tesla car can get better, why can’t your thermostat? By moving our brains into the cloud, we can easily update it regularly. This means we can add new features, update the user experience, and generally make it better and smarter over time. You can think of new features, and we can likely add it to your existing thermostat’s functionality. We can learn from experience and add more complexity, or decide to make things simpler, and everyone benefits, no new thermostat required.  When was the last time your thermostat got smarter and better?

By simplifying the overkill of a Chromebit, and moving the processing power into the cloud, Project Thermo can both be more affordable, more powerful, and get smarter and better over time. Check out Project Thermo, and order one today.

Smart Thermostats: Why not be affordable?

There are some great smart thermostats on the market today but they are expensive. While these new thermostats have caused the old programmable thermostats, created a decade or more ago, to come down significantly in price, they are also still expensive, relatively speaking, and still have the same clunky screens and interfaces from the last millennium. This was one of the key drivers that caused the inception of Project Thermo. Why buy an expensive thermostat when you can have a modern smart IoT thermostat for $50?

If a computer on a stick, like a Chromebit, costs less than one hundred dollars, why are smart / programmable thermostats, that are much less complex, more expensive? Partly it’s because of the special hardware and screens, partly it’s because of their name, and partly it’s because they can.  Chromebits are inexpensive relative to computers, tablets, or thermostats, because they simplified things. Chromebits are small, simple, and smart, such as using your TV as the power source and the screen.

By not having the fancy thermostat housing, screens, dials, buttons, etc, we simplified what was on the wall, and moved the experience onto your mobile device. This allows a much better experience, and the addition of more powerful features. Why stand in the hallway and have a limited experience with an expensive box on the wall, when you can sit comfortably on the couch, using the much richer interface on your devices.

A Chromebit on the wall is overkill for a thermostat, but the ideas of small, simple, and smart are not. Project Thermo will use your phone, tablet, or PC as the screen, a much bigger more usable screen. Project Thermo will also regularly record the temperature, and when your furnace, fan or A/C turns on and off, so that you know what is happening and when, so that you can make informed decisions. Unlike the traditional box on your wall, an app on your phone can be updated and improved. When was the last time your thermostat got smarter or better? With these ideas we created Project Thermo, the affordable $50 smart IoT thermostat. Order one today.