“We invented round. We’re happy to reinvent round” says the legacy manufacturer.
The legacy thermostat maker, Honeywell, is making a huge step toward creating big competition in the smart home space with Lyric.
Looking at the unit it is quite similar to the Nest Thermostat, however the main difference is that Lyric is built to be a platform for the future of their home automation efforts.
Currently available through HVAC professionals (available at Lowes in August), the Lyric will also be available in Europe in 2015. The price point is nearly the same as the Nest at $279, so the choice is yours.
The most differentiating feature is how the Lyric makes its decisions. Nest relies on tracking when you are in and out of a room and then creating patterns that it will later use to guess your habits. Lyric on the other hand uses geofencing technology to know exactly when you leave and enter the room or house. Geofencing is extremely customizable, allowing you to either expand or tighten the fence depending on where you work or spend most of your time. Work close to home or spend a lot of time at your neighbors? Tighten the fence to turn on the heating or cooling system when you’re at your front door.
Honeywell is really selling the Fine Tune feature which uses factors like humidity, weather data, indoor and outdoor temperatures to adjust temperatures to make sure it feels exactly the way you want it.
Honeywell positions themselves in direct opposition with Google’s Nest, while “inadvertently” aligning themselves with Apple, who recently entered the automated home market with its just-announced HomeKit iOS features. If Apple is able to push home automation forward in a significant way, Honeywell certainly stands to benefit.
“We’ve designed [Lyric] to be mobile-first and DIY,” says Beth Wozniak, president of Honeywell’s environmental and combustion control division. “The timing was right in terms of everyone having phones, multiple people in homes having phones, and everyone’s comfort level in using their phones to control their lifestyles. We’ll extend Lyric into all of the other product families where Honeywell plays today,” says Wozniak.
That list of product families is extensive — beyond heating and cooling, Honeywell builds a variety of home security systems, video surveillance cameras, door chimes, lighting, and more. Leveraging that vast product lineup will be a key part of its strategy, but Honeywell isn’t only relying on its own products. “Having said that, we’ll also include some partners, so there will be others that will fit into piece of mind, comfort, and other areas that make sense to be part of the Lyric platform,” Wozniak explains.
Honeywell has been making round thermostats since 1953. Will history and industry relationships give Honeywell an advantage in the automated home market? They certainly have the size, distribution channels and the brand recognition to make things happen.