How smart is your home? The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next big thing, according to the HVAC News of August 29, 2016.
IoT isn’t new! We’ve had connectivity through our computers, cell phones and the internet, interacting with many things in the field of technology. But today we see more and more uses in our homes and places of business.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
SAP (System Analysis and Program Development) explains it:
“…the vast network of devices connected to the Internet, including smart phones and tablets, and almost anything with a sensor on it – cars, machines in production plants, jet engines, oil drills, wearable devices, and more. These ‘things’ collect and exchange data. Iot – and the machine-to-machine (M2M) technology behind it – are bringing a kind of ‘super visibility’ to nearly every industry … the business possibilities are endless.”
Or put another way, these are devices communicating with other devices, through the Internet. IoT connects with a cloud and data-gathering sensors. These can be mobile, virtual and instant, and will impact more than we can imagine.
Think of it this way; a sensor is NOT a machine. Rather, it gathers data, evaluates and analyzes. Then add this to cloud-based applications to leverage the data. It won’t work without the cloud to act as interpreter.
How Do We See it Working?
You may recall back in 2007 when the Falls Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed. This carried eight lanes of traffic of Interstate 35W across the Mississippi River. Lives were lost. What happened? Investigators found that steel plates used to originally construct the bridge, were not adequate in handling the bridge’s load. With the use of IoT technology, builders can use ‘smart cement’ to monitor weight, stresses, cracks, etc., inserting sensors anywhere they are of use.
Sensors can be installed to help your car detect ice on the road and slow you down. Traffic lights can use sensors to analyze the flow of traffic, and reroute drivers.
How Does This Affect Your HVAC System?
From Wikipedia we learn that these ‘Things’ in the IoT sense, can refer to a large variety of devices or sensors. For example, we may have a smart Wi-Fi thermostat in our home.
These devices collect useful data with the help of various existing technologies and then autonomously flow the data between other devices. Current market examples include home automation, (also known as smart home devices) such as the control and automation of lighting, heating (like smart thermostat), ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and appliances such as washer/dryers, ovens or refrigerators/freezers that use Wi-Fi and the Internet for remote monitoring.”
Devoe Ward, business development manager with Nexia, Ingersoll Rand says:
“Most people have gotten very comfortable controlling different aspects of their lives with their smartphones, and they are increasingly interested in making their homes just as connected. And interest only increases when we start discussing the ability to reduce energy usage by managing their settings from anywhere and utilize remote diagnostic capabilities. The idea that they can conserve energy and potentially save money on repair costs really resonates with people.”
Starting With a WiFi Smart Thermostat
These are not expensive, and are useful for many reasons. For example, you may set your present thermostat at a certain temperature. Then you keep running back and forth to change the setting because it doesn’t maintain the temperature you want in all your rooms.
Every degree your inaccurate controls are off, can account for 3% of your annual energy expense. What about those areas in your home and business that are not always in use? Keeping those heated is another waste of energy and dollars.
Here are some reasons to upgrade to a ‘Programmable’ Smart Thermostat.
- It is capable of adjusting your home’s temperature from any room in the house, from the office or on a trip.
- The temperature you select is what you’ll get.
- It can save money.
- You can preheat or cool your home as you return from a trip.
- You may receive email alerts when your home temperatures are too high or too low.
Things to Consider About the Internet of Things and Your Home
Will this be the only automated or ‘smart’ system you’ll have in your home? If so, there is no need to worry about what device you will use to control it with. But if you already have a ‘smart’ system, you’ll need to ask your installer if the thermostat you have in mind is compatible. With the rapid expansion of IoT, you’ll want to leave options available for your home, appliances, etc. in the future.
What if the power goes out? Then, your ‘smart’ system becomes ‘dumb’. You won’t be able to control the system remotely. Plus, you need to be sure the batteries in your remote controller are always fresh. Back up systems
need to be addressed.
If you control your HVAC system through your home internet, you’ll lose your ability to monitor and adjust the system remotely if the power goes out, or your internet goes down. Again, backup is a good idea.
Who are some WiFi Smart Thermostat Manufacturers?
Lennox – offers the iComfort® WiFi Thermostat that automatically configures and controls heating/cooling, ensuring a healthy, comfortable climate for your home through advanced technology.
Honeywell Intl. Inc. – relies on the IFTTT (IF This happens, Then That occurs) software application that allows consumers to automatically link and manage their Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostats using IFTTT ‘Recipes’. If the temperature outside reaches a specific degree, the thermostat is capable of turning off or on the HVAC system, and it can detect through an owner’s digital calendar if they are traveling, and adjust the levels accordingly.
Are you Ready to Upgrade to the New World of the Internet of Things With a New Smart WiFi System?
Not only homes, but businesses, restaurants and churches have found enormous benefits with ‘Smart’ Wi-Fi Thermostat capabilities due to the variations in temperatures from the kitchen to the dining area, to spaces less used, or used intermittently.
At Abel Heating and Cooling we have the training and expertise to help you make a smart decision, and to install and maintain a ‘Smart’ Thermostat in your home or commercial building. In the very near future, we’ll see more and more applications of the Internet of Things becoming useful in our homes and places of business.
The Internet of Things is connecting the world!
Give us a call at 952-472- COOL (2665) or Contact Us.