The overall market for smart thermostats, including both the hardware and service, is estimated to reach almost 6 billion dollars by the year 2020. Currently, when you initially think of smart thermostat companies, most likely your thoughts jump to the new upstarts in the market, namely Nest or ecobee. And while they have certainly garnered a huge share of the spotlight, you’d be wrong to assume that they will achieve easily market domination. The old dogs in the thermostat market can also read these projections and they are quickly learning new tricks to remain relevant in this evolving market. Check out the ecobee3 vs Nest comparison first, but if you want to look elsewhere stay here.
A quick look at the top manufacturers reveals a list that is peppered with tech-sounding names, some of which you may have heard of and quite a few that you likely have not. But sitting at the very top of the list is a name that is easily recognizable, Honeywell. Honeywell has taken steps to grab their piece of the smart thermostat market, but it is questionable as to how successful they have been.
It is important to remember that Nest was founded by two ex-Apple employees. Anybody who follows tech products, in general, knows that Apple products have long been praised for their elegance, operational simplicity, and slick user interface. And if you look at the Nest, you can see that all of these principles are readily evident in their thermostat. Throughout the years, many companies have tried to produce their vision of “Apple-like” products, and most have failed miserably. It appears that Honeywell may also be heading down this path to failure.
Looking through Honeywell’s offerings, it becomes apparent that this is an “old world” company awkwardly trying to adjust to a new reality. First, Honeywell offers a few different smart thermostat options, which is somewhat confusing. Their newest model seems to be the “Lyric” (seemingly a Nest clone), which is a nice trendy, memorable name. However, the reviews on the device have been lukewarm at best. So that leaves the RTH9580WF as their best selling model. Not exactly a memorable name you can easily mention to your friends. Customer reviews for the product have been generally positive, but the things look like a tablet hanging on your wall. And while it an attractive display, it looks infinitely more complicated than the slick Nest unit. This is where Honeywell fails. Their product is not memorable and has virtually no coolness factor going for it. They are going to have to change course quickly if they want to remain viable in this evolving market.