Ecobee Launches New HomeKit-Compatible SmartThermostat With Updated Internals

Ecobee today announced a new thermostat called the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control. Similar to previous versions of the product, the updated Ecobee can help reduce energy consumption through automated temperature control, as well as provide easier thermostat adjustments thanks to HomeKit support.

The fifth-generation Ecobee SmartThermostat includes a glass finish with LCD touchscreen, and inside it has a quad-core processor to enable advanced machine learning. This revamp improves the device's natural language processing and speech detection, according to the company. In terms of wireless connectivity, it has 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi.
“We see the smart home emerging as an oasis where great technology can fade into the background and free you from the chaos of everyday life.” said ecobee President and CEO, Stuart Lombard.

“We’ve designed the new ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control to be the foundation of that vision. It’s packed with more power than ever before to deliver a best-in-class user experience and effortlessly connect you to the solutions and services you love, but also work quietly in the background so you can focus on the things - and people - that matter most."
Additionally, there's a new speaker in the device with "twice the intensity" of its predecessor for richer sound and a wider dynamic range. This lets you listen to podcasts, music, or news directly from the SmartThermostat, which is compatible with Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, and Spotify, but no mention of Apple Music was given.

The new SmartThermostat is compatible with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, and IFTTT. There's also an updated Ecobee SmartSensor that has a new design and enhanced wide-angle detection range. This device senses motion and temperature, detecting how warm or cool it is in separate rooms and adjusting the main SmartThermostat accordingly.

The new Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control is priced at $249 and is available to purchase today on the company's website, and at Amazon, Lowes, The Home Depot, and Best Buy. The device comes with the updated Ecobee SmartSensor in the box, and additional sensors are available to buy in packs of two for $79.

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HomeKit-Compatible Ecobee Thermostat Trialing ‘Peak Relief’ Money Saving Feature

Smart thermostat company Ecobee has become the focus of a new profile shared online today by CNET, and alongside that article the company has revealed a new money saving feature for select Ecobee users called "Peak Relief." This feature was created to help users save on energy bills by automatically cutting down on heating and cooling when energy rates are higher, and then using more when rates are lower.

For those in the test, Ecobee says Peak Relief can help customers save an extra 10 percent on heating and cooling bills. Adding in the up to 23 percent of savings that Ecobee already claims from normal use, the company now aims to save customers as much as 33 percent on monthly heating and cooling bills.

Ecobee CEO Stuart Lombard mentioned that the feature was developed over a year and a half and uses artificial intelligence and indoor/outdoor temperature readings to customize settings for each home. This is then combined with time-of-use rates from a utilities provider, which charge customers different prices depending on the time of day versus standard flat rates that go up as users consume more energy.

CNET explains that Peak Relief requires time-of-use utility rates, and while these rates have the potential to cut-down costs it can be difficult to keep track of the higher demand periods, which is where Ecobee's new feature comes in:
Time-of-use has the potential to save customers money and help utilities avoid spikes in demand. But, many customers have a hard time keeping track of varying time-of-use rates, resulting in less energy savings for utilities and potentially higher costs for customers. Peak Relief may be able to alleviate that problem.

So, how does Peak Relief work? Let's say you set your thermostat temperature to cool at 74 degrees. With Peak Relief, the thermostat will automatically cool your home to 71 or 72 degrees when rates are lower, then allow the temperature to slowly go back up to 74 when rates increase.

The feature offers two preferences, so your thermostat will either focus more on comfort and stay closer to your temperature settings or focus more on savings and veer a little further away from those settings when rates change.
Peak Relief is rolling out today, but it appears that the test is fairly small and only for "select customers" in California, Arizona, and Ontario, Canada, and again only if those customers are using time-of-use utility rates. However, the company has already said that it plans to roll out Peak Relief to a wide audience "early next year."

Ecobee's line of thermostats are part of over two dozen heating and cooling controllers compatible with Apple HomeKit, also including thermostats from Elgato, Honeywell, iDevices, and Netatmo. On, customers can buy the Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat, but the company's latest iteration is the Ecobee4, which includes built-in Alexa support.

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