CES 2012: The Good, The Bad, The Dubious
Avi Rosenthal muses about Motorola 4Home, strange cloud thermostats, faux tubes on Samsung's "tube amp" and more from CES 2012.
Allure Energy’s proximity-enabled cloud-based thermostat. Hmmm.
Avi, who is intimately familiar with energy management, smart thermostats and all the utility initiatives, is a little confused by a couple of the cloud-enabled solutions at CES.
First is NEST, that iPod-looking cloud-communicating thermostat that learns your temperature habits – because you change your thermostat so often throughout the day – and then auto-adjusts so you don’t have to over-exert yourself in the future.
Really? How difficult is it to adjust your thermostat via a billion different interfaces, including iOS and Android devices and, um, the thermostat itself?
The other small thing? The NEST thermostat is round, so you can do a real clean replacement of, say, an old Honeywell thermostat that people stopped using a decade ago. If you have a newer-fangled rectangular stat, you’ll have to patch and paint.
And here’s an interesting factoid intimated by Avi: The thermostat has a ZigBee radio inside, but currently does nothing with it.
“How do you know such a thing,” the NEST rep asks?
“I bought one and I opened it up,” Avi says.
“Why would you do that,” the NEST rep asks.
“Because that’s what I do," Avi replies.
Then there’s the proximity-detecting, cloud-enabled thermostat from Allure Energy demonstrated at the NRG (Reliant Energy booth). I'm not quite sure why anyone would want to tie their thermostat to their phone’s GPS so that the temperature can start ramping up when you’re one hour from home.
It’s much easier to just tell your phone or in-car dash: “Set thermostat to 'HOME' mode." Or just press a button.
Avi is skeptical as well. Good to know I’m not the only one.
NXP Wireless Protocol Bridging
Avi is intrigued with NXP, the big silicon vendor that is trying to bridge the wireless protocol gap between Z-Wave, ZigBee, WiFi, Bluetooth. But, like me, he is slightly confused by the initiative.
Speaking of protocol gaps, Avi would like to see something more substantial for home health, which is “all over the place,” he says. Continua is trying to establish some standards and device definitions for home health technology, but we’re not there yet.
What's Next for Microsoft?
Avi wants to know: Who’s going to get the coveted booth space vacated by Microsoft at CES 2013, and how many years before Microsoft returns?