Smart home adoption is rather crawling instead of running towards our homes. The main reason: user experience and security issues. However there is a third important factor – the old technology already installed in our homes and well proven but “un-connectable” to the internet.
One of the best examples are the heating systems in most European homes. A huge number of houses and apartments use water radiators mounted to the wall and controlled with a simple nob that you turn in order to adjust the temperature.
The good news about those old fashioned heaters: They simply work – for years and years.
The bad news with old water radiators: Setting the perfect temperature is a piece of art and connecting them to the smart home just impossible.
eCozy Turns Your Old Water Radiators Into Smart Heaters
Until now. Ecozy, a Munich-based startup just reinvented the way we interact with the predominant heaters in our homes. The basic idea is very simple yet disruptive. The team around CEO Andre Kholodov and CTO Alexander Taraday has invented smart thermostat replacements for water radiator heater controls that can be controlled via a touch screen and apps.
The intelligent devices allow users to add a bunch of new functionality to their old-school heaters without heavy investments. Simply attach an eCozy thermostat to each heater (which is apparently very easy as demonstrated here), power up the central unit to connect everything via ZigBee and decide if you want to use the system with internet or not.
Wait what? Without internet? Yes, you read right – in order to address security concerns the eCozy central unit has a built-in feature that allows it to create a private WLAN. Therefore to control your smart heaters via the app you need to be within the range of the WLAN and know the login details. If you are less concerned with security you can easily connect the central unit to your home network and control up to 16 thermostats from all around the globe.
So we tackled old technology and security issues but what about the user experience? The most annoying thing with smart home devices are the tons of different apps you need to open in order to adjust everything. To overcome this challenge eCozy gives you the possibility to set-up heating plans that are tailored to your personal schedule so you only have to do it once. In addition the eCozy devices are intelligent enough to detect open windows and power down to prevent the waste of energy. All of this results in up to 30% lower heating costs and significant energy savings.
Other remarkable features include several modes which you can activate with a simple click, like the away mode, warm up mode and home mode. In addition the thermostats can be controlled via touch screen, grouped after rooms (so you only have to set the preferred temperature for each room once) and have the ability to detect fires. Oh and by the way: battery life is about two years so nothing to worry about here!
Let’s Look At The Tech Specs
The thermostats are based on the Texas Instruments MSP430 ultra-low power microcontroller. The touch panel control uses the Microchip AT42QT2100 and a 64×96 pixel OLED display. Connectivity builds on 2.4 GHz ZigBee with ZigBee Home Automation Profile 1.2. The actual valve on the heater is controlled with a noiseless stepper motor.
The heart of the central unit is a 32-bit ARM processor AT91SAM9G25 from Microchip. The 2.4 GHz WiFi and ZigBee signals allow you to distribute devices in a radius of up to 100 meters (open range) and connect up to 16 thermostats to each central unit.
Keen to update your old school water radiators with some new smart technology? Get to the eCozy store here and stay comfy this winter.