The smart thermostat market is starting to follow the smart home camera and hub markets, that is we see product lines widening, with new entrants coming down in price.
Helping to lower the barrier to entry for a smart thermostat is the new Ecobee 3 Lite Thermostat, at just $169 (check this listing for the latest live prices.)
That’s a hefty reduction from the $249 (check this listing for the latest live prices), of the Ecobee 3 full version and the latest Nest Thermostat.
The Lite model is almost the same dimensions, shaving off a couple of millimetres, and features the same 3.5-inch full-color LCD touch screen with a 320 x 480 pixel display, but it lacks the Room Sensor, which may or may not have been a killer feature.
Otherwise it is pretty much the same box, with a backplate, optional power extender and C-wire kit. The package works with iOS or Android devices and comes with a new app, it also provides free energy usage reports, and works with most HVAC systems.
The lack of a room sensor means it can’t respond to your comings and goings around the home, but there are probably geolocation or other ways around that limitation, or for another $80 you can get the full product and that extra benefit.
Touting Apple HomeKit support, it also works with Amazon Echo, SmartThings, Wink and IFTTT.
Sales and Success?
The Ecobee 3 Lite ships at the end of October and we’d like to think will help encourage more people to save money on their heating bills over the winter.
The real question is, is Ecobee making any impression in sales terms on the likes of Nest and the growing competition. Last year it claimed around a quarter of the market, but there are lots more thermostats on the market now including Hive and Netatmo.
While Nest has a range of products to rely on, and the backing of Google, Ecobee is pretty much a one trick pony in the smart home market, and will need major sales of the Ecobee 3 Lite to help make up for the reduction in profit and revenue from sales of the lower cost model.
This arrival also means the company may see sales fall of its premier model, which won’t help the brand in the longer term.
Owners of smart homes aren’t exactly likely to remove their Nest or existing Ecobee for a lesser model, which will see this product aimed at new buyers.
Presumably Ecobee will be hoping that the existing model has generated lots of positive word of mouth from users, but even then it is hard to see promotions working on anything other than the $80 saving.
The HomeKit support badge does mean the Ecobee gets to appear on the Apple store, which could help sales, but HomeKit itself still seems to be stuck in the launch phase with brand awareness way down on other Apple technologies, despite the launch of the Home app in iOS 10.