Johnson Controls, the inventor of the first electric room thermostat back in 1885, was at CES 2019 with their recent acquisition LUX, showing off their latest smart thermostats that shake up the Wi-Fi thermostat market.
While the smart thermostat field is packed full of competition, their newest devices target ultimate user compatibility and design across the spectrum of potential Smart Home enthusiasts. The freshly released GLAS from Johnson Controls and the never before seen LUX CS-1 were on display to put through the paces and go hands-on, for a glimpse at breaking the smart thermostat mold.
Looking Smart with GLAS
The GLAS Wi-Fi thermostat was teased at last year’s CES, but just launched a few months ago and has largely been flying under the radar for such a cool device. While most smart thermostats either look like a standard white, blocky “dumb” thermostat or an uber-techy touchscreen design, the GLAS takes a different approach and goes for a more artistic and innovative look.
Using a transparent OLED floating touchscreen display with minimal framing, the GLAS sleekly blends into the background of the home when not in use like a digital chameleon. When woken from sleep mode, the vibrant screen displays both indoor and outdoor temperature (by way of Accuweather), humidity, air quality, energy savings, and a variety of settings.
Smart Design and Function
GLAS’ smart scheduling works in tandem with PIR sensors on the front of the unit to detect human movement. The device has acute information about whether people are home or away, regardless of the location of user cell phones.
The GLAS comes with built-in Microsoft Cortana as well as Amazon Alexa and Google Home compatibility, for integration into any preferred voice assistant hub.
LUX CS-1: The Wi-Fi thermostat That Does it All
With the boldly artistic design of the GLAS on one side, the LUX CS-1 takes on a more restrained design, albeit with some thoughtful considerations. The whole objective behind the use of a white Wi-Fi thermostat with two buttons and a large screen is to deliver a product that takes new tech and incorporates it into a format more people are familiar with. This especially speaks to the older demographic or anyone that doesn’t want to pay a premium price for a fancy interface on a device that should be “set it and forget it”.
The CS-1 operates on Wi-Fi with Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT compatibility (the last bit being especially welcome news).
Another great feature of the CS-1 that takes a page out of the LUX Kono’s book is the ability to run with or without a C-Wire, and operate on AA batteries. While newer home HVAC systems are typically set up with C-Wires, older homes might not have these and it adds to the installation process. Not the CS-1— quite literally it is a plug-and-play smart thermostat.
Not only does the new CS-1 thermostat use the upgraded LUX app interface, it has geofencing that utilizes a “first in, last out” logic to ensure that occupants of the home are comfortable no matter which users are coming and going. In this way, when one user leaves the home the thermostat can determine whether or not others are still present to maintain a comfortable temperature, instead of going into away mode.
The most appealing aspect of the thermostat for any demographic might just be the price; at $99 this is one of the cheapest, most capable smart thermostats we’ve seen. With an expected release date of February 2019 we can’t wait to see how this does in real-life testing.
Future Smart Home Control for the Elderly
Part of the innovation coming out of the Johnson Controls/Lux labs is driven from their research partnership with Penn State, which has dedicated studies and resources to research how Smart Home technology can help aid elderly folks and provide a better experience.
Most people may consider the aging population to be the last to be interested in Home Automation, the use of connected devices to aid in in-home sustainability and independence is actually quite intuitive.
For example, with voice control over thermostats, lighting, and even security features makes life easier for those elderly or with limited mobility. IoT devices in health and Home Automation are maturing beyond simply cool tech to provide real value, which we are witnessing here. The next step for developing intuitive solutions for family members to keep track of the health of their loved ones looks to be bright with intuitive devices that help bring Smart Home adoption to all, starting with smart thermostats.