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Honeywell unveils voice controlled smart thermostat

David Ludlow
9 Oct 2014
Honeywell Voice Controlled Thermostat
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Talk to your smart thermostat to tell it you want it hotter or colder

Honeywell is continuing to extend its line of mart thermostats with its new Voice Controlled model, which you can simply speak to in order to make changes.

Already available in the US, the model's taken a while to move to the UK, as Honeywell wanted to make sure that it worked with all 12 recognised dialects here.

It's been designed to respond to simple, natural language commands, with the phrase 'hello thermostat' used to wake it up. From then, you can use regular English for commands, such as 'make it warmer', 'make it much warmer' or 'make it colder'. The thermostat then makes its adjustments taking into account what you've said.

Honeywell has said that future improvements to the product will let you deal in absolutes, such as 'set temperature to 21 degrees'. It deliberately didn't do this from the start, in order to focus on getting the basics right, and providing the types of control that most people will use.

As all of the voice recognition is done in the cloud, adding in commands will be easy, as will tweaking and improving the voice recognition. We've seen the system demoed, and it accurately picked up all of the voice commands that were thrown at it.

Far-field voice control technology helps cut through the sounds of your home, so that the thermostat will pick up speech over the usual commotion inside, including having a TV on.

"Most people know the feeling of coming through the front door with arms full of shopping bags, keys and small children only to find that their house is way too cold. Or similarly, watching a film on the sofa on a chilly evening and not wanting to get up to turn on the thermostat," said Jeremy Peterson, GM of Honeywell's Home Comfort & Energy Systems. "Now people can simply speak to their thermostat and it responds by changing their heating relevant to how they feel.”

As well as voice, the attractive-looking thermostat can be managed via its touchscreen interface, letting you fully configure your hot water and heating schedules. There's also a full mobile app, for complete remote control.

Unlike the recently announced Single Zone Thermostat, the Voice Controlled Thermostat can't be integrated into the company's zonal-system, the excellent Evohome; it's a completely separate system designed to replace your existing heating controls and thermostat. Available to order now, the Voice Controlled Thermostat costs £229. We'll bring you a full review, once samples are available.

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