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Honeywell Thermostat Targets CE Channels

Minneapolis — Renowned home-thermostat manufacturer Honeywell is stepping out from the home-improvement and hardware store channels it has long dominated to include consumer electronics retailers in the marketing of a new high-tech spin on its long-established category.

The company unveiled Tuesday the Lyric Wi-Fi connected thermostat, which offers a range of smart technology advancements that simplify regulating and monitoring household temperatures and humidity levels from anywhere by smartphone.

The Lyric thermostat is available now via professional heating and cooling contractors, and will be available at retail beginning in August at a $279 suggested retail, the company said.

“Historically, temperature regulation has been about schedules and programming, but we don’t live by schedules anymore,” said Brad Paine, Honeywell Environmental and Combustion Controls software and services product marketing general manager for Lyric. “This automatically goes into savings mode when you leave and back into comfort mode when you come home.”

The Lyric uses a smartphone’s location sensor to recognize when users are coming and going to automatically adjust temperatures for the most efficient energy use and savings.

Users can preset the system for the desired temperature when home or away, or let Honeywell determine the best temperature for the home’s geographic location.

The feature, called Geofence, can be set using two different radius settings in a smartphone app. Users enter in the home’s location, and the feature is triggered when the phone passes one of two preset radius point — in close proximity setting, 500 to 1,000 feet, and in distant setting, 5 to 7 miles.

Using the longer radius for arrivals will enable the heating or cooling system to activate five to 10 minutes before the resident opens the door.

An unlimited number of phones can be used for one location, with the system being triggered when the last phone leaves the home and when the first phone returns. That programming can be overridden if someone without a programmed phone is left in the house.

Temperature can be managed using Honeywell’s familiar round dial control on the thermostat. When a homeowner walks up to the Lyric thermostat, a built-in proximity sensor signals the display to turn on and show current temperature and the home’s heating or cooling status.

A soft halo of light in orange (heating), blue (cooling), or green (away/energy savings) momentarily illuminates around the thermostat to indicate it is making temperature adjustments.

Additionally, touch-sensitive buttons flank the center display — one for accessing current and upcoming weather information from the web, and one for setting back a temperature when occupants are away.

Another Fine Tune feature factors indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, and weather into its algorithm, enabling it to provide the most comfortable temperature for homeowners.

The Lyric thermostat also provides easy-to-understand alerts when it’s time to change a filter and have the furnace serviced, and will even help find a qualified service professional.

Honeywell executives said the thermostat’s humidity monitoring sensor can be used to determine if an accidental flood should occur from a broken hose, pipe or other calamity, and send a notification to the homeowner’s phone. Similarly, a faulty furnace can be detected and alerted if temperatures drop below minimum or maximum setting “cues.”

The wall-mounted thermostat is designed with a gloss-white finish and silver accents, along with a shallow depth, to add a contemporary appearance.

Paine said the Lyric thermostat is the first item in a planned new family of connected home products coming from Honeywell.

Lyric was designed as either a do-it-yourself install project or as a product for service professionals.

“Our bread and butter are professional dealers, so we are huge supporters of the professional integrator,” said Paine. “Therefore, the product will first be available through the heating and cooling trade and contractors. It is also a DIY product, and the installation process was made very simple.”

He said Honeywell plans to distribute Lyric through a variety of CE stores and chains, including Best Buy, Amazon, RadioShack, Staples and others.

“We’re targeting a wide swatch of dealers because the value of this is so clear to homeowners,” Paine explained.