Nest for your HVAC (air conditioning)

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Isn't Nest, uh, Nest for HVAC? This doesn't seem differentiated, perhaps just more robust zone support (for those lucky enough to have multiple zones)?
@ryan my initial thought verbatim @dandroid88 If you save more energy, it seems like you are making a biz case for this over Nest? Are there any downsides to the UX? Will this cost more?
@EAWharton There is some case for this over nest but really we see it as a compliment to nest. They expose an API to your furnace, AC and blower motor. We build on that for more significant energy efficiency gains. I'm sure you could come up with downsides regarding UX but we could also come up with upsides. Lower energy bills and more granular control seem like a better experience to me. Having a single temp sensor in a hallway is a pretty lacking UX for a complex structure. We have a responsive web UI will build native Apps on top of our APIs. Lastly, we are using some cool tricks for occupancy detection hence after you set your desired temperature for rooms, it should just work in the background.
Seems more like ecovent systems based on the room-by-room vent approach.
@ryan its actually quite different, and in fact, complimentary for Nest owners. Nest only has at most 5% energy improvement. We can improve that multiplicatively. We are calling it 'microzoing'. I use it in my small apartment simply to ignore my bedroom during the day and ignore the kitchen/living room while sleeping.
@dandroid88 product page is very opaque. How would you implement "microzones" without a multi-zone HVAC system?
@ryan The video on the page shows a vent cover magnetically attached to the actual vent cover. The flair cover will, I'm assuming, get a signal from a central unit to close or open the vents. Thereby creating different zones.
@McCroden ah! I think I opened the page on my iPad, and did not see there was a video. Probably why I got the impression the site was opaque.
@ryan Yeah, but I was on my MBP and didn't catch the video on my first scroll-through either.
@ryan I would suggest thinking about it more as dynamic balancing. Essentially, we are routing the air by biasing vents in occupied rooms and by temperature gradients. All registers already have a close/open mechanism. We are simply automating the open/close/adjust to waste less and ensure satisfactory localized climate control. It is also respectful of single speed blower motors (not closing too many at once as indicated by pressure sensors) and self optimizes by tracking system ontime and minimizing it while satisfying comfort requirements.
@adamsigel yes, a similar approach. room by room (even subroom in some cases!) although we have a few tricks up our sleeves that makes our product a better choice.
@dandroid88 Yeah, the battery claim is very impressive. Also curious to know how you handle onboarding/initial device setup (presumably you have to get everything on wifi?). That always seems like a UX hurdle for connected devices.
@adamsigel If you are familiar with how chrome does it, thats what we are thinking for wifi only setups. Ethernet is a bit easier. FYI, we have a base station(s) which is coordinating the system. As far as each vent we currently have them self register with the base station and then you simply assign them to user created rooms. Agreed that it is a tripping point for a lot of connected devices.
@dandroid88 How does this work on vents that are on the floor? Seems like it may be better create a unit that fits inside the duct near the vent cover. Instead of attaching to the vent cover.
@McCroden We are planning to simply build floor models that just replace your existing floor vents. It needs to be flush and strong so that you can't put a chair leg through it.
@dandroid88 Do you think it might be simpler to use existing vent cover and make something go on the inside of the vent? I just know a lot of people that choose floor vent covers to match the floor material. Ex: wood floors have matching wood vent covers.
@McCroden Thats an interesting idea and totally have seen decorative floor vent covers. We are mostly focusing on the ceiling models for the initial push so we will keep this suggestion in mind no doubt. Thanks for the feedback, we will take as much input as possible!
@dandroid88 For sure. One last thing: My dad is a carpenter. Any house that we have built only ever had ceiling air vents in basements. Maybe it's just a midwest thing, but may be worth figuring out what the market actually is for that. $0.02
@McCroden absolutely. We have done a fair amount of surveying and collecting stats but without a doubt its a mixed bag and its geography dependent. Our findings are that generally floor vents are more common in places where heating is the priority and ceiling vents are quite common in both warm and cold places.