By Kelli B. Grant
Senior consumer reporter and “Deal of Day” columnist Kelli B. Grant travels to Las Vegas to find the best, the worst, and the most hyped gadgets at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Join her as she roams the exhibit floor for three days, with dispatches here and on Twitter @kellibgrant.
By Department of Energy estimates, just setting a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature during the hours you’re usually asleep or at work can net savings of roughly $180 a year. But what if the thermostat was smart enough to know when you’re nipping out to the store for a carton of milk?
The $349 EverSense unit from Allure Energy uses GPS to note the proximity of family members’ Apple and Android devices, automatically adjusting the temperature up or down to preferred settings as people leave home or return. Connected apps let family members make adjustments remotely. A spokesman says estimated savings could vary widely depending on the family’s schedule, and that there’s a setting to notify the unit if say, errands will keep someone near home. That way, it doesn’t keep adjusting the temp as Mom passes home on her way to the dry-cleaners, and again on her way over to the supermarket.
At $349, the thermostat replacement is pricier than competitors, which include the buzzed-about $249 Nest. But the EverSense also monitors water usage, and can double as a media player for photos and music, says the spokesman. And, unlike other services that entail GPS tracking, there’s no monthly fee to use the unit. Privacy and security experts have also warned against frequent use of apps and sites that announce a user’s location – burglars often find jobs on Twitter – but the spokesman says EverSense keeps that data private, and never releases location data into the cloud.