Innovation That Matters

Devices retrofit old heating systems with smart functionality


Two new startups — tado° and Sensibo — are helping make it possible to upgrade existing units with new capabilities such as smartphone control and presence detection.

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Home devices are becoming smarter, and we’ve already seen wifi-enabled A/C units hit the market in the form of Aros. But for those who can’t afford to replace their old systems with new ones, two new startups are helping make it possible to upgrade existing units with intelligent capabilities such as smartphone control and presence detection.

Hailing from Germany, tado° is a square device that sits on the wall and controls nearby A/C units using infrared. The device also connects to the home wifi, enabling owners to control their home environment through their smartphone and the tado° app. The setup makes it possible for users to remotely turn their A/C on and off, set operating schedules, and track how much energy they’re using. Motion sensing also enables the device to adapt the temperature in each room depending on when they’re in use. tado° is seeking funding on Kickstarter until 11 June, where the device can be pre-ordered from USD 99.

Watch the video below to see tado° in action:

Competing with a similar product, Israel’s Sensibo is a smaller pod that attaches itself to existing A/C units with magnets, meaning complicated installation isn’t required. If homeowners have more than one A/C unit, they can purchase multiple pods and have them all connect to one hub. Featuring many of the same functions as tado°, Sensibo comes with compatibility for iPhone, Android and even Pebble smartwatches. It’s starter kit, which features two pods and a smart hub, available on Indiegogo until 4 July for USD 139.

Watch the video below to find out more about Sensibo:

Until the price of native smart tech products comes down, are there other devices that could be retrofitted in a similar way so consumers can enjoy these extra functionalities today?






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