Not sure if I'm ready for Internet of Things (IoT) to totally run my household (possibly because I haven't tried other solutions) such as ordering detergents, groceries ect. however this last year I was really impressed with two technologies. I'd like to open a discussion around IoT technologies and how others have found IoT has improved their home and or lives.
Overall the Nest is pretty cool however in terms of cost savings it didn't deliver the "Wow" factor. I do however see large potential growth with what Nest has delivered. Over the last year I've probably saved around 100 dollars compared to the previous year. So ROI is probably around 2 or 3 years. The learning feature basically came up with a similar schedule I had with our old programmable thermostat. Online access is certainly a differentiator and especially great when it came to incorporating the nest protect smoke and CO2 detectors. This is nice as I have peace of mind when not in the house. I still haven't tried the camera's due to ratings I've seen on Amazon however the camera's look promising for anyone that wants to see what's going on in their home when they’re not there.
One of the smart things Nest is doing is their "Works with Nest" as an open API platform. I see lots of promise here as Nest is providing a single dashboard that others can play in so that the consumer has one place to see all of the IoT in their home. Years prior to IoT, I wondered why someone hadn't come up with a way to incorporate all the simple switches like sprinkler controls, HVAC, Humidifier, water flow sensors, lighting etc. into one system and dashboard that I can use to monitor everything. Nest is certainly setting the stage for this reality.
Rachio was certainly the big money saver for us this year. I feel it fully represents the value proposition that IoT solutions can bring to our home. We live in Denver CO which as many know is a semi-arid environment. Not quite a desert, however certainly an area where things won't survive if they’re not watered. As such, the cost of watering in Denver can lead to water bills of $300 to $500 dollars over the summer. To date, after installing Rachio we’ve enjoyed a savings of at least $600 this year compared to last.
So back to why I think Rachio delivered on the promise of an IoT solution. First off, I know very little about growing grass. Since I live in Denver let me clarify that I’m talking about grass in our yard and not the other used recreationally. I know that green things need water, however I commonly mess up watering too much or too little. I was equally frustrated at times when I’d turn off they system due to rain however forgot to turn it back on.
Rachio turned me into a green lawn hero amongst my neighbors. The installation was easy. The programming which asked questions about soil condition, sprinkler types, number of sprinkler etc. was equally easy. Connecting to a nearby weather station (my neighbor two homes down has one and makes available to the public the weather data) was a breeze. The result was a constantly adapting solution that maximized our water use and produced great green grass. I had to fight the urge of changing the schedule many times because I thought I knew better and couldn't trust Rachio. What I found was that the system truly knew better than I as it was built upon knowledge assimilated over the years by experts that knew so much more than I did.
I believe in order to be a successful IoT solution there are certain key factors necessary.
- Money savings. In addition the original purchase price can’t be too high. For example one fan I looked at that works with Nest was around $1300. Some early adopters may be ok with this however certainly kept me away from trying it.
- Convenience and or security benefit.
- Provide intelligence that otherwise would take research and time for me to master.
- Open API interface that allows many IoT solutions to work together. In addition a way to view all IoT modules in one place and mash together solutions to make an even better solution.
- Fun: For example with Rachio I’m able to turn on my sprinkler from my phone and soak my kids when they least expect it. Yea possibly not the best parenting example however can be considered fun right?
- Historical tracking. Great to have a way each year to compare house expenses.
- Home maintenance concerns. For example, a flow meter on our water supply that would warn us of unusual usage. Or possibly a humidifier that needs a canister replaced as it has failed.
I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding IoT and the impact it’s had on your life.
Even more so, I’d love new recommendations that I should consider for next year!