From the horse’s mouth
Most smart thermostats like the Nest thermostat are being pitched at central heating and cooling systems but there are a lot of places where the standalone air-conditioner is seen as a preferred option to heat or cool the home.
Typically these are either in the form of a classic single-piece unit installed through a window or wall or the increasingly-popular “ductless-split” system with an outdoor unit connected to a wall-mounted indoor unit via refrigerant pipes. But these systems, especially the units pitched at the residential market, aren’t able to be controlled by a thermostat that can be hard-wired in to a central-heating or central-cooling system. Rather they are either controlled using knobs on the device itself in the case of older single-piece systems or an infra-red remote control in the case of most newer systems and the temperature sensor is integrated in these systems.
What Tado Cooling is working on in their current project is a “smart thermostat” that transmits infra-red control signals to remote-controllable air conditioners to have them work to a user-determined schedule or sense when a person has entered or left the room in order to have them not running when no-one’s there. These devices, like the smart thermostats used for central-heating systems, also connect to the home network to allow you to control them (and the air conditioner) from your smartphone or or work the air conditioner to provide cooling just before you arrive while having it off while you are out of the premises.
The capital for the project is being raised through the Kickstarter crowdfunding arrangement with the ability for people to have these controllers at a cheaper price so they can have better control of their air conditioners.
At least it is another way to bring the concept of smart HVAC and the “Internet Of Everything” to the large installed base of ductless-split air conditioners.