From the horse’s mouth
The success of the Nest Wi-Fi-connected home thermostat which has the “learning” abilities and the distinctive round shape was bound to bring on an imitator.
Honeywell came up with the Lyric Wi-Fi thermostat which works in a similar manner to the Nest but also capitalises on their round-shaped room thermostat that was popular during the 1950s suburban housing boom.
This unit can work with most central heating and cooling systems offered in most countries where the furnace, heat pump or other equipment is managed via a low-voltage thermostat. It can link to most Wi-Fi-based small networks with a single passphrase for Wi-Fi segment security.
The network connectivity is to allow your iOS or Android smartphone to become a remote control for your heating or air-conditioning as with the Nest.
There is the ability to support GPS-driven “geo-fencing” to have the heating go to the “AWAY” temperature when you are away from your home or start “coming to” your comfort temperature as you get nearer to home, and can also work with multiple smartphone apps to allow all of the hosuehold to benefit from the “geo-fence” functionality. This may also have a limitation with households where there is that risk of one leaving their phone behind as they rush out quickly and could throw the “geo-fencing” functionality a bit.
It works with the AccuWeather weather-forecast service to optimise the HVAC system to assure consistent humidity no matter which part of the US you are in
The Lyric system supports the ability to set up preset comfort settings for particular situations such as to have stronger heat or cooling and a high fan speed when you host a party for example. There is even a reminder function with the app where you are let known when to change the system filter or to book a service call to keep that furnace behaving properly and safely.
But most of these devices work on their own “app-cessory” island where they only work with a smartphone app developed by the manufacturer. As well, not many of these smart thermostats are optimised to permit advanced control of the more sophisticiated HVAC setups which implement energy-saving behaviours like modulating burners or variable-speed heat pumps.
This will be the way these devices will work until there are application-level “device classes” that permit other member of the smart home ecosystem or “Internet Of Things” to exchange status data with each other.