Creative Connectivity - the site for eHealth, telematics and wireless

Microsoft’s Fear Of Missing Out, or How NOT to design a Smart Thermostat

It’s not smart, it’s just a very shiny toy…

Last week, with a fair degree of razzmatazz and press coverage, Microsoft launched a smart thermostat called Glas.  Except it wasn’t really Microsoft’s.  And whilst it might be pretty, it certainly isn’t smart. 

If you look behind the promotional video, it’s clear that it’s not really driven by any desire to be smart.  It’s come out of Johnson Controls, who have been designing dumb thermostats for many years, and it perpetuates the dumb elements of control, which means it won’t save users as much money as a proper smart device could.  However, small things like the truth didn’t stop them headlining it as “reinventing the thermostat”.   I suspect the only reason that Glas exists is that Microsoft are currently in a poor third place in getting their Cortana speech recognition capability into the market.  I quite like Cortana, but compared with Amazon and Google’s success in persuading consumer product manufacturers to support their offerings, Cortana is definitely an also-ran.

What you see if you watch the video carefully is an outdated control system, a user interface that was probably inspired by Bishop Berkeley and an attempt to break the second law of thermodynamics.  All of which details appear to have slipped past the rose-tinted editorial glasses of the technology press, who have just said “Shiny – want one!”.  So let me explain why it’s another smart opportunity missed. Continue →

July 24th, 2017 | Published in Usability & Design  |  3 Comments

Previously


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About Creative Connectivity

Creative Connectivity is Nick Hunn's blog on aspects and applications of wireless connectivity. Having worked with wireless for over twenty years I've seen the best and worst of it and despair at how little of its potential is exploited.

I hope that's about to change, as the demands of healthcare, energy and transport apply pressure to use wireless more intelligently for consumer health devices, smart metering and telematics. These are my views on the subject - please let me know yours.

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