Gadgets for humans

Honeywell heats up its connected home efforts with Lyric, an intelligent round thermostat

Lyric Product Photography

Honeywell today announced the launch of a new smart thermostat, the first in a family of connected home products. The $279 Lyric features a round shape, a display and smart features for saving energy.

If a round, smart thermostat reminds you of the Nest, I can guarantee you’re not alone, but Honeywell has been in business for 125 years and making round thermostats since 1953. In all likelihood, Nest’s success probably gave Honeywell more of an incentive to invest in smart home products, but it’s hardly fair to call Lyric a clone.

“We invented round. We’re happy to reinvent round,” Tony Uttley, Honeywell’s GM of Home Comfort, said in an interview.

Honeywell has also built a couple of differentiating features to Lyric that will, for better or worse, separate it from its upstart competitor. Nest, for instance, is a “learning” thermostat that tracks your patterns and then tries to adjust based on its predictions. Honeywell, for its part, believes that modern schedules are hardly predictable, so its main intelligence comes through a geo-fencing feature tied to your smartphone.

Lyric Product Photography

When you stray outside the virtual fence around your home, Lyric will shut down your cooling or heating until it detects that you’re close to home again. You’ll have a choice for how wide you set the  radius of the geo-fence in case you work close to home or spend a lot of time at your neighbor’s house.

Honeywell is also touting a new Fine Tune feature as a unique selling point. Fine Tune draws on humidity, weather data and indoor and outdoor temperatures to tweak temperatures to make sure that the temperature you’re feeling is just right.

Uttley said Honeywell will also add a service component to its Lyric platform. The company has relationships with 90,000 contractors that it can refer for installation or repairs.

At launch, Lyric is available through Honeywell’s professional channels. Lowe’s will sell the device in August, with general availability coming later this year.

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Published June 10, 2014 — 12:00 UTC