Apple and Honeywell Take on Nest with a Smart Thermostat

Honeywell Lyric smart thermostat

Honeywell (NYSE:HON) is introducing an Internet-connected thermostat called the Lyric. AppleInsider reports that the Lyric will be able to adjust the temperature of the user’s home dynamically, using geofencing to detect when the owner is close to the house so that it can return the home to the preferred temperature, and regulate the temperature to save on energy costs while the owner is away. As The Verge reports, the geofence will have two settings: a 7-mile radius appropriate for those who live in the suburbs and a 500-foot radius more suited to those who live in cities.

Honeywell says that users can control the thermostat with a smartphone app, or with controls located on the unit itself. Using a sensor, the Lyric can detect when a user walks up to the unit, and will display the current temperature of the home, as well as a colored ring indicating the system’s current activity. It will show orange when heating, blue when cooling, and green when operating in an energy-saving mode. A feature called Fine Tune will also see the Lyric considering current indoor and outdoor temperatures, humidity levels, and weather as it regulates the heating and cooling levels in the home. Honeywell says that the Lyric will find and maintain “the most comfortable” temperature for the owner’s house.

The Lyric, expected to be available in August for $279, is Honeywell’s response to competitors like Nest, which created the Nest Learning Thermostat and was recently acquired by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Nest does not feature the geofencing capability that’s a major appeal of Honeywell’s Lyric. Nest’s smart thermostat is also not yet part of a larger home automation system, as Honeywell’s is expected to be. Honeywell has partnered with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to manufacture products compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, a home automation system that will launch with iOS 8 this fall. (Though there’s been no official announcement yet, it’s likely that Lyric will be updated with HomeKit integration when the operating system launches this fall.)