Prototype of  Lyric Lyric  App
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At first glance, the Lyric thermostat may look like nothing more than a Nest clone -- but when a home management company as big and historic as Honeywell gets into the startup-dominated world of connected objects, you just know that there are going to be some fundamental differences.

Superficially, Lyric’s features mirror those of many other smart thermostats. It has a touchscreen display, connects over wifi, can be controlled from anywhere via a smartphone app, and attempts to learn and anticipate the user’s preferences through pattern recognition and geofencing (drawing on mobile GPS data to tell whether you’re in the house, on your way out for the day, or heading home). It can also manage the apparent temperature by drawing on weather and humidity data to keep the home feeling comfortable.

Honeywell's Smart Thermostat
Honeywell's Smart Thermostat: Lyric

Philosophically, however, Lyric represents the conservative side of the Internet of Things. Honeywell has a long history of producing “dumb” thermostats, security systems, and other home management products, so Lyric is just the leading edge of what will eventually be a complete Honeywell smart home management package. And when the company talks about this integrated smart home, it uses words like “reliability” as a euphemism for “walled garden.”

Like Apple’s iOS App Store, opportunities for outside developers to build on the Lyric platform will be “curated”: limited to those apps and improvements that earn Honeywell’s express approval. And though it’s not hard to install, for now Lyric is available only through certified Honeywell contractors.

Whether Honeywell and other established home-management companies can innovate quickly enough to outpace the nimbler start-up competition -- while also protecting their trusted reputations -- remains to be seen. See the video below to learn more about Lyric.

Related: Open Source Smart Thermostat

Reviews: CNET 3.5/5, Amazon 3/5

Ted Burnham

Professional Combobulator



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