The team at CAO Gadgets deserves some kudos for bravery -- it’s not easy to take on one of the most iconic products on the IoT marketplace as a direct competitor. But that’s exactly what they’re doing with Kumostat, a cloud-based, wireless smart thermostat that takes aim at the Nest’s high price point.

“A lot of people tell us they want something like Nest Thermostat but cannot afford them,” the Kumostat website says. “Nest is expensive because it duplicates the operating system, screen and user interface hardware you already have in your iPad and iPhone.”

Kumostat, on the other hand, takes a minimalist approach to keep hardware costs down. The thermostat itself contains just a radio and a pair of sensors for temperature and humidity; instead of interacting directly with the device, like a Nest, users control Kumostat through an app.

Simple Smart Thermostat: Kumostat
Simple Smart Thermostat: Kumostat

But the minimalist approach doesn’t limit Kumostat’s functionality. With the app, users can manage the learning algorithms that make the thermostat “smart”, as well as write and share their own algorithms and experiment with those written by other users. And Kumostat can combine with other wireless sensor tags to create sophisticated home automation rules. CAO’s suite of tags can sense motion, moisture, proximity, and more -- which makes it easy to create rules like “turn off the AC when nobody’s phone is in the house” or “turn on the heat upstairs when motion is sensed in the bedroom.”

Kumostat and the other sensors use a low-data-rate radio signal and connect to their own hub, which also lowers costs compared to connecting directly over wifi. The signal is also longer-range, up to 700 feet. And because they transmit less often, the sensors conserve battery life -- lasting more than a year on coin-cell batteries.

The Kumostat Kickstarter campaign was recently cancelled due to underwhelming interest, but CAO plans to continue development -- it simply might take a bit longer for them to scrape up the funds. In the meantime, some of the related sensor tags are available now online and others will be released as planned in the coming months. If Kumostat appeals to you, it might be worth buying some of the sensors to provide part of the cash boost Kumostat needs.

Have a look at the video below to learn more.

Related: Open Source Nest, Home wireless sensor systems, Tado