Glas was unveiled this week by the Johnson Controls and Microsoft. Glas is a smart thermostat that runs on a smart thermostat that runs on Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core. It is a special operating system designed specifically for the smaller devices. To help users save energy, Glas utilizes smart voice assistant Cortana and it’s Azure Cloud.
The provider of HVAC, fire and security systems, and maker of the first electric room thermostat. Johnson Controls pointed out that cooling and heating your home makes up around 48 percent of energy use. That makes it the largest energy expense for most households.
Thermostats that can be controlled via a smartphone, but that is not the key feature of this device. It’s not just a thermostat, it has sensors that are able to detect when people are in the room and change and adjust the temperature accordingly. To lower the energy costs, it is designed to maintain desired temperatures in parts of a building that are being used, and at the same time maintain decent temperatures in areas that are not being used so much.
Glas also provides continuous monitoring of outdoor and indoor air quality.
Principal analyst at Recon Analytics, Roger Entner said, “From the little we know, this looks like a Nest-comparable device.”
“Smart home thermostats with some value-add is a growing market, especially in states like Massachusetts that subsidize intelligent thermometers.”
He also added that “The air quality and AI is just a value-add to the dumb thermometer most Americans have in their home that drives their air conditioning and heating.”
The ability of voice control is probably the feature that separates Glas from other competitors.
Principal analyst at Pund-IT, Charles King said, “Johnson’s Glas is the first thermostat to use Microsoft’s Cortana technology to support voice commands/controls.”
“That sets it apart from Google Nest, which doesn’t support voice directly – though it can be managed vocally with a Google Home device,” he said, “Similarly, the Eccobee4 thermostat can be used with Amazon Alexa.”
Now, there is only the question of whether the product arrived too late at this market or just in time?
Principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates suggested Roger Kay “This looks mostly like catch-up ball to me.”
“Amazon and Google are already in this market. Both have cloud services, smart assistants, and AI capabilities,” he said.
He added that “Microsoft is a latecomer, but not too late because the IoT market is just taking off – sort of ‘better late than never.'”
“At US$250, a Google Nest is about 10 times the cost of a basic digital, programmable thermostat,” King pointed out. “That’s likely to change as digital assistants, like Google Home and Amazon Alexa become more common and provide voice-enabled equivalents of universal remote controls.”
For now, it looks like Glas is currently targeting commercial properties more than consumers’ homes.
Regarding that, King said, “That makes sense strategically since Johnson is known for its HVAC, fire, and security systems – but it also underscores some key Glas features, including air quality controls and the ability to sense when people are present in a space and automatically adjust its settings.”
“While those points may interest some consumers, they’d be more valuable to businesses looking to better manage their facilities and related costs,” he said.
This could be one of those products that become popular in business settings first, and after that reaches private homes, but in another version.
“The battle is for the IoT hub in the home, office or other building,” Kay.
“Apple wants in on this, too. This is mostly about not being outflanked in an evolving market – really the least tapped market of the big three: endpoints, cloud, and IoT.”