Home How you can turn smarter decisions into smart cities

How you can turn smarter decisions into smart cities

Recently, the city of Austin, Texas passed an ordinance requiring all new-home construction to include a smart or connected Wi-Fi thermostat as part of each HVAC system. This will not only help make homes more comfortable and energy-efficient, but also help reduce energy usage for the entire city.

Today, municipal efforts to manage home energy usage tend to focus on improving HVAC systems – especially in the summer, when temperatures soar and air conditioners strain power grids. Solutions have ranged from smart utility meters and switches to energy-saving functions built into thermostats.

See also: 3 benefits a smart city can gain from smart infrastructure

But we can do more for our cities. Street lights, traffic signals, power grids, automobiles, water systems – opportunities abound. The key? The data collected from these sources can trigger automatic responses in other devices throughout a home or across a city – intelligent responses that improve efficiency and help conserve resources.

Smart decisions based on that shared data can save all of us time and energy, improve lives, and, ideally, inspire other cities and regions to follow.

The evolution of the smarter thermostat

Smart thermostats have been around since well before the phrase “Internet of Things” was even hatched.

Being able to have a thermostat that automatically adjusts for nighttime comfort, or can ensure the HVAC system doesn’t run needlessly when no one is home, have long been available – think of a setback timer or a programmable schedule.

But those could carry some shortcomings:  figuring out the right schedule and guessing the best settings for the right time of day. Today’s thermostats have grown smarter, able to know when you’re coming or leaving home and then changing settings accordingly.

Yet even with that level of ease and control, we still may find ourselves changing settings for vacations, family gatherings, and parties. The weather also plays a factor – your home heats or cools at differently based on things like the temperature outside, wind, and even cloud cover around your home.

Making the city smarter, one home at a time

With more smart and connected products and systems in our homes, and even neighborhoods becoming more connected, cities have a wealth of information that can positively change and update today’s cities, as well as individual homes and the people who live and work there.

For example:

  • What if your thermostat could automatically know and set itself to balance and be more efficient based on the afternoon’s weather, energy costs, and where you live?
  • What if homeowners could get real-time updates about rising energy costs? And what if they could check the energy usage for each product and system in their home with connected outlets?
  • What if how an entire city uses energy more efficiently could in turn give back that energy and savings to each home, optimizing for better power sharing and lower cost (while not needing devices to go into low-power mode or even shut down entirely)?

Smart Cities Hackathon at CES

These “what ifs” are possible today. But first we need innovative people – the world’s developers, designers, and engineers – to help make our homes and our cities even smarter. Which is why we invite you to join Honeywell and our fellow sponsors next month at the Smart Cities Hackathon at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (Jan. 7-8). There, you can join us and hundreds of other developers as we spend two days hacking our way to the “what ifs.”

If you haven’t registered for the hackathon yet, click here to register now. All hackathon participants will receive a free CES badge.

This article was produced in partnership with Honeywell.

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