Blockbuster smart thermostats like the Nest had turned on millions of households to the kind of intelligent, adaptive energy management systems that Schneider Electric specialized in. But to turn that experience into market success, they needed a product–and a user experience–that translated their technology for the private homeowner. The user insights and design sensitivity that Smart brought to the table helped make it happen.

It’s my home — it should be just right

For enterprise customers, energy management is all about the bottom line: a smarter thermostat means you use less power and spend less money. But home consumers are different. After a number of interviews and observation sessions, Smart’s team realized that the bigger enticements for homeowners were comfort and control.

 

For them, a smarter thermostat means a house that’s warm when it needs to be, a weekly schedule that’s easy to set, and the ability to adjust everything on the fly. Meeting those expectations takes a system that’s predictive, but not so automated it yanks control from your hands. And it takes an interface that’s accessible, customizable, and above all, clear.

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A clear window onto home energy use

With these insights in their back pocket, the Smart team got to work on the digital interface, while Schneider Electric’s team applied them to the thermostat’s physical design. Because the product and the audience were so new, both teams took care to incorporate user feedback throughout the process, enlisting real homeowners in co-creation activities using screen mockups, prototype apps, and at one point, a 3-foot-high foamcore model of the thermostat to which they could attach desired features.

 

The result of all this insight and iteration is the Wiser Air smart thermostat, a home energy management system that hits the right notes for control and ease of use, together with several advantages that only Schneider Electric can offer.

 

Clarity: Both the thermostat and the Wiser Air smartphone app indicate current temperature, heating and cooling schedule, and the local weather, right on the home screen. 90% of everything you need to do on a given morning happens right there, integrated in a way that’s easy, intuitive…even fun.

Control: A unique Comfort Boost option lets you instantly put the system into full-on heating or cooling mode, tapping into the need for immediate gratification while reverting  back to the set program after a designated time. A gentle ambient light around the unit glows to let you know it’s responding.

Context: Schneider Electric’s connections with utility providers and weather services means users can see their power usage in real time, and get a localized forecast without leaving the app or touchscreen. By putting detailed information at eye level, Wiser Air shows you the connection between the weather, your energy settings and your costs — so you can make the right choices yourself, rather than standing by while your thermostat makes them for you.

 

For tinkerers and power users, Wiser Air offers plenty of deep control too. A few taps on the smartphone app lets them modify different management modes like Home, Away and Vacation, and create new ones for special situations, like a visiting relative who likes it extra warm. Close integration with utilities puts variable pricing information right in the app, letting users optimize for cost as well as comfort.

A system that plays well with others

Smart Design’s unique insights and interface design sensibility enabled Schneider Electric to enter the home energy category right at the top tier. More than just an intuitive thermostat, Wiser Air combines temperature, weather and pricing information in a way that turns even the most tech-averse homeowner into a master of energy optimization.

 

After launching in mid 2015, it’s earned rave reviews from contractors, energy management firms and homeowners, positioning it as the go-to smart thermostat for new homes and renovations in the coming years.

 

To learn more about Wiser Air by Schneider Electric, visit https://www.wiserair.com/.

 

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