I think I must have been born into the wrong era when it comes to technology. My mind tells me as we move forward that the tech toys we buy today should be more functional and less expensive than it was yesterday, but that defiantly doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to home thermostats. Let’s face it, when it comes to the high end, it’s a Nest world. Their Learning Thermostat is the go-to solution for lots of folks looking to add smarts to their heating and cooling systems. Its premium hardware, easy-to-use interface, and energy-saving features all add up to a smart thermostat anyone would be happy to own. The issue is that they don’t seem to be getting any less expensive, and they should be. In the technology business, a product which takes very little to keep it in high demand is referred to as a “Cash Cow”, where companies keep the essentially same product on the market for years, with very few changes or upgrades, and keeps the price fairly consistent. Good business if you can develop one. With respect to the home thermostat market, there have been a few companies that have introduced comparable products to Nest, but guess what, they’re almost charging the same for their umbite’s. What the heck? How can this be? Isn’t the whole idea of launching a competitive product to take market share away from the leader, not to hitch your wagon to their tractor? If the Nest unite sells for around $300 plus the regular array of hidden costs like installation and tax, wouldn’t it be a better marketing position to sell a competitive unite for let’s say $150, giving consumers a real reason to chose an alternative product? But alas, poor us, that’s not our reality today. Who knows, maybe future generations will enjoy a more competitive marketplace.
Reporting for Computer Insider, I’m Bob Pritchard