When you think about smart heating, you think about Nest, Honeywell, Tado and Hive. However, it was Canadian company Ecobee who scooped our Smart Energy Product of the Year gong in our inaugural awards. More precisely, it was the Ecobee4 that won the award - the latest smart thermostat from the company arrived earlier this year.
Nest didn't do a great deal to push the envelope with its smart heating platform this year - the Thermostat E went live in the UK, but that's about it. Honeywell's Evohome remains the most comprehensive smart heating solution with its detailed room-by-room climate control but, again, there wasn't anything new here for 2018.
And, although Tado is making great strides in catching up with the major players, it still needs to become better known outside of Europe. Ditto Hive - who are making a play for the US market now, at least.
The Ecobee4, however, did do something to differentiate itself from the ever-increasing smart thermostat crowd... it baked Alexa right in.
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And, well, Alexa behaves just like Alexa should β obeying your commands and answering questions β and it can, of course, also control the thermostat itself.
However, Ecobee realises that the smart home doesn't have to be controlled by a sole digital assistant. The Ecobee4, therefore, is compatible with all the major platforms β HomeKit, SmartThings, Google Assistant, IFTTT; and it even works with Cortana. Cortana! Imagine that.
Back to its thermostat skills and the other standout feature is Room Sensor, which measures temperature and room occupancy, and adjusts temperatures accordingly in zones that need them most.
Throw in a slick design, wonderful ease of use and the ability to donate your data to energy scientists, and you can see what it picked up the prize.