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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Evans City Pennsylvania
    Posts
    18

    Remote HVAC System Control for Residential and Light Commercial

    Just talked to a rep about his remote control and monitoring system. No software, works through a web browser or mobile smart phone.

    He says it's geared for homes and light commercial, like if you own a few burger kings or a small strip mall or something like that. He said it's geared well for those settings and not too expensive like a big ddc control system from johnson or siemens. I liked what he was saying and am looking into it for a few of my clients that this would work well for.

    http://www.inthrma.com/index.php

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    40
    Have a look at the Ecobee thermostat (www.ecobee.com), the most advanced standalone thermostat currently available (in my opinion). It has Wi-Fi access, a Web portal that can be accessed from any PC, and an iPhone app for remote control. It also has a great colour LCD screen and user-friendly configuration and use. It can control a variety of auxiliary devices such as humidifiers, dehumidifiers, ventilators, etc.

    Im thinking of getting one for my house.

    -cinergi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Langley, BC, Canada
    Posts
    384
    Be carefull with the Ecobee's....anyone with a little computer knowledge can hack you and gain access to your computer.......we tested the theory out and in no time was able to look through the home computer....... Wait for the new Honeywell system to come out.
    *Proud Member of UA LOCAL 516*

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    40
    Hi Crazy4thenucks,

    Do you mean that it's possible for an attacker to connect using Wi-Fi to the thermostat (say, from a car parked on the street in front of your house), and from there access everything on the LAN? It seems to me that the WPA Wi-Fi security would (should) prevent this.

    -cinergi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    IOWA
    Posts
    11
    ive installed a couple of the ecobees and have had nothing but praise and complements from my customers. one customer is a computer tech. ill try to touch base with him and post his comments.

    broccy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SOUTH DAKOTA
    Posts
    94
    I was told by honeywell at the ahr expo they are coming out with a web based prestige sometime this year. I have put many of their telephone access modules in places like lake cabins so they can monitor it and have temp where they want it before the get there, they love them but I dont know if that is what your looking for.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    1,341
    I do not do computer banking for a reason.... 128 bit encryption. "They" say that it would take a hacker years to infiltrate this. That was before quad processor that can be paralleled and multiply-ed.
    Any system that can control vital systems in your home or business should be stand alone and not open to hacks.
    Big banks and businesses do not have their main computers tied into phone lines, or wyfi.
    Maybe I am wearing my tin-foil hat, but hackers have hacked the Pentagon, why not a thermostat...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy4thenucks View Post
    Be carefull with the Ecobee's....anyone with a little computer knowledge can hack you and gain access to your computer.......we tested the theory out and in no time was able to look through the home computer....... Wait for the new Honeywell system to come out.
    @Crazy4thenucks- would you care to elaborate on how you did this? At ecobee we take secure communications very seriously. The ecobee stat uses mulitple levels of ecryption and security schemes and its not "connected" to your home computer. Could it be that you gained access to the WiFi network to get to the home computer? Not a simple task in its own right but not impossible if the network is not setup correctly. If thats the case the ecobee stat or any device on that network neither increases or decreases that possibility. If you preferr to jump into the details off line drop me an email.

  9. #9
    I find it hard to believe that anyone could take over a PC based on the presence of an Ecobee thermostat on the wifi. I have one of these and I can't even figure out how to talk to it myself (though I'm working on it).

    While Ecobee's "cloud" web portal seems nice, it has three big problems. First, I have no confidence in the reliability of Ecobee's servers. Last winter they were down for almost three days.

    Second, while the service is free right now, there is no guarantee that at some point in the future Ecobee won't come around demanding that its customers pay a "subscription" for the privilege of accessing their own thermostat.

    And finally, and perhaps most important, I have no confidence that Ecobee will even still be around in 10 year, or 5 years. If they go away, that leaves me with no way to control my thermostat by computer and that is the onle reason I paid the big bucks for this unit in the first place.

    I want to be able to access my own thermostat directly without having to go through any third party.

    So how about it, Ecobee? Make your access protocols available to your customers. You have no reason, and no call, to keep this information a State Secret.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    8
    @Michele31415

    We appreciate your concerns, all that we can say (respecting the guideline of this forum) is to do your research and determine if this company has the financial and market track record to last, and if the management team has the integrity to not reneg on the commitment of free access to your thermostat. Feel free to reach out to us directly on this.

    With regards to giving our protocol to customers. Among other technical reasons at the end of the day a 99% of our customers would never use it and it takes considerable time and money to support/maintain such a program.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ecobee_tech View Post
    @Michele31415

    We appreciate your concerns, all that we can say (respecting the guideline of this forum) is to do your research and determine if this company has the financial and market track record to last, and if the management team has the integrity to not reneg on the commitment of free access to your thermostat. Feel free to reach out to us directly on this.

    With regards to giving our protocol to customers. Among other technical reasons at the end of the day a 99% of our customers would never use it and it takes considerable time and money to support/maintain such a program.
    You're kidding, right? Ecobee is a private company. How am I supposed to do any "research" on their financials? All I've been able to discover is that the entire company is less than four years old, consists of all of 22 people, and has one product. Oh yes, and they're being sued in Illinois over intellectual property rights. Does this inspire confidence in their long term survival? No.

    I've been left high and dry by such "cloud" providers in the past that suddenly vanished without warning. I can only reiterate that for $600, I should be able to control my own thermostat directly. If this is your idea of customer service, then you can be sure the next time I'm shopping for a thermostat, it won't be from Ecobee.

    I'll grant you this - it's secure alright. All communication between the thermostat and your web site is encrypted - except, ironically enough, my password, which you transmit in clear text.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Clarksburg, Md
    Posts
    42
    Teletrol has a product that is a direct swap for a conventional tstat, but is able to be monitored. Info like supply air temp and zone temp are readable values. I ran into Teletrol controls when a site that I regularly work at had new controls in place of their old conventional tstats. From a service standpoint, getting through to the site monitor and looking at equipment performance values was a breeze. Im not sure if it is a web-based software or proprietary but that might be a possible avenue for site management.

    Another EMS provider for light commercial and residential that wont break the bank but will give you plenty-o-bang fo yo buck is Solidyne. Check them out.

    Thirdly, a company/product definitely worth looking into is the JENEsys by Lynxspring. This one will wow you!

  13. #13
    Thanks for the recommendations. I will definitely look into that. I had been considering getting a second Ecobee for my summer place, but given the experience I've had so far, I believe I'll take a pass on them. I will also contact my installer to see if maybe I can get them to take this thing back.

    All I need is something that will provide me with reliable Internet access and monitoring on my terms. I don't really care about energy savings. Considering the Ecobee costs $600, my payback period for whatever energy I'd save would be somewhere around the first of Never.

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