I became aware of AlertMe a few months back when I was looking for a device (relay plug/socket) which I could use to monitor (energy/power consumption) and control (switch on/off) devices in my home remotely. I have been playing with the Smart Energy products and been pretty happy (though still looking to hook them up to my own home automation solution in the future: http://tickett.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/reverse-engineering-zigbee-communications/).
I then noticed a Smart Heating product appear on their site, promising:
- Wireless enabled home thermostatic controls unit connects to the AlertMe Hub gateway
- Transforms hard to manage controls into a simple and intuitive online dashboard or Smart Phone interface
- Enables remote control of heating/cooling online from anywhere
- Set and forget it and even manage holiday mode online
- Adds convenience and enhanced comfort while addressing cost and waste
- Professional install and set-up
Unfortunately, the product wasn’t listed in their online store. After a quick phone call I was informed it’s only available through British Gas, branded Remote Heating Control. British Gas sell the pack for £199 to existing customer or £229 to new customers- this includes installation which seems reasonable if you’re not comfortable with installing yourself (but a bit of a rip off otherwise- I can’t imagine the units costing any more than £100). Then to be told I’d have to wait 45days for installation wasn’t the best news either!
Never-the-less, I waited and as promised the British Gas engineer came and installed the "hub", "wireless receiver" and "wireless thermostat":
I find it slightly odd that the indicator light on the hub is not used (the AlertMe hub light indicates whether it is online/offline etc):
The wireless thermostat is "meant" to be wall mounted (has no stand) but I can imagine many of you, like me will want to have it freestanding.
I was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t utilise the existing AlertMe hub provided with my Smart Energy pack (I did try, managed to pair the device but the AlertMe dashboard doesn’t have the functionality for me to actually use it):
Notice the lack of a radiator icon present in the British Gas dashboard:
The iPhone app seems to crashes quite a lot, but works eventually and comes in really handy (though you can only turn the heating on/off/auto and adjust the temperature until the next event- as defined in the schedule seen above):
The addition of a "boost" like function would be really hand to just override the temperature for set period of time. And there is currently no access to modify the schedule from the iPhone app at this time.
I haven’t tried to install the app on an iPad yet, although I did try to access the website. Whilst I was able to logon, the site didn’t really work- I could see the schedule but not drag any of the sliders to adjust it.
All in all, it serves it’s purpose really well- definite room for improvement but I’m sure we’ll see that as the product matures (and hopefully tinkerers will provide alternative interfaces etc).