With groovy brands like Nest Labs and Ecobee blazing a trail with smart home thermostats, it hasn’t taken too long for more established energy companies to jump on board the bandwagon. Honeywell’s Lyric is one good example, as is Wiser Air from French corporation, Schneider Electric.
The name may not be familiar to many consumers but the large, multinational company specialises in specializes in energy management and automation solutions across a swathe of brands. If you own an APC uninterruptible power supply for your computers, then you have a Schneider Electric device sitting under your desktop.
The company bills Wiser Air as not just a smart thermostat, but as a complete home energy management solution that not only supports smart heating and cooling of your home, but also promises to save you money in the long run. Of course, that’s a promise we’ve heard from a number of manufacturers with similar devices – the question is whether Wiser Air performs better and/or offers a better experience than its peers.
Let’s take a look at Wiser Air and, while I pull out its spec sheet, take a look at this background video which will introduce the thermostat to you.
OK, before we overdose on the Kool-Aid, let’s understand what Wiser Air actually delivers. It’s a network-connected thermostat that can be controlled via an integrated touchscreen, smartphone/tablet app (Windows 10, iOS, and Android devices) or web browser. Furthermore, integrated temperature, light and humidity sensors allow automated control of your home heating and cooling.
Designed for ease, a feature called Wiser Pulse uses a backlight to inform you of the thermostat’s status. A glowing “halo ring”around the device indicates the system mode (Off, Heating, Cooling) and pulses a colour gently to let you know the system is running. While that may sound a little bold to those that prefer their tech to be as unobtrusive as possible (and I count myself among that group), the feature can be disabled.
Scheider Electric leans on expertise from across its wider business with two weather-related features, Weather Service and WeatherSentry. The latter has been an industry-leading forecasting service for nine consecutive years. According to the company, major utilities, airlines and sports and entertainment venues rely on WeatherSentry for weather intelligence – that same knowledge powers Wiser Air. Combined with the thermostat’s Eco IQ machine learning technology, Wiser Air learns how long it takes to change the temperature, taking into account those external conditions, and plans ahead to start heating or cooling to hit preferred target temperatures.
As you’d expect, alongside touch and app control, you’ll also find manual scheduling controls and automatic programming features on Wiser Air. Add humidity balancing, energy insights and integration with Amazon Echo for voice-activated temperature control and you have a compelling package.
Let’s take a look at the kit itself and then get it installed.
What’s in the Box?
The device arrives in a premium white and green carton that’s clearly been put together with care. Wiser Air may not greet you out of the box with all of the style and personality of the Nest Learning Thermostat, but it’s a well designed package that includes everything most homeowners will need to get up and running.
The box includes:
- Wiser Air thermostat
- Wiser Air back plate
- Wiser Air trim plate
- Screws (x2) and anchors (x2)
- Wire extender
- Installation guide
The thermostat itself, available in a choice of white or black, is reasonably compact. It’s rectangular shape and rounded corners provides a friendly enough aesthetic, but it lacks the premium styling of the Nest Learning Thermostat’s iconic metal ring. Unfortunately, the bezel around the 3.5″ touchscreen is wide – particularly at top and bottom. It’s not the worst thermostat design you’ll see out there, but it’s not going to make any design statements in your home. Which may be the point.