Honeywell Adds Voice Commands

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I don’t dislike the Honeywell Total Connect Comfort app, but I don’t particularly like it.  As I mentioned in my review of the rth6580wf wifi thermostat, before last week the app had been updated once in two years.  So as far as I can tell, this app has had two updates in three years.  This latest update had a couple of minor changes for iOS 9 compatibility and added the ability to see if a heating or cooling fan is running.  The biggest part of the update was the addition of voice commands, but….

WHY?!

First, one of my main complaints about the app is that two key features; the ability to set temperature alert thresholds and the ability to add one or more email addresses to receive alerts are only available on the website.  In three years no one has thought that it was important to fold these relatively simple features into the app.

Second, there is little to no native integration between Honeywell products and other home automation ecosystems.  These are products directly competing with Nest and Ecobee3 and it seems the company cant be bothered to implement what are now expected features to their products.

Third, we already have voice recognition engines in Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Now, that are far more useful and fully featured.  While I appreciate the effort, users would be much more likely to interact with any of the voice assistants that they already use than they would be to open the Total Connect Comfort app, wait for it to load, click the microphone button, and issue a command to this unneeded third party voice recognition software.

Instead of coming up with a homegrown solution, it would have made much more sense for Honeywell’s development team to publish some API’s that would allow mainstream apps and virtual assistants to control the devices.  It’s this lack of attention to detail that has cost Honeywell the top spot in a field they had dominated for decades.