Telkonet Unveils Connected Thermostat as Smart Devices Proliferate

Telkonet, a Waukesha, WI-based company that helps configure Internet networks and devices that run on them, says it has introduced a new wireless thermostat.

The device, known as “EcoTouch+ Battery,” is the latest product in the company’s EcoSmart product line. It features an occupancy sensor that activates the thermostat’s touch-screen display when someone is nearby, Telkonet (OTCMKTS: TKOI) says.

“The EcoSmart platform is a full suite of wirelessly integrated devices designed to work together to maximize energy efficiency to achieve cost savings,” Telkonet CEO Jason Tienor said in a prepared statement.

The new battery-powered thermostat joins several other connected devices that Telkonet sells for use in hotels, college dorms, business offices, and other types of buildings. These machines are part of an emerging trend known as the Internet of Things, where manufacturers update previously offline devices with Internet capabilities. Light switches and standalone sensors are among the other Web-enabled products that Telkonet sells.

The Internet of Things is poised for explosive growth, industry observers say. According to research from Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), by 2020 IoT will be a $14 trillion industry, comprising some 50 billion connected devices.

The companies striving to help consumers turn their residences into connected homes include Wink; Lowe’s, which launched its smart home system Iris in 2012; Nest Labs, which Google acquired in 2014; and SmartThings, which Samsung acquired that same year. The idea is to allow users to control objects—everything from thermostats to locks to high-tech doorbells—with computers and mobile devices.

However, Telkonet is focused entirely on selling its devices under a business-to-business sales model, Tienor said in an interview.

“We don’t sell to consumers at all,” he said.

The majority of Telkonet’s customers are in the hospitality industry, Tienor said, but his company also works with organizations in education, municipal government, and other sectors.

The EcoSmart line of connected devices complements Telkonet’s EthoStream business, which installs cables, access points, switches, and other hardware inside of buildings so that people can get wireless Internet access there.

There’s even a full-size replica of a hotel room at Telkonet’s corporate headquarters that the company can use to test out its devices. Tienor said that one benefit of the new wireless thermostat is that it’s easy to move if a hotel decides to change the furniture arrangement in rooms, for instance.

“The new EcoTouch+ Battery is another option for customers who may be more confined in their installation options due to constraints of either the room design, existing wiring, or lack thereof,” he said.

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