A true smart thermostat would be a plug-and-play device. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d hook it up, enter your Wi-Fi key, give it a preferred temperature range, and then forget itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s there. The thermostat would come with a few low-cost motion sensors that you mount in different zones of your home or office (these are dumb devices that tell the thermostat what zones are occupied). YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d hook these up and forget about them, too.
This thermostat, unlike others, would be able to see the future. It would poll the weather service to fetch weather data and know what outdoor temperatures will be, hour by hour, for the next several days as well as general conditions (sunny or cloudy, dry or wet, etc). With this information, it could do things like keep the heat off on a morning when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be warm or sunny later in the day, or cool the house down early in the morning (during off peak rates) in advance of an especially hot day to reduce peak usage.
None of this is expensive or difficult to install. Think of the huge amounts power that could be saved by smart thermostats. Conservation remains the best way to save energy.