Understanding the connected home concept with Netatmo

Marco B Divaio

Netatmo, a French connected home specialist, develops connected objects for home security and comfort. Their promise? Ease of use and intelligent algorithms, which allow them to learn household habits, to then operate autonomously. We saw these objects, and this ecosystem, in action in the house-showroom of Netatmo. And the experience was rewarding.

Our opinion on Netatmo connected products

Created in 2011, Netatmo is one of the most important French players in the connected home. It has managed to keep its start-up aura, not falling into the trap of launching products “in a hurry” or with the Wow effect: its range of devices for the connected home is thought out logically and has sense. All products can work together to do home service. Example with the two new products launched this year: the smoke detector and the smart siren – two devices that have their place in a connected home, in particular in the Netatmo ecosystem. All devices are easy to install and control. In addition, all of them being compatible with HomeKit, the control of all Netatmo objects in the house can be aggregated in the Apple Home application. Finally, they can be controlled by voice (Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant – confirmed or in the process of being acquired); a real plus currently in the connected home.

Why we love

Smart objects capable of evolving by learning user habits
Relevant functioning in an ecosystem
Easy to use, even for neophytes who do not wish to go into detailed settings Introductory price: From 69 to 299 euros

Netatmo objects and their specificities

Here is an overview of the products offered in the Netatmo catalog as well as a quick update on their characteristics.

For the safety 

Netatmo’s main novelty is a connected smart smoke detector (that’s its name), which has just been launched at €99. Its main particularity lies in the longevity of its battery: 10 years, i.e. the life of the detector. In addition, thanks to the connectivity, the application launches a regular diagnosis to ensure the correct operation of the detector.
Netatmo still markets two cameras, a Smart Outdoor Camera (€300) and a  Smart Indoor Camera Welcome(200 €). The first films and also acts as an outdoor light. It works without subscription, films day and night (with light or infrared); as for the lighting, it can be triggered manually or when the camera detects movement. This camera is able to distinguish a human silhouette, an animal or a car, which allows it to trigger a recording and send an alert only for good reason. The Interior Camera, on the other hand, takes the idea a little further, since it recognizes faces and learns over time. As soon as she knows the faces of the inhabitants of the house and of the friends, she is able to sort between a “friendly” face or a determined one as an intruder. The goal ? Avoid drowning the user in an incessant flow of alerts. A new guest arrives with you? No problem: she recognizes you and “knows” that you are together, so it’s not an intruder…
The Welcome camera can work with the Smart Siren, which is also connected. This is the brand’s other novelty, which will be available in 2019, at €79. Directly connected to the indoor camera, it rings – 110 dB, all the same – as soon as it detects an intrusion. The trigger parameters are of course customizable in the application.

For heating

Netatmo markets a smart thermostat (designed by Stark) at €180. Working with individual boilers, it promises to maintain the ideal temperature defined by the user, to ensure comfort and energy savings.
Smart thermostatic heads (€200 for two radiators) are an alternative for people with a collective heating system. They are simply installed in place of radiator valves to manage the temperature room by room, either as part of a collective heating system or to complete the smart thermostat.

For weather and air quality

The Smart Weather Station (€170) has two sensors: one that measures the temperature inside, the other outside. The goal is not only to monitor the weather, but also the comfort in the house: air quality, humidity, noise. Thus, the device advises you to ventilate to purify your indoor air or when there is too much humidity in the house. He positions himself as a real well-being coach for the home. For outdoor weather forecasts, the station can be enhanced with a smart anemometer to monitor wind speed and direction (€100) and a smart rain gauge (€70). Again, all data is brought together in the same application and cross-referenced to provide the most accurate and relevant information possible.
For people who only want to monitor the quality of their indoor environment, the indoor sensor exists alone (100 €). Recently renamed to Smart Air Quality Sensor (it was called Healthy Home Coach ), it measures noise level, temperature, humidity level and indoor pollution, providing advice to improve the living environment.

And partnerships with Velux, Legrand and Müller

Netatmo is also developing partnerships, sharing its expertise with certain brands of household equipment, in order to make their system intelligent. Among these, we have heard a lot about the Velux Activ with Netatmo solution (€250 the starting pack), launched with the roof window brand. Thanks to an intelligent box and Netatmo algorithms, the roof windows of the Integra range (since 2006) become intelligent. The box monitors air quality (CO2), temperature and humidity: depending on this data and the weather, the windows open or close automatically to lower the temperature, eliminate humidity or to prevent the heat from entering. The solution also manages the closing of windows, blinds and Velux roller shutters.
In the same spirit, Netatmo has also entered into a partnership with Legrand. The complete system of connected sockets and switches Céliane with Netatmo is the result of this collaboration. These objects are simply installed in place of existing sockets and switches – up to 120 sockets in the house. Connected to the Wi-Fi network, they can then be programmed or controlled remotely, wherever the user is (possibility of simulating their presence during the holidays, of programming the start of the coffee machine in the morning, etc.). The application also offers monitoring of electricity consumption, outlet by outlet or overall.
Finally, Netatmo has also developed the Müller Intuitiv with Netatmo solution, in partnership with Müller, which markets heating solutions (under the Noirot, Campa, Applimo and Airelec brands). By installing a small compatible module, each radiator becomes connected. It can therefore be programmed and controlled remotely. All of the brand’s radiators marketed since 2001 are compatible with this solution.

Devices that operate in an ecosystem and whose management can be aggregated in the Apple Home application

In the range, there are only devices with a neat design, which integrate discreetly into any type of interior. The design of the indoor camera, for example, matches that of the weather station or the air quality sensor.
Beyond the aesthetic aspect, what is interesting with Netatmo’s solutions is that they work in an ecosystem. Almost all of the brand’s connected objects are able to communicate with each other when relevant. They are also piloted with an application by sector of activity: “weather”, “security” (security), “energy” (energy). On the other hand, applications developed in partnership with Legrand, Velux or Müller are separate. However, iPhone owners can combine the control of all Netatmo devices in the house, thanks to the Apple Home application, since all Netatmo objects are compatible with HomeKit.

Voice control, available to everyone

The other common point of all Netatmo connected home devices is their compatibility with voice assistants on the market. All of them are already compatible with Siri, Apple’s assistant and in the process of becoming also compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa. Thus the user will be able to control his entire connected house by voice: turn up the heating, request information on the quality of the indoor air, open the Velux windows, activate the surveillance camera or turn on the light of the outdoor camera, for example.

Objects ready to work immediately, which are thirsty to learn

 

Netatmo makes sure that its connected devices are easy to install and use, even for a non-technophile audience. Once the object is installed and connected to the Wi-Fi network, the neophyte user can be guided, content to let the objects learn over time, without necessarily going into the details of the possible settings. An example is the connected thermostat: by answering two simple questions such as the time you leave the house in the morning and the time you return, the device is already able to function and guarantee energy savings. The user is free to enter the parameters to fine-tune the functioning of the device.
The other advantage of Netatmo objects is their ability to evolve by learning household habits. They operate autonomously, completely transparent to the user: example with learning the faces of the surveillance camera. The strength of Netatmo connected objects lies in their autonomous operation and in an ecosystem; they take care of the comfort of users by soliciting them as little as possible. Because this is undoubtedly where the interest of the connected home lies: providing a service to the user to improve his comfort or his security, without him even realizing it, but knowing that he couldn’t do without it. This is exactly what Netatmo devices provide.

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