Gateway Gazette

A Thermostat That Knows When You’re Home — Or Asleep

By Brian Feldt, Reporter – St. Louis Business Journal

Emerson asked teams participating in last weekend’s GlobalHack hackathon to do something no one in the company had ever done.

The innovators were Sensi Sensibility — a team that included Bill MacMillan, Christine Stavridis, Martin McGreal, and Tara Pham — which built an app called Sensibility.

The GlobalHack team that won $50,000 from Emerson.
The GlobalHack team that won $50,000 from Emerson.

It makes Sensi, Emerson’s thermostat, not just one that can be programmed through your phone, but one you never have to program at all.

The app detects when a user is home — and asleep or awake — coaches users toward energy consumption goals and encourages behavior by comparing use with other Sensi users. Jawbone, a wearable fitness tracker, uses a similar method.

“It also offers a library of Moods, which are pre-packaged temporary temperature programs so that you can break from your normal thermostat programming in one-click,” said Pham, CEO of CTY. “And it sends randomized pings (frequency dependent on user opt-in) to collect ongoing preferences, behaviors, and satisfaction to both tailor your thermostat settings further and to provide Emerson more data on customer behavior.”

For winning, the Sensi Sensibility team received $50,000 from Emerson, the prize sponsor of the event, which was held at the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus.

Emerson for fiscal 2014 reported net earnings of nearly $2.15 billion, up 7 percent from fiscal 2013.

GlobalHack is the St. Louis-based hackathon competition co-founded by LockerDome CEO Gabe Lozano; Brian Matthews, general partner at Cultivation Capital; Drew Winship, CEO of Juristat; and Travis Sheridan, executive director of Venture Cafe St. Louis in 2013. The first GlobalHack was sponsored by TopOPPs, a startup that uses big data to analyze companies’ customer relationship management portals. TopOPPS hired 10 people from the event, which was attended by more than 200 people.

The second hackathon was sponsored by Washington, D.C.-based software developer OGSystems, which has its innovation accelerator unit, called Viper Labs, in the Cambridge Innovation Center workspace in Cortex’s @4240 building.

GlobalHack eventually hopes to dole out $1.2 million in prize money each year — $50,000 at each of the four hackathons and $1 million at an annual product competition.

Source: ABC Tech

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