Summer is coming: Make your dumb AC smart with Tado

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Wouldn’t it be nice if your air conditioner could tell when you’re on your way home and use that information to start cooling down your pad before you got back? Well, there’s good news on that front. Thanks to German startup Tado, that’s now a possibility… and not just for those of us with central air.

Unlike Nest’s Learning Thermostat, Tado’s new product, Tado Cooling, is compatible with a massive range of air conditioner types aside from central air, including ductless ceiling units, traditional window-mounted systems, and even mobile units.  In other words, you won’t have to replace your old AC if you want fancy smart tech. This is a retrofit that you can use to update existing hardware. Since Tado Cooling relies on infrared waves to communicate with your AC, it will work with almost any unit that already works with a remote control.

The slim, wall-mounted cooling box is equipped with a number of different radio and sensor technologies, so it’s like an external brain for your AC. Using embedded motion and light sensors, as well as Bluetooth LE and iBeacons, Tado Cooling can tell when nobody’s home and automatically shuts itself off to save power. With the help of an accompanying smartphone app, Tado can track your location to detect when you’re heading home again and will allow you to flip the AC back on. That way, your house is at the perfect temp when you arrive and won’t waste energy cooling an empty home.

In addition to the light and motion sensors, Tado has others for humidity and noise, hinting that the company may want its device to control more than just your AC.

The company is on a mission to make 10,000 New York City air conditioners smarter by 2016. You can pick up one now for $199.

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