Netatmo REVIEW - why you need it in your life!
We've had the Netatmo range of products on the site for a while now but haven't really given them much attention until recently. Read on for our thoughts after spending several months getting to know these devices in depth .....
Who are Netatmo?
Netatmo burst onto the consumer electronic market in 2011 with the intention of developing devices aimed at giving a better and connected lifestyle. Since then they've seen incredible growth and added a number of products to their portfolio.
Netatmo products at Vesternet
There are plenty of reviews of the Netatmo devices on the Internet, so we won't rehash what's already been said elsewhere. Instead we'll focus on what additional features and functionality the range can bring to your existing Home Automation system.
For the past couple of months we've had the Connected Weather Station, Rain Gauge, Additional Sensor and Intelligent WiFi Thermostat on real-world test. That's right, not just a simple bench test or un-boxing, but physically installed and in actual use in our home!
As well as a fantastic cloud-based web User Interface, there are also awesome looking Apps for iOS, Android and Windows smartphones and tablets. These all look incredible, easily on a par with Apple and Fibaro styling.
Various measurements are taken by the different components of the system and relayed back to the main weather station where they are sent via WiFi over the Internet and logged on the Netatmo Cloud, building up historical readings over time. The Web UI and Apps augment your own data with localised weather information based on your location.
You can even set up various alert notifications to be pushed to the Apps, for example if it starts raining or if the CO2 level becomes too high indoors.
What piqued our own interest is the ability to integrate into other systems as it's all very well being able to look at pretty Apps with lots of lovely graphs and charts but in the real world we'd actually like to be able to do something more with that data and react to environmental events :-)
Starting off simply, there's an IFTTT "Channel" with lots of different "Triggers" which lets you hook up events from the Netatmo sensors to other systems such as Wemo. This works pretty well but there are some inevitable delays due to the communication path.
A much more reliable and flexible option for integration is via plugins for the VERA and Fibaro HC2 Z-Wave controllers. These bring devices from the Netatmo world into your existing Home Automation system and let you configure all sorts of logic based on just about any environmental information you can think of!
Using the VERA Netatmo plugin for example we were able to close blinds based on internal temperatures, open windows based on humidity and CO2 levels and control our garden irrigation depending on how much rain had fallen in the past 24 hours.
We're also big fan of the Imperihome App and were pleased to see that this supports Netatmo natively, allowing us to include Netatmo devices in our existing screens alongside devices from VERA for example.
The recently released GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub is also on our wish-list as the summer months approach and it was great to see that this also supports the Netatmo Connected Weather Station too - our dream of all devices connecting and interacting autonomously is getting closer!
Before we get into the nitty gritty, one thing we must make comment on with the Intelligent WiFi Thermostat is what you get in the box. Netatmo literally include everything you'd possibly need to install the device in multiple possible single-zone boiler configurations. There are videos on-line to help with the install and the instruction manuals are also incredibly detailed and even tell you what parts you won't use in each type of installation - no more wondering where the bits left in the box were meant to go ;-)
Like the Connected Weather Station, the Intelligent WiFi Thermostat also has a great looking cloud-based web User Interface along with iOS, Android and Windows smart-phone and tablet Apps. These really do look the mutts-nuts!
When you initially set-up the device on the Netatmo site a simple 5-question quiz creates a default schedule for your heating - "what time do you wake up", "what time do you go to sleep", "are you at home during the week days", "are you at home at weekends", "what comfort temperature", "what eco temperature" ..... etc .... etc .... this is a nice simple start to get to grips with the functionality available.
A device that needs to be controlled is always going to show up any issues with a cloud-based system and we were concerned that there would be delays and lag with this system. Fortunately those fears proved to be unfounded and the device behaved flawlessly with all changes made to the set-point for example transmitted within a few seconds.
We also discovered that if you already have the Connected Weather Station, the Intelligent WiFi Thermostat will use the weather data provided by that system as part of the heating control algorithm. This carries out analysis of all the available data during a two-week learning period before implementing predictive control of the heating. Your boiler is then fired at optimum times to ensure the set-points required are maintained perfectly.
Integration of the Intelligent WiFi Thermostat is the weak spot in an otherwise fantastic product.
There's currently no IFTTT functionality, although we believe that this will be available imminently as it essentially uses the same platform as the Connected Weather Station.
The plugins mentioned previously for VERA and Fibaro didn't support the Intelligent WiFi Thermostat when we were carrying out our testing, which is a shame as we can see this would be useful to be able to override the heating based on the house security system being armed / disarmed for example. We would expect support to be added eventually though, in fact it does look like Fibaro have already done this just too late for us to include in our testing.
As you may have guessed, we really like the Netatmo range and all products mentioned in this post are available to order right now from Vesternet!
Speak to you soon.