Canadian Manufacturing

Toronto-based smart thermostat firm ecobee is making a switch

The fast-growing firm has made its next move in the smart home market, launching a new light switch with voice and Amazon Alexa controls built-in


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The Switch+ with built-in voice controls. PHOTO: ecobee

TORONTO—A Canadian cleantech company that’s found considerable success in the growing market for smart thermostats is switching it up.

A pure-player in the temperature control business up until now, on March 13 ecobee Inc. launched its latest product: a voice control-enabled smart light switch.

The Toronto-based company unveiled the smart home gadget at the South by Southwest conference in Texas, saying it will give customers “effortless access to information, entertainment and intuitive control.” The Switch+ comes with far-field voice technology built-in, as well as Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service.

“Voice is something that comes naturally to people, so it creates these really incredible, personal experiences that help make life a little easier,’ Stuart Lombard, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our research finds voice-based services are actually outpacing all other ecosystems at a rate of three to one.”

The switch will, of course, turn on the lights for you, but also incorporates motion and daylight sensors for a hand-offs approach to household lighting. It can dictate the latest news or weather via Amazon Alexa. Meanwhile, ecobee says the light switch also plays nice with other players in the emerging smart home space, such as Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit.

Pairing the switch with the company’s lineup of smart thermostats adds a sensor to automatically manage home temperature.

The fresh product launch comes as ecobee closed its latest round of financing just last week. Energy Impact Partners led the $80 million Series C funding round, while eight other institutional investors took part, including the Amazon Alexa Fund. The Canadian cleantech firm has raised a total of $190 million to date.

The switch is already available for pre-order—at a cost of $119 (US$99)—and is expected to hit stores March 26.


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