GE has taken the wraps off a new connected air-conditioning unit developed in partnership with engineering company Quirky and aimed at lowering energy costs for US consumers.
Branded Aros, the unit represents Quirky’s (New York City, NY, USA) first major connected appliance but the fifth product that has been launched in collaboration with GE (Fairfield, CT, USA), which announced a tie-up with Quirky back in April 2013.
In a statement, GE said that Aros is immediately available through Amazon.com and will be sold through major US retailers from May.
The device works in conjunction with an app called WINK and gathers information about users’ habits, the cost of energy and household budgets to produce recommendations for optimum temperature settings.
Quirky, which operates by commercializing ideas that others submit, says the support of GE was crucial to design efforts.
“After receiving the submission for this invention, it was clear that this was a product that absolutely needed to exist, but a challenge that most companies would shy away from,” said Ben Kaufman, the founder of Quirky. “With the support of GE’s technology expertise, scale and supply chain, we were able to focus our efforts on leveraging our community's ideas into a beautifully designed product where every aspect of the product's interaction was attended to.”
Aros was originally the brainchild of Garthen Leslie, a former employee with the US Department of Energy.
”This is a great example of how by working together GE and Quirky can re-invent an entire category quickly and at scale,” said Kevin Nolan, the vice president of technology for GE Appliances. “Aros gives consumers a way to connect with new technology in easy-to-use, everyday ways, allowing people to remotely cool their living spaces and save money at the same time – a true breakthrough.”
Among the features that Aros supports are a smart scheduling system, which analyses a user’s consumption habits, and a so-called Smart Away facility that powers Aros down if a resident has left the home but switches the system on again when he or she returns.
Smart Budget, meanwhile, makes predictions about future costs on the basis of scheduling, weather data and past usage information.