Smart thermostats are not only for the well-to-do. One group is developing them to help keep tenement dwellers warm.
It is a sad fact of life that the disadvantaged are often victims of abuse, because they lack the resources to fight back. But knowledge is power, and the right data can be an ally in legal efforts to confront the abusers. The Internet of Things can provide that data, and the group Heat Seek NYC plans to use it to combat slumlords in New York City.
Heat Seek NYC describes itself as a "civic hacking project" with the goal of ensuring that no New Yorker spends the winter in a frigid apartment. To that end, the organization has developed an IoT thermostat and launched a Kickstarter campaign to get it produced and installed in tenement apartments across the city. The idea is to give responsible landlords a means of identifying heating problems in their buildings, and giving tenants the tools to take irresponsible landlords (a.k.a. slumlords) to court.
IoT thermostats like the Nest are all well and good, but they are useful only to those who can control their heating systems and can afford the devices. But in many cities, those who live in older apartment buildings have no control over their building's heating system. They depend instead on landlord-controlled, building-wide central heat. A Nest would do them no good, and even if it were useful, many tenants could not afford one.
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