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New startup gives the HVAC system a smart upgrade

What’s next?

Black vent in white wall Alea Air

In the age of the smart home, no boring piece of household infrastructure goes untouched. The latest proof: a new “intelligent vent system” called Alea Air. The startup is aiming to do smart thermostats one better by installing sensor-laden vents into homes that can track and adjust temperature, monitor air quality, and use predictive analytics to anticipate a homeowner’s temperature preferences.

Product shot of vent Alea Air

Launched this week, Alea is now offering an early bird three-vent starter set for $379, with shipping slated for January 2019. The self-installed, app-controlled air vents are loaded with 11 sensors including infrared sensors to track temperature, air quality sensors, audio sensors to ensure the vent isn’t making an annoying wheezing sound, and humidity sensors to measure the moisture in a room.

App interface Alea Air

The vents constantly monitor ambient air quality and temperature and store that information in a cloud database that’s able to determine the right temperature room-by-room based on information including weather forecasts, how many people are in a room, its size, and the time of day. All of this additional information allows a central air system to run more efficiently, the company claims.

It’s not just about efficiency, though. The grand promise of connected systems like the Alea Air is that they’ll get to know behaviors and preferences and adapt according to whoever’s in the room. Soon the too-hot, too-cold argument with your housemates may become virtually non-existent.