In 2011, Honeywell, the world’s largest thermostat manufacturer, was blindsided by the Nest Learning Thermostat created by a couple of Apple alums. Although Honeywell had multiple programmable thermostats in its portfolio, none had Nest’s learning capability. It was a truly innovative product, with a fitting name.
Honeywell responded the way any respectable corporation would…with a patent-infringement lawsuit 🙂 And now, Honeywell has retaliated again with a direct-hit: their own smart thermostat named Lyric. In my opinion, two of the coolest (no pun intended) features of Lyric are:
- Using your phone’s GPS, it knows when you get within 7 miles of your home after you’ve been away, and will automatically engage the climate control to ensure the temperature is ideal upon arrival.
- It adjusts the temperature to compensate for humidity.
Since we’re Catchword’s naming blog (not CNET or TechCrunch), we’ll focus on Honeywell’s choice of the name Lyric (and not the I.Q. of the thermostat). To most people, “lyric” refers to the words of a song. With that definition, it is hard to see why the word would be used for a thermostat. However, when I looked up lyric’s definition, I was reminded that it can also be used as an adjective meaning, “of or relating to a category of poetry that expresses subjective thoughts and feelings, often in a songlike style or form” (from thefreedictionary.com). In light of that secondary definition, Lyric works well as a fairly abstract, fanciful name for a thermostat.
On the name style spectrum, this is where Nest and Lyric would fall (for a refresher on naming styles, click here):
From a naming perspective, both Lyric and Nest are good names, and their success relative to one another is going to come down to product marketing and user experience. But at the end of the day, we think the most exciting thing about them is that they have each given a traditionally quotidian household appliance a unique and evocative name. Who would have thought thermostats could be so inspiring!
Overall Grade: B+