By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
At least three more companies at International CES launched their first home automation products incorporating the no-new-wires Insteon technology developed by SmartLabs.
The introductions by D-Link, Carrier and Weiland Sliding Doors will bring the number of companies announcing Insteon-enabled products to about 15, said SmartLabs business development VP Ken Fairbanks. About 50 Insteon products will be available in the first half, he said.
D-Link showed an Insteon-enabled router that will enable consumers to access their Insteon home-control system over the Internet from a remote PC. Carrier will show thermostats, and Weiland Doors will show high-end doors that slide into exterior walls.
The applications were displayed at the SmartLabs booth.
Also here at the show, Best Buy announced plans to offer Insteon-equipped home-automation/control system installed by the Geek Squad. Although the products will be available in stores, Best Buy is mainly targeting builders and installers, Fairbanks said.
Other companies offering or announcing Insteon products included Hewlett-Packard, ventilation-fan maker Broan Nu-Tone, pool- and spa-control maker Balboa Instruments, and safety-sensor maker BRK Electronics. Lighting supplier Osram Sylvania, access-control supplier Duchossois Industries and Siemens are members of the Insteon Alliance supporters group but haven't yet announced products.
In mid-2005, Insteon inventor SmartLabs began offering the first home-automation equipment built around the company's Insteon no-new-wires mesh-network technology, which combines powerline and 900MHz-wireless technologies. Smarthome's initial products included a tabletop push-button controller, a lamp-dimming module, and an appliance-control module. All plug into existing electrical outlets to send and receive commands over a home's electrical wiring. The controller also fits into a double-gang wall box.
A plug-in range-extending signal repeater transmits commands simultaneously over powerlines and 900MHz wireless.
Because it combines powerline with wireless, two-way Insteon technology is promoted as improving reliability, extending range and reducing costs compared with other two-way powerline- and wireless-network technologies. Unlike other powerline technologies, it's compatible with existing X-10 powerline-network devices.
A package of SmartLabs devices, available at the company's Smarthome.com site, at suggested retails of $199 and an everyday $159, consists of one in-wall keypad dimmer-control switch, two dimmer light switches and two repeaters. The controller is capable of controlling a total of 417 devices. The package delivers control throughout a 5,000-square-foot home.
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