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Savant: iPad Apps To Broaden Home-Control Base

4/19/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Savant’s home-control
app for the iPad and apps like it
from other home-control companies
will broaden the customer base for integrated
home-control systems, CEO
Robert Madonna told New York-area
dealers here for the launch of the company’s
app.

Substituting expensive dedicated
home-control touchscreens with iPads
could potentially broaden the customer
base by reducing system costs, but
the iPad’s real impact on the home-control
market will be to boost ease of use
for consumers, he said. “User-friendliness
is critically important for expanding the
market,” he said in pointing to the iPad’s
“swipeable” multitouch display and fast
processing speed.

Savant’s app lets consumers control
connected lighting systems, motorized
shades, HVAC systems, home theaters,
multiroom-audio systems, docked
iPods and the like from the same iPad
with which they can view stored audio
and video, access Web content, read
email and read downloaded e-books.
Cable-TV channels can be browsed in
alphabetical order or by category. In
late June, Savant will add a feature that
lets users swipe images of a room to
control its systems.

iPad prices start at $500, compared
with $3,000 to $6,000 for dedicated
in-wall home-control touchscreens
with 7-inch to 12-inch displays, but installers
need not fear their revenues or
profits will drop dramatically if they
sell iPads loaded with Savant’s homecontrol
application, Madonna said.
The iPad ’s lower price gives dealers
an opportunity to sell more iPads
into an install, compared with the
number of dedicated home-control
touchscreens they would have sold, he
explained. Customers’ money will also
be freed up to purchase advanced services,
he added.

As an Apple-authorized provider,
Savant is already stocking iPads for resale
to its dealers, who will be able to
purchase two different in-wall charging
docks and one tabletop dock for use
with their iPads. Both in-wall docks,
priced at a suggested $500 each, fl ushmount
an iPad into the wall, with one
displaying the iPad horizontally and
the other displaying it vertically. In either
case, the iPad can be removed from
its recharging dock for handheld use.
While in the wall or in a user’s hands,
the iPad would use Wi-Fi to control
Savant’s Apple-based integrated homecontrol
system, called Rosie.

The price of the tabletop dock hasn’t
been set.

Replacing a dedicated home-control
touchscreen with an iPad and
in-wall dock will reduce the cost of
touchscreen control by a third or more
per screen, Madonna said. A Savant
eight-zone audio and home-control system
built around iPads would cost consumers
about $7,000, compared with
$15,000 to $20,000 using existing Savant
touchscreens, marketing director
Craig Spinner added. The prices exclude
installation, speakers, A/V sources and
third-party home systems that would be
integrated with Savant’s hardware.

Although Savant also offers a homecontrol
app for Apple’s iPhone and iPod
Touch, the 10-inch display of the iPad
makes the interface more intuitive, Madonna
noted.

Almost 70 people representing 34 area
dealerships attended the launch event at
Savant’s New York City experience center.
The event will be duplicated in seven
other cities through April 15 to demonstrate
the app to dealers.

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