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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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