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Elan Readies g! Series Of IP-Based Home Control

12/22/2009 09:31:22 AM Eastern
Lexington, Ky. - Elan's planned g! series of IP-based home-control systems will replace the Home Logic brand acquired in 2007 with systems that scale down to single-room installs and are 25 percent to 30 percent less expensive per zone, Elan executive VP Paul Starkey said.

ElanIn other changes from current HomeControl systems, the g! series will offer more wireless-remote-control options, including a hand-held candy-bar-style RF remote, and feature a unified user interface on multiple types of control devices, including in-wall touchscreens, Wi-Fi and Ethernet networked PCs, and - via Wi-Fi and cellular - iPhones and Windows Mobile cellphones. A BlackBerry app is also in development. The series will also deliver home-system control from a TV screen, and all controllers will offer built-in streaming Internet music services instead of requiring an add-on third-party component. Neither capability was available in HomeLogic systems.

System costs will fall below $1,000 for a single-room g! control system and a four-zone system with three opening-price in-wall touchpads and an iPhone/touch app would cost less than $5,000. The prices exclude installation and the cost of lighting systems, other home systems, music sources, and custom speakers that would be controlled from g! series devices.

The first of 11 products, the TS2 in-wall 4-inch touchpad with 2-inch OLED display, will be available in March, with additional products coming in the second and third quarters. The last products will arrive around the time of September's CEDIA Expo. The GUI software will also be available in March to HomeLogic dealers to upgrade existing HomeLogic installs.

To go with the g! series, Elan will offer its first lighting-control system, which will be an entry-level system that sends control signals over powerlines and connects to g! series controllers. The series nonetheless will support all major brand lighting systems.

The g! series will be available initially to HomeLogic and Elan direct accounts, which were previously franchised separately. In the future, the company will consider sales through distributors if they can support IP-based control systems, the company said.

The first product, the 4-inch TS2 touchpad, will retail for less than $600 and will connect to existing HomeLogic systems. It will feature weather, stock and other widgets displaying information delivered via IP.

Elan will also offer three in-wall high-resolution touchscreens in 7-, 10-, and 15-inch sizes with motion user interface to flick through different screens and scroll up and down.

The planned HR2 candy-bar-style RF remote, retailing for about $650, features OLED touchscreen, hard buttons and communicates via peer-to-peer Wi-Fi to g! series controllers, making it unnecessary to use a home Wi-Fi network and delivering instant-on capability, the company said. Also planned is an 8.4-inch Web tablet that would use a home's Wi-Fi network to deliver commands to controllers.

Tabletop and under-cabinet mounting options will be available for the touchscreens, and a tabletop mounting option for the 4-inch touchpad will be available.

The touchscreens, touchpad, Web tablet and candy-bar remote would control any of four controllers. One, the HC12 home server/controller, features 12 serial ports to connect to home systems, and it incorporates a hard drive to store photos, music and security-camera video. Like all of the series controllers, it also accesses the Pandora and Rhapsody Internet music services and the Shoutcast Internet radio service.

The HC6 controller features six serial ports and lacks a hard drive, though a network attached storage (NAS) devices can be added. A limited amount of flash memory is included to store photos and a modest amount of music. The HC8 is a structured-wiring controller with eight serial ports and NAS-attachment option. The HC4 is a behind-the-TV controller that displays a home-control GUI on a TV screen. It features four serial ports.

To promote the series to dealers and to consumers, Elan on Jan. 1 will launch a 10-week Web-based interactive promotion at www.gvangelist.com. The promotion rewards dealers and consumers with cash, g! systems, gift certificates, and swag if they come back regularly to learn about the products and their benefits.

 
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