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Savant: iPad To Broaden Appeal Of Home Control

4/05/2010 04:19:10 PM Eastern
New York - Savant's home-control app for the iPad will broaden the customer base for integrated home-control systems partly by reducing costs but mostly by boosting ease of use for consumers, CEO Robert Madonna told New York-area dealers here for the launch of the company's app.

"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 home-control 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 could have sold, he explained. Customers' money will likewise 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 in about four weeks 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, flush-mount 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 home-control 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 home-control app for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, the 10-inch display of the iPad makes the interface more intuitive, Madonna noted.

Savant's home-control app is available as a $9.99 download from Apple's online app store, but installers must program it to control the systems they design for specific homes. It will take installers about as much time to configure an iPad-based Savant system as it does to configure current Savant systems. For the first time, however, consumers will be able to customize their touchscreen user interface themselves to a certain level, reducing the need for expensive truck rolls, Madonna said.

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. The tour starts in New York at Savant's New York Experience Center.
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