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Home-Automation Start-Up Revolv Expands Retail Distribution

Boulder, Colo. – Home-automation start-up Revolv, which began selling a $299 home-automation hub through its website and Amazon last November, is expanding its retail distribution.

Revolv, which began selling its hub through the Smarthome catalog and in March, will launch sales through in April and began last week to test sales through 72 Home Depot stores, head of sales Michael Dee told TWICE. Test sales through Home Depot’s website start next week.

Revolv has also talked to CE buying groups.

For the Home Depot rollout, the retailer created an end cap featuring the Revolv hub and more than a dozen products that were already in the retailer’s selection and can be controlled through the hub by an iOS smartphone or tablet app, Dee said.

Like other mass-market home-automation hubs, the Revolv hub incorporates multiple wireless standards to centralize the control of multiple incompatible home-automation products already available from other brands. Via a single iOS app, all of the products in a house can be controlled from within the house and remotely via cellular. An Android app is coming in the second quarter.

The app and hub not only enable control of different types and brands of products but also integrate the control of different products to create macros, or scenes. One macro, for example, could turn off the lights and adjust a thermostat at the press of a button when the user leaves the house.

One limiting issue in the retail rollout is that dealers must offer home-automation products compatible with the hub, Dee admitted, but the hub incorporates multiple wireless standards that make it compatible with 57 devices, including light switches from Belkin, Cooper, GE, Insteon and Leviton; in-wall light dimmers and wall-plug lamp dimmers from GE, Insteon and Leviton; LED lights from Philips Hue and Leviton; wall-plug outlets from Belkin; in-wall power outlets from GE and Leviton; motion sensors from Belkin and Insteon; Somfy shade controllers, and locks from Kwikset, Schlage and Yale. The hub also controls most functions of Sonos wireless multiroom-audio systems.

The hub connects to a home’s Wi-Fi network to accept commands from a mobile device inside the house or a remote mobile device via broadband-connected Wi-Fi router.

The hub connects to home systems via Wi-Fi, Z-Wave or Insteon, a proprietary technology developed by Smarthone parent SmartLabs.

The hub also incorporates ZigBee 900MHz and 433MHz radios that could be “lit up” in the future via a firmware update. Additional control protocols for those radios and current radios can also be pushed by Revolv to the hub.

 Unlike other less-expensive home-automation hubs, the Revolv incorporates all of the smarts needed inside its chassis, making it unnecessary for consumers to pay a subscription to take advantage of all features.