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It’s Getting Busy Here: New Brands Flock To Home Automation

NEW YORK — The flourishing home-automation market has attracted more brands and prompted others to expand their selection and distribution.

New brands include Bosch, Flir and Satechi. Companies expanding their selection include security supplier Honeywell, home-automation supplier URC, and Z-Wave door-lock supplier Kwikset. For its part, Insteon continues to expand its distribution.

Here’s what the companies announced:

Bosch: The home- and commercial-security supplier entered the home-automation market with a Z-Wave Home Control Gateway, which lets allows monitored-security integrators to connect Bosch’s G Series and B Series security control panels with a variety of Z-Wave wireless devices. The devices include lighting controls, door locks, temperature sensors, IP cameras and more.

Flir Systems: The company, founded in 1978 as a supplier of thermal-imaging systems for the military and first responders, continues to expand its consumer-market presence with the launch of its first Flir-brand security cameras.

In the consumer market, the company acquired the Raymarine recreational boating-equipment company in 2010, and two years ago, it bought the Lorex consumer-security business.

Now Flir is adding a Flir-brand $199 indoor Wi- Fi camera and a $249 shielded outdoor Wi-Fi camera, which combines the indoor camera with a shielded housing. The indoor camera uses IR sensors to detect nighttime video motion up to about 65 feet away. The outdoor camera delivers nearly 200 feet of nighttime range through additional IR sensors on the outdoor housing. Daytime range is more than 650 feet.

Flir-brand security products, said senior VP/ chief marketing officer Travis Merrill, will be differentiated from Lorex products and other consumer-security brands through such step-up technologies as a RapidRecap feature, which lets consumers use an Apple or Android smartphone to review activity occurring over as many as 24 hours in as little as a few seconds. Other differentiating features include night vision and a Smart Zone feature that triggers alerts or captures activity only when something moves within a user-defined portion of the camera’s field of view.

RapidRecap uses Flir’s Cloud server to create a smartphone-accessible video that simultaneously shows moving objects or people detected at different times of the day. All captured activity is compiled into abbreviated clips so that an entire day of video can be reviewed in as little as a few second, the company said. The moving objects, people or animals are superimposed on the background of the interior or exterior scene, with a time stamp superimposed on each moving object or person so that users can see what happened at specific periods of time.

Flir cameras are available with three levels of subscription Cloud service, starting with a free tier and rising to $19.99/ month.

The products just became available in stores.

Honeywell: The company plans late summertime availability of the second member of the Lyric family, a home security/automation system that will join a connected thermostat launched in 2014. The new system is a professional-grade home security and home-automation system with cameras and motion, smoke and intruder detectors. The system will also integrate with such home-automation products as connected thermostats, lighting, shade and lock controls. Prices on the new Lyric security/automation system haven’t been announced. (A price previously provided by a spokesperon was incorrect.)  The products will be installed by Honeywell-certified independent professional security dealers and integrators.

Insteon: The company expanded its retail distribution to Micro Center’s online and brick-and-mortar stores and Meijer brick-and-mortar stores.

The company’s distribution includes AAFES, B&H Photo, Best Buy, BJ’s Warehouse, Costco, The Home Depot, Marine Corps exchanges, Menards, Microsoft, Millennium, Navy exchanges, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Sears, The Source, TigerDirect, Walmart, Best Buy Canada, Costco Mexico, Lowes Mexico, Mcliney Lumber, Sam’s Club Mexico, Verizon Wireless, Crutchfield, Newegg, Target, Staples and Kohl’s.

Kwikset: The Signature series motorized deadbolt is an entry-level lock targeted to people who don’t need the wide range of features in Kwikset’s Smart- Code series but want to venture into home automation, the company said.

The Z-Wave lock will be priced below the $199 price of the company’s current opening-price wireless door lock, the SmartCode 910. Pricing on the new model hasn’t been released.

The new model features full 128-bit encryption security and operates on four AA batteries that will last for approximately one year.

Satechi: The accessories supplier entered the home-automation market with Bluetooth-controlled LED lightbulbs and smart plugs.

The Spectrum IQ Bulb is available for $34.99 along with the IQ Plug at an introductory $29.99 on Satechi. net and Separate smartphone apps to control each product are free on iTunes and Google Play.

The IQ Bulb is an 8-watt LED lightbulb that fits into any standard socket, delivers up to 25,000 hours of lighting, uses 10 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb, and shines in any of up to 16 million colors. A disco mode syncs the bulb to the beat of music playing on the user’s smartphone.

The Satechi LED Spectrum app controls up to 10 bulbs at once or individually. The app controls on/off, dimming, and timer and scheduling functions

The IQ Plug lets users control plugged-in electronics products and small appliances such as TVs, fans, lamps, humidifiers and the like. The IQ Plug app also measures power consumption of individual appliances and compares daily, weekly or monthly energy consumption.

URC: A new home-automation controller shipping in URC’s Total Control line will let installers step consumers up more easily into a two-way home-control system from the company’s one-way Complete Control systems, said marketing director Cat Toomey.

The $599 MRX-8 controller, now shipping in the Total Control line, “delivers the most feature-packed, value-priced home-automation system in custom today,” Toomey claimed.

The company’s Complete Control systems at around $500 feature one-way instead of two-way control, and they lack Z-Wave capability, thermostat control, and compatibility with URC music sources, streaming network players and URC’s Vivido Lighting system.

For an unspecified limited time, the MRX-8 price includes all the iOS and Android apps needed by a household. Normally, URC charges $199 for household usage of the URC Mobile iOS app for Total Control systems and another $199 for all the Android apps needed by a household.

The new controller is intended for mid-size installs in homes and offices as well as in condos, whereas the $699 MRX-10 and the $1,200 MRX-20 are intended for larger installs.