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New Home Automation, Security Options Hit Retail

NEW YORK — The home-automation and security markets have something for all types of distribution channels, from electronic systems contractors (ESCs) that install products to online and brick-and-mortar retailers that sell over-the-counter to do-it-yourself installs.

For the installer channel, Savant, Icontrol and URC are among the companies announcing new products. New products include lighting controls and a new home-automation controller from Savant, Z-Wave lighting controls from URC, and the first products developed by Icontrol Networks for the installer channel.

For the DIY market, Canary expanded distribution of its security system to brick-and-mortar and online retailers for the first time to complement direct-to-consumer sales, and France-based Myfox plans to bring its security system to the U.S. in the coming months (see below).

Here’s what the companies announced:

Savant: The company unveiled a smaller, single-chassis version of its Smart home-automation controller and swapped out wires for Wi-Fi in an expanded Metropolitan line of in-wall light controls.

The light controls are the company’s first adaptivephase light controls, enabling each SKU to work with LED, incandescent, halogen or low-voltage lights.

The new home-automation controller is housed in a small sculpted chassis that is half the combined size of its two-chassis predecessor. The controller looks at home in a living-room’s equipment rack.

The system features Wi-Fi and Ethernet to control Savant’s IP-based devices along with six IR ports to control home entertainment systems and two RS-232 ports to control other home systems. It also features one relay and one voltage sensor.

Also like before, a Z-Wave bridge can be added, and home systems can be controlled from Android and Apple smartphones and tablets, from a handheld remote, and from in-wall keypads and touchscreens.

The new controller’s price goes down to a suggested $899 from the two-box solution’s $1,199, and boot-up time is 30 percent faster.

In the new Metropolitan lighting line, the SKU count goes from two to five, all with Wi-Fi. All are also the industry’s first with Bluetooth LE for the first time to enable integrators to use a tablet or smartphone to set up the controls, the company said.

The previous line consisted of a dimmer and an on/ off switch. The new line adds an in-wall controller with knob and four buttons. The knob can be set up either to control light levels or audio volume. Also new is a fan controller and a three-way switch.

Unlike before, the new lighting controls accept any style faceplate, and prices are lower. The Wi-Fi dimmer, for example, retails for $199 compared with the wired predecessor’s $230.

Icontrol Networks: The The company expanded its distribution of home security and automation products to independent security dealers and ESCs.

The company’s distribution channels already include service providers such as ADT and cable companies Time Warner, Bright House, Cox and Comcast. Start-up Smart Home Ventures sells Icontrol’s technology direct to consumers and through retailers. And Icontrol sells its own Piper-brand combination hub/security cameras to consumers through and the Home Automation Store.

Now, for independent dealer/installers, the company’s Icontrol One platform is available with a “business model designed to optimize the success of independent dealers,” the company said. The model includes recurring revenues from service plans that Icontrol offers. Dealers choose their go-to-market and recurring monthly revenue (RMR) pricing strategies,” said marketing VP Greg Roberts.

Icontrol One comes with a module that can be added to the majority of security panels in use today, the company said. The module incorporates wireless Z-Wave to control Z-Wave devices, and its 3G cellular radio connects to leading central monitoring stations (CMSs).

Icontrol offers a range of service tiers starting at $2.70/month for a basic cellular alarm reporting. Step-up packages include remote arm/disarm via mobile devices along with system status alerts. Other packages add full home automation and various levels of video monitoring.

The module and connected-home systems, including HD security cameras, can be monitored and controlled from within the house and remotely via smartphones, tablets and web browsers.

URC: The installer-focused company shipped its Vivido lighting-control system, which replaces a previous system and uses two-way Z-Wave instead of one-way RF. Vivido also adds control of almost every type of dimmable bulb, including tungsten, halogen, LED, CFL, ELV and MLV bulbs.

Also with the new line, the company expands its lighting selection, which grows to include dimmers, accessory dimmers (for three-way or more control), switches, accessory switches, lamp dimmers, appliance switches, five-key 110-volt keypads, self-adhesive switch/keypads and 600-watt load compatible dimmer.