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New Integrated Systems Getting It Together

CEDIA Expo 2009 Atlanta
– Maybe the housing market hasn’t gotten it together yet, but new home-control
products are getting it together by integrating the control of multiple home

Here at the CEDIA Expo, Colorado VNet is adding its first Wi-Fi-equipped
handheld touchscreens to control all home systems, and Lutron is adding A/V-system
and thermostat control for the first time to its wireless lighting systems. On-Q/Legrand
is unifying control of three of its previously separate home systems.

Other integrated-system launches include Crestron’s first
wireless home-control system and Schlage’s entry into the wireless Z-Wave
home-control category. Here’s what these and other integrated-systems suppliers
will exhibit.

The maker of Vibe IP-based multiroom-AV systems and other IP-based
systems is adding Blu-ray archiving capability to its Vibe AV servers, which
already archive movie DVDs, CDs, and photos.

In other developments, the company is:

  • adding 4.7- and 7-inch touchscreens with a choice of 50 watt
    digital amplifier, 100 watt digital amplifier, or no amplifier, with dozens of
    bezel options to match decor.
  • launching its first WiFi-equipped handheld tablets to control
    all home systems, including AV.
  • adding a universal-remote-type capability to its handheld and
    in-wall/tabletop touchscreens to deliver full control of all A/V components in
    a home theater system in the same room.

The company’s touchscreens already controlled the company’s Vibe
multiroom-audio and lighting systems as well as third-party systems such as
security, HVAC, CCTV cameras, and shades

At the show, the company is adding Blu-ray archiving to its Vibe
video systems to enable remote playback of Blu-ray movie discs stored on the
Vibe Server/Player or on a Vibe NAS device. The servers and players incorporate
Blu-ray drive to play back inserted discs and to archive BD movies on the
servers. Up to six different Blu-ray movies will stream simultaneously to
different Vibe video players from the NAS.

The Vibe video servers also store AV content and photos
transferred from a networked PC.

In handheld WiFi tablets, the company will display its first
RF-equipped handheld models, which incorporate WiFi and come in two sizes,
4.1-inch and 8.9-inch, for whole-house control. Additional details were

These tablets, as well as the company’s existing in-wall/tabletop
models, also control the company’s wired and wireless lighting systems, third
party security cameras, and other-brand home systems such as HVAC systems and
motorized shades.

Crestron: It plans to broaden its customer
base with the launch of a Prodigy line of home-control gear, which uses
wireless control signals and a software set-up wizard to help bring the
company’s brand to lower priced installations.

Wireless devices include a handheld RF remote, home-theater/media
controller, in-wall lighting controls and dimmers, thermostat, wireless in-wall
multi-zone audio keypad, wireless repeater, and gateway to control wireless
lighting and thermostats.

Home Automation Inc.: The new IP-based OmniTouch 5.7e
in-wall touchscreen with optional tabletop stand uses a single Ethernet cable
to control all home systems, including lights, thermostat, and security, and it
controls A/V systems when used with HAI’s
Home Theater Extender, which incorporates a database of more than 300,000 IR
codes and an IR eye to learn additional codes. It gets power over the Ethernet
cable as well. Multiple faceplate colors are available.

The company also plans to make the 5.7e and the OmniTouch 10p
touchscreen compatible with Russound multi-room-A/V systems. The screens will
display an emulated Russound keypad.

Lutron: The
company is revamping two wireless-RF lighting-control systems to incorporate more
robust Clear Connect RF Technology), wireless control of home-A/V systems and control of Lutron’s
first wireless thermostats.

The upgraded versions are the top-end HomeWorks QS Wireless and
the RadioRA2, which ship in April 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2009,
respectively. Their keypads will control such basic A/V-system functions as
on/off, volume and mute. Both systems also get new energy-management features,
such as wireless instead of wired occupancy sensors to turn off lights when no
one is around. Both also add daylight sensors to automatically balance light
output with interior daylight.

To those features, the HomeWorks adds dimming of fluorescent and
LED lights, energy-use tracking via a display screen and solar adaptive
shading, which calculates the best position for a motorized window treatments
and shades based on time of day and a window’s location.

Like before, both systems wirelessly control compatible motorized
window treatments and shades.

HomeWorks QS systems connect up to 1,500 devices. RadioRA2
connects up to 200 devices and features a wireless handheld Pico keypad that doubles
as a wall-mounted or tabletop keypad.

On-Q/Legrand: The new Unity Home System integrates the
control of three separate Studio Collection home systems: multi-room audio,
intercom and security cameras. All are targeted to first-time new-home buyers
because of their price and ease of setup. Unity is also promoted as the first
such system of its kind for production homes.

Unity consists of an Integration Module, which connects and
controls the three other systems, and an in-wall LCD console. The console is a
7-inch color LCD-screen controller with hard buttons. The integrated systems
can also be controlled from a Unity GUI appearing on a TV display. All
components connect via CAT-5

The approximate installed price of a four-room Unity system with
four rooms of intercom, a video door unit, one LCD console and four rooms of
single-source audio ranges from $5,500 to $6,000.

Schlage:  A
first-timer to CEDIA Expo, Schlage is here to show home-automation products
based on the Z-Wave wireless mesh-network standard.

Although Schlage’s Z-Wave devices are available through
do-it-yourself retail channels, the company is also positioning them as an
entry-level home-automation solution that installers can target to new or
previous customers with little time or acumen to do it themselves.

For previous custom customers, installers can also offer
Schlage’s planned RS-232 to Z-Wave adapter to integrate the control of Z-Wave
products into previously installed home-control systems. The adapter supports
Z-Wave’s secure-device and lock-device class profiles, which extend Z-Wave
control to battery-equipped locks. The adapter will be previewed at the CEDIA
Expo and will be available only to custom installers in the first quarter of
next year.

Schneider Electric: New home-automation products are
planned in the Clipsal line.