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The Race Is On In Home Automation

NEW YORK – Home automation is the ticket to automatic profits, if the number of companies entering the market and the expansion of retail distribution is any indication.

Two newcomers are Danish company Poly- Control, which is launching a combination Bluetooth/ZWave door lock to the U.S. market through Amazon and Best Buy. Another is DIY security supplier Swann, which plans November availability of a wireless homeautomation hub and accessories to complement its DIY security systems.

Here’s what they and other companies announced recently:

Poly-Control: The Aarhus, Denmark, company is starting out in the U.S. with two devices but plans additional access-control products for the residential market later this year.

The first two devices will be available Oct. 21 in Amazon’s store and on Nov. 1 in the 650 Best Buy stores with home-automation displays, said CEO Henning Overgaard. The products will also be available through Best Buy’s online store on Nov. 1.

The two products are the $159-suggested Danalock with Bluetooth Smart (low energy) and a $179 Danalock with Bluetooth Smart and Z-Wave. The housing replaces a dead bolt’s thumb turn on the inside of the door, enabling consumers to keep their existing deadbolt and outside keylock. Danalocks are compatible with any almost any deadbolt and install via three screws, said Overgaard.

With either door lock, users can set a Danalock app on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets to automatically unlock the door when the user is within a user-programmable range up to 33 feet. Users can also choose a “knock to unlock” option in which they unlock the door by knocking on the phone screen twice. Users can also send an encryption key via email or SMS to other people with the app, including trades people, to let them enter the home during a specific window of time.

Once a homeowner gets inside the house, they manually turn the cylinder or press a button on the cylinder to lock the door.

With the combination Bluetooth/Z-Wave model, homeowners with Z-Wave-enabled systems such as lights, thermostats and the like will be able to trigger scenes when the door unlocks. The lock is compatible with ZWave hubs such as those from The Home Depot and Wink. Overgaard believes he offers the only door lock that incorporates both Bluetooth and Z-Wave.

The products are being imported and marketed in the U.S. by Global TTC of San Clemente, Calif.

Swann Security: The company is expanding into DIY home automation with the launch of SwannOne, a security-focused home-automation system controlled from apps.

The system uses such wireless technologies as Wi- Fi, Zigbee and Z-Wave to monitor and control home systems. The pricing of the products and optional service plans were not disclosed.

The SwannOne system is built around a hub that connects wirelessly to multiple products, including the SoundView Camera with Wi-Fi. It features encrypted HD video streaming, motion detection, night vision, and optional Cloud-storage service plans to store audio and video for the past seven or 30 days. With a service plan offering audio analytics, the camera’s built-in microphone detects and identifies sounds such as breaking glass, car alarms, a baby’s cry or gun shots, and also notifies users.

Icontrol Networks: The Piper home-automation hub/security camera has been launched through’s home automation section to supplement sales through the company’s store.

“Amazon is the first step in our retail expansion,” said Russell Ure, Piper’s creator and executive VP/general manager of Icontrol Networks. “We have plans to expand Piper distribution to both online and brick-and-mortar retailers to offer our consumers a wider range of options to easily integrate Piper into their lives,” he told TWICE. The company is looking for “retailers that share our vision of an accessible, fully connected home,” he said.

Piper is a $199 home-automation hub/HD security camera with Wi-Fi for control from Android and iOS mobile devices. It incorporates Z-Wave for wireless control of Z-Wave devices, and its 1080p HD security camera stores video in internal memory.

Wink: The start-up will add a Wi-Fi-connected inwall control center to supplement app control of wireless home-automation products.

Wink, which launched a wireless control hub in July through The Home Depot and Amazon, plans retail availability around Thanksgiving of its $300 in-wall Relay control center, which features a touchscreen and two mechanical switches.

Wink Relay and the company’s iOS and Android apps control any Wink App Ready product such as Dropcam Pro and the Honeywell Smart Thermostat. Wink’s hub incorporates multiple wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, ZWave Plus, ZigBee, Lutron’s Clear Connect and 433MHz RF.

AT&T: The telecom giant will add a dedicated on-wall and table-mount touchscreen controller to supplement the tablet and smartphone apps available to monitor and control the company’s home-automation and security system.