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Voice, NFC Emerging In Home Control

INDIANAPOLIS – Wi-Fi tablets and smartphones have entered the market as the main controllers of home automation systems, and the next wave in home control could include voice and nearfield communications (NFC).

During the CEDIA Expo, Control4 demonstrated wireless voice control over home systems connected to its home-automation systems, and Creston demonstrated smartphone-based NFC technology for one-tap triggering of a user’s preferred room settings for lighting, temperature, shades, entertainment systems and other systems.

Control4 teamed up with HouseLogix, an Allentown, Pa.-based installer and developer of home-automation software drivers, to add that company’s voicecontrol technology to Control4 systems.

With the technology, consumers speak commands into a tabletop microphone called a VoicePod, which converts voice commands into control signals that are transmitted over ZigBee to Control4 controller. The VoicePod will recognize voice commands from across a room, said HouseLogix.

A few booths over, Creston demonstrated the use of paper-thin NFC tags embedded behind wall keypads and faceplates. When an NFC-equipped smartphone is near a tag, the smartphone identifies the tag’s unique ID and transmits the tag’s ID and the phone’s ID via Wi-Fi to a Crestron controller. Installers program the controller to respond with a preset macro to a signal from a particular user’s phone in a particular room.