Security blends with functionality at CEDIA 2010

Residential market continuing to trend towards home automation, energy management solutions


Among the many 3D televisions, home theater and audio systems on display at the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Expo held this week in Atlanta, were a myriad of solutions that hold potential for security dealers.

Because the residential market for both security and custom electronic equipment has taken a hit over the last several years due to the housing collapse, the need for security dealers to be able to offer more than a standard alarm system to consumers is apparent.

One way that dealers can accomplish this is by offering complete home integration solutions that provide customers with the ability to control all their home systems from one easy to use interface or remotely via a smart phone.

"When you can link lights to a home security system through the Z-Wave protocol... that's where the system starts to build value," said Ian Hendler, director of business development for lighting control solutions manufacturer Leviton.

Leviton is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, a consortium of home technology companies dedicated to promoting the use of the Z-Wave communications standard. For those unfamiliar with wireless home networking technology, Z-Wave is one of two main RF frequencies that are battling for supremacy in the space, along with ZigBee. The key difference between the two is that Z-Wave is a proprietary RF wireless communications technology, while ZigBee is a wireless global standard.

As the security channel took structured wiring to the mass market, Hendler said he believes that it will also take energy management.

Two other members of the Z-Wave Alliance exhibiting at the show who are also a part of the security space were Stanley Black & Decker and Schlage.

Stanley Black & Decker was showcasing its new Kwikset SmartCode door locks with Home Connect technology at the show. The locks, one which was a deadbolt and the other a combination lever and lock, can interface with home security systems enabling consumers to disarm or arm their alarm systems right from the lock itself.

According to Krista Weigand, product manager for Stanley Black & Decker, the locks work on both the Z-Wave and ZigBee protocols and are very easy to install. There is no hard wiring required and the locks run off four AA batteries that give a two-week warning prior to dying.

Though not new to the market, Schlage continues to improve upon its LiNK integrated home security management system. The system allows users to control a variety of systems within their homes including door locks, lights, HVAC and even security cameras.

Greg Baldauf, business development manager for Schlage, says what separates the company's LiNK system from competitors is price point. While some home automation systems can run thousands of dollars, Baldauf said that homeowner can install a "very robust" security setup using the LiNK system for between $500 and $1500.

The service costs $8.99 a month and can be remotely controlled via a smart phone. Baldauf said that the company has already developed an application for LiNK system for iPhones and BlackBerries and are close to developing one for the Android. Next year, Baldauf said that Schlage plans to add video recording to LiNK.

Among some of the other home automation companies showing off their wares at the show were Home Automation Inc. (HAI) and Control4.

Always a player in the security space, HAI was showcasing several products that would be of interest to dealers at the show. The company's C3 (Cellular Communications Center) allows homeowners to backup their security systems with a GSM cellular network. The product works with standard alarm panels, as well as the company's line of Omni home controllers.

"It's great for people who don't have a landline or if it gets cut for some reason," said Allison Read, the company's director of international sales and marketing.

New for CEDIA, HAI also announced that it's adding a free voice-over-IP intercom to its OmniTouch 5.7e touchscreen home controller. This added function will allow users to interface security cameras with the controller to see and hear their guests when they arrive.

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