At CEDIA 2013, URC announced Z-Wave support, tested a ZigBee LED smart bulb from LG, announced cloud-based home automation service from MiOS for just $2/month.
By Julie Jacobson
October 16, 2013
URC was quick to point out that the bulbs themselves, as well as integration with URC’s Total Control home automation system, were just concepts that might or might not make it to market.
“We’re just getting market feedback,” said Andre Lalande, who left lighting-control giant Lutron earlier this year to join URC.
We have wondered in the past why consumers and integrators alike would use smart bulbs rather than smart switches, which are more convenient and certainly cheaper for more than a single load. But Lalande offered some compelling uses for the bulbs.
In particular, he noted that track lights – where normally the bulbs can be controlled only as a bank – could be enhanced with smart LEDs that could be controlled individually. Maybe one bulb could be bright white and trained on a piece of art, while the others might be tinted light blue for ambiance.
LG has made no official announcement about a ZigBee bulb. Both Osram Sylvania (Ultra IQ) and Philips (Hue) employ ZigBee for their smart lamps. Other smart bulbs on the market use Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 6LowPAN, Z-Wave or other wireless protocol.
In addition, LG had its own handheld controller for the bulbs, as well as a ZigBee/Internet gateway for enabling IP control and integration for the lights.
Z-Wave Interactivity Through Cloud Service
In other URC news at CEDIA, Total Control is now compatible with Z-Wave devices, thanks to the new TRF-ZW1 Z-Wave Extender. The device enables two-way control of certain lights, door locks and other Z-Wave devices via Total Control touchscreens, keypads and iDevice apps.
It also allows one-way control of select Z-Wave devices including Somfy motorized shades, RCS and Honeywell thermostats, and First Alert’s new smoke detector.
What is especially intriguing about the new offering is the addition of a cloud-based remote monitoring and control service from MiOS.
After CES 2013, I called MiOS the “Biggest Home Automation Platform You Never Heard of” because of its quiet collaboration with the likes of URC, Orange Telecom, Actiontec and others.
Via URC’s new Z-Wave Internet gateway, developed with MiOS, users can enjoy rich two-way interactivity not unlike the services provided by alarm.com, Telular/Telguard, iControl (all of which are embroiled in various lawsuits) and other platform providers.
The service, purchased directly from URC by the consumer for roughly $2 per month, allows users to create their own scenes, receive email and text notifications, track the history of their Z-Wave devices and utilize other rich services as they become available. Other devices in the home-control ecosystems, such as cameras and security, also can be incorporated into scenes and the system dashboard.
Remote monitoring and home control via the Internet is simple and secure. The solution, which costs less than similar services from Verizon, Schlage Nexia, Lowe’s (Iris), Xfinity DIY and others, should be available in about a month.