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Z-Wave Automation System for the Mac Debuts

Wayne Dalton, manufacturer of garage doors and openers, intros Houseport, an elegant $87 a Z-Wave automation solution for Mac.


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For an inexpensive Apple-oriented home automation solution, Wayne Dalton’s Z-Wave enabled Houseport is a steal.

Wayne Dalton is one of those progressive manufacturers of garage doors and openers. Yes, there is such a thing. The company was perhaps the first mainstream manufacturer -- in any product category -- to embrace Z-Wave, the low-rate wireless mesh networking technology for home automation.

Wayne Dalton, which says it works with 29 of the nation's top 35 home builders (with exposure to 90,000 homes), started with the basics: Z-Wave enabled garage-door openers, light switches, appliance modules, keypads, the usual. Then it offered some PC-based automation software from ControlThink, an elegant, yet fairly basic configuration and control program.

At CES 2008, Wayne Dalton one-upped ControlThink (which it still offers) and some of the other Z-Wave software programs on the market when it introduced Houseport, an $87 Z-Wave solution for Apple. "It was built from the ground up for Macintosh," says Yan Rodriquez, director of home networking and access systems for Wayne Dalton. "I don't know anyone else doing native Z-wave on the Mac."

Rodriguez showed how easy it is to drop Z-Wave products onto the floorplan for device registration and control. From the elegant Apple interface, you can easily alter the size of the floorplan graphic – expand it for system configuration, shrink it to keep it in the background. Thanks in part to the Mac OS, you can adjust colors and transparency for backgrounds and images – something you can't do with most low-cost automation software on the market.

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Experience Z-Wave
See Z-Wave at work at the Electronic House Expo (EHX) Spring 2008 in Orlando, March 12-15. In Demo Room 240B, several manufacturers will demonstrate the interoperability of their Z-Wave automation devices.


At CES, Wayne Dalton also introduced its first Z-Wave handheld remote ($79), which serves as both an IR universal remote control for operating A/V devices, and a Z-Wave enabled device for configuring and operating wireless lights, appliances, and other Z-Wave gear. (See it in the slide show.) The remote can activate 20 Z-Wave scenes.

"In the next iteration," says Rodriquez, "we will enable control through the iPhone. It will be a much richer interface because it is a native application."

Automation on a Stick


The Houseport application is contained on a USB stick (WDUSB-10R), and docked in a Z-Wave base station (WDUSB-02). When the two pieces are plugged into the computer, you can do it all--launch automation scenes from the remote, operate the home real-time via computer, and gain complete access to the system via Internet. But you don't necessarily need the computer once the system is programmed.

"If the stick is powered but does not detect a computer, i.e., it is plugged into a USB plug-in power supply, then the stick becomes a network repeater with metadata capability," Rodriquez says. "In cases where, for example, a Sirius radio receiver is in one part of the house and you want to control it with a remote control from another part of the house, then the stick will serve as a repeater so that the remote control can send commands to the radio receiver and the radio receiver can send metadata to the remote control."

Wayne Dalton has also applied the USB-stick approach to its PC-based automation application (ControlThink). The stick, dock, and all the software sells for a mere $79.

The company is working on a Z-Wave-enabled router/gateway (approx $250) that will allow unfettered Internet access to the Z-Wave automation system, no PC required (after programming).

Mac is Hot


As for the Macintosh piece, Wayne Dalton is definitely on to something. Few developers in the automation and whole-house A/V business are embracing Apple, even though it provides such a rich graphical environment, and loads of devices (iPhone, Apple TV, iPod Touch and Mac Mini, to name a few) and services (iTunes and VOD).

Savant Systems today is probably the most aggressive Apple developer with an comprehensive line of Leopard-based automation and A/V products and services. Who will we see next?




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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Universal Remotes · Z-Wave · CES · Home Automation · Z-wave · Universal Remote · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

6 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  02/07  at  02:53 PM

UPDATE from Wayne Dalton:

Our website manager is behind on getting information put up concerning the new products.  Detailed information on the USB adapter and PC and Mac software should be available within a few days. Please keep checking back to the website.

The most immediate way to purchase the Mac USB adapter will be through our website store, as it will be available there as soon as it arrives from manufacturing.

The PC software and USB adapter will be available in mid to late February and the Mac version will be available in March. Both models are currently in production at this time.

Posted by motech  on  03/15  at  11:00 AM

where is it already?
at least some info on their website ?!?!

this is the only page on the web with info regarding this project . .i feel like its not real. .
i hope it is im so excited!!
looks like amazing software . .

Posted by motech  on  11/14  at  07:23 PM

vaporware.

Posted by willtech  on  01/13  at  02:46 PM

where is it? can’t find it anywhere on the market. Called wayne-dalton. Got no info. Gone with the wind?

The whole Zwave concept is so great. But the presentation and information are so ridiculous.

Posted by motech  on  01/13  at  02:48 PM

forget about this software,
its nver coming out.

the company lost all trust from me.

Posted by Michael  on  02/04  at  11:53 PM

Any news??  Julie, we’d love to an update regarding this potentially great product.  Thanks!

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