It’s Official: Lifeware Exits Resi Market
CE Shocker! Lifeware (formerly Exceptional Innovation) formally puts to rest its once-promising home automation and multiroom A/V platform based on Windows Media Center and Web Services for Devices.
Lifeware, the once-promising home automation provider previously known as Exceptional Innovation, is dumping its residential line of Media Center-based hardware and software.
Huh? Didn’t Lifeware die years ago? In theory, yes, but in practice, the company was still supporting a handful of dealers who embraced the company’s vision of Windows Media Center as the hub of a whole-house control and streaming media system.
Lifeware marketing VP Candice DeLuca just sent an email (reprinted below) to dealers saying the company “made the difficult decision to no longer develop the Lifeware suite of products for home automation due to the cost of development, maintenance and support far exceeding the limited revenue stream realized from the residential vertical year over year.”
Like many home automation vendors, Lifeware has been looking to get its software embedded into third-party devices such as cable boxes, but (like its brethren) has yet to see any traction there.
Even so, Lifeware says it will plug away to “focus on realizing and growing solutions for other vertical applications via direct sales that garner a better return on investment for the technology platform investment made by the company to date.”
Founded in 2004 by Seale Moorer, who made a fortune on his retail point-of-sale business, Lifeware entered the custom installation industry with a tremendous splash. The company spent millions on huge tradeshow booths, advertising, R&D and dealer training, all to convince a reluctant industry that Microsoft and Windows Media Center was the future of whole-house audio, video, data and control. Furthermore, Lifeware invested heavily in Web Services for Devices, which it promoted as the next standard for home control.
Indeed, Lifeware did more for Media Center, Microsoft, WSD, CableCard and the PC in general—at least in this industry—than any other entity. That’s the good news and the bad news. The company encouraged many IT-savvy integrators to dive in, but scared off the bulk of dealers who were wary of Microsoft and the Lifeware paradigm.
For the most part, Lifeware left our market when its rock start-in-chief Mike Seamons (officially, VP marketing) left in 2008.
Since then, the company has tried to break into hospitality and other commercial markets.
Lifeware will continue to offer paid customer support, but won’t upgrade software or manufacture any new parts. For now, you can pick up some spares on eBay.
[Letter to dealers follows]
For years, Lifeware bought up everything CEDIA Expo had to offer, from real estate to sponsorships
Dear Life|ware Dealer,
On September 1, 2012 Exceptional Innovation will be retiring the Life|ware product line for the residential market. After seven years of providing Life|ware software and hardware products in the CEDIA marketplace, we have made the difficult decision to no longer develop the Life|ware suite of products for home automation due to the cost of development, maintenance and support far exceeding the limited revenue stream realized from the residential vertical year over year. Exceptional Innovation will focus on realizing and growing solutions for other vertical applications via direct sales that garner a better return on investment for the technology platform investment made by the company to date.
Our current version of software for the residential market, Life|ware 2.0.7, will be the final version of the software. While we will continue to support existing software and hardware installations for this version of software through our Life|support call center, the official retirement of the software means that we will no longer be providing upgrades, fixes, or partner device updates for the residential product line.
Please know that should you or a customer require software support, such support will still be available for you to contract at a rate of $85 per hour. Hardware support will similarly continue to be available at a rate of $65 per hour, plus any applicable parts replacement and shipping costs. New license activations will continue to be done free of charge with an associated software purchase.
For further purchases of Life|ware hardware, we have made excess inventory available at a discounted rate on eBay: http://stores.ebay.com/ei480. Any hardware not currently available on the eBay store can also be purchased through Life|support at a discounted rate as well. Check the eBay site often as new items are being added to the store regularly.
Thank you for your support of Exceptional Innovation and our Life|ware hardware and software products through the years. We wish you the best in your future endeavors.
VP, Marketing & Communications
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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. Email Julie at [email protected]
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