News

The End of X10

Home automation pioneer will no longer make powerline-based products for controlling lights, thermostats and other devices; closure has nothing to do with Black Hat hacking scandal.


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X10 is shutting down. It appears the company is headed into receivership and its factories will cease making products for controlling lights and other devices over the powerline.

CE Pro has learned from several sources that X10 will no longer make products based on the home-control protocol it created in the 1970s.

Interestingly, the closure coincides with a high-profile report from Black Hat that X10 could be hacked, but that report most likely had nothing to do with X10’s demise. More likely, the company simply faced competition from newer home-control technologies such as Z-Wave (RF) and Universal Powerline Bus (powerline).

Being the low-cost provider, X10 undoubtedly suffered from higher wages in China, where its products are manufactured.

You may make fun of X10 now, but the powerline-based home-control protocol surely launched the home automation industry starting in the 1980s. It took more than a decade for other retrofit home automation technologies (Z-Wave, UPB, ZigBee, Insteon) to gain traction.

Since its pioneering work in home control, X10 has devolved into a somewhat trashy Website peddling cheap wireless cameras and other gadgets. That business may continue, according to sources.

X10 on Big Bang. Happy time



  About the Author

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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