7 New LiteTouch Innovations Make Life Easier for Integrators
LiteTouch adds field-adjustable LEDs and I/Os to keypads, new central controller with built-in display, wireless extender for hybrid controllers, schematics to aid in installation.
Perhaps LiteTouch did not unveil any earth-shattering new products at CEDIA Expo 2010, but the manufacturer of lighting control systems showed a lot of little things that make life easier for integrators.
Adjustable Keypad LEDs
Do people really care about the color of the LED status indicators on keypads? Evidently so. LiteTouch VP sales and marketing Angie Larson tells us that customers request very specific LED colors on a large percentage of jobs.
LiteTouch is all too happy to swap out its standard green LEDs with the customer’s LED color choice, “but it can take up to two weeks,” says Larson.
Now LiteTouch provides RGB LEDs that are field-selectable right from the keypad. All you need is a tiny screw driver. Ask nicely and LiteTouch will even provide you with one of those.
Keypads with I/Os
LiteTouch has added integration ports to the back side of its keypads – a data input terminal and a low-voltage relay.
Want to add a sensor to the LiteTouch system? “You can run it through the keypad without having to homerun it to the CCU [central control unit],” says Larson.
New CCU with On-Screen Programming
LiteTouch is introducing a new CCU, the kORE, for smaller jobs that don’t warrant the card-based FiveK system.
A key feature of the kORE is a large display through which integrators can adjust certain functions such as timers, and monitor activity such as energy trends. System diagnostics also can be viewed through the screen.
The system is handy especially in Europe, where homeowners typically don’t have extra closets to house home-control systems.
“The CCU tends to be more out there,” says Larson.
Most importantly, though, integrators can make minor adjustments to a LiteTouch system without having to boot up the computer and pull up the customer’s program.
You know those customers: You’re at their house fixing something or other and they ask, “Can you just change this one little thing on the lighting …?”
LiteTouch is going to a Linux-based processor, according to Larson, resulting in a more network-friendly solution.
“It will be true IP and much more Web accessible,” she says.
Drawings for Specifiers
Many integrators draw plans in CAD or some other graphics program to aid their own team, as well as specifiers and other partners.
LiteTouch has introduced enhancements to its LiteWare 4.1 programming environment to create these schematics on the fly.
New LiteWare 4.1 now generates one-line riser diagrams for each system entered into the software to aid in planning and installation.
“It takes about 90 seconds,” Larson says.
Last year, LiteTouch introduced a wireless card for its flagship FiveK CCU, which has been produced since 1998.
Any 5000 system (as it was known) can be upgraded to include wireless zones.
During CEDIA Expo 2010, LiteTouch introduced a remote base antenna to take the FiveK where it’s never gone before. It wires to the CCU with a single Cat 5 cable, and extends the wireless signal up to 1,000 feet with “no delays in response time,” Larson says.
Do you have an old FiveK customer that just built a guest house? Add one of these extenders and the new space can join the whole-house LiteTouch system.
New drivers now make it simple to integrate LiteTouch systems with Control4, Savant and RTI control systems.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at email@example.com
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