CE Pro Must-See at CES 2013: Global Cache iTach Flex
iTach Flex lets integrators IP-enable virtually any device in a home automation ecosystem via RS-232, IR, contact closure, and automatically control them with a smart device.
Julie Jacobson · January 10, 2013
Global Cache is famous for bringing every type of connectivity to home automation devices: IR, RS-232, contact closure ….
At CES 2013, they’re showing even more probable solvers. Every integrator should make the trek to the way back of South Hall 4 (#35352) and check out the iTach Flex. It’s the next generation of the company’s iTach, a series of modules that bring IP control to non-IP controlled products.
The iTach Flex comprises two components: a small IP-enabling module (WiFi or hardwired) and a Flex Link cable. These cables connect to the IP module via a 3.5 mm jack, and they come in all the usual flavors (RS-232, IR, contact closure). Simply pick your connector of choice and plug it into the module.
There are four varieties of IR cables: emitter, blaster, tri-port (three emitters) and one with three emitters and one blaster.
The RS-232 cable comes with two options: male or female.
Global Cache’s Robin Ford says the module automatically detects baud and “you don’t have to worry about pin-out. It’s plug and play.”
The whole series of products lets you “take any device in the world and you can IP enable it or Wi-Fi-enable it,” Ford says, noting that this is not necessarily a DIY product line. Global Cache still must have the drivers for products to interconnect.
In conjunction with the line, Global Cache also has announced a cloud-based IR database, allowing users to simply download the command set to the Flex, where they’re stored.
The Flex modules have HTTP and UDP support. Apps for any particular device can downloaded; Web pages can be served up from the device itself.
Ford tells of an early prototype in which a partner created a QR code for a boardroom meeting, so visitors could capture the code on their smartphones, and instantly gain access to room controls.
The best part about the architecture, says Ford, is that “when new things come out, we can just add a cable.”
What next? Z-Wave? ZigBee?
The Flex modules will retail for $119 for the wired version and $139 for Wi-Fi.
Make the long trek to the back of South Hall 4 (#35352) to check out the iTach Flex.
The press release follows on page 2.
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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