Elan Gives Home Automation, iOS Control to Niles ICS
Elan lends thermostat, lighting, video and other controls -- as well as iPad/iPhone integration -- to Niles multiroom audio systems.
Niles president Mike “Sparky” Detmer can’t count the number of dealers that have requested whole-house control via Niles’ popular IntelliControl ICS multiroom audio system.
The infrastructure is there with the modular ICS system, so why not also control lighting, thermostats, TVs and other subsystems? And, by the way, how about some iPhone control?
Now you can, thanks to the first real collaboration between Niles and sister company Elan Home Systems. Both companies, along with Xantech, were rolled up into the Nortek AVC (Audio Video Control) group last year. Yesterday, AVC announced the consolidation of reps across all brands, and now the organization is hinting at greater cooperation on the product side.
And with all reps selling all AVC brands, it makes sense to push a combo Niles/Elan system.
The system pairs Niles’ ICS RS-232 gateway with an Elan G! HC4 controller ($2,000 for four subsystems) to give existing ICS customers – some 15,000 of them – relatively inexpensive access to Elan’s full suite of home automation functions.
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Detmer says dealers have been saying of the ICS: “You’ve got Rhapsody and Pandora. When will you have iPhone control?”
He explains, “Rather than further develop ICS in that direction, we’re showing a Niles ICS/Elan G! solution. The customer can buy a small Elan G! system and have the two systems work together.”
The combo will allow Niles customers to control ICS’s six streaming sources via an iOS device, and to integrate non-audio subsystems into the mix. Elan customers, meanwhile, will have more options for streaming content, including native Pandora Internet radio.
In the past, Detmer says, Niles and Elan have enjoyed some sibling rivalry, but not anymore. In this case, he says, “I went to Paul [Starkey, Elan president] and he said, ‘I can do that.’”
AVC president Mark Terry adds, “We don’t have to be redundant; we don’t have to be competitive. We have complementary products.”
Likewise, now that all AVC reps are carrying all AVC brands, they have an incentive to promote more integrated solutions – more of which we’ll see from the company.
Detmer says, “They [dealers] can now add home control to an existing Niles system. That’s something we couldn’t offer through separate rep firms.”
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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@example.com
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