Elan Programming Service Takes Off; Big Improvements with g! 6.0
Elan g! home automation system v. 6.0 enhances support of Z-Wave door locks, Squeezebox, Android, third-party systems; Elan third-party programming service kicks off.
At $100 per hour, the service may cost more than it would for companies that have in-house Elan programmers, but even these companies often get too swamped to deliver solutions on a timely basis. And, certainly, the support makes perfect sense for newer Elan dealers and smaller installation companies.
For one dealer that exploited the new service, “Their lead programmer went on maternity leave during a job,” says Tom Walker of The CI Guys, the company that performs the programming. “It was the prime opportunity to serve their client without overly taxing their resources.”
Walker, a former Elan regional sales manager, says dealers are just starting to tap the new service, which was announced at CEDIA Expo 2012.
He says, “Every dealer I’ve done a job for … they didn’t necessarily think they would do something like this, but all of them say they would definitely do it again.”
And why not? Other major home-control vendors offer similar services and promote third-party programming partners, with great success.
Elan is taking its show on the road, hitting numerous cities in 2013. The company will promote the programming service as well as the new Elan g! version 6.0.
Walker provided us with the following overview of V. 6.0. He notes that CEDIA Expo for Elan was all about software and services, rather than hardware, echoing a theme we noticed throughout the Expo.
Highlights of Elan g! 6.0
By Tom Walker, The CI Guys
Android App and Associated GUI improvements
Full blown Android app and changes to current viewer (iOS and TS) to once again maintain as consistent a GUI experience across all UI platforms
- Management of the UI will go to a ‘thin client’ platform – which means a faster user experience, better updated data and better compatibility with screen variations
- The delay in getting this app to market was due to the development of this “thin client”
- Long term: Thin client means less development time on interfaces in general.
- The Elan App is the most robust and most compatible of the Android apps—no one else is using this approach, and this is why other control systems have limited feature sets and major version compatibility problems that we will just not have. Keep in mind – iOs is limited to a select few products from one supplier. Android has hundreds of devices from many suppliers – and we will work with more (all?) of these than anybody else.
Full Blown Door Lock App
While g! version 5.8 had a ‘soft’ rollout of Z-Wave door lock support, 6.0 will make this app real.
- Locks supported include Yale, Kwikset, Baldwin and Schlage
- Leviton Z-Wave interface is required for all supported locks
- Features include remote control, history view, access code programming (some models)
- The Elan GUI was hands-down the best at CEDIA, according to the lock suppliers.
Significant Change to Squeezebox Driver
A completely new, updated Squeezebox driver has been written.
- It is my understanding this is compatible with Squeezebox Touch, but not the Duet or original Squeezebox.
- Virtually all streaming services that Squeezebox supports will now be available via the Touch or the new Squeezebox-based Ovation Music Streamer from Fusion Research (although the Fusion product does not support all services, most notably Spotify and Rhapsody).
- Existing Squeezebox Touch users will immediately have the ability to stream services like MediaFly, Slacker, Spotify, Sirius Internet and many others.
- While Logitech has discontinued the Touch, the company says it has more than one year’s worth of inventory.
- Ongoing, it would appear that Logitech does not plan to make Squeezebox products anymore, but further develop the software for use on other companies’ hardware; Perhaps Elan might one day integrate Squeezebox into its own controllers?
TuneIn Gets Nixed
TuneIn, which makes it easier to find your local terrestrial radio stations’ Internet feeds, was originally announced for inclusion on the Elan Home Controller, but with the huge expansion of the Squeezebox functionality, this feature was removed from the 6.0 spec.
Major Expansion of Supported Drivers
Elan is rapidly launching drivers for new product lines, and updating drivers for products it already supports. They include:
- CLIMATE: 2Gig, Honeywell, Trane and other Z-Wave models
- SECURITY: Honeywell (updated 128/256 panels)
- CCTV: Vivotek, Axis, Panasonic
- MEDIA: Denon, Pioneer
- LIGHTING: Rako
- INPUT/OUTPUT: Xantech XtraNet
Client Access Control
The homeowner will be able to allow and block remote access, add or remove users, and change passwords from any UI. This will allow you to give your security-conscious clients peace of mind.
More Generous Licensing
Elan plans to offer an unlimited viewers license … again. Pricing is still under discussion, but around $500 seems to be the target (a little more than than three individual licenses). At the same time, the Media App will now allow up to four generic single-zone controllers. This means that doing a couple of TVs or a small HDMI matrix will no longer require the Pro version.
The CI Guys helps dealers with design and programming for Elan Home Systems, Lutron RadioRa lighting and ProControl remotes.
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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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