NEC Phone System Becomes Home Automation Controller
HAI lights, thermostats, security systems and other connected devices can be controlled with an NEC digital phone system. Worthington Distribution demonstrated the solution at EHX 2011.
Even with iPads and other glamorous touchscreens on the market, sometimes the plain old telephone is the easiest way to control your home. Of course, the “plain old telephone” of today is not what it used to be.
Modern-day phone systems feature lots of hard (rather, soft) buttons and multi-line LCD displays for feedback. As long as you have one on your desk or your kitchen nook, why not use it to control your home?
That’s exactly what Worthington Distribution recommends.
During the Electronic House Expo last week in Orlando, Worthington demonstrated the integration of a DSX-40 digital phone system from NEC with an automation system from HAI, a leading provider of affordable home control solutions.
The DSX-40 interfaces with HAI’s Omni IIe, OmniPro II, Lumina and Lumina Pro to bring control of lighting, security, access, audio and HVAC to the phone, as demonstrated by Worthington’s Richie Scholl in the video below.
As with a traditional keypad/LCD controller, the NEC interface allows users to control individual zones (change the temperature on the second floor, for example, or adjust the lights in the kitchen) and initiate scenes such as MOVIE or BEDTIME.
A bonus feedback mechanism is that hard-buttons can illuminate in different colors to indicate status. For example, when lights are turned off, the corresponding key can illuminate to show whether the light is actually on or off.
The NEC DSX-40 telephone can be programmed on-site from the phone itself or from a PC connected to the system’s USB or Ethernet ports. Remote programming can be done via the Ethernet port.
NEC offers three HAI-compatible phones, ranging from an 8-button cordless up to a 34-button “Super Display” phone with a 9-line x 24-character black-and-white LCD interface.
Of course, the NEC product has a slew of built-in phone features like message notification, conversation record, built-in caller ID, voice mail, multiple greetings and more.
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How’d They Do That?
Worthington Distribution—known for building two-way drivers for integrating the products it carries—facilitated the development of this NEC/HAI solution.
Even so, “NEC did all the work on this, and it was really their idea,” says Scholl.
At EHX Spring 2010, the phone maker was inspired by integration and Worthington made the appropriate introductions to the folks at HAI.
“Just this past November they sent me an alpha release of this to test with,” Scholl says. “I was totally blown away. They had come a long way with very little outside help.”
From there, Worthington helped with some usability and interface advice, as well as Beta testing.
“It was one of the hottest things we had at the show [EHX] last week,” Scholl says.
The solution should be be available this April as a free software upgrade.
NEC phone system controlling HAI smart thermostat
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]
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