URC Details New $600 HomeSet with Cloud-Based Home Automation Architecture at ISC 2016
New HomeSet home automation system from URC features IP hub with IR outputs, along with new cloud-based architecture for integrating with Nest, Sonos and other smart devices.
Julie Jacobson · April 6, 2016
At ISC West 2016, URC is introducing HomeSet, a new home automation hub, universal remote and cloud-based platform for controlling audio, video and smart-home devices. At $600 MSRP for the remote and the hub, along with a simple programing environment, HomeSet caters to security dealers and other home-technology professionals who want to reach broader markets.
CE Pro teased HomeSet last month, suggesting it might be a white-labeled home automation system from MiOS (Vera), which already powers URC’s Z-Wave-enabled control platform. However, the new C100 hub ($299 without the remote) is URC’s own home-grown solution with its own cloud infrastructure.
The hub communicates with the home network and cloud services via Wi-Fi. It features IR ports on one side of the box and an IR blaster on the other. The R100 remote control ($299 standalone) also communicates via Wi-Fi to both the control hub, as well as directly to the network for cloud-to-cloud integration, skipping the hub altogether.
That’s a first for URC, according to product manager Peter Pittner, who notes that HomeSet comes out of the box ready to work with Nest and other cloud-communicating product and services.
And while it lacks native Z-Wave communications, it does communicate to Z-Wave devices through URC’s TRF-ZW gateway. Otherwise, it can operate many of the IP-controllable systems that URC already supports through Total Control, the company’s flagship whole-house controller for professional integrators.
Up to eight rooms are supported in a single installation.
The remote looks like the TRC-820 remote for Total Control, but the guts are different, according to Pittner. So is the configuration software, which is more straight-forward for the installer who may not be an expert in A/V systems.
New to the user experience is a drop-down menu that can include apps for other smart devices, including those that don’t integrate with HomeSet. Users can access these apps -- like Honeywell Total Connect and Alarm.com (shown here) right from the HomeSet interface.
So why would traditional security dealers venture into A/V and whole-house control if it strays from their core mission of recurring monthly revenue (RMR)?
“It provides profit right now,” says URC’s Andre Lalande. “You don’t have to wait for the ROI later on,” which is the norm for many high-volume security dealers.
URC is still hammering out distribution plans for HomeSet, but it most likely will be sold through traditional security wholesalers, according to Lalande.
It is not a DIY product and can only be purchased through an authorized URC dealer.
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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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