URC Goes Down-Market with MX HomePro Smart Home Hub and Remote Control
CEDIA 2016: URC’s new MX HomePro is modeled after its HomeSet for the security market but made for the custom A/V channel. Retails for $600 with an option for Z-Wave.
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At CEDIA 2016, URC launched the MX HomePro, a step-down version of its Total Control home automation platform with a starting price of just $600 for a base station (H500 Smart Hub) and universal remote with video streaming capabilities.
Both the hub and the remote communicate via Wi-Fi to each other as well as other locally controlled IP devices. They also communicate to the cloud, where other integrations take place, for example with Nest and other cloud-based solutions.
A Z-Wave controller (the TRF-ZW2, $250 MSRP) can be added for additional integration. The controller is built on the Vera platform from MiOS, so any Z-Wave products supported by Vera can be integrated into the MX HomePro.
At launch, the system is just like URC’s new HomeSet, which the company introduced to the security channel earlier this year at ISC West. (More details of the system here). Like HomeSet, the MX HomePro can embed third-party apps into its UI environment, enabling users to access the original apps for Roku, cable TV, IP thermostats or any other service without leaving the HomePro app. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that those services can be integrated into URC’s home automation scenes.
URC CEO Chang K. Park says the new system is made for simple and profitable installations.
“I learned it in five minutes,” he says.
While HomeSet and MX HomePro are identical at launch, the two solutions will diverge with their own products, services and personnel.
At CEDIA, URC also demonstrated voice control via Amazon Alexa but the company is also bullish on touchscreens.
“I feel the market is big enough for both touch and voice,” Park says.
As such, URC introduced a new touchpanel that can be mounted on a wall or set on a tabletop.
The product’s $600 price tag is “very aggressive,” Park says, “because we want to make it for the mass market.”
A mic and speaker on the unit could be used both for intercom functionality as well as voice control via Alexa.
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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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