URC Streamlines ccGEN2 and Total Control Home Automation Lines
URC moves to a single platform for its two lines of custom home controllers, makes Total Control available through existing ccGEN2 distributors.
URC has a lot of remote-control and home automation platforms to support today: Complete Control for entry-level A/V control; the step-up ccGEN2 for custom installers who buy through distribution; and the more robust Total Control for integrators who buy direct.
That’s a lot of solutions for integrators to support as well, and for that reason URC is merging the two higher-end lines.
ccGEN2 will be phased out and Total Control will be the platform for all URC dealers, whether they buy direct or through distribution. Non-direct dealers will have to go through the same TC training that direct dealers do.
“It makes it easier for everyone,” says URC marketing director Cat Toomey.
ccGEN2 was created in early 2014 as a step-up option for URC’s mainstream Complete Control line of remote controls. The line included home automation features almost like URC’s rich Total Control system … but not quite. And it didn’t support TC’s networked audio solution.
It would be sold through distribution and hit the home automation sweet spot of $1,000.
But ccGEN2 dealers wanted more and TC dealers wanted the convenience of distribution enjoyed by their non-direct counterparts.
“They wanted faster access to merchandise, which they could get through local distributors,” says Toomey of URC’s Total Connect customers.
At the same time, URC was inconvenienced by the need to support two lines.
“Every time we add a module [driver] to Total Control, then we have to add it to ccGEN2,” Toomey says. “It is challenging logistically.”
During URC’s post-CEDIA “Automation for All” tour last year, the company traveled the country speaking to dealers and came to the conclusion that a unified platform for certified dealers would make the most sense.
Benefits Maintained for Dealer-Direct
Direct dealers still benefit from “the same back-end programs they’ve always enjoyed, including additional margin opportunities, shipping benefits and the ability to achieve Master Dealer status,” Toomey says. And they’re the only ones listed on URC’s online dealer locator.
ccGEN2 dealers, meanwhile, gain access to URC’s Total Control amplifiers (DMS) and the SNP-2 media streamer, which previously had been available only to direct dealers.
Without those two products, ccGEN2 dealers inevitably had to turn to the competition.
In the end, says Toomey, “URC becomes more efficient by having only one programming software platform for all IP-based systems, so all development, training and service resources are channeled in a single direction.”
About that Sonos Driver
URC is oh so close with its own two-way Sonos driver, demonstrating the Beta version at a suite during CES 2015.
Toomey says it is “more comprehensive and complete than the previous driver,” which had been supplied by Extra Vegetables before that company was acquired by Control4 last year. “It better mimics what Sonos’s own app does.”
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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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