URC’s New Line Hits $1,000 ‘Sweet Spot’ in Home Automation
Two-way, networked ccGEN2 home automation system will be sold through distribution, filling gap between URC's original Complete Control and higher-end Total Control.
URC has been a giant in the home theater control business with its Complete Control line of universal remotes. The company also has picked up steam in the home automation and multiroom A/V business with its newer Total Control system.
But there remained an opportunity between these lines, and the new ccGEN2 home theater/home automation control system is aimed at that “sweet spot,” says URC marketing director Cat Toomey.
“It seems like in the last year, the headlines were saying “$1,000 and below,” she says. “The great thing about this piece is that you get a central processor that can do everything, you get an app, and you get a remote at about the $1,000 mark.”
She adds that the CP-1 hub (approx. $599 retail), required for every system, is completely scalable: “It’s the processor for entry level. It’s the processor for mid-level. It’s the processor if you want to do 25 rooms.”
The hub is just one of 14 brand new products in the ccGEN2 line, and the system is compatible with many of URC’s existing devices.
It comprises a two-way networked ecosystem with Wi-Fi remotes, in-wall controllers, Z-Wave gateway, and a bunch of networked I/O adapters.
How it Compares to Complete Control and Total Control
ccGEN2 is a step above the original Complete Control line, which is largely limited to one-way home theater control. At the same time, it is less robust than Total Control, as automation functionality is limited and it lacks the networked audio solution unique to TC.
Also unlike TC, which is sold direct to dealers, ccGEN2 will be sold through distributors.
For that reason, “a lot of advanced automation functionality will be stripped away from it,” says Mitch Klein, director of sales and GM for URC’s commercial division. “We don’t want to overwhelm the dealer.”
Even so, dealers must be trained on the product and authorized to purchase through select distributors … which also must be trained.
“We don’t want home owners at risk from dealers who get into this without knowing what they’re getting into,” says Klein.
The first distribution partner is Volutone, which has seven locations in California and Nevada. Each branch will have one or two brand champions and training for the advocates is already underway.
The other distributors include Electronic Source, Allnet, Pioneer Music, Mountain West, dB South, ECD, Custom Partners and MRI.
The products will start shipping March, with dealer training taking place in the first week of that month.
“We kind of own the $1,000 handheld remote category in the home theater market,” says Klein. “We plan to own the $1,000 market for home automation.”
CP-1 Central Processor
- Stores and issues commands and macros via IR, IP, RS-232, and Relays
- Provides two-way communication with ccGEN2 remotes, apps and keypads
- Routes commands to auxiliary pieces (AC-1 Auxiliary Controller and WC-1 Wireless Controller)
- Provides automation via user scheduled events or by sensors connected to onboard sensor ports
- Off-site programming capable when system is registered
- CP-1 is required in ccGEN2 systems; maximum one per system
- Network: One (1) 10/100 Ethernet port
- IR: Six (6) adjustable IR ports powered by independent IR Engines for simultaneous use
- Relays: One (1)
- RS-232: Two (2) ports (support TX, RX and GND two-way communication)
- Sensors: Two (2) sensor ports
- Power: 12v external power supply
- Size: 9.8”(W) x 1.1”(H) x 4.7” (D)
- Weight: 10.5 oz.
- Warranty: One Year USA Limited Warranty
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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