Residential and commercial controls provider URC has bolted out of the 2024 starting gate with its latest integration and voice control news. The Harrison, N.Y.-based company has announced integration support for Rachio as well as a significant upgrade to its Amazon Alexa Skill with URC’s Total Control platform.
Rachio, a specialist in smart-yard technology, has introduced an integration through which residential and commercial users can enlist Rachio’s Smart Watering systems with seamless URC Total Control compatibility.
As URC notes, every product Rachio partners with is designed to bring the smart home outdoors, enriching the outdoor lifestyle, and promoting sustainability and water conservation.
Key benefits of combining the companies’ solutions include:
- Unified Operation – Rachio smart watering devices operate within the Total Control system for easy and secure control and automation.
- Customization to Match User Preferences – Form multiple zones or devices, Total Control’s user experience allows easy adjustment including water management and usage.
- Remote, Secure Dealer Access – Within a secure environment, this integration allows dealers remote access (with end user approval) to troubleshoot, monitor, or adjust.
- Plan and Monitor Water Efficiency – Integrated water sensing allows for precise measurement of water consumption and enables sustainability and cost saving.
With professional installation, Total Control allows this new integration to combine with customized scenes where multiple exterior activities occur like watering, lighting, surveillance, and more. For the end customer, this works across URC user interfaces, like touchscreens and remotes.
“This next-generation, smart watering integration delivers efficiency and resiliency while ensuring that our dealers can easily install reliable, secure smart systems with premium, unified performance,” states Lars Granoe, URC’s VP of product development.
URC Alexa Skill 2.0 Continues to Expand Features & Efficiency
The Alexa Skill enhancement enables owners to enjoy more intuitive, personalized experiences via additional native integration, more direct voice control commands, direct control of all devices in an Alexa room and many new features, the company says.
In 2017, URC launched its Amazon Alexa Smart Home Skill 1.0. It enabled sub-systems like lighting to be included in the Total Control ecosystem with voice-assisted controls and allowed installers to add URC devices into Alexa-created macros.
The latest evolution of URC’s Smart Home Skill 2.0 (https://www.amazon.com/URC-Smart-Home-2-0/dp/B0CNDHHCPS) can control numerous smart home and commercial environment platforms through Total Control. Also, it permits the inclusion of URC’s Total Control Unified module software, which aggregates devices from other brands under categories like Unified Lighting and Unified Access Control, the company notes.
URC says the user experience is more direct by enabling functions with simplified commands that allow simple instruction, direct to Alexa. Plus, it expands the reach of the rooms, devices, and settings. For instance, users can command within the Total Control system:
- “Alexa, turn on Family Room”
- “Alexa, dim Kitchen Pendants”
- “Alexa, turn on Movie Scene”
- “Alexa, set lights to 100%”
- “Alexa, lock the Front Door”
Another enhanced feature is the ability for Total Control to allow Alexa’s room aware capability with URC devices that include Alexa built-in. This lets users issue commands without the need to define the room (e.g. Primary Bedroom) and related device (e.g. TDC-5100), elevating the voice command’s efficiency and ease of use, according to URC.
Regarding programming, URC’s Alexa Smart Home Skill 2.0 better manages what Total Control feeds into the Alexa ecosystem including adding more or limiting the number of devices, the company adds.
The new Skill automatically adds URC’s unique software user interfaces like Unified Lighting, Unified Access Control and Unified Climate. This eliminates programming steps while allowing the system to include a broad range of branded devices from other manufacturers included in the Unified interface.
“This project has been a significant investment by URC to deliver next-generation, voice-enabled Amazon Alexa Skill integration. It allows URC’s certified dealers to more efficiently install premium, highly customized systems across devices and rooms. Now, our dealers and end-users can access this integration with less complex voice commands and faster performance,” Granoe explains.
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