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European Custom Installer

System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Automation

Cellphone Adds to Comfort Intelligent Home System

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The UCM/GSM provides a cellular phone connection to the Comfort Intelligent Home System, an integrated Intruder Alarm and Home Automation system with voicemail.

This gives Comfort the following abilities:

  • Acts as a backup for dial-out on alarm activation when the land line is faulty or cut. Or it can be used without a fixed telephone line, for installations where a telephone line is not available or not desired. Comfort's dialler can dial to 8 telephones ( mobile or landline), pagers or Central Monitoring Stations.
  • Allows the user to dial to the GSM number instead of the fixed telephone line to access Comfort Voice menus. There is no voicemail on this line.
  • Allows Comfort to report alarms to the user’s cellular phone via text message or SMS (SMS message will show the alarm type and Zone description as text).
  • Allows users to send commands to control home appliances and the security system via SMS, and receive acknowledgement of the command by return SMS.

In order for the UCM/GSM to be used, there must be a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) service in the area. GSM is currently widely available is Europe and Asia.

The UCM/GSM requires a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card to be inserted, just like with a cellular phone. This can be a prepaid card, or one billed monthly under any usage plan

Go UCM/GSM Specs

Go Comfort Intelligent Home System

Drivers for HA’s Growth Beyond Niche Markets

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High touch retail environments, home monitoring via a service provider, and turnkey systems in new homes are three approaches that will help home automation vendors penetrate what has until now proved a stubborn market, says ABI Research.

Using a combination of these, home automation vendors can expect to build revenues for wireless home automation nodes from a historical $1.1 million in 2005 to more than $58 million in 2011.

"For many years, home automation technology was available to consumers only in niche markets," says ABI Research senior analyst Sam Lucero. "At one end of the spectrum were technophile hobbyists; at the other were homeowners with custom home automation systems costing up to $100,000 or more. But home automation has largely been ignored by the vast majority of mainstream consumers."

Three new strategies may change that, according to ABI Research.

The first is a move by big-box retailers to add a new "high touch" environment within their massive stores: a store-within-a-store concept, in which knowledgeable staff can demonstrate home theater products and networks to customers. Customers who enjoy the advantages of networked entertainment are likely to see the benefits of automated control of lighting, climate and window coverings as well. "High touch consumer electronics retailers are ideally positioned to capitalize on this market dynamic," says Lucero.

Two US companies, iControl and Xanboo, have taken a different tack. They offer customers the ability—through service providers such as ISPs, cable companies and mobile operators—to monitor conditions in their homes remotely. Although home monitoring services are at a very early stage of deployment to mainstream consumers, ABI Research believes the service provider channel shows much promise.

Finally, says Lucero "There is growing interest among builders in offering home automation technology as a standard option. Builders are well-positioned to demonstrate new home automation technologies in model homes, and to educate potential buyers about their benefits." A new class of technology vendors is focusing on the use of standard technologies such as ZigBee and Z-Wave to create packaged solutions. These vendors include Control4, Cortexa Technology, Exceptional Innovation, and Nobu, and all are looking closely at new home builders as a key channel.

Go ABI Research

Smart Europeans Go for Smart Meters

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According to new research report from Berg Insight, the number of smart electricity meters will exceed 60 million in Europe by 2012. This will mean that one in four consumers will receive electricity bills based on their actual consumption and gain financial benefits from immediate energy savings.

The report identifies rising electricity prices, fears over global warming and energy market reforms as the main drivers behind the adoption of smart metering technology.

“People want control over surging energy costs, governments are obliged to promote energy conservation and competitive markets force the industry to become more efficient. Smart metering contributes to all of these things”, says Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight.

Italy and Sweden lead the adoption of smart meters in Europe with full penetration expected by 2009. The technology is being introduced on a large scale in Denmark, Finland and Austria. New legislation is also expected to mandate smart metering in Ireland, Netherlands and Norway by the next decade. The UK government is considering whether to introduce similar requirements, but is presently leaning towards a less sophisticated solution where consumers will only receive more information about their power consumption.

Go Berg on Smart Meters

In USA, Fee-Based Remote Access Shows Promise

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The market for fee-based remote access service to home automation and security systems in No. America may be modest, but significant growth is ahead, reports In-Stat.

The number of households paying a remote access fee to control or monitor their automation or security system in No. America will grow an average of 25% annually from 2007 through 2011.

"Thus far, the tech-savvy and early adopter households are the ones with automation systems connected to a home network, and they are experiencing the first generation of new products," says Joyce Putscher, In-Stat analyst. "Early adopters can be more demanding of product capabilities, and first-generation products often have some bugs to work out."

According to the research by In-Stat:

  • The number of home automation systems in use connected to a PC network will almost triple in four years.
  • Renters are willing to pay more for remote access of their home automation and security than homeowners (even though they, on average, have less income than homeowners.)
  • About 18.6% of US households subscribe to some kind of security system service.

Go In-Stat on HA Remote Access