G2i Launches Cloud-Based Automation


By Joseph Palenchar, TWICE September 6,2012


Startup G2 Interactive (G2i) is at CEDIA EXPO with a mid-market cloud-based security/home-automation system that targets growing consumer demand for home systems monitoring and control from mobile devices while they’re away from the house.

The Palo Alto-based company, whose founders include industry veterans Reed Stevens and Jeff Zemanek, will offer exclusive territories, a monthly recurring revenue stream from service contracts, and a turnkey solution that offers strong margins, works out of the box without programming, and delivers “high-quality products at a price point not available before,” said Stevens, the company's CEO. The system achieves the mid-market price points because it “shifts all the brainpower to the cloud,” he explained.

G2i's products and distribution plans provide a solution for electronic systems contractors whose profit margins have shrunk because of technology-driven price reductions and because many brands no longer provide exclusive territories, said Zemanek, the company's sales and marketing VP.

The recurring revenue from $50/month service contracts, which G2i will administer for its dealers, will help these integrators build equity in their businesses so they can sell their businesses when it comes time to retire, Zemanek added.

G2i and its dealers will split service-contract revenues. Cellular backup costs an additional $5/month.

G2i’s solution will provide the same amount of control over systems whether the user is inside the house or using a cellphone or tablet from an off-site location, Stevens said. From within the home or outside, the systems can be controlled from Apple iOS and Android apps on smartphones and tablets.

The hardware includes a router/base station with secure SSID connection to a Wi-Fi touchscreen and Wi-Fi security camera. The base station also incorporates wireless Z-Wave to control Z-Wave-enabled light switches, thermostats, door locks, and security hardware. G2i will provide a G2i-branded base station, a Netgear-branded handheld Wi-Fi touchscreen, and other third-party hardware that the company has certified as delivering the best performance, Stevens said.

The G2i system integrates with the control protocols of DSC, GE and Honeywell security systems that G2 will also supply.

All products will be available for shipping at the show.

Installed systems will be able to quickly add new features over time because features are cloud-based and not hardware-dependent, Stevens noted.

The solution will help installers make up for declining consumer interest in large integrated-control systems from even high-end consumers who don’t want to pay the price or see the value of such systems, which he said “have no value” outside the home, Stevens said.

G2i systems, in contrast, are mid-market solutions designed to meet growing demand from people who want “to stay in touch with the home while they’re gone” for peace of mind, Stevens said.

G2i systems, for example, can send video clips of who is entering a home to a homeowner’s cellphone, which can also be used to check the status of lights and locks and control them from afar.

The products do not include home media management because of the availability of so many other solutions and the company’s desire to target market demand for mobile control, Stevens noted.

To deliver its service, G2i licensed the iControl platform used by select cable and security companies to deliver a basic form of remote home control and monitoring. G2i, however, is building feature sets on top of the iControl OS to add more value, Stevens said.

G2i dealers will also deliver more sophisticated installation capabilities compared to cable-company and security installers, he continued. Those installers generally lack electrical licenses to install Z-Wave-powered light switches, so these contractors plug Z-Wave wall warts into electrical outlets to control lamps, Stevens explained. These contractors also plug counter-top security cameras into wall warts instead of installing cameras by doors. Those types of installers are typically less comfortable selling lighting scenes, as well, he added.

Zemanek is formerly with Lutron. Stevens was with Palo Alto-based electronics systems contractor Phoenix Systems, whose founders are Reed’s parents Chris and Jana Stevens. Jana is also a partner in G2 Interactive. Chris Stevens, now with iControl, also founded the AudioAccess multiroom-audio brand, which was purchased by Harman and is now owned by Amplifier Technologies Inc.

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