Savant made major news just a week in advance of ISE with the surprise appointment of a new CEO, former Barnes and Noble chief executive William J. Lynch, in an apparent effort to help appeal to a more mass market, along with a new home automation system set to launch in the spring.
While I was hoping to meet Lynch here in Amsterdam, I was told that he ended up with important meetings stateside. I was anyway much more interested to know what this “mass market” move would look like for a control system that has primarily targeted the top of the luxury market.
Tim McInerny, director of product marketing, explicitly stated, “we are not moving away from the luxury market.” Savant feels that with the advent of the internet of things, there are really significant business opportunities for more everyday consumers. He even said that while Savant has no plans to target the DIY consumers, it is a definite possibility at some point.
The main method Savant is approaching the broader consumer base is by bringing down its control system price points, aided by its Linux-based controllers. The new automation system is currently dubbed Savant Smart Host, although this is just a working title. The booth at ISE highlighted both commercial and residential tools, including door locks, thermostats, and various wired and wireless solutions.
One interesting feature I missed from Savant at CEDIA was its True Image visual control tool. Dealers or homeowners can take a picture of a room to upload to their control interfaces where they can adjust lighting or other features by tapping the image on a display. User tools are available, so homeowners can make simple adjustments themselves, though the programming is still maintained by the dealer.
McInerny also told me about a new Android residential interface he expects to be available in Q3 of this year, which he described as a “2015 interface,” in a nod to the rapid changes in technology and the need to design home tech that won’t be quickly outdated.