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A Faster Smart Host

Savant went to its annual integrators conference Austin, TX, last month to unveil a smaller, single-chassis version of its Smart Host home-automation controller and replace wires for Wi-Fi in an expanded Metropolitan line of in-wall light controls.
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Savant Unveils New 40 Percent Faster Controller and Wi-Fi Lighting Line

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The new home-automation controller combines two larger chassis into one smaller sculpted chassis that is half the combined size of its two-chassis predecessor. Savant went to its annual integrators conference Austin, TX, last month to unveil a smaller, single-chassis version of its Smart Host home-automation controller and replace wires for Wi-Fi in an expanded Metropolitan line of in-wall light controls. The light controls are also the company’s first adaptive-phase light controls, enabling each SKU to work with LED, incandescent, halogen or low-voltage lights. The controls auto-detect the type of lighting load and adapt to it. The new products ship this month.

The new home-automation controller combines two larger chassis into one smaller, sculpted chassis that is half the combined size of its two-chassis predecessor. The controller looks at home in a living room’s equipment rack, but it can also be mounted on a wall in a basement, Savant product marketing director Tim McInerney said.

The single-box successor, like its predecessor, is suitable for 95 percent of all households, offering control of systems in up to 12 rooms. The price goes down to a suggested $999 from the two-box solution’s $1,199, making the new model the company’s most affordable entry point yet for a home automation controller. Boot-up time is also 40 percent faster.

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In Savant’s new Metropolitan lighting line, the SKU count goes from two to five, all with Wi-Fi. The new Smart Host “makes installations faster, easier, and more affordable than ever,” said Savant CEO William Lynch. Smart Host features include Wi-Fi and ethernet to control the company’s IP-based devices along with six IR ports to control home entertainment systems, and two RS-232 ports to control other home systems. The number of relays and voltage sensors goes to one each from two each, though additional relays and sensors can be added. Also like before, Z-Wave bridges can be added to control Z-Wave products, and home systems can be controlled from Android and Apple mobile devices, from a hand-held remote, and from in-wall keypads and in-wall-docked Apple tablets.

Also like before, a $149/year cloud server service lets users monitor and control home systems remotely from mobile devices and get notifications on mobile devices. The cloud server also enables remote viewing of security-camera video. Because of the cloud server, no IP address needs to be assigned to the controller, making the controller invisible to hackers, McInerney said.

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Savant CEO William Lynch (left) with his company’s new singlepiece Smart Host and Savant product marketing director Tim McInerney with its new WiFi lighting controllers. In the new Metropolitan lighting line, the SKU count goes from two to five, all with Wi-Fi. All also get Bluetooth LE for the first time to enable integrators to use a mobile device to set up the controls. Savant will be the first company to employ Bluetooth LE for lighting-system setup, McInerney said. The previous line consisted of a dimmer and an on/off switch. The new line adds an in-wall controller with a knob and four buttons. The knob can be set up either to control light levels or audio volume. The buttons control light scenes that include a mix of lights, shades, and music sources. Also new are a fan controller and a three-way switch. Unlike before, the new lighting controls accept any style faceplate, and prices are lower even though the new models get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE. The Wi-Fi dimmer, for example, retails for $199 compared to the wired predecessor’s $230. Savant will continue to offer a Wi-Fi thermostat and one other Wi-Fi light switch, which is not part of the Metropolitan line.
–Joseph Palenchar, TWICE

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