Clare Controls is set to release a revamped lineup of system controllers with the introduction of the entry-level, $399 CLIQ.mini, which will replace the CLIQ.express, and the discontinuation of the midrange CLIQ.lite. The top-of-the-line CLIQ.host will remain, and will begin selling at a reduced price of $1,200. This revision streamlines the company’s offering to a simple choice between centrally located or distributed systems. The CLIQ.mini, as well as a software upgrade to the ClareHome app will be available on March 9.
“What we found was that the controllers are all designed as these little black boxes with IR, RS-232, and all that on the back,” said Delia Hansen, vice president of marketing at Clare Controls. "You end up needing to place them in a rack or enclosure of some kind—all of which adds cost."
The new CLIQ.mini controllerIn contrast, the new CLIQ.mini is white in color and designed to be hung on a wall. “You can mount it up next to the doorbell chime and you will barely even notice it’s in the room,” Hansen said. The CLIQ.mini connects with a single Ethernet cable for power and communication and features built-in Wi-Fi and Z-Wave gateways. For control of IR devices, IR-to-IP converters from Global Cache (a partner of Clare Controls) can be installed on the network.
“We’ve found that homeowners who like full-fledged control systems in one or two houses might not necessarily want that solution in all of their homes, and they can drop down to a CLIQ.mini,” Hansen said. “Or mainstream consumers who just want to try a system under $1,000 can use the CLIQ.mini. And the dealer can use the same software, same peripherals, same pricing structure, same tools to remotely log in to archive project files—all of that good stuff stays the same across the board.”
Clare Controls has also been working to develop its software in conjunction with the revision of its control hardware suite. “In the last six months we’ve released more than two dozen vetted IP drivers,” Hansen said. “With the world moving into IP control, we saw this as a great way to leapfrog IR, and any devices that are controllable through IP are completely two-way communicable through the CLIQ.mini without any additional devices. And we’re going to continue to make IP control a much more important part of our driver deliverables.”
Additionally, the newest update to the ClareHome app for iPad will add plug-and-play compatibility with Sonos and Clare brand IP cameras, as well as new wizards that ease the process of adding Z-Wave devices. “So now it takes seconds to add door locks, garage door openers, Fibaro sensors, theromstats, our water valve controller—all of those Z-Wave products will add in through a very simple wizard,” Hansen said. “Plus, we created a wizard for audio, so you’re no longer doing any complicated configuration for that either.”