With the launch and evolution of its premium Total Control 2.0 automation and control platform about two years ago, URC has emerged as a powerhouse control and automation company for today’s generation of smart homes and businesses.
Total Control 2.0, which was released in 2017 and benefitted from major product enhancements in 2018, enables dealers and integrators to provide a solution to their customers that offers a truly personalized graphic user interface. Total Control also offers a new line of tabletop and in-wall touchscreen controllers, quad-core and dual-core system processors, and new programming software for residential and commercial applications.
A Personalized Customer Experience
“It is bold, it is robust, and it has incredibly fast speed,” says Roger Buell, owner of Twinsburg, Ohio-based Summit Sound and Security. “The ability to customize the background on the keypads with company logos and take pictures of the physical rooms with Total Control technology is pretty simple and pretty straightforward.”
As a luxury audio/video system integrator, Dallas-based Starpower has installed many systems for demanding customers. “We are consistently dealing with large orders—over $30,000 to $100,000 is where our sweet spot is,” says Craig Brown, vice president of sales at Starpower. “That’s a customer who demands seamless technology that doesn’t get clunky or get in the way, and URC offers that to our customers which is why we use it.”
“We’ve been using URC for more than seven years as an organization, which is spectacular for our customers,” says Brown. “The ease of use and the ability to integrate seamlessly with all the other products have been nothing but a win for our organization and our customers.”
Mount Vernon, Washington-based InTech Systems has high praise for the power and performance of Total Control 2.0. with large projects having five or six entertainment systems, whole-home audio, integrated security, lighting control, motorized shades, and doorbell. “It’s quite an elegant display—personalized backgrounds, custom icons, and easy-to-use menus. It flips from one device to the next. If you can think of it, we can do it. It’s all the fun tech stuff in the modern home,” says InTech Systems’ Brent Salazar. “Having the seven-inch touch panel in most installations has been the rock star go-to for us.”
Equipped with a built-in audio video intercom, URC’s Wi-Fi-enabled TDC-7100 seven-inch tabletop touchscreen controller quickly became the centerpiece of the Total Control 2.0 system with its modern and attractive design and intuitive user interface.
Joining the URC family are the new TDC-9100 Wi-Fi tabletop controller and the TKP-9600 in-wall touchscreen keypad both featuring a stunning high-resolution 10-inch touchscreen and built-in audio video intercom. Ideal for residential and commercial applications, the high-quality design with soft-touch finish and diamond-polished metal accents complements any décor, appealing to discerning homeowners, designers, architects, and builders.
When Total Control 2.0 was launched, URC CEO Chang K. Park says, “We made it very easy to customize graphics and program for the individual customer.”
Serving the mid-Atlantic region, home integration firm Surround Sounds works with homeowners on a range of new builds as well as on homes built in the 19th century. “Total Control 2.0 is a huge step up from 1.0,” says Derek Fox, sales and operations, at Surround Sounds. “You can put actual photos in the background. So, as you go to an individual room, you have a picture of that room or space. You can put anything on there that your client wants, making it really personalized for every project.”
While the company enjoys the luxury of working on many new homes from inception and pre-wire, Fox adds, “The wireless capabilities of Total Control allow us to retrofit into older homes.”
When it comes to ease of programming, providing a robust automation and control system, and true customization for clients, integrators agree. “Total Control is a total automaton system. It’s the brain of your house,” says Neil Lorick, owner of Automation Sensation serving south Florida. “It controls thermostats, lighting, shades, TVs, audio, gates and doors.” Lorick and his team work with customers to create scenes such as “Good Morning” where the shades go up, and the lights, music, and TVs come on with the touch of a button. “Anything you want, there’s a way we can do it,” says Lorick. “Or, just say, “Good Morning” or simply walk into your house and it does it all.”
Powerful and Scalable
The MRX series of advanced system processors are at the core of Total Control 2.0. Building off of the MRX-10, the flagship quad-core MRX-30 and dual-core MRX-15 offer greater performance and have a full range of connection options and are network based for today’s integration needs. “These processors open the door for dealers to expand their business by taking on even larger and more complex residential and commercial projects,” says Park. The key takeaway is that today’s Total Control is a robust automation and control system recognized and used by top integrators. This powerful and modern system controls smart lighting systems, temperature, shades, locks, gates, and pools, and integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control.
“If you’re doing a larger commercial project or even a large residential project, the MRX-15 or MRX-30, depending on the outputs, inputs, and sensor configurations, gives you more of an advanced system,” says Paul Williamson, owner of 30AV, which serves Florida’s Panhandle. “All of the newer keypads; the 7100, the 9600 [are] number-one; it’s a fantastically built product. I think reliability over the years is going to be key. It also has an audio video intercom built into it.”
At Columbus, Ohio-based The Theater People, operations manager Brent Spires says, “I’m pretty much using the new MRX-15 at this point. The speed of the processor and the speed of the downloads from an installer standpoint are incredibly fast. The MRX-30 is typically going to be used in larger projects and commercial installations because it has a ton of IOs and it’s even faster. The Total Control 2.0 software and the reliability with these new processors have been just solid.”
The Bartlett, an ultra-luxury apartment community, located in the heart of Pentagon City, is not only the pinnacle of the Arlington skyline, but it’s also the most technologically advanced smart building in the area. “Nowhere else will you find a building that is so technologically integrated at its core,” says John Carrol of Nard’s Entertainment, which serves the Washington, DC metro area. “With 699 units, it boasts fifteen Total Control in-wall touchscreens with custom building branding, over 150 speakers, an eight-panel video wall, and seven 42-space racks—plus fully automated AV distribution.”
“We Want Our Dealers to Be Profitable”
Although distribution channels accounted for a significant portion of URC sales, Total Control 2.0 is a premium product, and the company took a calculated risk. “Starting in 2017, we decided to pull the Total Control line completely from distribution and made it available exclusively to URC direct dealers,” says URC’s Park.
“We look at our dealers as our family, and we work closely together with them to provide support,” says Park. “We select our dealers very carefully.”
“I’ve got my URC rep working one-on-one with my salespeople. This is support you don’t get from other manufacturers,” says Starpower’s Brown. “This is support that truly is above and beyond what I get from other manufacturers.”
During a time when many dealers are facing ever-shrinking margins, Park notes that URC has significantly increased dealer margins to help them become more profitable. “I’m the sole owner of URC,” says Park. “My primary interest is to meet their [dealers’] needs and not the needs of shareholders or investors.”
A Sneak Peek
In 2019, the custom installation community will see continued growth of the Total Control line with new and innovative URC user interfaces, distributed audio, and lighting solutions.
Total Control 2.0 already works with many third-party products, such as HEOS distributed audio systems, Luxul networking gear, and Just-Add-Power video matrix solutions. “We plan to introduce a line of architectural speakers to complement our DMS audio solutions,” says Park. “Although we currently have a URC lighting solution and play well with many brands like Lutron and Vantage, we will be releasing a more robust, improved lighting system this year.”
To see recent projects from your peers, check out URC’s dealer page.