URC made a surprising announcement today in response to dealer and distributor requests and discussions. The Harrison, NY, manufacturer is combining its two control systems lines, Total Control and ccGEN2, converging the software in the next two weeks. The move is intended to “make things easier on products, purchasing, training, programming, and marketing,” according to Cat Toomey, URC director of marketing.
A mock-up of how URC’s Sonos app interface will look later this month on a TKP-7000 in-wall touchscreen.
“On our recent fall tour of a few thousand dealers, we realized clearly we are making things harder than they need to be and we should course correct some things,” Toomey stated. “It’s a significant change but one that is a good one for the business and the dealers to get, sell, and program URC product, better, faster, and easier.”
In addition, the company indicated at CES that its much-anticipated Sonos interface was in final testing and would be available as a free app upgrade to dealers by the end of January. URC was caught somewhat off-guard in September when the third-party Sonos solution that its dealers had employed in URC systems was acquired and shut down by competitor, Control4.
The Sonos interface promises to be much more graphically “robust” than the end Extra Vegetable module, helping the company to integrate the Deezer music streaming service, allow consumers to build and edit a music queue between different music services and their own collections, and allows client’s to perform a global search for all music available on their system. URC acknowledged that the Extra Vegetables module typically crashed when updates to the URC app were made and that it’s new interface would correct that instability issue.
Regarding the ccGEN2 and Total Control announcement, Toomey explained that because ccGEN2 and Total Control have had different programming software, new drivers get added at different times and ccGEN2 dealers lose access to URC music and amp sources.
Now, authorized ccGEN2 dealers can install Total Control amplifiers (DMS) and sources (SNP-2) into home automation systems “plug and play” with less support. And using the same software they’ve been using all along, and not default to a competitive music system.
Also, Total Control direct dealers will now have faster access to locally stocked merchandise (often means same-day service); TotalControl will be at the company’s select distributor locations.
URC hopes to become a more efficient solution by having only one programming software platform for all IP-based systems, so all development, training and service resources are channeled in a single direction. “For example, both of URC’s brand new lighting products will be available to all URC dealers to marry with Total Control and no follow on or delay is necessary for an alternate platform such as ccGEN2,” Toomey said.
The URC website will remain with our core focus to consumers on the Total Control line for whole-house automation related.
URC Direct Dealers continue to have many URC direct benefits including URC website Dealer Locator positioning (with approval), direct dealer programs, and additional margin opportunities, shipping benefits, URC staff event support, and the ability to achieve Master Dealer status.