This Integration Guide was sponsored by Honeywell, as a supplement to Residential Systems, February 2015
In a millennium, when students are studying our present as their past, much will be made of the role of the smart phone in fueling a technology revolution. Undoubtedly this small device, which has already reconfigured how everyday people engage with not only each other but also other devices around them, has given way to the Internet of Things concept, which gains tractions seemingly daily. Indeed, the idea of connecting all of the things we surround ourselves with through a central device has been the basis of custom home automation, but it is relatively recently that a universal device—the smart phone or smart device—has been recognized as the potential hub manager for this level of control. The impact has been visible and quantitative, especially in the security systems sector, which has experienced tremendous growth as a consequence.
Honeywell’s VISTA Automation Module (VAM) can be installed in a Honeywell VISTA alarm panel to transform a standard security system into a connected-home system that interacts with other home automation components. “Mobile smart phones have really been the catalyst for integrated security systems,” said Delia Hansen, Crestron’s residential marketing manager. “Prior to them becoming mainstream, it was perfectly acceptable to have a large, unattractive security panel at the front door. Now people are looking for more sophisticated options. The smartphone has been able to provide an answer with HD screens and remote access.”
Video Mount Products president Keith Fulmer added that “connectivity has become a big part of a changing world that is now affecting security products. “With the advent and increasing adoption of IP cameras, addressable lighting, fingerprint access control and perimeter protection and the ability to address each of these features via smartphones or other handheld technologies, integrated security systems have become a forethought vs. being an afterthought five years ago,” he said.
The fact that competition in the security systems market has exploded, in effect driving down prices, is noted by custom and commercial integration distributor, ADI, whose president, Rob Aarnes noted that the increased demand has made integrated security and home systems more affordable and more mainstream.
In 2014, Channel Vision introduced 17 new products to the market and has 10 new security products in development for 2015. For example, company’s front door intercom system with an IP camera allows the user to see any chosen point in their home from a touchscreen, computer, TV or smart phone. “Users find the technology convenient, and understand the value proposition integrated systems provide with the ability to control security systems, intelligent thermostats, fire alarms, lighting controls, locks and more from smartphone devices,” Aarnes added, while also giving a nod to cable and telephone companies that have gotten into the market after losing revenue to streaming applications.
While locks and alarms are the basis of most security systems, the addition of video surveillance is also rising in popularity.
“In the past, we exclusively saw large residential systems incorporating cameras into their security systems,” said Darrel Hauk, president and CEO of Channel Vision. “Today, cameras are frequently installed in mid-level production homes and have come to act as an extension of the automated home. Video surveillance is more desired over traditional contact switches, situated on windows and doors. Homeowners want more than a simple notification; they expect to see the inside and outside of their homes in real time.”
Security systems have always had a role in custom home automation, though ironically not a high profile one. With the order of things changing, however, it is not entirely surprising to realize that security systems are becoming the gateway technology introducing consumers to sophisticated and bespoke control systems. And, with smart devices leading the charge, Apps are also playing a significant part in bringing the two control streams together. Crestron’s Pyng, for example, is billed as the “Home Automation App” and ties lights, shades, door locks, thermostats, and the security system together. The app integrates with Honeywell’s VISTA security systems via RS-232.
Speaking of Honeywell, in addition to the well-received Total Connect service, which allows consumers to use their web-enabled devices to control their security and automation systems, the company’s VISTA system was recently enhanced with the VISTA Automation Module. VAM can control up to 232 Z-Wave devices, including thermostats, locks, and light fixtures. The device supports up to 32 IP cameras, and a built-in web server allows homeowners to control the VAM and view live video using any web-supported device such as a smartphone or table while on the premises, while consumers with the Total Connect service can remotely control the system from anywhere with an internet connection.
“This is a module that dealers install in a Honeywell VISTA alarm panel that transforms your standard security system into a connected- home system that interacts with other home automation components,” said Ralph Maniscalco, marketing communications director at Honeywell Security Products Americas. “This simplifies installation in the sense that installers don’t have to completely replace an existing system with home automation technology. You simply install the VAM and immediately have the ability to offer customers connected-home capabilities.”
Nortek Security & Control recently unveiled its GoControl line of smart products, which play on the company’s 2GIG home control system. Said to be DIY easy by group VP of strategy and marketing, Rob Halligan, the line features a large array of product categories, including smart lights, smart switches, smart outlets, smart garage door controllers, smart thermostats, and security sensors.
Under its SmartCode Home Connect, Kwikset offers a line of products that span features, functions, styles, and price points. The SmartCode locks serve as a primary user interface for the home and can control “Home” and “Away” modes for a multitude of other connected devices such thermostats, lighting controls, and security systems. “The first in the line will begin shipping in Q1 of 2015 and be compatible with a number of platforms such as the 2GIG system, our more advanced sister home control platform ELAN g!, and other popular control platforms that operate using standard wireless protocols like Z-Wave,” Halligan said. “The benefits of the GoControl line for installers lie in the product’s ability to be on-boarded very easily, take very little time to install onsite, and require very little training as well as post-install support. The DIY nature of the GoControl products make them the ideal addition to any home control system, both for installers looking for a straightforward revenue hit, and for consumers looking for affordable, intuitive smart devices to aid to their home in addition to any security or alarm monitoring they may already have.”
In 2014, Channel Vision introduced 17 new products to the market and has 10 new security products in development for 2015. Hauk highlighted the company’s front door intercom system with an IP camera.
“[It] allows the user to see any chosen point in their home from a touchscreen, computer, TV or smart phone,” he said. “Coupled with the ability to communicate to the front door from any phone or smart phone in the house, our all-in-one intercom system is the most effective way to secure your clients’ home.”
SnapAV’s Wirepath line of surveillance products includes DVRs, NVRs, IP camera, and encoders with streaming and control drivers as well as iOS and Android apps to help simplify the integration process for installers.
“We also designed our cameras with features to simplify and shorten installation, including “on ladder” access to power and video through a test port that works even when the rest of the system is not up and running,” said Alex Patrao, SnapAV’s senior category manager, surveillance. “All of our Wirepath Surveillance analog and IP products are designed for system integrators for home integrated systems, offering compatibility with most control systems.”
Joe Cook, LILIN’s general manager, noted that the company has built relationships with leading automation partners to provide systems integrators with the tools for easy set-up of recorders and cameras for viewing within home automation systems, including its outdoor cameras with built-in IR: the ZR7424 bullet and the ZR6122.
“These models are designed with ease of installation in mind,” Cook said. “Aim the camera to the field of view, from the desktop, use the remote focus to set the area of view and the remote autofocus for sharp focus. Built-in IR lighting is key when the homeowner doesn’t want white light outside their home with the ability to record people in the yard and possible intruders.”
According to Cook, with IR illumination, the field of view can be dark while still capturing the image. In comparison, many cameras have a low-light lux requirement.
Elk Products’ M1 Cross Platform Control communicates with a wide variety of home integration products to offer a builtin voice dialer to alert homeowners of status changes; built-in telephone remote control to allow management of temperature settings and water heaters, and an optional Ethernet port for programming, monitoring, and control over LAN or internet. UniKey, who in partnership with Kwikset and Weiser, has created the Kevo smart lock, is looking toward a more modest but ultimately universally accepted entry into the security field by retooling key-and-lock management without integration into a large home automation system. Kevo is designed to be a passive system, with no reliance on a network or electricity, though the company announced integration with Nest via its new KwiksetKevo at CES last month.
“We’re seeing consumer interest in smart home products grow significantly, but not everyone wants or needs to install a full home automation system—literally and financially, as apartment living, renting, low cash flow, expensive installation fees, and advanced technical set-up can all be limitations,” noted Dirk Wyckoff, vice president of marketing sales for UniKey. “We believe that standalone smart home devices, such as Kevo, are fundamental to enabling a smart home for the masses. With so many connected home products hitting the market, the key to the smart home market expanding is ensuring that the products and services we provide are intuitive and user-friendly while meeting and exceeding expectation where the user questions how they lived life without it.”
Under its SmartCode Home Connect, Kwikset offers a line of products that span features, functions, styles, and price points. The SmartCode locks, as noted by Kwikset’s Keith Brandon, director of residential access solutions, serve as a primary user interface for the home and can control “Home” and “Away” modes for a multitude of other connected devices such thermostats, lighting controls, and security systems.
LILIN has built relationships with leading automation partners to provide systems integrators with the tools for easy set-up of recorders and cameras for viewing within home automation systems, including its outdoor cameras with built-in IR: the ZR7424 bullet and the ZR6122. “Locks are a core security device that add incremental value by being able to remotely control the security of your home while away as well as delivering “peace of mind” in homeowners’ lifestyles,” Brandon said. “Besides offering high-quality products that can become the centerpiece of a complete security or home automation solution, Kwikset offers integrators a wide range of technical and support resources so that the integrators can better serve their customers.”
IC Realtime, which is known for its dedicated cameras and network video recorders, offers pre-built security integration with all major home automation systems including Control4, Crestron, Savant, RTI, and URC. Of particular note is the manufacturer’s NVR- 8128 recorder, which can simultaneous record and remotely access live images across the full range of 128 cameras.
“Our surveillance cameras and network recorders will stream real-time high definition video to major home automation systems on demand,” said Brian Levy, director of technology for IC Real Tech, the parent company of IC Realtime. “Since home automation will allow control home control from smart-phones we can give homeowners the peace of mind that when they’re away that their home and family are safe, while ensuring that the house is warm enough and that the alarm is on and ready all at the same time. Since these products are now fused together, we now have a single point of control from anywhere.”
UniKey, who in partnership with Kwikset and Weiser, has created the Kevo smart lock, is looking toward a more modest but ultimately universally accepted entry into the security field by retooling keyand- lock management without integration into a large home automation system. According to Greg Hartzell, senior manager of sales and marketing for Toshiba’s Surveillance & IP Video Products division, Toshiba has stayed ahead of the curve by offering integrators the tools they need to be more productive and profitable.
“When it comes to IP cameras, the Toshiba IK-WDOSA indoor and IK-WROSA outdoor IP mini-domes have proven to be very popular with homeowners,” Hartzell said. “Both are ONVIF compliant and have full HD 1080p resolution, on-camera recording and a wideangle, pre-focused lens to cover most any residential surveillance requirement. They also feature Power-over-Ethernet to allow for faster, more cost-effective installation. The outdoor model, the IK-WROSA, is perfect for monitoring doorways and backyards with its IP66-rated weather-proof housing and IR LEDs.
Elk Products, who according to director of sales and marketing Trudy Phillips, focuses on “a platform designed with security as the nucleus and the ability to choose from multiple manufacturers products to tailor systems based on needs, desires, or budget,” manufactures M1 Cross Platform Control. It communicates with a wide variety of home integration products to offer a built-in voice dialer to alert homeowners of status changes; built-in telephone remote control to allow management of temperature settings and water heaters, and an optional Ethernet port for programming, monitoring, and control over LAN or internet.
Nortek Security & Control recently unveiled its GoControl line of smart products, which play on the company’s 2GIG home control system. As a sector, the home security is expected to continue to grow as consumer awareness and affordability push the technology behind it further into the mainstream. Smart phones, as a tipping point, have spurred on greater recognition and desire for security systems, while talk of the Internet of Things has turned indifference into curiosity.
“I think many people already see security systems as integral to the connected home,” Maniscalco said. “The bigger question to ask is: where does it rate when compared to some of the flashier components like thermostat control, lighting, and others? People shouldn’t view security as just one piece of the puzzle, but instead the most-integral piece. It’s the puzzle piece that has a direct impact on a person’s safety and property. It’s not, therefore, something that should be taken lightly and purchased for the sole purpose of completing the puzzle.”
Maniscalco believes that selecting a security system needs to be done with a thoughtful approach. “We believe companies like Honeywell have an advantage there over home automation providers that haven’t traditionally offered security until recently, because we’ve been doing this for decades.”
With Cloud-enabled systems also on the rise and wireless technologies such as Z-Wave continuing to offer a universal language for products to talk to each other, security systems, once considered an add-on to many custom integration projects, are looking more and more like the key to the integrated home.