The Z-Wave Alliance is not a federation of superheros but a consortium of leaders in the home technology industry who want to set Z-Wave technology as the standard for wireless home control products. Developed by Zensys, Z-Wave is a two-way, wireless mesh network communications technology that allows homeowners to monitor and manage their lighting, security systems, thermostats, garage door openers, entertainment systems, and other home products from anywhere in the world. The Alliance is encouraging companies in the home control industry to incorporate this technology into their products and work with them to continue to adapt the technology as new uses and requirements arise. “Much has been made of the ‘digital home,' yet until now few steps have been taken to make it a reality for the mass market,” says Kirsten West, principal analyst at West Technology Research Solutions. The Alliance hopes to change all that. As it does, the benefits for both homeowners and remodelers can only grow, as home automation technology becomes more accessible and affordable.
LiteTouch. With the LiteTouch 5000LC control system, homeowners can control individual window treatments, groups of window treatments, or all window treatments at once with the touch of a button. The product is combined with the motor interface of Solar Shading Systems' products to offer synchronized blind control. A wide variety of keypads are offered. 801.486.8500. www.litetouch.com.
GE Security.Smart ConnectionCenter structured wiring products integrate the entire home's electronics. Telephone, computers, security, cable and digital satellite TV, and more are controlled at one source. Surge suppression equipment protects equipment from low-voltage surges. 800.777.5484. www.gesecurity.com.
HAI. Designed for large residences, the OmniPro II coordinates lighting, heating and air, security, and messaging based on activity and schedules. It accepts customized “scenes” that set temperatures, lights, and security to desired levels with one touch. The home can be controlled and programmed on-site or from a remote location. It has serial ports for connections to additional control devices. 504.736.9810. www.homeauto.com.
Eaton. The Home Heartbeat home awareness system gives homeowners an all-in-one glimpse at the status and condition of their homes, the maker says. The wireless, plug-and-use system features the Home Key (shown), a keychain-sized LCD screen that provides updates as it monitors the home. It monitors for problems such as water leaks and flooding and the status of doors and windows. 800.525.2000. www.eaton.com.
Greyfox. The Category 5 Intercom System, which received the Innovative Housing Technology Award at the 2005 Builders' Show, supports up to 12 indoor room locations, two outdoor locations, and one main location. It boasts an unobtrusive wall plate along with hands-free communication. Homeowners can monitor at multiple stations simultaneously and mute at every station. 877.473.9369. www.greyfox.com.
Elan. The VIA! 4.0 In-Wall touch panel features a 4-inch color LCD touch screen that allows homeowners to view live video sources and control whole-house A/V systems, lighting, security, temperature, and more. The system uses the company's existing VIA!TOOLS setup software and comes with a two-year manufacturer's warranty. 859.269.7760. www.elanhomesystems.com.
Sonance. As the Apple iPod becomes the ubiquitous music system, more accessories arrive on the market to serve its users' needs. The iPort is an in-wall docking station that lets the iPod's music play over any whole-home audio system. Each iPort comes with a custom install accessory kit that contains all the hardware and cables required. 800.582.0771. www.sonance.com.