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Dedicated Interfaces Remain Vital For Today’s Control Systems

Custom integrators who allow their clients to think that an iPhone, iPad or Android device is the first — and last word — in home control are doing them, and the industry they serve, a disservice, according to Joe Lautner, Control Group Director at CORE® Brands, which manufactures and markets the industry-leading ELAN® g! Entertainment and Control System. “Let’s not put the cart in front of the horse,” Lautner stressed today. “The phenomenal popularity of Apple and Android interfaces has had an incredibly strong and positive impact on our industry, but their control features are limited when compared to the capabilities of dedicated interfaces.”

According to Lautner, every integrator knows there are a lot of things that are simply easier, faster and more convenient to do on a dedicated wand-style remote or hard-wired in-wall touch screen. Special features such as always-on intercoms, hard buttons for commonly used functions and deeper accessibility into security, energy management and media controls make these interfaces a necessary element to deliver the full functionality of a robust home control system. “And as homeowners add more wireless devices that can congest their Wi-Fi networks, hard-wired control interfaces ensure reliable access to the system.”

Lautner stressed that advanced technology is now a part of everyday life, and cable companies have begun promising cheap home automation from a smartphone. Because of this, he explained, it’s easy for consumers to lose sight of the value of more expensive touch screens and remotes that industry professionals consider must-haves.

“Increasingly, integrators are working with clients who assume that their smartphone is the only device they need to control their home. It’s up to us to educate the consumer,“ Lautner stressed.

While it’s convenient to be able to log while away from home, it’s also true that when in the home, using a smartphone may add four or five steps to simply change the volume or pause the TV. Wand-style remotes are still the best solution for home theater and home audio control.

In-wall touch screens also have several advantages that are obvious to integrators but may be more elusive to their clients. Lautner continued, “You always know where it is, you can’t drop it, you never have to charge it, you and your kids can’t break it, toddlers can’t reach it, it won’t slow down because you have 1,000 Instagram updates, you can set different home screens and accessibility options for different users, it’s always on, it’s available for other family members to use when you aren’t home, and some models can double as TVs, making them perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.

“Using a smartphone for home control is like using an air mattress,” Lautner concluded. “It’s extremely useful when you’re out of the house, and can be valuable in a pinch when you’re home, but it doesn’t provide the same level of functionality as a real mattress designed specifically for everyday use. Smartphones are great for remote accessibility, but once you’re inside the house there are much better ways to manage your home control system.”

About CORE® Brands:
CORE® Brands is a subsidiary of Nortek, Inc., a global, diversified company whose many market-leading brands deliver broad capabilities and a wide array of innovative, technology-driven products and solutions for lifestyle improvement at home and at work. Please visit www.nortekinc.com for more information. CORE Brands combines the product and marketing strengths of ten iconic audio, power management and control brands into a single business unit that includes ATON®, BlueBOLT®, ELAN®, Furman®, Niles®, Panamax®, Proficient®, SpeakerCraft®, Sunfire® and Xantech® brands.

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