ADT Pulse has been gaining steam as a mass-market home automation solution, but it has been missing (at least) two important features available on more custom-oriented systems: a TV interface for security, lighting control, energy management and other controls; and integration with audio.
At CES 2013, ADT showed both.
On the TV side, ADT demonstrated a Samsung Smart TV App that puts the entire Pulse feature set on the big screen. Consumers can navigate the ADT interface via the handheld remote that comes with a Samsung Smart TV … just as they would navigate Netflix, games and other Samsung Apps.
When beckoned, the Pulse interface appears at the left of the screen, and the main TV event keeps on running, occupying about three-fourths of the real estate (currently there is no option for ADT Pulse to usurp the entire screen).
The TV app is a big step for ADT. Currently the other systems offered by Comcast/Xfinity (with iControl), Lowe’s (Iris), 2Gig and partners (Vivint, for example) and Honeywell (Total Connect) do not offer a TV interface.
Of the mass marketers, the exception is Verizon Home Monitoring and Control (using the 4Home platform), which offers a TV interface via FiOS.
Although not yet widely distributed the MiOS home automation platform also provides a TV interface through a $50 TrickTV device and app.
And of course, virtually all established, professionally installed home control systems offer TV GUIs.
Unlike some of the higher-end control systems, ADT Pulse cannot be configured at this time to automatically display screens based on an “event” such as a doorbell ringing. Ideally, users might want the TV to automatically display images from the front-door surveillance camera when someone rings the bell.
It’s all manual currently: Go to Samsung Apps, pull up the Pulse app, click on cameras ….
Still, it’s a start. In the next iteration, ADT plans to offer a voice-recognition feature so that the user can simply say, “Pulse … front door … door lock … open,” says VP business development Greg Farrell.
The second A/V showcase at the ADT booth at CES was the integration of AirPlay with Pulse.
As Farrell says, “It’s just another app in Pulse.”
In other words, you don’t have to leave the Pulse app environment to control your AirPlay tunes.
More ADT Pulse Partners: Energy Management and Home Health
Although much of Pulse is based on a standard home automation platform from iControl, ADT is layering new solutions into the mix and inviting others to join the Pulse ecosystem.
At CES, the company discussed its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) program with Southern California Edison, which is deploying smart meters to help customers better manage their energy bills … and help the utility avoid blackouts and brownouts.
The SCE meters utilize ZigBee, but the commands are bridged to Z-Wave in the home to communicate with Pulse.
SCE is still just “looking at” time-of-use (TOU) pricing but for now the utility offers incentives for users who allow them to set back the thermostat on “Save Power Days.”
Farrell explains, “Today, they might text you that it will be 106 degrees tomorrow and ask if they can auto-set the thermostat to Save Power Day settings.”
In addition to its energy management initiatives, ADT also is rolling out a complete home health solution. The provider already offers PERS (personal emergency response system) under the Companion brand, and has toyed with a complete home health service for seven or eight years. Now the company plans to deliver.
At CES 2013, ADT announced a partnership with Ideal Life, which makes a number of medical monitoring devices for such conditions as diabetes, asthma, obesity and congestive heart failure.
ADT will integrate these devices into its Pulse ecosystem so users (and their family and caretakers) can better monitor and respond to health conditions.
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Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.