Motorola Mobility acquired small home automation company 4Home in late 2010. Last year at CES, Motorola showcased the same technology that 4Home, developer of a nimble home automation platform, has demonstrated for years.
There was little integration with the rest of the Motorola ecosystem.
That is changing at CES 2012 where Motorola is showing some tight integration between 4Home and other Motorola solutions.
For example, take Motorola’s new “Smart Actions” technology, now available on select phones like the Droid Razr. Smart Actions enable users to program events based on standard technologies embedded in the phone, such as WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS. Want the phone to switch to vibrate when you get to the office? There’s a Smart Action for that.
Take that idea and apply it to home automation. “If you go outside the fence [judging by GPS coordinates], then the house knows you’re leaving,” says Jim Hunter, 4Home founder. “If you’re the last one to leave the house, maybe it sets the “away” scene. And then if it picks up a WiFi signal, boom, you’re in the house.”
The prospects become particularly interesting with Bluetooth, says Hunter. Assuming your phone is holstered, “you can tell which devices are in range.” The Bluetooth-enabled music system, for example, would start playing your favorite Internet radio station.
And with Motorola’s new docking options, simply placing your Smart Action-enabled mobile device in a dock can trigger an automation event. “If you dock it to the TV,” suggests Hunter, “it might trigger the TV mode and adjust the lights for a movie.”
In addition, the 4Home gang is working with the rest of Motorola to match the 4Home interface with the rest of the Motorola ecosystem, including audio and video apps embodied in the new DreamGallery UI. Hunter describes DreamGallery as “software for navigating new media - from social to content, and applications like 4Home – in a consistent UI [user interface] across multiple devices.”
At CES 2012, Motorola is showing its first official 4Home gateway called - wait for it - Motorola 4Home Connected Gateway.
Better Integration with Honeywell Security
In other Motorola 4Home news, the company is demonstrating behind closed doors tighter integration with Honeywell security systems, following a partnership made in 2011.
Even so, 4Home partner Verizon, which launched its 4Home-based Home Monitoring & Control (HMC) solution in 2011, has “no commitment to roll out security,” says Karen Handy, group manager of Verizon’s HMC strategy.
Handy says about 90 percent of HMC installations to date have been do-it-yourself, with the rest of the systems being installed by integrators in the Installernet network.
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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.