Add the home phone to the arsenal of home automation controllers. Panasonic teamed with Control4 in New York this week to showcase the integration between Panasonic IP-based phone systems and a Control4 home automation system. The demonstration was part of an overall event launching Panasonic’s Network Communication Platform and new phones targeted primarily to small and medium-sized businesses as well as high-end homes.
According to Peter Cosenza, director of integrated systems at Control4, the integration between the Panasonic IP PBX phone system and Control4 could mean lower cost and more convenience for homeowners. Panasonic phones with displays can be used to control music, heating and cooling, lights, security cameras and other features that are part of a Control4 system.
“By integrating the two systems, homeowners can benefit from less clutter,” says Cosenza. “Currently, hand-held remotes, touch-panels and keypads are the standard way to operate a Control4 system,” he says. “With Panasonic desk and cordless phones, anything in the Control4 list navigator can be controlled so you wouldn’t need a touchscreen in the kids’ bedroom, for instance.”
The integration continues a relationship with Panasonic that’s been in the works for two years. Control4 systems also support Panasonic IP-based cameras. Cosenza says integrating Panasonic’s new NCP platform with Control4 ensures scalability down the road. The phone system can be updated over the IP network.
The IP-based phones can integrate with a PC and offers additional functionality not available on standard phones. Phones offers room-to-room paging, intercom capability and multiple voice boxes as well as automated attendant functionality to direct callers to specific extensions. Built-in applications enable mobile phones to serve as office extensions.
According to Panasonic, the tighter integration with Control4 simplifies programming for installers. When an installer adds devices to the Control4 system, they’ll automatically be available to the end user via the phone interface. Menus can be built on demand via the handset interface. A phone’s buttons can be programmed to control specific functions such as mute, volume up and down, play and pause, for example.
A Panasonic spokesperson says an NCP system for a large-scale home would typically run from $6,000-$8,000 for four-60 handsets.
Control4 remains committed to its own controllers as well. The company launched two Zigbee-based remote controls at the most recent CEDIA Expo in Denver. The high-end SR-250, which includes an OLED screen said to be 40-percent larger than previous Control4 displays, is bundled with the Control4 HC-300 and HC-500 controllers.
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