URC, a company known for its remote controls, will soon roll out the finishing touches of its whole-house home control system, called Total Control, with new features to control lights, thermostats and see the energy consumption of a home.
Total Control was officially launched last year, but mostly as a multizone audio system controller operated by wand-style remotes. The system connects over Category 5 Ethernet wire with Power over Ethernet (POE). And what the system has lacked has been a large enough graphical user interface to really control lighting, thermostats and see metadata like cover art for URC’s SNP-1 network streaming player.
That’s going to change in the next couple of months, according to the company. The new TKP-2000 in-wall keypad with a 3.5-inch touchscreen and six backlit hard buttons will be formally launched in the second quarter to easily control lights, a thermostat and see metadata.
URC has also been working on two-way control modules that will make interaction between other devices and the keypad possible. An energy monitoring function, for example, will be available at no charge and works with The Energy Detective (TED) energy measuring device that is installed at the electrical service entrance. (You’ll have to pay for the TED device.) URC network series remotes KP-4000, MX-5000 and MX-6000 have worked with the TED 5000 energy monitor for a while.
Russ Hoffman, URC’s education and content development manager, says, “The people that actually did energy management [with the remotes] love it,” but the awareness that people can do this still remains low.
URC’s Total Home system will access data from the TED over Wi-Fi and offer more user-friendly charts and graphs.
The lighting module, allowing an interface with Lutron’s wireless RadioRA 2 lighting control system, is about three weeks to a month away, Hoffman says. Climate control with URC’s own thermostat will follow, as will apps for iPad, iPhone and Android-based devices.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates