Using a smartphone app to monitor and manage the electronic systems in your home is slick, that’s for sure. But is your smartphone always with you when and where you need it when you want to, say, close the motorized shades or dim the lights in the living room? Or, is the battery even charged? For as much as people pump up the virtues of home control from a mobile device, they’re not the end-all-be-all home management tool in a smart home.
Touchscreens and keypads, either recessed permanently into a wall or propped in a charging station on a tabletop, “never walk away like mobile devices do, so your controller will always be there for you,” says URC director of communications Jon Sienkiewicz. “It’s easy to control entertainment and automation in every room from one convenient location.”
With this in mind, URC recently added a new touchscreen to its lineup, the TKP-5000. Retailing for $599, it works with all URC Total Control smart home automation systems, and is able to display in a multi-view format live, full motion video captured by four Total Control-compatible IP surveillance cameras. The 5-inch color touchscreen can be mounted in a portrait or landscape orientation in a standard single-gang wallbox.
Of course, URC isn’t one to abandon its roots as a premier provider of handheld remote controls, and demonstrates its commitment to continual product refinement with the availability of its MX-990 IR/RF Remote. The new handheld remote boasts a “Freeform Graphics” feature, which gives home systems integrators the ability to customize the controls on a deeper, more personal level for their homeowners clients. The remote, which sports a 2.4-inch LCD screen and communicates via narrow-band 418 MHz radio frequency, retails for $449.95.
Lisa Montgomery has been following the home automation industry for almost 20 years, serving most of her time at EH Publishing as the Editor of Electronic House magazine. She has been covering and writing about all facets of the home automation, and specializes in explaining high-tech topics to an audience of homeowners who are looking for advice on how to incorporate smart systems into their homes. Lisa also contributes regularly to CE Pro magazine, and in her spare time you can find her either at the gym or beach on the shores of Lake Michigan, in Bridgman, Mich., where she was born, raised, and still lives today, working out of a cozy home office along with her sidekick, Major, a rescued Yellow Labrador Retriever.