uControl home security system with media streaming & automation

May 19, 2008
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You don't have to be as paranoid as I am about security to see the sense in fitting a decent alarm system.  However, definitions of "decent" vary; it strikes me that all the sensors, sirens and flashing lights in the world aren't much use if you're out of hearing distance (how many neighbours actually check out your home when the alarm goes off, and how many just curse it as noise pollution?)  And, since we're united in our geekery, we can admit that it's nice, too, when there's a slick interface too.  uControl are relatively fresh to the home security scene; they've spent the last year developing a platform called SMA (Security, Monitoring and Automation) and a TouchScreen control panel which not only works as a fresh system install but can also integrate with an existing alarm.

uControl TouchScreen

uControl describe it as being "platform agnostic"; that is, it'll replace any control panel or alarm box in an existing system, bringing together all the existing functionality of equipment, sensors and wiring.  For new installs, the 7-inch WVGA TouchScreen acts as a complete stand-alone wireless alarm system that communicates directly with wireless peripherals and sensors.  However the uControl SMA Platform also offers remote control from any browser or cellphone, alerts via email or SMS, redundant connectivity (WiFi, ethernet and built-in GPRS cellular), cameras and compatibility with home automation setups.

Meanwhile, there's a modular "widget" GUI to manage video, photos, web-content and social networking apps throughout the home.  It'll also stream media and even link in with thermostat and lighting controls.   Right now it's a case of "price on application"; uControl will be demonstrating the system at Cable Show '08 in New Orleans.

Press Release:

uControl Announces Revolutionary New Home Security, Monitoring and Automation (SMA) Platform for Service Providers

SMA Software Platform and TouchScreen Provide Simple, Flexible, Turnkey Digital Home Solutions

NEW ORLEANS --(Business Wire)-- May. 18, 2008 uControl, a leading provider of next-generation home security and automation solutions, today announced an industry-changing software platform that allows service providers to deploy cutting edge Home Security, Monitoring and Automation (SMA) services. The uControl SMA Platform and accompanying TouchScreen combine to create an open, technology-agnostic infrastructure that works equally well for all homes whether they have an existing wired alarm system or require a new wireless alarm system to be installed. Beyond home security, the uControl SMA Platform delivers the next generation of digital home services that customers will demand.

The uControl TouchScreen combines an alarm system, communication gateway, and home automation platform into a single, 7-inch WVGA TouchScreen device that is about the size of a traditional alarm keypad. It can be conveniently placed anywhere within the home - whether mounted on a bedroom wall or placed on a kitchen countertop. For homes that don't already have a security system, the TouchScreen acts as a complete stand-alone wireless alarm system that communicates directly with wireless peripherals and sensors. For homes that already have a security system, the uControl TouchScreen replaces one of the existing keypads and leverages all of the existing equipment, sensors and wiring in the home. Both of these deployment scenarios offer the same feature set, user experience and operational management platforms, independent of the manufacturer of the existing security equipment.

One out of every four homes currently has a home security system already installed (Source: Home Systems: Home Security (C) 2007 Parks Associates). According to a March report from ABI Research, "Home Automation and Security," analyst Sam Lucero states that, "Telcos and broadband service providers are uniquely positioned to roll managed home automation and monitoring services out on a large scale, to publicize them, and to educate consumers about their value."

The TouchScreen leverages key enabling technologies from uControl's original service including remote control from any Web browser or cell phone, alerts via email or SMS, redundant connectivity (broadband and cellular), cameras, home automation and interoperability with existing alarm panels from Honeywell, DSC, GE and Bosch. In addition, it is a lightweight network information appliance in the home enabling service providers to deliver video, photos, web content and social networking applications via an open, standards-based Widget Platform. The Widget Platform enhances uControl's ability to control media and entertainment functions within the home, and manage thermostat and lighting controls to help homeowners manage power usage and costs.

"uControl has spent the past year perfecting what we believe will revolutionize the SMA industry," said uControl President Jim Johnson. "Our service provider partners encouraged us to create a home security solution that could easily be deployed in all home environments and could serve as the launch pad for the digital home applications that their customers are beginning to demand."

uControl will be exhibiting at this year's annual Cable Show '08 in New Orleans in the Cisco booth, #2811. uControl will be showcasing proof-of-concept integrations with multiple Cisco products, including Cisco's IP Services Gateway, cable modems, access points and cameras. uControl and Cisco will also be demonstrating control of the uControl SMA Platform from a television connected to Cisco's Tru2way(TM) set-top box.

For an interactive demo and videos of the uControl TouchScreen and Web portal, please visit http://www.uControl.com.

About uControl:

uControl is a leading provider of next-generation home security and automation solutions. The uControl Home Security, Monitoring and Automation (SMA) solution enables Broadband Service Providers to deliver the next generation of services for the Digital Home. The uControl SMA Platform and accompanying TouchScreen combine to create an open, technology-agnostic infrastructure that works equally well for all homes whether they have an existing wired alarm system or require a new wireless alarm system to be installed. Beyond home security, the uControl SMA Platform delivers the next generation of energy management, home automation and Digital Home services that customers will demand.

Founded in November 2005, uControl's management team consists of former executives from Cisco Systems, NetSpeed, Motive, BroadJump and TippingPoint. They are credited for developing products and services that automated installation and support processes for DSL and cable modem service providers. uControl's board of directors includes former executives from alarm and telecommunications service providers including ADT, GE Security, Clearwire, MFS and others.


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