Schlage Connected Home Solutions Group will focus in 2011 on extending the functionality of the LiNK remote home management system it introduced to the market two years ago.
Showcased at Schlage’s South Hall booth during the January CES, said Dwight Gibson, vice president and general manager of Connected Home Solutions for Schlage parent company Ingersoll Rand, will be LiNK’s ability to work with commands issued by Android phones – a capability just announced – as well as its ability to “time fence” off different devices – that is, set a restriction on the time period for which the owner wants to allow another person’s access to the home. “The cool thing about all this is that we can add functionality over the cloud, without changing out hardware. We’re very keen on continuing to do that,” said Gibson. A native iPad control app is also being worked on with an eye toward Q1 introduction, he said.
“We’ll also talk at CES more about extending the devices we want to support – particularly centered around sensors for things like door and window contacts and water sensors – things we think are very attractive additions to the LiNK offerings. Now, people will be able to get information about whether doors or windows are opened, and about where there are water leaks in homes. Just having access to information about what’s happening in your home, we think, is incredibly useful. As folks get exposure to LiNK and to its functionality, they realize there are so many things they didn’t know they needed to know, and they will want to know more and more.”
Schlage, said Gibson, “is keen on our support of the CEDIA channel. Our aim is to design solutions that are as simple as possible so that if someone wants to install it themselves they have that opportunity. But we also recognize that a lot of the customers we’re targeting are time-starved individuals looking for professional installation support, so we recently launched a professional install program available through installernet.com and we’re are continuing to drive that in the marketplace while putting together bundles that make sense for the professional installer.”
Schlage is also responsive to residential integrators branching out into light commercial work. The company “has gotten a lot of interest from customers who do 5,000-square-feet or smaller commercial jobs whose clients want to be able to know who’s entering a storeroom or a small inventory area, and who are also very keen on energy management,” said Gibson. LiNK can be set to notify a business owner who is off premises if a temperature setting in a room ticks above or below a certain threshold. “All they need is a high-speed connection and a smartphone.” Gibson said Schlage also sees growth potential on the commercial side via HVAC. Ingersoll Rand sells almost a million HVAC systems a year under the Trane and American Standard brands, and “those sales give our dealers a natural place to start a conversation around home management – specifically as it relates to HVAC control. So we’re putting a lot of energy around driving opportunity in that channel.
“We’re really excited about 2011,” said Gibson. “Being in the market for two years has taught us some useful things. Technology is finally at the point where it can live up to its promise, with devices that can deliver remote connectivity at not-too-prohibitive prices. That, coupled with more than 65 percent broadband penetration now in homes and with smartphones being an almost ‘must have’ these days, this will really be the year of the connected home. And LiNK allows people to control their homes – their biggest emotional and financial assets.”