[CES] 2007 Exclusive Update - SMARTLABS/INSTEON


CocoonTech CES 2007 Exclusive Updates - SMARTLABS/INSTEON

Notice: Please be aware that information gathered from the various vendors’ booths was done at an incredibly fast and furious pace. The purpose of these updates is to make our members aware of the new technologies introduced during the show as quickly as possible. Some details and statements may have been (unintentionally) misinterpreted and thus not be entirely correct/accurate during this process.

I visited the SmartLabs/Insteon collection of booths while attending CES 2007 in Las Vegas on January 8th (first day of the show).

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One new product that Mike Pearson (SmartLabsMike) showed me that is sure to draw a lot of attention is the Insteon remote (shown below). This product, called the "Remotelinc" can send (and receive) Insteon signals via your existing RF phase couplers.

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FOLLOWUP: This product attracted a lot more attention than I initially thought, so I did a follow up visit with SmartLabs on Wednesday (Jan 10th). I would also like to thank Mike Pearson and all the vendors at the SmartLabs booths for spending time with me and helping me obtain all of this information for our membership. :blink:

The remote felt very lightweight and had a good feel to it. I believe the pictures are a little misleading as to how it feels in your hand.

It does have a white LED which will "confirm" a button press along with a short "beep". The buttons are plastic, not a cheap feel, but not the most expensive either. You do get a good mechanical "click" when the buttons are pushed.

The large space towards the middle is for labeling.

Note that the white LED does show "any" Insteon RF activity. Also, you can link multiple devices to a button for scenes.

Additional photos were taken and are shown below. ^_^

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Embedded Automation

Next I visited with a fellow Cocooner Ted Singh of Embedded Automation. Ted was showing the mCentral PC which is a media center and home automation server (running mControl) that can be mounted inside a structured media box as shown below.

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By having the mCentral PC in the utility area wiring closet you simplify cabling/wiring to other components as well as have the noise of the PC inside the media center. It runs a full dual core Intel ViV compatible platform running Vista.

It supports (via mControl) a multitude of security systems as well as Insteon and Z-wave plus internet IP cameras. One end of mControl will interface with HVAC, lighting, security hardware, etc... while the other end provides web server based interfaces to touch screen clients, mobile pages, etc...

mControl has an all new interface because of the new Vista "media center" markup language. They have taken the Microsoft UI's made available via Vista and integrated them with their mControl software.

One new feature in mControl is the ability to trigger macros based on video change of an IP camera. For instance when the video viewed by an IP camera changes, it can send a trigger to mControl which can then turn on a light, record for a length of time, etc... mControl supports Axis, Panasonic, and D-Link IP Cameras.

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Other Insteon Enabled Products

An Insteon RF Thermostat was on display:

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Here is a picture of the new Insteon enabled Socket Linc.

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SmartLabs also has an Insteon RF enabled Smoke Detector (sends an Insteon signal that can turn on your lights, shut down your HVAC system, etc...)

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I also visited the Cortexa booth and saw their controller with a Samsung Q1 running as a client.

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Next I saw a D-Link Insteon router. Basically it is a standard network wireless router with updated firmware so you can now interact with Insteon products.

You can access your router's remote web page interface which now has an Insteon device area where you can control Insteon devices. (This should be out before the end of the year). It will send the signal to the powerline and to the RF interfaces as well. Currently you can only have "on-off" capability of the Insteon devices.

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I had a very nice visit with fellow Cocooner David Howard of Power Home. David will have a new version coming out soon.

Some Powerhome capabilities include Elk M1 Interfaces that enable you to use the Elk as a controller to your Insteon devices (via a serial interface, Ethernet may be in future development).

Other features include a streamlined Insteon explorer interface as well as added control of an individual device right in the Insteon explorer menu (i.e. you don't need to go into the device status screen to turn a device on or off).

David plans on working on the manual and get it up to speed after this new 1.4 released version is out.

Powerhome can also easily configure an Insteon keypad linc device (set up linking as well as local ramp rates and levels).

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PowerHome is THE way of setting up your Insteon devices and linking (between devices as well as a controller) and also is excellent for maintaining and monitoring your Insteon network.

Powerhome provides full time monitoring of Insteon communications (reporting of Insteon reliability levels as well as error detection). The graphics (in the screen shot below) are sorted by problems (colors) that represent what is going on with your Insteon network. The graphs are an average of all Insteon communications since your last manual refresh.

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This excellent software also has a web interface for home automation needs (can design touch screen graphics with this capability as well). David will be improving on the graphics to enhance these visual interfaces in later versions. He will also be putting together a windows pocket pc interface in the near future.

Powerhome can support image mapping (for supporting devices such as Audrey's) as well as cascading style sheets for the more modern pocket pc devices.

Powerbuilder design view can easily link a button graphic to an Insteon device or macro. Currently a "color" feedback change isn't easily available but Dave plans on adding this feature as well as other indicators.. B)

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Universal Devices

I visited Orly Kohanim, President with Universal Devices who showed me their new product due out in February.

Their goal is to simplify the sometimes confusing installation process of your Insteon devices installed in your home. They basically placed their technology inside a “little black box” which you can plug you’re your home’s network. Then you can view your devices via a software Java application that is run via any web browser (on any PC connected to the network).

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You first have to have the devices “discovered” by the software (by pressing “discover” in the software, then click on the device itself). Now the device will show up in the software’s “tree” listing.

You then have the ability to create groups (rooms). Once you create a group you can click on it to see the devices associated with it. You can populate the group by simply dragging and dropping a device into a newly created group.

While I was there they created a “CocoonTech” group. Then Orly just clicked on the devices, then dragged and dropped them into this new group.

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You can create a very simple “room” floor plan (not to scale of an actual floor plan currently, just a rectangle representation) then have devices “placed” in this plan. Now you can see what devices are associated with a particular room. You can then control and see the status of all of these devices (icons).

You can also select one of the groups you created and drag it into the floor plan as well.

You can also do schedules and “scenes” with your devices and groups. Devices can also include Insteon enabled thermostats and blinds. When you click on a scene button, you can see all the devices associated with that scene.

This product package includes the box and the software. The software is a java applet that can be viewed via a web browser on any computer or pocket PC. The software will also “auto discover” any group to the clients you created (for instance notice the “CocoonTech” group showed up on the pocket PC).

You can also do linking via the pocket PC as well.

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This product will be available in February.

Somfy Blinds

I also took this picture of the Somfy blinds which were Insteon controlled.

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Again, thanks to Mike Pearson (SmartLabsMike) and all the vendors for their graciousness and time! ;) CocoonTech appreciates the opportunity for the interviews and product demonstrations!
Thanks for the information and pictures, BraveSirRobbin.

Any chance you have anymore details on the RemoteLinc? You already teased us with the picture the other day, but isn't there anything else you can tell us about it? Here are some questions I have just at the top of my head. If you can answer any of these, that would be awesome. If not, that's okay, too.

Approximately how big is this thing? I can sort of guess at this based on the hand and the couch in the background.

How heavy does it feel? Any guess as to how much it weighs?

Did you get to push the buttons? What kind of tactile feel do they have? Are the 6 buttons at the top "rockers"? Is there a noticable "click", or is there a "mushy" kind of feeling? Did the 6 buttons at the top feel cumbersome, or were they easy to operate?

Is there any sound when you press any of the buttons?

Do any of the buttons light up? Are the circular buttons at the bottom backlit?

What is the large empty space/gap between the 6 buttons at the top for? Were we correct in guessing it's for a label placard?
Long time reader, first time poster...

The remote may not be as bad as it appears. Using the thumb in the picture and my own thumb to scale the size, it looks like this thing is very close to 3"x5". Approximately the same size as the x-10 palm pad.

While it looks cludgy in the hand, it may look better than other remotes sitting on a table top, where it will spend most of it's time.

In my opinion, the "All On/Off" and "Dim / Bright" do not have a place on an Insteon Controller of any kind. It should be possible to disable them if they must put them on. For example, if you have an appliance (iron) linked to a Controlinc button, you sure don't want that responding to an "All On" command. Far as I know, there is no way around this. Also, I'm using Controlinc buttons as sensors in Hal, not to directly control Insteon Groups. Hitting an "All" button makes the house do very wierd light shows... The "Dim / Bright" buttons are pointless if you get the same effect by pressing and holding the device buttons.

Hope I didn't wander too far off track.
RWlodarczyk said:
Any word on availablity of the RemoteLinc or new version of Powerhome?
I am also curious if any date was given for RemoteLinc. Especially since they aren't supposed to be talking about unreleased products (per their company policy). In that same vein, it was sad to see no other SmartHome Insteon carrots were dangled. The RemoteLinc was discussed at EHX 10 months ago and SH hasn't delivered a number of the products that were hoped for in 2006. Personally, I am waiting for a relay version of the KeyPadLinc.

I suspect that Dave will release the next PH as soon as he gets home and gets caught up. He was working hard on it before the show and I believe he had hoped to actually get it out before CES.
Personally, I am waiting for a relay version of the KeyPadLinc.

I havent bought anything in a while waiting for a relay version of the keypadlinc and also for the bugs to be worked out. I sold off some of what I didnt install yet on ebay to free up the money for other things.
Xpendable said:
BraveSirRobbin said:
At ces now, got a lot of pics of remote & more details, will post later (on pda now)
Great! We look forwarding to whatever details you may have!
CocoonTech responds to our members' requests! :)

I updated the original post above with more pictures and a short review. :)
BraveSirRobbin said:
Note that the white LED does show "any" Insteon RF activity.
Since this has to be in range of a SignaLinc, doesn't that mean that it will be flickering for ALL Insteon activity? The SignaLincs are supposed to be copying all Insteon traffic to the other phase, which will generate RF.
I doubt it. If you look closely, they built a display with a SwitchLinc, a KeypadLinc and an outlet with a nightlight plugged in. My guess is they wired the outlet to the load side of the switch, then programmed links to different lighting scenes on the keypad. The scenes probably link to the controlled outlet and a few other lights & devices around the booth.

I can't answer the questions about the LED activity and outlet, sorry.

I DID update the original post again with a review of Universal Devices though!
Thanks so much for the additional pictures and information on the RemoteLinc, BraveSirRobbin! I really appreciate the pictures showing all the different sides! The KeypadLinc and SwitchLinc in the background really helps to get a sense of scale, since most Insteon users have at least one of those switches. Looks like it probably takes 4 AA batteries, given the size of the battery door.

One more question for you about the 6 buttons at the top: Are each of those just single buttons, or are there 2 functions to each button? I ask because it looks like each of those could possibly be rocker switches (like you might be able to push the top part of a button for dim up and the bottom part for dim down). I'm guessing they are just single push-buttons, but wanted to see if I was wrong.

Thanks again for the information! :lol:
Xpendable said:
Are each of those just single buttons, or are there 2 functions to each button? I ask because it looks like each of those could possibly be rocker switches (like you might be able to push the top part of a button for dim up and the bottom part for dim down). I'm guessing they are just single push-buttons, but wanted to see if I was wrong.
Man, I just can't remember, sorry. I did tell Mike to make sure to log on and look at my review in case there were errors, so I'm sure he will reply once the show is over.