Home Automation Companies Set to Duke it Out


Staff member
By Jessica Davis -- Electronic News, 4/21/2005

Several companies are about to begin vying to win control of your home. They don’t want to tell you what to do. Rather, they want to come in where home automation vendor X10 left off. They want to automate your light switches, thermostat, security system, and sprinkler system. They want their chips in your universal remote control. They want to unify all the things that you want to control electronically in your home under their systems.

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The article fails to mention UPB, which is available now and therefore more viable than many of the mentioned technologies (especially Insteon, which is still vaporware at this time)
I hope that is not a bad sign for the outlook of UPB. I just started installing UPB switches (thanks Martin!) and am really pleased so far... I hope the word gets out on UPB and more people start buying it! It's not cheap (I think ~$75 per switch) but I'm willing to pay a little more if the signal is very reliable (seems to be).

By the way - welcome Mark!
I was wondering as well why UPB wasn't mentioned. It might be time to contact the author and find out why, there is an email link "letter to the editor" if anyone feels like it ;)
IMHO UPB will never be widely accepted if they do not get a better price entry point and better advertising. The market is "all of a sudden" flooded with competing technologies and the Insteon has the advertising power of SmartHome behind it. With all the competing technologies available now it's going to be a cut throat market.
UPB is pretty popular, I personally would say even more popular than Z-wave based on what I have heard from installers.
I noticed UPB missing as well, but felt the reason was that the author was 'bent' toward wireless.
electron said:
UPB is pretty popular, I personally would say even more popular than Z-wave based on what I have heard from installers.
Yea I agree. Z-Wave may not make it either. It's going to be hard to compete against SmartHome's budget.
Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing how Insteon does as well. Too bad the switches won't be out for a while.

As far as Zwave vs, UBP, we are now probably selling 20+ UBP switches for every 1 Zwave switch that goes out the door.
Wow! 20 to one. It still amazes me that people will pay nearly $80 for a single light switch to replace a .49 regular flip switch. Z-Wave may have missed the boat by not offering 3way switches soon enough. Remember how Macs were a far superior OS to windows? Now who uses a MAC. Z-Wave is about to pull an apple by failing to get it right.

Is it more the professional installer using these as apposed to us self installers using Z-Wave? I've seen very few threads on UPB on the HS BB and this could be because they do not support a controller yet?
Yes Greg, I think that's a fair statement. On the retail side, it's more balanced and probably pretty close. I think primarily because of the price points.

On the professional installer side, it's way lobsided towards the UPB stuff. The customer's that they are installing for already have the money to pay someone to install it and also the installers are willing to pay a little more in order to reduce warranty and post-installation service calls.

Good point.
So Martin have you messed with UPB yet? The only reports I have seen were from Rick over a year ago and he stated that Rich had the same bridging problems that X10 had?
Good question !

Are the installers buying the UPB phase couplers? Can you get away with not having one?