At ISE 2016, you announced new Philips Hue and Z-Wave integrations for BitWise AV control systems, how did these come about?
Following the acquisition of BitWise AV controllers for boardrooms, classrooms, retail spaces and home theaters, Leviton began making integrations with our own products free and easy for customers. This included our Omni security, Omni-Bus lighting, Intercom door station, OmniTouch touchscreens and Hi-Fi distributed audio systems. Now Leviton has launched the BitWise Developer Program, which opens up a broader marketplace for integrators and designers to create custom GUI’s and integration modules. The first progenies of the BitWise Developer Program are a Z-Wave module by ADA and a Philips Hue module by controlHome. These modules act as time-savers for integrators on jobsites because they’re pre-baked with the programming and interfaces in one simple drag-and-drop package. Leviton has many more modules in testing and development modes, and we are excited about growing the BitWise communication infrastructure.
What does EN50131 and PD6662 Compliance mean for Security and Automation Systems in Europe?
Leviton’s primary automation system, the Omni, is a security system at its core. In recently achieving EN50131 and PD6662 compliance, Leviton can compete in the marketplace as a true security panel that complies with strict police response demands and false alarm provision all while offering the unique capabilities of comprehensive automation functionality. The additional features include enhanced event logs, temporary lockout, new arming/disarming methods and tamper detection. Additionally, Leviton is shipping “controller board only” versions of these systems to installers, allowing them to source compliant enclosures appropriate for their area, reducing freight and import costs to be even more competitive.
Also during ISE, Leviton announced a new Connectivity Partnership with a KNX supervisor product, can you explain more?
Yes, for over three decades, partnerships have been imperative to Leviton’s success in forging relationships with third-party manufacturers to grow the industry and integrator solution possibilities. Some examples of these partnerships include Yale door locks, Somfy window covering motors, CO2 detection systems, water shutoff valves and dozens more. In the European marketplace and beyond, the KNX protocol is a dominant player and a requirement for many installations. This new partner, Mindbox Server by Clever-Labs of Italy, provides a web server with customizable GUI, data logging, and of course, Omni connectivity to third-party KNX devices, such as lighting controls. It opens the door to more powerful integrations globally. In fact, the KNX Association recently awarded a Leviton Omni installer the Best KNX Project in Italy.
Is the automation industry in Europe very different than it is in North America? Please elaborate.
The global automation marketplace used to believe that the European automation industry was five or ten years behind that of the United States, but that’s no longer the case. The gap has shortened significantly in recent years, and in some instances, European end-users are more accepting of home automation technology. Further, the average European integrator is educated in his field at a very high level, resulting in installers who are willing to customize unique systems for their customers with the utmost functionality coupled with designer styling. Ultimately, the desires are the same between domestic and international markets – controlling everything for the lowest costs but with the utmost reliability and expandability.
What proportion of Leviton’s automation product line is destined for the European market?
Everything except for our North American lighting controls are ripe for the European marketplace. That includes Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed security systems and wireless security sensors, access control systems, video intercom, distributed audio, audiovisual controls, temperature management, heavy-duty load control, DIN-Rail based lighting controls and so much more. In fact, at this year’s ISE we had a lot of interest in our new guest room energy management platform for spaces such as hotels.
What is the Leviton Five Star Dealer Program?
For nearly two decades, Leviton has been rewarding installers that go above and beyond their responsibilities by providing them with enhanced technical support, marketing assistance and business development tools. Therefore, we recently opened the International application that closes on March 31t and is accessible via the Dealer Support Website, http://dealer.leviton.com. The Dealer Support Website acts as a repository for all technical and marketing materials related to Leviton automation. Those applying to the Five Star Dealer program can view the program brochure to see requirements and benefits, watch installation and programming training videos, download high resolution photos and much more.
Is the technology behind automation still evolving or is the industry more focused on getting existing technologies to market?
Thankfully, the technology behind automation will always be evolving, resulting in more options and reduced costs. There are many comfortable standards today, including KNX, ZigBee and Z-Wave, which have proven dominant solutions globally. There’s no debating that the proliferation of technologies provides application-based solutions;there’s something for everything an automation customer is trying to accomplish, and some technologies accomplish the task better than others. This is why it’s so important for manufacturers and integrators to bridge the gap with a wide variety of technology types.
What else is new in the Leviton automation world?
There have been a lot of introductions in the world of Leviton automation. For instance, the Windows 10 app, Apple Watch app, an affordable Intercom door station and an awesome wireless guest room control solution called the Omnistat3. These are all great products that we’ve recently launched. The Omnistat3 acts as the brain of the room, using occupancy sensors, motion sensors and door/window contacts to adjust HVAC and lighting/loads based upon occupancy. A great installation example is happening now in California at a boutique hotel on the beach, where the owner wants to regulate HVAC usage based on when the balcony door is being opened or closed. This is helping to save energy and and lower costs. We have a lot in the works and are excited to announce more in the coming months as we grow our automation platforms.
About Greg Rhoades, Director, Marketing, Energy Management, Controls and Automation, Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.:
Greg Rhoades is a ten-year veteran of HAI/Leviton and the home automation industry, and resides in a fully-automated 200 year old Creole Cottage in New Orleans, LA. Greg’s specific certified expertise is in sustainability and accessibility applications, and he has spoken at FCC summits, worked on CEA/CEDIA applications and is active with global alliances to continue the growth of the smart device marketplace.