2Gig Technologies unveiled the GC3 home control system at ISC West 2014, boasting on-board Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a couple of really clever new features.
2Gig, now owned by Nortek’s Linear, has been a pioneer in the category of self-contained security/home automation systems. They were arguably the first to incorporate Z-Wave and traditional security-sensor RF into a single panel. The company claims it has sold more than 1.5 million systems in just four years.
Now 2Gig has done it again with a few particularly unique features in its latest GoControl panel, the GC3, demonstrated for the first time at ISC earlier this month.
First, the large 7-inch touch-panel incorporates Wi-Fi, which has been absent in previous products.
Senior product manager Loren Bryner explains that the radio is ideal for remote firmware upgrades, which were challenging (and expensive) to implement over 2Gig’s cellular radio.
Wi-Fi also will be useful for delivering Internet services to the panel and integrating certain Wi-Fi (Internet of Things) devices, which are hitting the market at a record pace.
2Gig also has added a Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart) radio to the GC3, which could be used for proximity detection, say, to arm or disarm the system when a user leaves or returns to the home.
Additionally, BLE has become a popular protocol for personal monitoring devices such as smart watches and health monitors, so these too could be incorporated into the system. Linear is North America’s largest provider of PERS (personal emergency reporting system) devices so it would seem likely that the company would blend the systems.
The new features don’t stop there.
2Gig has made the GC3 user-upgradeable for new generations of cellular service.
The fiasco caused by the 2G sunset, requiring costly truck rolls for security dealers to upgrade existing panels, led 2Gig to create a mechanism for consumers to swap out radios on their own. A slot on the side of the panel slides and the customer simply pops out the old radio and replaces it with the new.
Finally, 2Gig has added a USB port to the top of the panel for adding any number of new features in the future.
A USB camera, for example, could sit atop the panel, snapping pics of anyone who arms or disarms the system. Photos could be loaded into a stick to turn the touchscreen into a digital picture frame.
And here’s a thought … connect a ZigBee or Lutron Clear Connect radio to the panel to integrate with a vast array of additional products beyond Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
In addition to the hardware updates, 2Gig has refined its user interface and exploited the larger real estate.
Gone are the cryptic and buried buttons like “Services” and “Z-Wave.” Automation is now featured plainly on the home screen.
“We moved some key features to the top,” Bryner says. “Originally you had to drill down to get to ‘arm.’ Now it is up front on the main screen.”
In addition, users can customize their panels to a specific room. They simply set up a scene and press the “bookmark” button to create a default screen for the particular room.
The GC3 will be priced about the same as its predecessor but without the cellular radio.
In addition to the GC3, 2Gig demonstrated at ISC the GoBridge, which adds broadband capabilities to legacy GC2 panels.