Westinghouse Security Debuts With Home Automation Hub Built into Smart Door Lock
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Westinghouse is in the house. The smart house. Westinghouse Security launched this week at CES 2015 with a Z-Wave home automation hub built into one of the smartest door locks out there. Too smart, maybe, but we’ll get to that.
The new Westinghouse Security business is the old NextLock, which used to be Actuator Systems until it formed a partnership in 2013 with Strattec, which makes access control products for the automotive market. NextLock (Actuator Systems) already made commercial-oriented biometric door locks for the commercial market but demonstrated its first push into residential at CES 2014.
Last year at CES, NextLock showed a feature-rich lock in a rather unattractive hideous form factor. The company “became” Westinghouse Security with rights to manufacture and market all security-related products – both commercial and residential – under the Westinghouse brand.
CEO Kevin Henderson says the arrangement is not a licensing agreement per se, nor an acquisition.
When pressed, he did say the deal is something like Jasco’s arrangement with GE to create DIY security products under the GE brand. There isn’t much of a Westinghouse company today, other than an organization that licenses the brand.
Anyway, back to the new lock. As Westinghouse Security, the new organization has delivered a much nicer-looking product with very similar specs as the original. Called Westinghouse Nucli, the product is more than a lock. It is actually a complete home automation hub featuring Z-Wave, BLE and Wi-Fi … and an open “SmartSync” API.
The API could be used to create an entire home automation system or features specific for the lock. Or the door lock’s motion sensor could trigger Z-Wave lights inside the home.
For example, Henderson suggests a programmer could write a facial-recognition application that could tell the user who is at the front door.
There will be a fee associated with cloud-based notifications and storage.
Also built into the controller:
- Two-way audio/VoIP communications
- Integrated outdoor camera
- Motion detector
- Indoor and outdoor touchscreens for configuring the device
- Inner LCD to display the view from the outdoor camera
- Digital doorbell that can play any MP3 sound
- Digital keyapd and virtual keys that can be shared for up to 50 users
- Accelerometer that detects when the door closes so it can lock automatically
- Magnesium outer housing
- “Superior capacitor technology” that allows emergency use even with “nearly dead” batteries
- Outer 9V battery terminal for use when batteries are dead
- SmartFob Z-Wave keyfob
That’s a lot of features for a residential door lock. As such, it can sap the rechargeable battery pretty quickly, depending on how the unit is used.
Henderson says the product has a dedicated chip and algorithms for battery optimization, but it still provides only four to eight months of life. The battery, he says, can be charged in a mere two hours.
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