'Timing is perfect' for Honeywell upgrade solution release

Dealers can offer the cost-effective VISTA Automation Module (VAM) when they do radio upgrades as the 2G sunset approaches
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Honeywell just introduced a new solution enabling dealers to offer affordable home automation upgrades to more than 10 million customers—and a company executive says the release of Honeywell’s VISTA Automation Module or “VAM” couldn’t have come at a better moment.

That’s because dealers are already reaching out to existing customers to do a radio upgrade as the 2G sunset approaches, Alan Stoddard, senior director of marketing for Honeywell Security Products Americas, told Security Systems News.

Now, he said, dealers also can offer customers “an upgrade to their system [with VAM] and really upsell them and add new RMR services and add new capabilities and kind of insulate themselves from takeovers of their customers. … I think the timing is perfect.”

The VAM, which Honeywell introduced at the start of the Electronic Security Expo, held here June 23-26, is an affordable way to add home automation capabilities to existing VISTA security systems, which provide basic security, Stoddard explained.

“It’s a fantastic, very cost-effective way to upgrade over 10 million existing Vista systems and bring them in into the smart home, connected home space,” Stoddard told SSN. “We’re really excited about that.”

At ESX, Honeywell’s VAM won for Best Home Automation System in the conference’s Maximum Impact Awards competition, according to Honeywell.

The VAM “supports up to 32 IP cameras, and a built-in web server allows homeowners to control the VAM and view live video using any web-supported device such as a smartphone or tablet while on the premises,” the company said. If customers use Honeywell’s Total Connect Remote Services they also can control the system remotely from anywhere with an Internet connection.

The VAM can control up to 232 Z-Wave devices, such as thermostats, locks and light fixtures, “to help installers more-easily create connected homes with security technology at the core,” the company said.

Stoddard said Honeywell’s Tuxedo platform also provides home automation capabilities but because it has more interactivity and display, it’s “a little bit more extensive than what we can do with the Vista Automation Module, which provides the capability to add all the same capabilities at a much lower cost point, and then homeowners use their smartphone or smart device for all their interaction with the system.”

Dealers can offer the VAM as a way for customers to save money on energy costs using Z-Wave programmable thermostats, the company noted. “When a homeowner leaves for the day and arms the security system, for instance, a VISTA panel with a VAM can subsequently alter the thermostat settings to an energy-saving mode,” the company said.

VAM is based on the same platform as the Tuxedo, which has a powerful hardware and software architecture, according to Honeywell. “Its built-in web server can support multiple tablet browsers to view live camera stream from the 32 cameras,” the company said. The solution is based on Wi-Fi wireless technology and is intended for the home. However, Honeywell noted, “if [the] Wi-Fi is robust enough for video streaming in a business environment, then VAM can be a solution for business applications.”

Stoddard told SSN that VAM was “a big highlight” for Honeywell at ESX. He added, “Most of the buzz [at the show] has been on the residential connected home space.”

He said everyone from manufacturers to dealers in the industry “is just much more aware that it’s not just security anymore; it really is connected systems and the ability to provide homeowners control over their entire household and do that in an end-to-end fashion.”

In addition to the VAM award, Honeywell also won other honors at ESX. The LYNX Touch 7000 Control System won not only the “Best in Show” award, but won in the “Best Alarm Equipment Wireless” category as well. And Honeywell won for “Best Access Control System” with its Net AXS-123 with EVL.