6 Comments

Summary:

As the smart home heats up, players at the high end are going downmarket with products that help consumers automate their homes without having to play with complicated software.

Savant's energy monitoring UI.
photo: Savant

Savant, a home automation company for the high end customer, has decided to come down-market a bit with a starter-package home hub and software combo that allows people to automate their living environment for $1,599. The new product revolves around a Linux-based home server that acts as a control for lights, sound system and whatever else you have as part of your Savant system. The hub and controller costs $799.00 and the attendant accessories adds to the overall price.

That’s pricey, although I’ve easily put that amount of money into my own hodgepodge of a setup. The buyer of the entry-level Savant systems gets a host, the Linux brain running the software; a controller with radios and ports for operating connected devices and a self-configuring Wi-Fi universal remote. The challenge is that you need one controller for each room you want to automate, so it can add up.

I’ve covered plenty of sensor and hub products that are hoping to let people automate their homes, but so far I’ve steered clear of the high-end of the market. Yet readers are clearly interested in Savant, judging by their feedback on some of my podcasts and stories. Plus on a podcast in December with Via, a company that installs technology into the homes of the “rich and famous,” my guest compared it to the Apple of home automation. Check out the home energy monitoring UI above or the Blu-Ray controls below.

Blueray_Landscape_main

He isn’t wrong. The high-end version of Savant’s products uses a Mac Mini that runs the Savant’s software. It’s integrated so that any Apple product also runs as the control for the system; the system boasts wall-mounted iPods and iPads as controllers. So in a way, Savant is Apple’s home automation play, just done without Apple’s involvement. But the new product is not an Apple-related product.

The Apple guts run the Savant Pro lineup while a Linux machine will lie at the heart of the new, lower-cost Smart Series. Both systems are available through a series of dealers as opposed to something you might buy at a mass market retailer or on Kickstarter. The dealers do all the hard programming I’m currently struggling with on my own DIY systems. Yet, even as Savant moves slightly down market, I expect the creators of other home hubs to get more aggressive about establishing relationships with integrators and head up.

  1. The Apple of home automation? So you mean it’s not much of an innovator… Second best… Closed… Limited… Proprietary??
    Sounds TERRIBLE!!!

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    1. fart, fart, fart, fart … angry, angry, angry.

      Got it.

      thanks,

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  2. Edward Weatherby Thursday, February 27, 2014

    Hello Stacey,

    We love ya here in Atlanta and when it gets warmer feel free to leave that Texas home.

    BUT…Pricey?…WoW!!! I have a friend that does Control 4 installs that compete against Crestron.

    I think the other side of the coin will be when these 600 lb, Gorilla’s are able to push all of the hard work into the cloud. They have a hybrid in that it can be controlled via apps, but I think there is huge amounts of potential there .

    Automating a house is complicated and hard… Savant would be a great solution for your beach house or your condo, but for a House House?…
    Still looks like a Heathkit to me (I know I just aged myself)

    Regards,

    Ed in Atl

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  3. Having extensive experience deploying systems from all 3 of the big boys (Savant, Crestron, and Control4) I have to say I’m a big fan of Savant. It’s more than adequate for a “House House”.

    Not sure how this down market solution will perform. But I think it’s an exciting development, and an obvious move for Savant. Pricey though? I suppose that’s a relative term.

    Jason Griffing

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  4. it’s ugly as fk. more like the android of HA..ugly clunky interface/icons/graphic and running linux! lolz

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  5. Sawant is a dominating company in HA all round the globe and one of my Favorite too. I’ve installed the HA systems recently in my home by a domestic Home Automation Company in India, it’s name was Smart Automation (smartautomation.in) they also have done a good job and i faced no difficulties in operating their systems since last 3 months.

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