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.
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.