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LIFE|WARE By Exceptional Innovation Brings Home Automation To Your PC Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 May 2006
With the widespread arrival of broadband networking into the home and the dramatic increase in consumer use and distribution of digital content, home automation has entered the forefront of the mainstream home. Just look at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 2005 State of the Home Builder survey that the Consumer Electronics Association conducted: • 83 percent of all new homes included structured wiring
• 65 percent of new homes (over 899,000 houses) has distributed audio as a standard or optional feature
• 58 percent of new homes (nearly 725,000) included a home theater upgrade package
• Nearly half of all new homes were sold with automated lighting, home automation and/or energy management systems.

As home networks become the norm, software-focused solutions that can control a wide variety of home automation devices will deliver enhanced value and flexibility for homeowners.

One company that is poised to capitalize on the increase of networked homes is Exceptional Innovation (EI). EI produces Life|ware; home control software for lighting, thermostats, security systems, cameras and media management systems. Exceptional Innovation’s line of all-digital, high-definition touch panels and system controllers round out a complete Life|ware solution. Exceptional Innovation combines Microsoft development with years of home control experience to deliver life-enhancing solutions for the digital home.

Exceptional Innovation recently launched Life|ware 1.0.1, home control software that integrates with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 to support MCE-based installations. Unlike other home automation solutions that tie the homeowner into a single-branded, proprietary solution, Life|ware is hardware-neutral giving homeowners more choices and flexibility.

Life|ware can be run on a Media Center PC, digital entertainment center, Media Center extender or EI’s own Life|touch touch panel. When teamed with HP Digital Entertainment Centers (DEC), televisions, and other digital products, Life|ware provides a combination of home control and digital entertainment for a stable and flexible home control solution. Hardware choices for Life|ware include the HP Digital Entertainment Center z556 or z558 series. Both come with the latest version of Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 with Update Rollup 2 and offer HD digital video recording capabilities. Prices start around $1,499. Both of these DECs can be configured with Life|ware software to maximize performance for whole-home automation and entertainment functions.

Life|Ware uses Web Services for Devices (WSD) to communicate between different home systems. Exceptional Innovation’s software bridges to all Life|ware compatible partner products make each subsystem fit the cross-platform Web Services for Devices standard. The WSD approach enables rapid two-way communications that are reliable.

By taking an open, standards-based approach to home automation, Exceptional Innovation not only created a system that is affordable and scale-able, but also a system that can be expanded as new vendor partners are added. Exceptional Innovation’s approach of building sub-system partnerships and offering control over the MCE interface positions Life|ware for mainstream applications. Users can adapt EI’s home control solution to meet their specific needs, whether it is a single media room or a fully-automated 12,000 square foot luxury home.

Exceptional Innovation’s home control solutions are described below.

Life|ware is Exceptional Innovation’s software that merges control of your home with your world of digital entertainment. Life|ware is integrated into Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, which means you get all of Media Center’s great functionality – you can build and manage a music collection, enjoy slideshows of your digital photos, schedule and record your favorite television programs, call up your home videos, watch DVDs and more. Using the same remote control – the same six buttons – and the same Media Center look and navigation, you can control your home’s lighting system, thermostats and security systems. You can distribute and control your music around your entire house, check your cameras, enact user-defined Life|scenes or share media across the network.

Life|touch is an all-digital, high-definition touchpanel for use in Life|ware home networks. Life|touch puts control of your home’s lighting, climate, cameras and security system at your fingertips, and gives you total access to your digital entertainment. Select and play your music, where and when you want it. Enjoy high-definition video or watch four television streams simultaneously. You can even pause live TV. Placed near an entry, you can use Life|touch to easily enact Home and Away Life|scenes™ that can adjust your home’s lighting, climate and security to levels you’ve pre-selected. Available in 8.9 inch and 12.1 inch screen sizes and in a variety of finishes, Life|touch provides a way for you to do more with your home control systems and digital entertainment.

Life|ware 1.0.1 is currently available; EI’s Life|touch touch panels are expected in Q3 2006. Exceptional Innovation has an extensive list of partners from leading manufacturers in the HVAC, distributed audio, lighting, audio component, network camera, window shade, security, and media management industries. In addition, Exceptional Innovation has longstanding relationships and aligned vision with Microsoft, HP, Intel, and other industry leaders. Pricing for Lifeware 1.0.1 will vary based on installation and scale. EI will also create custom and premium versions for custom installers.

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