For the second day of CEDIA Expo, I spent a lot of time at the Z-Wave Pavillion and at Innovation Alley. Both of these areas featured companies that had new DIY-friendly things to share.
Konnected was at this year’s CEDIA Expo showing off the new Alarm Panel 2 and Alarm Panel Pro. If you aren’t familiar with Konnected, they build WiFi wiring panels that work with existing wired sensors in your home from a previously-installed security system. This allows you to use those sensors in the home automation platform of your choice.
Alarm Panel 2 builds on the original Alarm Panel by coming in a smaller size (63 x 35 x 19 mm), adding lighting and EMI protection, overcurrent protection and an expansion port to work with the new version of the INTERFACE module. The Alarm Panel Pro doubles the number of zones and outputs on one board (12/2), adds Ethernet and PoE capabilities, and has a faster processor. If you’re a SmartThings, Home Assistant, Hubitat, or openHAB user and have wired sensors in your house, Konnected is a great solution for you to check out.
Zooz debuted three new Z-Wave products at the Expo this year. First up is the Double Switch—a combination dimmer and on/off switch made to fit in a single gang box. This is perfect for situations where you have two loads controlled by a combo switch in a single gang box.
Zooz also introduced a new MultiRelay. This universal module has 3 on/off relays that allow you to control loads of up to 20 amps. You can power the MultiRelay via USB-C or any 12–24V AC/DC source. This flexibility is great for a wide variety of projects, including pool pumps and lights, sprinkler controls, or anything else requiring a dry contact relay.
Lastly, Zooz introduced an RGBW dimmer module. The module lets you control any brand of RGBW light, such as RGBW strips. It also has inputs for a manual switch and external sensors. This is great if you find flex strip kits like Hue or Sylvania too limiting.
All three products will be priced competitively, and they’ll be backed by Zooz’s excellent customer service. We’ll be covering these Zooz products in a separate post that goes into much more detail.
Ezlo debuted two new, unique z-wave controllers: The Ezlo Atom and Ezlo Plug-Hub Energy. The Atom (a re-branded implementation of ZLINK’s smart home hub that we saw last year at CES) is by far the smallest and cheapest Z-Wave controller I have ever seen at 10 x 29 x 51.5 mm, coming in at just $29.95. It looks like a thumb drive, powered by a USB plug. The Atom supports up to 30 Z-Wave devices and uses Vera’s app for control.
The Plug-Hub is a smart plug with energy monitoring and the Atom controller built into it. This is a clever design—you don’t need any extra hardware for the hub. Ezlo has future plans to allow one location to have multiple atom controllers within it. This would allow you to connect and automate more than 30 devices within a home by scattering several controllers around the house. It was also clear from Ezlo’s booth that they’re building a connected ecosytem through their recent acquisitions. Sensors from Centralite and Fortezz, combined with Vera for the automation and control, allow Ezlo to provide a full-stack solution.
Continuing the trend of small devices, Qubino showed a new Mini Dimmer at the show. This is by far the smallest Z-Wave in-wall dimmer I’ve seen at 38 x 33.5 x 15.5 mm, and it should alleviate any concerns about fitting in tight switch boxes. Best of all, Qubino didn’t skimp on features to achieve the small size. In addition to on/off and dimming, the Mini Dimmer also measures power, doesn’t require a neutral wire, and has no minimum load requirements. This is quite the engineering accomplishment!
RoomMe was showing their acclaimed personal location sensor at the Expo. This device mounts on the ceiling of each room of your house to enable highly personalized automation. The sensor determines who is in each room through a Bluetooth (BLE) connection to each occupant’s phone, which in turn communicates with devices to control/automate them. For each room, you can designate a person as the “Room Master” to prioritize that person’s settings when multiple people are in the room. (Have fun deciding this with your significant other.) RoomMe currently works with Hue, Sonos, LIFX, Bose, ecobee, Sensibo, Wink, and HomeKit. SmartThings integration is in the works. The RoomMe startup kit costs $129, and each additional room sensor is $69.