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Hawking Bets Big On ZigBee

Hawking Technologies, a manufacturer of connectivity solutions now testing the home automation market, is preparing to take the wraps off one of the first home-control solutions based on the ZigBee wireless standard.

Hawking's HomeRemote solution, expected to ship later this spring, uses ZigBee technology, which provides low- bandwidth wireless connections at up to 75 meters, allowing homeowners to remotely control lighting, temperature and appliances through a Web browser on a PC or mobile device. A variety of security sensors that attach to doors and windows allows users to monitor the security of their homes while they're away, says Jason Owen, chief marketing manager at Hawking, Irvine, Calif.

A wireless gateway with an embedded 802.11g router serves as the main "brain" of HomeRemote, which connects to the Internet and communicates to ZigBee sensors. "We've taken IP and converged it with ZigBee for a home-control system you can control from the Internet while you're at work or on vacation," Owen says.

Home automation is a huge market that's being held back right now by the high cost of solutions, which limits the market to high-end homes and businesses, Owen says. Hawking wants to lower the bar by providing advanced features in an economically priced home automation solution. "We're offering integrators a solution they can take to the lower end of the consumer market," he says.

Chris Park, president of Millennium Systems, a New York home integrator, considers HomeRemote an economical alternative to higher-end systems because it hooks into existing home infrastructure and doesn't require additional smart devices. "Cost is definitely the big upsell for this product," he says.

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