Tech-savvy home builders are frequently searching for new ways to improve energy efficiency and upgrade their lighting schemes. However, network access on new residential construction projects often complicates the installation of Wi-Fi enabled lighting controls.
A new lighting control from Intermatic looks to solve this common challenge. With the Ascend™ Smart 7-Day In-Wall Programmable Timer, electrical contractors can install and onboard new timers with or without a Wi-Fi connection in both single-family residences or multi-unit buildings. A welcome addition to any residential job site, its streamlined setup process saves five to 15 minutes on each installation.
With the global smart home market expected to reach $53 billion by 2022, according to a January 2018 study by Zion Market Research, the Ascend Smart can help contractors meet the needs of their clientele while saving labor hours and improving productivity.
Saving Installation Time
On many residential construction jobs, cost overruns and hectic schedules can derail an electrical contractor’s productivity and profitability. Any time a contractor can save time on labor, it allows the electricians to work on other tasks, enabling the company to finish jobs on time.
Case in point: installing time switches can be time-consuming for contractors, and the number of labor hours can swiftly escalate when a contractor is working on a multi-unit project. A builder may hire a contractor to install several switches in different homes within a new subdivision or in multiple units within a high-rise building.
In either of these scenarios, Intermatic’s new programmable timer streamlines the installation process. Rather than spending 30 minutes setting up and installing each wall switch, contractors can wrap up the job in a third of the time, saving up to 25 hours in a year (based on 100 installations).
Unlike a full home automation system, the Ascend Smart In-Wall Timer doesn’t require a smart home hub and can be controlled using a variety of communication types.
To set up the system initially, contractors can use the device’s Peer-to-Peer (Access Point) communications channel. This secure link allows the timer to communicate directly with a smartphone or tablet without a local area network or Wi-Fi.
Following the installation of the timer, homeowners can use the device’s Wi-Fi mode to connect Ascend to any active local area network. By setting up an Intermatic Connect (Cloud) account and downloading the Ascend Smart Timer app, they can also remotely access the system with any mobile device and a cellular signal.
After the contractor onboards each system, the homeowner can integrate Ascend with Amazon Alexa, a Cloud-based voice service. To turn lights off and on and monitor the status of the system, the homeowner simply needs to give a voice command, such as “Alexa, turn porch lights off,” and the timer will respond without the touch of a single button.
Upgrading to a Smart Switch
On new residential construction projects, electrical contractors are often forced to decide whether to install a basic light switch that doesn’t include scheduling features or make a significant investment in a complex home automation system.
The Ascend Smart In-Wall Timer offers a balance between these two extremes by providing a tech-forward, homeowner-friendly solution that requires a limited time investment on the part of contractors. Though the smart switch provides many of the same scheduling benefits of a complex home automation system, it can be installed like a traditional light switch. The result is a win-win for both electrical contractors and homeowners.
To install Ascend, a contractor must first verify that a neutral wire is present. Next, after wiring the device, the contractor can choose from three pre-programmed templates using its large backlit LCD or program the device through the Ascend Smart Timer app using a peer-to-peer connection. Included templates cover 80 to 90 percent of timer applications without additional customization, helping expedite setup.
If desired, a contractor can also create custom programs to fit unique applications or client needs. For example, an installer may want to schedule a timer in the lobby of a commercial building or the sales floor of a retail space to turn on only during business hours. This is a benefit during multi-unit installations as well, as a contractor can utilize the standard schedule templates included with Ascend or save customized schedules to avoid the time-consuming process of manually entering schedules multiple times.
Ascend accommodates both single-pole or three-way configurations and can support up to 42 event settings throughout a seven-day period. It includes a non-replaceable battery backup that retains time and date information for up to three days in the event of a power loss.
An Easy Hand-off to Homeowners
Unlike more complex lighting control systems, which can require lengthy training sessions, Ascend makes it easy to pass control to occupants after initial installation. Homeowners can download the Ascend Smart Timer app onto their smartphone or tablet and follow basic instructions to access timer schedules on the fly. Further, contractors do not need to manage login information or passwords with the Ascend, which can offer homeowners peace of mind.
By adding timer controls to a residence, homeowners can save energy and improve security—even when they are not at home. Rather than manually flipping on the porch light every night, for example, they can schedule lights to be on from dusk until dawn, or set lights to turn on and off at a given time. Better still, smartphone access with Ascend allows homeowners to turn lights on and off manually at any time. This can be especially useful when coming home late to a dark house or when users are away from home for an extended time. Likewise, Ascend includes a built-in “random” mode that turns lights connected to an Ascend unit on and off at intervals that are +/- 15 minutes the original programmed schedule, making it appear that their house is occupied when on vacation or away for an extended period.
With Ascend Smart, individuals of all technology backgrounds can enjoy the benefits of a home automation system without the hassle. It’s the perfect way to add modern day convenience and lasting energy savings to the home.