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‘Westinghouse Security’ Launches with Home Automation Hub Built into Crazy-Smart Door Lock

JAN 10, 2015

Formerly NextLock, new Westinghouse Security launches at CES 2015 with mega-featured door lock with Z-Wave, BLE and Wi-Fi home automation hub built in.

ces_2015_logo_smallWestinghouse is in the house. The smart house. Westinghouse Security launched this week at CES 2015 with a Z-Wave home automation hub built into one of the smartest door locks out there. Too smart, maybe, but we’ll get to that.

The new Westinghouse Security business is the old NextLock, which used to be Actuator Systems until it formed a partnership in 2013 with Strattec, which makes access control products for the automotive market. NextLock (Actuator Systems) already made commercial-oriented biometric door locks for the commercial market but demonstrated its first push into residential at CES 2014.

Last year at CES, NextLock showed a feature-rich lock in a rather unattractive hideous form factor. The company “became” Westinghouse Security with rights to manufacture and market all security-related products – both commercial and residential – under the Westinghouse brand.

CEO Kevin Henderson says the arrangement is not a licensing agreement per se, nor an acquisition.

When pressed, he did say the deal is something like Jasco’s arrangement with GE to create DIY security products under the GE brand. There isn’t much of a Westinghouse company today, other than an organization that licenses the brand.

Anyway, back to the new lock. As Westinghouse Security, the new organization has delivered a much nicer-looking product with very similar specs as the original. Called Westinghouse Nucli, the product is more than a lock. It is actually a complete home automation hub featuring Z-Wave, BLE and Wi-Fi … and an open “SmartSync” API.

The API could be used to create an entire home automation system or features specific for the lock. Or the door lock’s motion sensor could trigger Z-Wave lights inside the home.

For example, Henderson suggests a programmer could write a facial-recognition application that could tell the user who is at the front door.

here will be a fee associated with cloud-based notifications and storage.

Also built into the controller:

  • Biometrics
  • Two-way audio/VoIP communications
  • Integrated outdoor camera
  • Motion detector
  • Indoor and outdoor touchscreens for configuring the device
  • Inner LCD to display the view from the outdoor camera
  • Digital doorbell that can play any MP3 sound
  • Digital keyapd and virtual keys that can be shared for up to 50 users
  • Accelerometer that detects when the door closes so it can lock automatically
  • Magnesium outer housing
  • “Superior capacitor technology” that allows emergency use even with “nearly dead” batteries
  • Outer 9V battery terminal for use when batteries are dead
  • SmartFob Z-Wave keyfob

That’s a lot of features for a residential door lock. As such, it can sap the rechargeable battery pretty quickly, depending on how the unit is used.

Henderson says the product has a dedicated chip and algorithms for battery optimization, but it still provides only four to eight months of life. The battery, he says, can be charged in a mere two hours.

Just as interesting: the fob

Even as interesting as the door lock/hub is the SmartFob keyfob (SAL-SF500), which can be used for many purposes, not just as a door opener. I’d take a few of these as standard controllers for a Z-Wave home control system. It has a biometric and keypad reader with gesture/touch control.

Users can define what kind of swipe triggers what kind of event. It has always amazed me that standard garage door openers (for example) can be accessed by anyone with the garage remote. This device would require users to enter some kind of code or swipe their authorized fingertip.

There’s even a built-in OLED screen for configuring the device.

SmartFob SAL-SF500

  • WiFi, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth compatibility
  • Control Z-Wave devices individually or in groups
  • Compatible with 1,000’s of Z-Wave devices (Z-Wave 5202)
  • Fingerprint secured
  • Static touch interface eliminates buttons and allows for user defined gestures
  • Manage credentials via a PC app
  • OLED display allows for customer logos and menus
  • USB rechargeable battery provides up to 3 months of life
  • 1GB of encrypted storage
  • Rugged, water resistant design
  • Integration with iOS and Android smart phone applications

The Nucli is available for preorder at $299. The product will retail for $399 when it ships this quarter.

Early adopters receive one year of free technical support, two years of free access to the company’s cloud-based notification system, and free access to the API with sample code. Contact by January 31 to take advantage of the “early access program.”

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