Why URC Speaks Native IP by Jon Sienkiewicz

7/20/2010 11:50:16 AM
By PSN Staff

“Native” is one of those words that has so many wonderful, different meanings. At URC, we use the phrase “Native to the Network” to reinforce the fact that our network system products operate directly on a wireless LAN, without the need for a black box interface. We don’t live on the network like a native, we are native. Our network system products speak the language of IP as their native tongue. But they also embrace those products who haven’t yet learned the IP language. Commercial tech managers need a Rosetta Stone, essentially, and we’ve made it our mission to provide one.
 
Our approach stands in stark contrast to numerous other control manufacturers in the commercial and residential arenas, which are working hard to find ways to make their products join a network. URC attacks the issue from a different perspective: Our products are already native to the IP network, and we have devised efficient ways to branch off of that network to control devices via RS-232, conventional RF and IR. Our MRX-1 Network System Controller is essentially a global translator and facilitator of communications that connects IP and non-IP devices. It provides two-way IP and two-way RS-232 control, plus one-way control via IP and IR (IP in, IR out). It also enables execution of Macros based on device status and can track on/off status via a video/voltage sensor. The MRX-1 features one LAN connection, one Relay, two RS-232, six IR ports and one Sensor port.
 
Certain URC remote controls, including the MX-5000 wand and the KP-4000 in-wall network keypad, use IP commands to control devices directly, or non-IP devices through the MRX-1. Our MX-6000 color touch screen remote control uses Narrow Band RF for control. All three are two-way controllers, and receive metadata via IP that provides status feedback (room temperature from thermostats, kW consumption from TED, for example) and enables certain actions to occur automatically based on results.
 
Most of our two-way control is programmed using free, pre-written modules that can be downloaded from URC’s app store, the URC Tool Box. To take the “language” metaphor further (please let us know if we reach the “torturous” level), consider the Tool Box a library—one that’s filled with hundreds of useful modules that are provided by a huge community that includes ourselves, our partners and our dealers. (On second thought, maybe we should just say that there are hundreds of really useful apps waiting for you there.) A resource like the Tool Box is vital, because the less time a tech manager requires to program devices and build modules to get them to work well together, the more time he or she has for more pressing pursuits.
 
That’s not the end of our Native to the Network story. URC Lighting Control by Lutron is Native in a different sense. This full line of dimmers and switches can be operated directly by any URC RF remote control, with no need for any type of interface whatsoever. More importantly, URC lighting products can be controlled by our IP remote controls when used in conjunction with an MRX-1 and an RFTX-1 RF transmitter.
 
Here’s a real world example: Suppose you have a boardroom and you want our KP-4000 in-wall network keypad to control lights, a projector and screen, and a flat-panel television. Because the KP-4000 is native to the network, it can wirelessly send IP commands to the MRX-1 base station to control all of these devices, even though none of them are native to the IP network. The MRX-1 takes the commands and converts them to IR for the projector, Relay for the screen, RS-232 for the flat panel, and RF for URC lighting via the RFTX-1.
 
Products that are Native to the Network are important to technology managers, facility directors and end users because their network compatibility is designed in from the ground up. Network connectivity was not an afterthought when we developed these products. Programming is performed using pre-written modules that are activated in CCP, URC’s universal programming platform.
 
 Jon Sienkiewicz is the Director of Marketing at URC. Reach him at jsienkiewicz@universalremote.com

 

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