Savant dives deeper into mass market home automation with new app

Fresh off raising $90 million in funding, Savant is shaking up its business model and possibly the home automation space with a new product aimed at homeowners who want high-end integration without having a programmer on call.

Savant is releasing Savant App, a beautiful and intuitive app that allows consumers to control lighting, thermostats, audio-visual gear and more. The catch is that instead of doing it yourself, you call an installer in the [company]Savant[/company] network who hooks up your home and then leaves you to program your app. The starting price for the install and gear is about $1,000 but that’s going to escalate quickly. Prior to this, you’d have the installer come, sell you a Savant server and program it. If you wanted to make changes, you called the installer back and they handled it. This works well for folks with high-end homes, but the rest of us aren’t so flush.

At the other end of the spectrum are the DIY options such as [company]Lowe’s[/company] Iris, [company]SmartThings[/company], [company]Revolv[/company], [company]Staples[/company] Connect and Peq. These can cost about $500 to get your home set up, but you’re installing the sensors, writing the rules and troubleshooting. This is fun for some people, but a vast majority of people will regard your devotion to ZigBee repeaters and spending hours on home networking each week as insane.

Savant gives you back your time, and it will cost you. CEO William Lynch says the company’s products are most likely aimed at folks with $300,000 to $2 million properties who want to invest in home automation they will then be able to control. The upfront cost could range considerably considering what you’d want to automate, but you could tie in your existing gear like cable boxes and certain lighting controls (go [company]Lutron[/company]).

In a demo of the Savant app, I saw some really awesome settings that will appeal to folks including:

ScenesScreen_iPadThe ability to capture your current home setup and set it as a scene. Are you settling in to watch a movie with the lights dimmed to perfection and the temp and shades at the right spot? Just pop open the app and hit capture and save it. That’s your new movie watching scene.

Thoughtful options for scheduling. Automatic shades are one of the defining features of my personal home automation and a big demand in the industry as a whole. Mine are set to a set schedule, but that schedule varies based on time of year.

Remote access to the home for checking in and control: This is the baseline for current DIY apps, but Savant now offers this as well so you can blink the lights in your kids’ room when you’re on the road to tell them “good night” if you’d like.

So many integration options. Savant’s history is in installing this stuff with cable boxes, established lighting controls, pool controls, your gas fireplace and more, so it can bring in a lot of things DIY systems cannot. It’s also working with newer stuff to integrate popular consumer electronics stuff like [company]Nest[/company], [company]Philips[/company] Hue and more.

Savant will start selling this on November 10 through its distributors. If I didn’t have a job that involved testing all of this gear, I’d probably make this my Christmas present to myself and husband, because I think it’s offering the right mix of support and flexibility; especially for my husband, who really doesn’t want to think about which apps to open to control something or deal with any more buggy software.