Automated Living by URC
Automated Living by URC is the publication that brings you the latest ideas and trends in control solutions. Get to know URC, enjoy fun giveaways, and enjoy features and stories about people and homes that have leveraged automation to make every day better.
From the Editor
Cat Toomey, Director of Marketing, URC
Control – You CAN Take it With You
Welcome to our sizzling summer quarterly issue of Automated Living by URC. This time around, to the forefront we bring all the many ways control can go with you—from cocktails in the kitchen, to your backyard barbeque, to a glorious beach on the other side of the globe.

Recently we’ve had the fun of discovering URC customers who deliver their favorite entertainment outdoors in super summertime ways. We’ve spotted others gaining control over home lights while away on vacation using their smart phones so the house looks lived in. And we’ve found folks who even “take the kids with them” wherever they go by way of simple cameras to see that they’re secure in the house (or actually doing their homework).

Yes, the beauty of URC control is not only does it bring convenience in the kitchen, but you can easily take it with you wherever you may go. To that end, for our feature story we hitch a ride around the world to a hideaway in Sussex, England. Here, our homeowner from Hove fancied an automation system that would keep equipment hidden but turn on an enhanced mobile lifestyle in an older existing home. They got just what they wanted.

And that’s not all; we then show how you can enjoy music via one touch controls on the patio with the ever-popular Sonos® music players, and make a big splash by adding our newly announced pool and spa control from our friends at Zodiac® with their Aqualink® pool, spa and environment system. You too can enjoy wireless monitoring and remote adjustment of temperature, filtration cycles, spa lighting, audio, and even turn on a waterfall from our Total Control® system.

You may have heard already, but next you deep dive into details of a stunning backyard oasis where a TV pops out in front of the Pacific Ocean when desired, and neatly tucks away with the touch of a URC remote. And there’s more, so read on and remember—if your phone or tablet is on, so is your home and your close connection with loved ones.

From the backyards of Laguna, to the office—and even around the world—you can always take Total Control. So unleash your on-the-go imagination! As always, I look forward to interacting with you and hearing about any homes you think we’d like to feature at URC. Send me a note anytime.

Cat A. Toomey
Universal Remote Control, Director of Marketing
Editor, Automated Living by URC

Featured Install
Stunning British hideaway conceals powerful URC automation.
Luxury British Hideaway
Just Add Popcorn
(Hove, Sussex, England)

Be inspired! In this issue, our Featured Install highlights a luxury British hideaway’s future-forward control solution that disappears into the home’s existing décor without compromising the homeowner’s ease of access and functionality.

The subject of this story enjoys fantastic hi-fidelity sound and Wi-Fi access from anywhere inside the main home, the backyard summer house or anywhere in the garden—all controllable via mobile devices. The homeowner also enjoys complete access to the home’s lighting, security and climate control whether at home or on the go.  Read on and find out how you too can make your life simpler and experience the benefits of automation nirvana without unsightly cables and wires in view. We hope you’ll be inspired to imagine yourself enjoying home control that employs your favorite features and one that is best suited for you!

Click here to see the full case study.
Featured Install
Breathtaking views with amazing A/V entertainment via one touch automation.
Want a Backyard Like This?
Simply Sight & Sound
(Laguna Beach, CA home)

Several of you have asked for more information about our last Featured Install in sunny Laguna Beach. Here’s the full story courtesy of our recently completed case study. It includes eye-catching photos of a 70” Sharp LED TV seemingly rising from inside an infinity pool, the full equipment list and quotes from the homeowner about the benefits of living with Total Control®. It’s the perfect example of how an easy-to-use control system can enhance your lifestyle without compromising existing décor and breathtaking views. You just may be inspired to do a hi-tech backyard remodel of your own!

Hot Topics and Trends
David Goldman, Zodiac® Pool Systems, Inc.
Ready, Set, Summer – Pool and Spa Control Heats up
By David Goldman, Director of Product Development
Zodiac® Pool Systems, Inc.

We’ve all been waiting for this for years – and what a time it is to be a homeowner. We are in the midst of a fantastic period in the evolution of technology and the modern home. Everywhere you look, home products are adding new conveniences thanks to the proliferation of personal devices. Yes, there may have been a time people were averse to techy stuff, but now virtually everyone has a cell in hand. As you may know (and enjoy), one of the hottest categories continues to be outdoor living. And when one thinks of outdoor life, the pool and spa often bubble to the surface.

Do you have a pool or spa and want to add some bells and whistles, or thinking about adding one? If, so, it’s a great time to find out about the fresh features that have become available in the past few years. Today’s pool and spa systems have progressed the way of many home products by incorporating easier control and cooler features that save time, effort and allow you to adjust things from virtually anywhere.

Why race around before the party to set pool lights, start the spa jets and test the temp only to find you still have more to do as the doorbell rings? Yikes! Nowadays you can remain in the kitchen finishing the BBQ prep and simply pick up your phone, adjust pool and spa temperature, turn on a waterfall and dim outdoor lights to create an evening entertainment atmosphere.

Pools and spas today have full control of jets, valves, cleaning, lighting, filtration, pumps, color lighting, bubbles and more. And this can all be accessed using your smartphone or tablet. Plus, installation is faster and easier-than-ever to install. At Zodiac®, we’ve increased our customer satisfaction with these added conveniences. And, we thought it’d be smart to get together with URC and collaborate on tying our AquaLink® web-based pool, spa and environment management systems with their Total Control® home automation products.

What this means is now you can also use URC compatible remotes, keypads and touchscreen controls to access our pool and spa features. Get your feet wet or go beyond! For example, preset the entire backyard atmosphere with a button press on a URC handheld device. Awesome music comes on, yard lights dim, and the spa fires up – just like a James Bond movie. But these real gadgets make all the difference in daily life. The possibilities can follow your vision of what outdoor living and entertainment should be. We just provide the means to do it.

One sure bet is that pool, spa and home control systems will continue to evolve adding other smart features that will be able to send more valuable system information to your phone, tablet and remotes. Like many aspects of life, new technology is being developed daily in outdoor systems. It’s a super time to make your outdoor space more convenient, fun and entertaining – so dive in!

AquaLink® was created and is sold by Zodiac® Pool Systems, the name behind popular brands such as Zodiac®, Polaris®, Jandy® Pro Series, Nature2®, and Cover-Pools®.

Get to Know URC
Jim Novak, URC Senior Project Manager
It's Q & A with Jim Novak
URC Senior Project Manager

“I had no idea you could DO that!”

That’s what we hear most often when we’re explaining whole-house automation to first-time users. When we say the possibilities are endless, that’s not marketing hyperbole. Every time we think we’ve got a pretty good handle on the range and scope of automation, along comes some clever integrator who cooks up something new.

So we went to one of the cleverest to find out more. Years ago Jim Novak traded in his Custom Integrator hat to take a role instead in Product Development. Today Jim is URC’s Senior Product Manager, and as such he’s responsible for bringing many of our products to maturity. He is also a consumer and enjoys using the technology as much as he enjoys developing it.

Q: What are some of the interesting things people are doing with home automation?
Jim Novak replies: “Security—in all shapes and forms—is one of the most popular areas. Today’s automated home often has cameras inside and outside the house, focused on the front and back doors, swimming pool and garage door. Internal cameras, too, keeping an eye on the babysitter or cleaning help, and watching who is visiting the liquor cabinet.

“The key thing to remember here is that the user can see what these cameras see whether they are at home or at work or even while away on vacation. Anyone with a smartphone or connected tablet can keep an eye on the things that are most important to them no matter where they are.”

Q: So that’s really proof that ‘You can take it with you.’
JN: “Absolutely. And sticking with that same category of security, it’s becoming increasingly popular for people to link their home automation system to the home protective security system. So they can do things like arming and disarming their alarm by using a remote control or in-wall touch panel, although it’s really more popular to use the automation system to monitor the alarm and confirm that it’s set while they are away from home.

“Home automation systems can also provide the ability to lock and unlock doors. And now thanks to what we call ‘Push Notifications,’ homeowners can receive a text message when sensors are triggered by motion or when doors are breached.”

Q: Which means?
JN: “It means that your home security extends to anywhere you can use your smart phone, and it can be personalized to suit your individual needs. For instance, you could be sitting at your desk and receive a text message that signals that your teenage daughter just got home from school.

“Taking it a step further, some apps with geofencing can do even more sophisticated things. Geofencing is a type of tracking system that uses cell phone data to determine the phone’s location and then triggers some action based on a set of rules. For instance, you could have it set so that you receive a text when your youngster arrives at school and another when they get off the school bus in the evening. And by using a unique ringtone for each message, you wouldn’t even have to look at your phone to know exactly which kid is where.”

Q: Where does lighting control fit in?
JN: “Lighting control offers comfort, energy savings, convenience and, yes, security too. Your lighting system can be programmed to give your house that ‘lived-in look’ when you’re away, or it can turn lights on when you arrive home, for example. Well, here—I’ll show you.”

With this Jim switched on his iPhone® and started his Total Control Mobile app. “There,” he said, after a couple of taps. “I just turned on my lights—my real lights—in my real home. It’s that easy to do it from anywhere.

“Lighting control also includes shades and drapes. It’s amazing how convenient it is to open or close some of or all of your drapes with a couple button presses.”

Q: We’re running out of space. Could you top line a couple more interesting applications?
JN: “There are so many things—dozens and dozens. Home automation extends to thermostats for climate control, energy management, lawn sprinklers, swimming pool heaters, health monitoring, baby monitoring, just about every important thing a homeowner does during a typical week. But for me, the essence sill lies in entertainment control.

“I don’t think many people realize the convenience of ‘One Button Control’ of their home audio or video entertainment. I’ll give you an example.”

Jim presented his iPhone again and swiped to the Home Theater menu.

“I can press one button on my remote control or cell phone—this button, the one that looks like a television—and here’s what happens. It turns on my TV, changes the inputs to the right settings, turns on the surround sound, changes the cable box to my default channel, checks to see if the room lights are on and makes preset adjustments to the brightness levels—and in a couple of seconds I’m watching The Weather Channel. Or HBO. Or ESPN—depending on how I have it programmed.”

What would YOU like to control in your home—especially when you’re not there? Would you like lights that turn on 20 minutes after sunset everyday—automatically? How about a camera that begins recording when there is motion in the garage? Want music-to-shave-by every morning from your favorite SiriusXM channel? Or a text message that tells you your front door has been opened? The list of possibilities is virtually endless. With a Total Control® whole-house automation system from URC you can take it with you.

Video Spotlight
URC Launches New Online
Project Gallery

You may have noticed a new item on the menu at – an online URC Gallery! Here we feature just some of our hundreds of thousands of real-world installations in both residential and commercial venues. This fresh section of our site provides visitors with a wonderful forum to see what's possible with URC. And, the Gallery will be living and ever-evolving with new customer profiles and projects.

We invite you to take a look at can select either residential or commercial to read about control system projects, photos, equipment lists, customer comments and more.

From a family room or home theatre to a business complex with multiple boardrooms and conference rooms, you can see how URC seamlessly automates all the electronics including entertainment, lighting, climate, security, door locks, shades and more.

Get a firsthand glimpse of how other people are using URC and other equipment together every day, and find out more about how reliable, scalable, and easy they are for everyone to use.

At URC, we’re dedicated to the ongoing effort of creating the most valuable online control resource. Our team will continue to add enhanced functionality providing you with a primary source of URC info. Pease feel free to contact us with feedback anytime. Check it out and check back often as we add new Gallery project profiles. Enjoy!


Latest News
Enter Now and Win Big!
Rate a home automation question – and you could win big. Read More

Image shown for marketing purposes only and doesn’t represent exact URC summer gift basket.

What's the Latest?
Lights, Color, Action!
Philips Hue® Personal Wireless Lighting Compatibility Announced.

With our latest compatibility news, you can get personal and enjoy all the light and color that summer has to offer – right at home. Now our Total Control® whole-house automation system can be connected with the exciting new Philips Hue® Personal Wireless Lighting system by your installation pro.
It’s as simple as your installer unscrewing your old fashioned light bulbs and replacing them with Philips Hue lamps after connecting their bridge to your home network. With a little URC program mojo, this elegant solution then allows you to easily control light bulbs from anywhere inside or outside the home using URC remotes, our mobile app; really any of our compatible Total Control interfaces. Recall specific lighting levels or bulb colors with one press on a URC keypad or touchscreen. Get imaginative and create your own lighting “scenes.” For example, you can set up all main floor lights to go to a set level—or to any of 16 million colors—for entertaining or for creating that special mood.

The Philips Hue system consists of user-replaceable LED lamps that screw directly into existing sockets. With this lighting product, you can even control intensity and color temperature from cool bluish white to warm yellowish white and all of the vibrant colors in between. So enjoy the warmth of summertime and add a little drama. Start the lights, color and full control action with Philips and URC!

Enjoy the Sounds of Summer
When you pair URC and Sonos®!

Summer sounds even better with the tunes YOU want in the garden, on the patio or while relaxing poolside. We recently added interoperability with the ever-popular Sonos® Music Players to Total Control®. This means you can now put your hands on the music control solution that really rocks.

See all your music presented in easy-to-use menus onscreen on Total Control remotes, keypads, touchscreens and the mobile app. Sort, pick and play your favorites from anywhere – to anywhere. For example, hold a compatible URC remote in your hands and pick songs or artists to play in the family room and kitchen. Or choose a playlist with one tap on your iPhone and it plays outdoors through all the speakers in the yard for your backyard BBQ and your guests. 

Search and play back not only from your own collection but from music services such as Pandora®, Rhapsody™, and Spotify™. And, this new solution delivers all the speed you need. Your integration specialist can help you decide what you want and then program the system to provide instant access and full control for music—plus you’ll be able to get at the tunes faster than ever before.

We hope this latest news is music to your ears! Consider adding some stunning sounds to your summer fun with friends and family.

Feel Free to Move About the House
Meet the URC MX-890 Remote.

In keeping with the theme of this quarterly issue, find out how you can move about the house with great freedom and plenty of command using the latest Complete Control™ line remote – the MX-890. Gone are the days of pointing a remote at the product you wish to turn on or turn up!

When used with one of our award-winning base stations, this handy remote “talks to” the base station. And, it’s like magic. It can operate equipment through walls, cabinet doors or even from outside. You don’t have to be in the same room as the music player or your flat screen or TV, yet you can still control them entirely.

Along with this, say goodbye to searching for batteries too. This state-of-the-art little guy sits in a very attractive tabletop charging cradle and is always ready for action the moment you pick it up and press a button or two.

So go ahead, feel free to move about the house. We can’t prevent the bags or books from shifting on the bookshelf, but we can offer you complete, versatile control for any and every room of the house. No security checkpoints needed. Just get with your integrator and fly!

Note: The companies other than URC shown and / or written about here have products that URC products can control. The level of interoperability is based upon specific products used. No official relationship, endorsement or partnership is expressed or implied.

Hear What They're Saying
Total Control® made things super simple for us. We love that we can use our iDevices to control everything.

– Sara & Dave, URC customer, Lancaster, PA
We Couldn't Do It Without You!
Thank you to the many contributors for their amazing work efforts, research and writing including:

David Goldman
Director of Product Development
Zodiac® Pool Systems, Inc.
Jim Novak
Senior Project Manager
Cat Toomey
Director of Marketing
Nick Cofino
Graphic and Web Designer
Jon Sienkiewicz
Corporate Communications
Mitchell Klein
Director of Business Development
Toya Jean-Gilles
Marketing Specialist
Shelley White
Graphic Designer
Runs With Scissors Graphics

Holiday Giveaway!
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Universal Remote Control, Inc. • Harrison, NY • (800) 901-0800 •