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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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March 31, 2008 11:12 AM

Home automation player Lagotek's next phase

Posted by Brier Dudley

Expect more news soon about Lagotek, the Bellevue home automation technology company profiled in today's column.

The company is finalizing a breakthrough deal to automate a major development in Miami. In addition to selling Lagotek units to 850 condos, the deal could help raise the company's profile on the East Coast.

Lagotek has done a series of projects in the Northwest, the latest being the One Main Street condos in Bellevue. The 62 units will have touchscreen guest access controls, lighting control in some rooms and wiring in place to add additional features in the future, such as lighting control and distributed media systems.

On the business side, Lagotek is about to announce a new audio module called the HIP 25 for distributing music throughout the home.

The system is pretty slick but I haven't tested it or installed one myself.

I mentioned how the next version of Windows could be a turning point for this stuff. Another big step will be the availability of systems like Lagotek's to the do-it-yourself crowd.

Lagotek's Ron Risdon said the company's decision to sell only through certified installers has paid off, but I wonder if it will eventually start selling direct as well. That would lower the entry price for these systems well below $10,000.

Not everyone wants to install such a system, but plenty of people are trying. You're now seeing structured networking panels on sale at Home Depot for under $100 and vendors such as Leviton targeting geeky homeowners.

Speaking of Leviton, I wonder if it would be a candidate for acquiring Lagotek one of these days?

I didn't have room in the paper to mention Lagotek's funding. In addition to money from the founders, it raised $2.1 million in Series A funding and $4.5 million in a Series B that was recently extended by another $2 million.

Nor did I have room for images. Here's a shot of the new mobile phone feature announced a few weeks ago:

Cell phone home control.jpg

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