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Saturday, May 11, 2013

TRENDS: Wiser link to living green

Malaysia, News, Tech, Trends, Wiser Home Control
(From left) Heng and Chang show off the Wiser Home Control interface on tablets and smartphones.

Energy efficiency within the home environment goes beyond the concept of smart homes, writes Siti Syameen Md Khalili

EARTH Hour is happening this weekend. If you’re looking for ways to conserve energy beyond the event, home automation is an eco-friendly and sexy option. Considered an important element of a smart home set-up, home automation today also aims to deliver customised comfort, entertainment, security and overall energy efficiency.

Through its Wiser Home Control solution, energy management specialist Schneider Electric is paving the way for more locals to adopt home automation for better managed connectivity, comfort, convenience, entertainment and peace of mind.

Francis Heng, business vice-president at LifeSpace, Power Business, Schneider Electric Industries, says the company brings its expertise in managing energy for organisations to homes. “We want to help homeowners make the most of their energy resource,” he says.

Going beyond the regular concept of smart homes, its assistant sales manager Chang See Yin, says Wiser solutions can be tailored to control lighting, alarm systems and CCTVs, entertainment devices, curtains, blinds and even lawn sprinklers.

The system includes components such as Ethernet router, WiFi access point and secured remote Internet access (WAN). Its user-friendly user interface also includes scene presets with scheduling and logic programming modules.

Chang says: “Many homes today have so many electric and electronic devices that the numerous remote controls can be quite confusing.

“Wiser can link together these devices so that they can be controlled using your PC, tablet or smartphone. The moment you come back from work and enter your home, you can immediately launch a preset scene so that the lights, air-cond, blinds and audio visual components will be as according to your preference,” she explains.

“Using mobile devices, you can access switches or peripherals such as the CCTV cameras remotely by using the accompanying app. The app is made for Android, iOS and Symbian-based devices using Internet Protocol connectivity was developed  in-house to further enhance the system.”

Wiser can fit any home, from a bachelor pad to or a bungalow, says Heng. “Today’s homeowners are not just into functional and economical solutions — they also look for items that add convenience, luxury or prestige in their lives.

Wiser fits into this category, but if you consider the price of homes today, the cost of the system is a small add-on to  renovations costs. The basic system package for a condo setup starts at RM9,999. You can add more features such as controls for curtains, blinds, auto gate or sprinklers,” he adds.

There are also occupancy sensors that detect heat or movement. “When these detect lower temperature or absence of movement within a designated area, certain items will be shut down. You can also install timers, for example in the bathroom or garden to limit the time lights are switched on at these places,” says Heng.
Schneider Electric Malaysia country marcom manager Lainee Wong says in addition to energy savings, another important aspect of the Wiser system is peace of mind.

Apart from being able to view footage captured live on  CCTV cameras, the ability to trigger certain scenes remotely will also ward off burglars. “During festive seasons or school breaks when the family is away, you can control your home system to simulate presence. You can have the lights on at certain parts of the house at night, play music and give the impression that someone’s home,” she says.

Visit the company showroom in Hicom-Glenmarie Industrial Park, Shah Alam for a preview of the Wiser system. An expert is stationed at the showroom every Wednesday and Friday from 2pm to 4pm to explain the system components and interface.

Upon signing up for a package, Schneider Electric will then appoint one of its panel system installer to conduct wiring, installation, programming as well as testing and commissioning activities. “For new homes, we take about a week to complete the processes, but in occupied homes,  it  may take as long as two weeks as sometimes there are a lot of items such as furniture that needs to be moved.

“For a more advanced system, the process may include a site visit where the system installer will discuss with the homeowner, specific add-ons and how best to install them,” adds Heng.

Note though that hacking and drilling are part of the process. New homeowners will do well by having the system installer work with renovation contractors but existing home dwellers can be sure that there will only be a minimum amount of hacking involved.

Wiser Home Control users will receive training from the system installer. They can also turn to Schneider Electric’s 24-hour Customer Care toll free line for help. Details at

Welcome to the showroom in Shah Alam.

SHOWBIZ: Jazz hall of fame in KL

Malaysia, News, Tech, KL International Jazz Festival
Thornton. Picture by AMIRUDIN SAHIB

Lee Ritenour, Nicole Henry and Steve Thornton are among the stars at the upcoming KL International Jazz Festival, writes Dennis Chua.

ONE of the biggest names in jazz today is Lee Ritenour, an American guitarist who has recorded more than 40 albums and co-founded (with Bob James) the group Fourplay.

Another big name is Japanese jazz pianist Keiko Matsui who has recorded more than 20 albums, likewise alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahantappa from the United States who absorbs numerous musical genres and creates his own distinctive sound.

And lastly, there are soulful singers Nicole Henry and Lisa Simone Kelly, whose mother was the late great Nina Simone.

These are among the major names who will be jazzing up Kuala Lumpur on April 27-30 at the KL International Jazz Festival 2013.

In its second year, it will be held at Universiti Malaya from 11am to midnight daily. It is organised by KL International Jazz and supported by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall with Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib as its patron.

The impressive line-up comprises 35 international and 65 local acts, making it the federal capital’s largest jazz event to date. Organising chairman Maizon Omar says: “Jazz enthusiasts and music lovers will get a taste of various jazz genres such as straight-ahead jazz, Latin jazz, smooth and contemporary jazz, and jazz rock among others.

“We will have four outdoor and two indoor music stages, plus art exhibitions, the Earth Day Run and a climb of Gunung Nuang in Hulu Langat.”

She says the Earth Day Run at the university and the Gunung Nuang Expedition, both on April 21, are tied to the festival because music and green awareness go hand-in-hand.

The festival is held on the same date annually and some of the participating musicians will also be conducting master classes for aspiring musicians.

The main stage is the Malaysia Airlines Stage where international and local acts perform together. The festival will also feature hot air balloons and targets a larger audience.

Maizon says: “There will also be a creative stage, and acoustic stage to showcase young and upcoming talents.”

She says jazz festivals are one of the most sustainable music festivals widely supported by the public and private sectors.

The organiser has the support of Malaysia Airlines, Etiqa Insurance and Starbucks among others.
KL International Jazz Festival managing director Rodin J.S. Kumar says: “Jazz festivals attract very large audiences because they appeal to jazz, blues, funk, soul and classic rock audiences alike.
“This is why jazz festivals all over the world are well-received and continue to grow, and Kuala Lumpur is fast making its mark as a jazz festival destination.”

Representing the country are the Universiti Malaya Big Band, Patrick Terbrack, The Bassment Syndicate, John Thomas Trio, John Dip Silas and percussionist Steve Thornton who will pay tribute to his late mentor Mongo Santamaria.

Thornton says he is looking forward to the festival as it is always a chance to meet new and talented jazz musicians, and reunite with established ones who are old friends.

“It’s great that Ritenour is headlining the show. I’m a big fan of his. It’s also great that the festival has a green theme because I’m passionate about conservation,” he says, adding that he gives his thumbs up to the masterclasses.

To date 4,000 tickets have been sold. Tickets range from RM45 per day (pre-sale) to RM98-RM168 for an all-access day pass.

All-excess ticket holders will be entitled to the village (main) stage as well as the indoor shows at the Experimental Theatre and Dewan Tunku Canselor.

The festival was launched at Universiti Malaya recently by City Hall deputy director-general Datuk Mohd Amin Nordin Aziz.

Details at

CIMB gives RM50,000 for lens implants

Malaysia, News, Ipoh, Asia, Taiping Hospital, Malaysia, hospital and clinic, Cimb Foundation, Abdul Raman, disease, Permaisuri Bainun Hospital, Mohd Azrul, disabled, Anthony Ang,
Anthony Ang (fourth from left) receiving a mock cheque from Mohd Azrul Abdul Raman (centre). With them are RCI members and recipients. Pic by Diana Yeoh

IPOH: CIMB Foundation donated RM50,000 to Rotary Club of Ipoh (RCI) for the club's Intraocular Lens community service project here.

RCI president Anthony Ang said the project was aimed at providing the lens implants for the poor and helping to reduce cataract blindness.

Ang said the funds donated would only be used for the purchase of the lens and excludes surgical costs and hospital stay.

Those from poor income groups, who did not receive any support from family members, and are residents of Perak would be eligible for the treatment.

The patients were recommended by Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh, Taiping Hospital, Teluk Intan Hospital and Seri Manjung Hospital through the state welfare department.

"Since last October, 10 patients underwent surgery for cataract," said Ang.

Meanwhile, CIMB regional director Mohd Azrul Abdul Raman said the project was part of the bank's corporate social responsibility initiative.

Recipient Fatimah Zainal Abidin, 63, who underwent cataract surgeries for both her eyes, is thankful as she can now see clearly.

Another recipient, Cheng Sit Weng, 77, said the surgery saved him from going blind as he was diagnosed with "mature cataract".

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