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Japanese ‘Smart Homes’ Land in New York

The new $13 million visual intercom system in Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town, the largest in the world, connects 8,760 apartments through 178 entrances in 89 towers to each other, with a central command system, security and fire-alarm lines, and was delivered from Israel by way of Japan.

The company behind the system, Elbex, was founded in Japan by an Israeli, David Elberbaum, in 1974 and has since grown into a global entity with branches in the United States, Germany, France, Belgium, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Israel. It is pushing the development of apps to control video intercom-based “smart homes.”

“StuyTown” ordered the system in part to help track if its tenants were actually living there and who were subletting their rent-controlled apartments for profit. In addition to an intercom, the system provides a variety of services for the whole complex, including security and fire alarms. It allows the “econcierge” to send tenants messages, including alerts for water outages, payment reminders and general announcements.

Despite its ambitious scope, the system provides only a fraction of its potential. Both in Israel and around the world, the company is installing the intercom for use as a central control panel for everything in the home, including lights, blinds, audio-video equipment, water heaters and the security alarm.

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