Across Lines Nextel recently expanded its Direct Connect walkie-talkie feature between the United States and Brazil, Argentina, and Peru, as well as between the United States and Canada. The telecom provider will add Direct Connect service between the United States and Mexico by the late summer.
Vision Quest Builders looking to make life easier for their home buyers should take a look at Honeywell's new VisionPRO touch-screen programmable thermostat. Rather than clumsily leafing through the owner's manual, VisionPRO guides homeowners through the programming process with an easy-to-use, on-screen menu and flashing touch screen. The product sells at big box retailers such as The Home Depot for about $120.
Big Winner PeopleSoft scored a big win earlier this year by convincing Hovnanian Enterprises to deploy its full line of back-office and enterprise management software. Hovnanian, which is No. 9 on the BUILDER 100 list this year, opted for PeopleSoft after investing several million dollars in failed attempts to deploy SAP and i4 Synergy. Tip: With no next-generation home builder solution in sight and builders largely convinced that SAP is not a good fit for the industry, expect more big builders to sign on with PeopleSoft this year.
Easy Intercom Greyfox Systems looks to change the way homeowners think about intercom systems with its new Intercom Module that runs over Category-5 wiring, the most common network cabling. The new module has a modern, less clunky look that can fit into a decorator opening. Running over Cat-5 instead of proprietary wire makes installation easier and cheaper. The module is designed to fit into the Greyfox structured wiring enclosure, which already supports phone, data, security, and audio over Cat-5. Cost: $999.