The current automation market is experiencing a proliferation of consumer applications offered by most cable companies and utilities.
By Scott Kelley
More and more people are turning to their smartphones and tablets to achieve what they want in their homes. This trend is positive for the industry custom installations, generating enormous enthusiasm among consumers and interest in everything related to the control and automation.
However, consumers can not live alone application. For end users, the main concern is simplicity, they want a system that does not require them training, installation or maintenance. Also, they do not want to have to open separate applications only for power, for example, control the volume on the TV, turn on the heat and close the blinds. The application solutions consumer can control some aspects of a house, but there is a solution that can control them all, so basically just replace a coffee table full of remote controls for a neater smart device, but full application. There may be an application for the air conditioning system, one for security, for lighting, and so on.
In short, the main function of an integrated control system is to allow the user a simple and convenient control of different systems. However, having a device with many applications simply substitutes one form of clutter on the other. As systems become more interconnected and complex, the quality of end user experience can diminish with each new application whose operation need to learn, every icon you need to remember and every page that should happen, everything just to carry out the basic functions.
Order in chaos
A control system installed by professionals (with a control processor at its core that functions as the brain of the operation operation) brings order to the chaos that is created when you have multiple applications. With a system like this, all these separate applications are unified in a single application programmed according to the specific needs of each client and their particular environment. This centralization results in a better user experience. Moreover, when programmed correctly, a centralized control system installed by a professional allows anyone to choose the device and control all your home automation with confidence.
Even if you have better control system designed and programmed, relying solely on smart devices and applications it has its limitations. On the one hand, because people use their handheld devices to play games, read books, listen to music, and more, there is no guarantee that devices will be in the room indicated at the right time to control the system.
Another problem is that many of them work with Wi-Fi, so if the network goes down, so does the control over the system. And in the absence of physical buttons for touch control, the applications that use a touch screen provide no comfort in navigation device that allows professional control.
Importance of additional interfaces
All these issues highlight the importance of having a portable controller or specialized wall in any system that functions as the primary interface, or at least a complementary alternative to applications. The specialized controllers are always on, they are comfortable, easy to use and are programmed according to the specific needs of users. Tablets and mobile devices are not intended as substitutes for specialized controllers; Instead, these devices and their applications look just complement the specialized drivers.
Having a specialized driver avoids problems such as loss of tablets, dependence Wi-Fi networks, or the need to carry portable devices, and allows users to easily modify automation. After all, nobody wants to sit in a dark room because you forgot your smart phone or watch in another room.
An example of a dedicated controller is a complementary remote. This device works in conjunction with control applications to provide the best of both worlds to consumers. These specialized remotes improve the user experience by providing comfort and reliability of a specialized while allowing consumers to use their mobile devices also driver.
Equipped with physical buttons for touch control, complementary remote controls eliminate the need to move from one screen to another to perform basic functions. In addition, they offer comfort to track what device is being controlled by a smartphone or tablet, allowing them to automatically make the necessary changes to control electronic devices indicated without any interaction. With this function, users can enjoy many of the other benefits offered by their phones, such as checking e-mail devices, read the news and access social media applications, all while controlling easily and intuitively your electronic system.
When things are truly automated happen with the push of a button. No need to open multiple applications, or to move from one screen to another, or open menus just to turn on the lights. The key to any good home automation system configuration is installed by professionals with a specialized controller managed by a central processor and complemented by a programmed by professionals who can also control all aspects of system implementation. Each of these components plays an important role, and together they create a balance between the mobile control and a much better experience that favors ergonomics, permanent and instant connectivity and more reliable performance.
Next generation of controllers
Given that all installation benefits from a specialized driver, manufacturers are continually improving drivers hand and wall panels with features and services that improve the user experience, such as more advanced wireless networks, accelerometers and haptic feedback touchscreens.
There is a remote control or wall panel for almost any need, and are on the way products designed for specific niches, such as wall panels designed to perform intuitive control in facilities with high humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, pools and spas .
A control processor mounted on a rack or cabinet functions as the brain that handles all installation, quietly storing all communications and control protocols of all the elements that are under the control of the system (eg, lighting, audio, video and safety). It is what unifies all and gives users a complete and reliable control of all aspects of one room or an entire house. The processor allows the user to control the system in several ways, among others, bidirectional RS-232, routable IR, Ethernet, and relay control.
Advanced control processors have features such as built-in astronomical clocks that can lead even further automated control, for example, activating lighting solutions and blinds depending on time of day, which is unnecessary user intervention. In addition, processors are increasingly leveraging home network to perform a more powerful automation, such as when the processor uses bidirectional controllers to talk to different elements of the system via IP.
Sensors, applications and drivers
In the near future, specialized drivers and applications will be combined with sensor technology to give users a unified control over the automation both inside and outside the house. Sensors embedded in tablets, smartphones, portable technology and other intelligent devices provide an opportunity to expand residential automation, seamlessly integrating applications with traditional control systems.
Sensors, geofencing technology and advanced processors work together to allow users to activate events simply from the place where they are. For example, the sensor of a smartphone can tell when a person is coming home setting, then communication with the home network and the control processor, which in turn sets the thermostat and turn on the lights in certain parts of home.
In addition to location-based automation, incorporating sensor technology opens even more possibilities for automated control. For example, user behavior, scheduling activities, and even the weather can determine and adjust the automation of environmental systems of a house.
For the customer, convenience that automatically turn off lights when a room is empty or closed the curtains on a sunny day can have additional features such as keeping energy costs low and improve security benefits. However, automation can sometimes be uncomfortable. That is why it is essential to have a remote control or control panel specialized wall that allow the customer to easily modify at will the automated functions.
Scott Kelley is vice president of sales and marketing for RTI