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Savant’s apps for iOS devices offer two-way control of lighting, climate, security and digital media

changes and embrace new and emerging systems, with very little technological inconvenience. It affords the company a valuable insight into our habits and patterns when we are both in and outside the home and furthers their business of harvesting as much information as possible about our lives.”

control unit and app, with DIY level installation (or €50 installation option), Deilmann claims: “The system can save an average 26% of heating costs which account for around 60% of household energy bills.” With sales of ‘several thousand’ per month in Europe this is a product that is well on its way to maturity and widespread appeal.

Complete building ‘Integration of

unrelated devices from different manufacturers in single systems is actually becoming less common’ Phillip Pini, Crestron


Geolocation technology within mobile phones is used to great effect. “The tado° heating app control algorithms start to make heating control really smart and make everyday life easier. People shouldn’t have to deal with their heating so the app takes care of it automatically,” explains the company’s managing director, Christian Deilmann. “The tado° app on the mobile phones of residents detects when the last person has left the house. A signal is then sent to the heating system to turn down the temperature. As soon as one of the residents heads home, tado° reacts immediately and warms up the house to the desired temperature.” Priced at €300 for the

management and system integration can only really be achieved with centralised control, or at least an intelligent management program overseeing individually controlled segments, as is the case with KNX-based systems. Says Morrison: “If you take the ‘brains’ out of the building and rely on device-to-device communication, mobile talking to thermostat for example, and negate the central server or processor, there can be little scope for integration, unified control or any sequencing of real automation through triggered events, such as we would expect to see in a smart, technologically responsive building.” Networks play an important part in the integration of complete systems, particularly those that distribute data as well as control. “Major, high- reliability installations in super yachts and at the top end of the residential market have to be specified at an industrial level,” says Neil Grant, managing director of the Harris Grant group of companies. “Nobody integrates serious building systems using a collection of smartphone apps, they have to be underpinned by robust networks. For large data transfer, as is the case with distributed audio and video, gigabit IP networks are essential,

with a complementary AMX or Crestron control system vertically integrated with a KNX installation on an EIB backbone.” Crestron, too, promotes its single manufacturer system. “Integration of unrelated devices from different manufacturers in single systems is actually becoming less common,” claims Phillip Pini, residential development manager. “Integrators and clients are looking for that truly integrated solution. We have listened to their requirements and developed new products. Crestron 3-Series is a new concept that fully integrates the whole building management platform. It is capable of unifying all the technologies within a commercial building to operate as a single, intelligent system rather than in silos as separate systems. We’ve also built partnerships with other manufacturers so that third-party products are Crestron-connected, making them easy to integrate.” With the rapidly changing technology landscape, new entrants to the market often have the advantage of being able to design from a clean sheet. Key Digital, led by digital video veteran Mike Tsinberg, has developed video processing and switching devices for over 14 years. In the past three years Key Digital started to add control signal routing

and assist technologies inside its AV switching and connectivity devices, but has only recently created an integrated control system that resides on top of control-enabled AV products. “Companies that developed

control technology prior to iOS have to support legacy architectures based around expensive, low-powered touch interfaces linked to complex control processors. A smart device on this system is simply a user interface that sends control commands to the processor. The result is an expensive solution that doesn’t utilise the raw power of the smart device and requires complicated programming. “Our Compass system

takes advantage of the power of the iPad or iPhone linked to a relatively low- cost master controller and distributes commands to devices over wire or wireless IP networks to embrace all IP-enabled devices. Installers can create drivers very simply using an XL-like creation tool and drag and drop process, normally within an hour or two from scratch.” The mainstream control

system manufacturers are looking towards the future and potential openings. “We certainly can’t rest on our laurels; we need to keep moving, to be creative and to think outside the box. At AMX, we are constantly

evolving and try to be, from a technological point of view at least, one step ahead of the game,” says Morrison. “Today’s consumer is on a voyage of self-discovery, empowered by his or her smart device, and has a reasonable expectation of what can, and should, happen automatically. They can imagine a world where you don’t have to program a room to automate it, it would simply recognise your presence and respond accordingly. This is already a reality for some, and is becoming an expectation for many: it is where the real opportunity lies.” Williams predicts that

new concepts like wearable technology will add value: “We are trying to understand how they will fit in. Ideas like presence and personal recognition are eminently viable so that rooms, even whole buildings, can adapt to the individual lifestyle of the user. They will be exciting times for control companies.” 


A prime Texas lakefront location covering almost 18,000sqft with a spectacular three-tier swimming pool has been automated with not one Control4 controller, but 13. SAVE Electronics installed a

robust network to automate 150 lighting loads, 13 thermostats, dozens of motorised window shades, and 28 surveillance cameras, together with audio and video to 50 locations. “The owners knew nothing about the technology, but when we mentioned that

Control4 automation runs on an iPad, they were sold on the idea,” reflects Tim Boyd of SAVE Electronics. Hundreds of individual

devices were programmed into the Control4 software, allowing for predetermined scenes at the touch of a button. A ‘Good Night’ scene, for example, prepares every light and thermostat for bedtime. While the Control4

mobile app runs most of the functions, some are automated without any

button pushing. For example, when the doorbell is pressed, images from the surveillance camera at the front door display on any TV that happens to be on. The TV programme pauses, the camera image stays on the screen for 15 seconds, then the TV programme resumes. Landscape lighting, meanwhile, turns on automatically at sunset, off at midnight, on again at 5:00, then off at sunrise.

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