Considering Home Control and Automation – Avoid IR

Home Control systems are getting popular with every passing day. Specially with the technological changes and revolution in Smart Phones, tablets and pads it is becoming convenient to design and own these systems. Its a real comfort to get rid of all those remotes and replace by a user friendly application on the iPad or a phone.

Home Control systems typically is a overlay over automation which helps to control Lights, Curtains and HVAC systems and a replacement of remotes in simpler terms for AV devices like televisions, set top boxes and blu ray players with Home Theatre systems. It also allows to integrate multiple systems on a single touch, For example when you play  a movie on Blu ray player the play button and turn the lights off, turn the TV ON, Turn the Blu ray Player ON and play the desired movie on the display. sounds great isn’t it.

However this is the layer which creates maximum frustration for a customer. Lighting Automation is a robust implementation and works fantastic as long as it is controlled from the wall keypads.   The home control system speaks to the lighting automation system on a IP network or on a serial port which is a better way to do the same. Hence this implementation is usually very robust. The issue is with the consumer grade systems like the Television, Blu Ray Player etc. Commonly these devices do not come ready with communication ports and have a remote to control them which communicates with these devices over Infra Red or IR.

Each button on the remote has a code behind it. When you press a button on the remote which has to be in line of sight with the receiver on the device, the code is communicated and the device does the desired function.

Now most of integrates use a IR code learner and copy these codes to their systems. So now when you operate the same function from say a mobile device application, it is sent to a Home Controller over Wifi, The home controller sends the IR code to the device through a IR probe which is stuck to the receiver on the device, basically your Home Control systems becomes a glorified remote. This is a simple technology to implement however must be avoided for following reasons.

  1. No Feedback

The IR code when sent to the device make the device functional , however since this is a native one way communication technology the device never comes back and tells the controller if its ON or OFF. For example if the air conditioner is turned ON using a conventional remote in the bedroom the iPad in the Living room will continue to call it OFF. One can never find the real status of the device. This leads to may confusions specially when the ON and OFF codes are in toggle mode and same code is sent for both these functions. So the ON command on remote will also be the OFF command.

2. The Real issue – The IR Probe.

First this probe looks ugly on the beautiful setup. It has to be visible all the time and cannot be hidden. It has to be pasted on the IR receiver of the device which. This is tricky as if you paste the IR probe completely covering the receiver then the remote does not get line of sight and it cannot be used. Not just that many time a half covered IR probe does not execute the command and the user has to keep tapping on the iPad and that is really frustrating.

3. IR Probe – Cleaning makes the issue

The IR probe is stuck to the device. Normally when users or servants try to clean it the probe comes out. One needs a expert to paste it back. Else the device stops responding to the Home Control system and one needs to fall back on remote. Anyways who likes a visitor in his home every now and then.

 

How to avoid this frustration :

Ask your integrator to use cables to control everything you want to control. Worlds most advanced and user friendly systems like CasaDigi use USB , Consumer Electronics Control (CEC), IP to control most of these devices. Hence it is currently the most robust system available world wide. Serial ports are available in some TVs, Home Theatre AVRs, Projection systems. It is the most preferred way of controlling. Modbus can be used to control HVAC systems, elevators etc.

Don’t let your integrator to cut corners and save cost using IR, its easy to control over wired networks these days, its robust, consistent and convenient.

 

Academi By CasaDigi – The Game Changer in Home Theatre Controls

Academi is a new product by CasaDigi for enriching the Home Theatre Experience
http://www.casadigi.com
experience@casadigi.com

Home Theatres are no more a simple display and player setup. Its a complicated mesh of equipment and Hi Tech devices delivering great sound and picture quality. This also brings a lot of complexities in operating and not every one in the home can use a theatre without any external help. Moreover the content management always remains the challenge as it is difficult to archive not just your favourite movies and TV shows but also your life memories.

CasaDigi is already the most comprehensive and best designed product available today, the new offering Academi is also the wholesome control and content management product. Capable of doing multiple functions from a single box the Academi does not loose any feature nor compromises with any finesse which it is expected to deliver.

The Home Theatre technology has been evolving with every passing days. From a simple 5.1 Audio systems in a living room the dedicated spaces and immersive sound technologies have taken the lead with some amazing 4K large format displays and fascinating screens.

There are content providers like Apple TV, Netfilx and many others and people are looking to get content from these service providers however do not want to leave the old libraries created by them over the years.

When we look at controlling a Home Theatres there are two major requirements

  1. To control the devices that are installed in the Home Theatre along with lights, Climate Control etc.
  2. To manage the content which is in form of digital, physical discs and the ones coming from cloud.

Looking at the first requirement , there have been a lot of products around it. Control systems have been able to replace the array of remotes in the home theatre with either a single remote or some smart devices. A few companies also offer touch panels for this purpose. However most of these solutions have been just the glorified remotes and do not provide a real user experience.

For the second requirement too there are media players too which have been managing content however most of them are either cloud based products which have serious limitations or the high end products which have limitations to the type of content. Moreover there are hardly any products around which effectively catalogue the personal videos of the users. Since the evolution of cameras and mobile phones the personal video content has rapidly increased and most of the playback mechanisms are quite unprofessional and not user friendly for the customers. The larger issue is to add new content to the library, the products have pretty complex process to do content insertion and the personal video insertion is almost a nightmare.

Academi Logo - Black

The Academi uses the same User Interface design like CasaDigi which is already a Award winning, intuitive and powerful tool to enhance the user experiences. From the same application the user is able to control the automation features like lights, climate control, curtains etc. AV Control which includes control of Display devices, home theatre system components , Blu ray Players, set top boxes and also give high end Media Player services which also includes content management, Catalogue etc. The content Insertion utility which is provided with the solution allows the user to insert any content from Blu Ray of other discs, USB based storages or directly from the mobile devices. Which means the last vacation clips stored in the  phone can now be injected in the storage and catalogued in the Academi User Interface and played back any time on the display, finding the content is already made simple as it allows tagging and key words with dates , locations and people.

The Media Player

Academi is the most powerful Media Player available in the current date. The capability of playing music , TV Shows and movies also has a personal video catalogue and playback. This makes Academi by the most feature rich media player. The capability to play any audio and video format makes it a no worry product for the user as he can just play any media of any format. Academi also supports all new versions of multi channel audio including the Atmos and Auro formats thus making the product of first choice for the home theatre. Academi is also coupled with a simple content insertion utility called the CasaDigi Studio which allows a user to add new content to their library from almost any source, so be it a Disc or a USB based device or even directly from a mobile device, academy makes it a cake walk.

 

The AV Control

Just tap a  channel on the user interface and it will simultaneously control your display, Set Top Box and Home Theatre System, or just tap the movie you wish to watch and just see it on screen with right ambience in the room, Academi will do it all for you without any hassles, the simplicity is the signature of this product and that too with a astonishing speed. Academi can control all your AV devices and can even give you content based automated settings, if its a Atoms sound theres no selection one needs to make if its a 3D content the projector turns to 3D settings of its own making the life so simple ,at least in the Home Theatre Room.

The Automation Control

Lights, Curtains, Climate Control, Door Phones, Door Locks , you name it and it will be controlled by Academi. Setting the right ambience while watching a movie or a sports event can be done using simple macros making your home theatre experience a perfect one.

 

Enhance your design experience by choosing Home Control & Media Servers

Home Automation is getting popular however the luxurious and high end homes need home control and media servers for providing a better experience to the users

Home Automation System Market worth 79.57 Billion USD by 2022

Are you choosing the right product and is only automation enough

Understanding Home Automation Need

Markets and Markets have predicted a steep growth in Home Automation market. This is in regards to the multiple factors prevailing today. The Home Designers now deploy the new innovative lights that can also change intensity. The higher number of lighting circuits in a home are difficult to manage by traditional means and cause a lot of energy loss. Climate control devices need a control on natural light and the new high end homes typically have large windows with glasses which causes a lot of heat. Hence motorised curtains are the saviours in these kinds of scenarios. Therefore, the home automation solutions in the high end homes are becoming a necessity and its not a fancy ownership any more. The Lights, Curtains and Air Conditioner can be controlled by some smart looking switches on the wall or by just a tab on your There are some of the major companies offering this product which include Lutron, ABB, Siemens, Hager to name a few. Most of them however do not offer a great product for interface for your phones and Tabs and you may have to choose something like a CasaDigi to make them operate with ease. 

The Home Control

While the home automation can provide smart controls for Lights, Curtains and Air-conditioners it cannot enrich your experience. The solutions are functional enough yet not made for every member in the home to use swiftly. Moreover the Home Automation companies have a little or no control over the Entertainment systems, security systems and have limitations of designs that can perform. Home Control solutions provide great designs of iPad and phone interfaces that are simple and and also provide a great deal of smart and intelligent features. For the high end homes it is critical that these systems are completely wired as the wireless systems have limitations and are not the right choice for Indian conditions. The design on the iPad is the ultimate choice to make, If it is backed with robust architecture which is designed to perform every time you use then the combination is a winning preposition. It is preferred that the systems are normally distributed in architecture and not centralised as then it will allow the users to use the traditional remotes if they are not conversant with the iPads or they have guests at home, also even if the network of the home is down the remotes are pretty handy to be used. All good lighting automation companies allow manual switches on the devices which allow them to be operated in any conditions.

My Entertainment ,My Content

AV Control and Media Player

The Home control system will give you maximum advantage with the entertainment systems. This means controlling your home theatres, Television set top boxes etc. If we take example of a single TV unit it will be connected to multiple sources, A Set top box, a Blu ray player, a media player , a apple TV etc. Now imagine to turn on any of this source you first need to turn on your TV, then the required source and then make sure that the right source on the TV is selected. This situation becomes even more complex when a home theatre system is also deployed in this setup. This will mean a Audio Video Receiver (AVR) will be a part of the system and add to a lot of complexities. A good home control system will make the experience almost one touch. Which means just tap the TV channel you want to watch on the iPad and the control system will ensure you see it on the TV, everything else just happens by itself. Imagine a 80 year old just making a tab on iPad to watch the favourite movie and whole system turning on to facilitate the same and the ambience of room adjusting to make the movie watching comfortable, Now that’s the luxury.

The Media Server

Home control products also come bundled with content management and storage solutions. This means all your movies, music, personal videos , TVShows can be organised in a informative catalogue helping you to watch you favourite movie or your holiday video without searching for the disc and fiddling with multiple remotes almost at any display in your home. A good media server like CasaDigi separately catalogues your Movies, Tv shows and personal videos. While it is simple to search your movie in the categories and sub categories  created, the personal videos can be searched with key words. For instance if you find birthdays for 2016 it will give all videos of birthday videos for that year. Then just select the vides you wish to play and create a playlist with them. Moment you chose to play it the TV turns on, goes to the required source and the videos start streaming one by one. The same can be done with music where a playlist can be created and heard in any section of the house, the advance media player also allow features like playback from internet radio or simply streaming from the mobile devices via Airplay or DLNA.

Multi Zone Music

Parties, socialising and events are part of our lives. We invite guests and get invited time and again. We cant imagine a party without a good music, or if you in India there cant be home without religious music played in it. The new Multi Zone music systems allow you to play different music in different parts of a home or to play same music in different parts of the home. So when a party is n one can play the same song in garden, pool and living area. It is allowed to chose a different level of sound to make it comfortable. And it goes without saying the music can be played from your library, Internet or directly from your phone.

The Security System Control and monitoring & Utilities

With some comprehensive Home Control solution one can also control security features like Door Locks can be opened after confirming who is on the door via a IP Video Door phone, Surveillance camera feed can be seen on iPads and iPhones, intrusion detection and door sensors can be monitored, activated or deactivated depending on the use. Some homes have also incorporated geo fencing and controlled the same via home control systems