Up until recently, integrators and end users had no choice but to use a dedicated and often proprietary touch panel to control their home automation or control system if they desired a comprehensive control interface. Since the release of the first iPhone, iPad and Android devices, an explosion has been seen in the number of devices being sold and applications being released that allow these devices to be used as the main control interface.
This feature looks at why consumer-based devices are a great replacement for proprietary devices, with a main focus on iOS devices as these are currently more commonly used in the automation industry.
The article talks about advantages and disadvantages.
Cost: The first and most obvious advantage is the cost of a smartphone or tablet compared to a proprietary control device. A typical dedicated touch screen could cost well more than US$2,000, while an iPad Ü which is of similar size and capabilities to common touch panels Ü will cost under $500. When Android devices are brought into the mix, the cost becomes even lower, and in almost all cases, functionality is not only on par, but often better than that of proprietary devices.
Availability: Complementing the cost factor is that these consumer devices are readily available from a number of different sources without the need for special accreditations or being locked into any single distributor.
Device familiarity: According to Nielsen2, almost half (49.7 percent) of all US residents now own a smartphone. These consumers will be more than likely already familiar with iOS or Android devices. If they do not already use one of these, they will have seen them advertised and being used by others. This means that they are conditioned to the look and operation of these devices.
Processing power: Mo s t proprietary devices have built-in processors; however, the speed and power of these processors are severely lacking when compared with iOS and most Android devices. They also have less memory and only small amounts of storage space for GUI files. This results in special programming being required to work around the limitations of the touch panels, while an iOS device can take almost anything an integrator can throw at it.
Additional features: Tablets and smartphones have additional features that can be taken advantage of in HA applications. For example, multi-touch is a feature that is not widely included in proprietary devices; this is an extremely powerful feature that allows us to improve human device interaction through using a different number of fingers to interact with the display.
Existing infrastructure: In many circumstances, the customer will already have a wireless network set up in the house. Because devices such as the iPad utilize standard protocols such as Wi-Fi, in most cases this network can be utilized to connect the mobile devices thatwill control the systems in the premises. This means there is no expensive special cabling required.