June 12, 2009
| by Jason Knott
Savant Systems—the same company that created the funky candy-dish remote control, the flying-icon on-screen display (OSD) and the automation industry’s first iPhone interface—now has another potential game-changing product: its new intuitive “virtual control” user interface (UI).
Making a touchpanel’s user interface intuitive is one of the keys to satisfying a homeowner with a whole-house control system.
With that in mind, Savant debuted a new intuitive “virtual control” interface that allows users to touch or swipe an actual photo of their home as the touchpad skin to turn on and off (or dim) a light, lower or raise shade, change the thermostat or even turn on and off the TV screen.
No more icons of light bulbs. No more mentions of the word “zone” on the touchpanel. If you want a light to turn on, you simply touch the actual light.
Not only does the light in the room turn on, but it also “turns on” via animation on the touchpanel. Even a stranger to the home could intuitively control functions with little to no instruction.
That new iPhone-like swipe control is just one of the new innovations unveiled by Savant last week.
Virtual Control Tech Uses Tethered Touchpanel
Specifically, the yet-to-be-named virtual control technology is a tethered tabletop 9-inch touchpanel with full capacitive touch technology delivering iPhone-like gestures and active control of lighting and shading, and other subsystems via images of residence.
The installation requires only power and a single Cat 5 for full functionality. The capacitive glass allows to gesture control.
One potential monkeywrench to the system is how to create the UI if your home is a new-construction build. Most likely, the home and individual rooms are unfinished when the custom electronics professional is creating the interface.
One solution would be to use architectural renderings as placeholders for the touchpanel skin, then replace them with actual images later.
Professional Services Division to Handle Photos
What about the photos themselves—are installers supposed to be professional photographers? Or homeowners? Turns out, neither.
Savant has that handled too. It newly announced Professional Services division will coordinate the photography on behalf of the dealer.
Savant demoed the product, showing how one room of the home would be the background skin on the touchpanel, while all the other rooms of the home will be located in a scroll box across the bottom of the screen that can be swiped left or right, just like the touch interface on an iPhone.