September 13, 2011
| by Lisa Montgomery
A touchpanel is a touchpanel is a touchpanel. They all pretty much look the same when you look past the particular interface that’s displayed. Shaped to resemble a small TV, they offer the same basic-sized canvas for custom electronics (CE) pros to design special control menus and layouts.
AMX broke the mold at the CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis recently by introducing a panoramic touchpanel that’s at least twice as wide as most other touchpanels on the market. The Modero X Series Touch Panel comes in two varieties: a 20.3-inch version, which measures 18.7 inches long by 7.75 inches tall with over 145 square inches of control surface, and a 19.4-inch unit, measuring 18.7 inches long by 5.15 inches tall.
According to AMX public relations manager Kevan Ferguson, the super-wide touchpanels are primarily intended for use in commercial applications, but they can also be a huge benefit to households that use an AMX system to manage huge media libraries and numerous electronic devices and systems. For example, on the same screen a user could view an image captured by a surveillance camera, while simultaneously checking a stock report and monitoring the status of the lights in the lower level of the house. To do this on a standard-sized touchpanel would typically require scrolling to various different pages. As many as four people can interact with the touchpanel at the same time—one person could be operating the lights, while another peruses a list of Netflix movies, for example.
In addition to the super-wide size, the Modero X Series Touchpanels are unique in that they incorporate a couple of cutting-edge technologies. An optional Bluetooth interface, for example, allows a keyboard to be connected to the unit. Combined with the touchpanel’s built-in camera, a person could easily conduct a video chat, for example.
Able to support Near Field Communications (NFC) the touchpanels will be able to communicate with mobile devices, such as smart phones, without any cabling connection. By sitting your NFC-enabled phone next to the panel, the panel recognizes who the user is and adjusts the display to your predetermined preferences. For example, your phone might tell the panel to call up your favorite Internet radio channels and set the lights in the kitchen to 30 percent. When your spouse places his or her phone next to the panel, a completely different scenario might unfold. “Personalizing the user experience is always paramount at AMX and including technologies like NFC. Although NFC technology is just beginning to appear on the market, we are including it as an example of ways we are anticipating future integration with mobile devices,” says AMX chief technology officer Robert Noble.
The Modero X Panels are expected to retail for $12,000.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.