Apple has pretty much killed the wireless touch panel for the home automation market with the iPad and iPod Touch — and if you feel like they haven’t, then let me rephrase the previous sentence with, “Apple will soon kill the wireless touch panel…”. It’s really hard to sell a wireless panel these days that costs more than triple the cost and in most cases, of less quality and has 10x’s less battery life than the Apple devices.
Now, I understand the limitations of using an iPod Touch and iPad for home control and I have heard the argument that a touch panel that is dedicated gives the user quicker access than powering up the i-Device, sliding to unlock, then either launching or resuming the application, wait for a slight delay of the wifi to connect and a few seconds later, controlling the system.
Sure, I agree.
I also agree that some in-wall panels also act as an “embedded” server which needs to be on all the time — something the Apple device isn’t designed to do — those are all valid points. However, for casually controlling your lights, music, security, viewing cameras, adjusting temperature, and so forth, the Apple mobile devices are a home run!
That’s why I got excited to see the NOW SHIPPING touch/iPad in-wall mount system from iPort. The iPort CM-IW100T (CM100) Control Mount for the iPod touch encases an iPod touch in a wall-mounted chassis with a magnetically attached, rectangular bezel, as does the iPort CM-IW2000 (CM2000) for Apple’s iPad, transforming the handheld devices into in-wall touchscreens running apps from any control system over WiFi. The device is powered over CAT5 — audio output is also carried over the Cat5 cable which can be fed as an audio source into a whole house audio system — think Pandora App or even the iPod Player, however, that will require you occasionally pull the iPod/iPad out of the panel to sync as Apple doesn’t offer wifi syncing.
The iPort CM100 retails for $250.00, while the iPad version retails for $499.00. I’ll try to get one in for review soon…
– iPort – CM Series
Here’s a sneak peak at my latest project — the RNET to Sonos Bridge. All coded using an Arduino and Ethernet Shield. What this little device allows you to do is control a Sonos device using any Russound whole house audio system that supports RNET sources. It allows next, previous, play, pause and I’m working on playlist access and support. Current track metadata gets sent to these keypads as a multi-field message.
I’m pretty much code complete but I’m running into a few memory issues… The Arduino only has <2K of available RAM that I can work with. I have an Arduino Mega (which offers 8K) on order to see if that solves things. I think I can still optimize my code to make it work with the 328.
I’ll post more when I get it 100% stable.
Update: Got it working! With about 500bytes left of RAM on the 328 chipset… this was a fun little project. Below is a video:
Also running on E6 Color Keypads:
Russound has been my go to whole house audio solution for many years. They offer solutions at many different price points and options. They also integrate nicely with home automation systems like (Crestron, HAI, AMX, and Control4). Recently, MAVROMEDIA became an Authorized Russound Sphere dealer and have just installed the latest E-Series system with the new KLK-E6 color click wheel keypads. I’m throughly impressed — it’s like having an iPod in every room! The E6 keypads bring a full color display that makes it easier to read across the room.
The main E-Series controller is a very beefy unit coming in at 4u high and is packed with options from doorbell chimes to paging to the ability to expand the system to 48 zones. It also supports up to 12 sources which can be dedicated to specific rooms. For example, you have an iBridge dock (iPod dock) in a bedroom. You can reserve and display that iPod as a source for just that room.
If you are in the market for a whole house audio system that “brings an iPod to every room” then check out the Russound Sphere series!
Just downloaded the newest iPhone SDK (3.2) and ran the Myro:Home iPhone app in the iPad Simulator. It works (you can press the 2x to zoom it, seen in the second image) Once I release the iPhone app, I will be focusing on making a native version for the iPad. This should be fun! A $499 home automation controller is perfect — the iPad is Myro Control’s wireless home controller!