Alternative Control devices for your integrated home

Having an integrated home and or building has  many advantages and can be very luxurious and convenient , but often times there are  certain applications where a bulky touchpanel is taking valuable wall space or  has to be located in a very inconvenient space making it more of a hassle than a convenience.   Other times it just makes more sense to have a in wall solution and a hand-held remote for mobility. Now there are many proprietary hand-held  touchpanels and Remotes to do this, but here are a few alternative deices that can control your automation system at a fraction of the price (Yeah, there’s an app for that).

IOS Devices-The iPod touch, The iPhone, & The iPad:

Android Devices-Android phones and Tablets:

This is only a small fraction of possible mobile devices, but I am confident when I say that everyone reading this owns at least one of these devices and probably thought about purchasing one of the others. These are all fantastic devices, some of things that they can do are simply amazing. Think about it. I can watch netflix, email, check my facebook account, play music, take photos, check sports scores, make a phone call, get directions, and post this article to my blog. You use this device everyday in your life to do all the things listed above and many more. why wouldn’t you want to have it control your home?
Some of these devices are obviously too small to control everything, well that’s not entirely true, but I’ll tell you like I tell everyone else, just because you can drive with your feet that doesn’t make it a good idea. Smaller phones and such would best be suited to control a few things at most like a few lighting scenes, arming and disarming alarm systems while entering or leaving the building.
The tablets have more real estate for more control of multi-room solutions and even entire systems depending on size of project and devices.The point is that there are options for everyone, and most of us are already carrying around one with them at all times. Lets put it to good use.
There are also manufacturers embracing this idea so much that they are designing docking stations (In-Wall and on-Wall)  and hard button solutions to accommodate your wants and needs.

So whether you are trying to save wall space, some money in the budget, or just put your electronics to good use, there are new options for to consider.


James Loudspeaker’s “Spot 3″

Last Friday the Vsys Automation crew and myself of course, were lucky enough to witness a new Design/Prototype in development at the James Loudspeaker facility in Beautiful Napa CA. James Loudspeaker is working together with No.8 Lighting to develop what the engineers at James Loudspeaker are calling code name “Spot 3″.


Spot 3 is 3″ driver built into one of No.8′s lighting fixtures, that just happens to be an LED fixture. The LED technology was developed by “XIADO” and it has the equivalent of a 75W incandescent bulb. When asking the engineers on the challenges in making this 3″ speaker and LED light fixture in one, other than the obvious, they said one of the more difficult features was being able to rotate and swivel the light and being able to change the light in the field. BTW it looks like they have got that figured out on their first design, but only time will tell. Now I have only seen and heard the prototype, but for a 3″ driver and light combo it looks and sounds amazing! Did I mention that currently (When I was there) the Spot 3 was only being driven by 15W super sexy and sleek prototype amplifier/control unit with built in BlueTooth. I say currently because Michael J. Park, Chief Technology Officer plans on upping that to about 50-75W.


I must say that at first glance of the Spot 3, I thought that I was starring at Tony Stark’s “Arc Reactor“, the amazing audio produced proved otherwise. I also could not believe when I entered the room, the amount of brilliant bass, that it was emanating from this tiny wonder, hands on with the prototype and prints also proved me wrong.


One of my favorite things about this Speaker/Light is the connection is so easy it is impossible to reverse polarity! You may be asking yourself, How is this possible? Currently to connect this speaker to its counterpart, it is a simple RJ11 connector, but most likely is going to change to a RJ45 Ethernet connection for doubling up on wires.

More info on this when it is available, but expect to see the Spot 3 and it’s amp/controller at the end of the year from your local James Loudspeaker dealer, our visit them on their website here.


Code Name Jaberwocky

In the deep dark secluded areas in Vsys HQ, Where no one dares to venture because terrible and great experiments are being done. This is where I have been spending my days and sometimes nights working on “Project Jaberwocky.”

Here are some photos of project Jaberwocky. More on this later.



Maximizing functionality, while maintaining simplicity, are the key features of an intelligent system. A system integrator brings in a wide array of components to accomplish the goal of creating a unified, functioning system that meets the needs of the client. A control system sometimes needs to expand outside its normal parameters to include a subsystem that would normally not be included, for such instances a module is developed by the programmer to interface into the 3rd party devices. Some companies who claim to be system integrators lack the experience and knowledge to create a module to control such 3rd party devices, and will simply deny or claim the ability to include that subsystem in the design by saying “It can’t be done.”
A systems integrator is a person or company that specializes in bringing together component subsystems into a whole and ensuring that those subsystems function together, a practice known as Systems Integration. As lighting and A/V systems increase in their level of sophistication and the number of manufacturers for components of these systems increase, so does the demand for system integrators. Such subsystems that are included in the control design are lighting, distributed audio and video, climate control, irrigation, access control, security, surveillance, networking and communication, home theater, spa, and energy management to name a few. Each one of these systems can be controlled independently, however with a control system and an experienced integrator; full functionality can be achieved with ease of use through one user interface.
Usually a client will request control of a device or subsystem that would normally be a standalone system where drivers for communication do not yet exist, creating the need for the system integrator to build new drivers or modules. In this situation the “non professional integrator” will tell you that it simply can’t be done ,when in reality they just don’t have a dedicated programmer or division of programmers that specialize in system integration, and now you will most likely be missing a lot of “advanced programming” that simplifies use. A true integrator knows that anything electrical or mechanical can be integrated.



Crestron TPMC 3X


Last September VinoSystems Ventured into Denver Colorado for CEDIA, Where we got a look into the future of intelligent homes. There were a countless number of companies showing of there new cutting edge technology that was currently out for use. When VinoSystems arrived upon the Crestron booth we got a chance to talk to the innovators behind their products. Crestron always has the best of the best and always the most cutting edge of technology, so seeing their new stuff is always very exciting. After about an hour of talking tech with the creators we came upon a new product that we were told may never even be released, just an idea in the works. The Crestron TPMC-3X was shown to us as a concept remote back in September, but here in July Crestron has released their mythical unicorn of controllers. The Crestron TPMC-3X is a Handheld WiFi Touchpanel which is the best remote control available for home theater and AV presentation, it is very ergonomic and customizable. It is very sleek, eye catching, easy to hold, containing large tactile push buttons that are backlit. The CRESTRON TPMC-3X provides true feedback of all your settings, and displaying metadata information for all your digital media. Whether watching TV, choosing a movie or music title, adjusting room temperature and lighting, checking the security system, or even monitoring live video right on the built-in touchscreen, the TPMC-3X affords a user experience like no other handheld remote. The TPMC-3X has 50’ wireless coverage, providing exceptional freedom of movement without line-of-sight— or even having to be in the same room! And, the TPMC-3X even supports roaming amongst multiple access points for extended coverage. The TPMC-3X has been designed to wake instantly at the press of a button, touch of the touchscreen, or by simply tilting the remote upright. Button presses are sent immediately, just like an IR remote but with none of IR’s limitations. The instant waking feature provides the TPMC-3X with the ability to be put to sleep within seconds of putting it down, helping to extend its battery life for several days of typical usage on a single charge. Did I mention this super sleek remote has wireless streaming video? Its built-in streaming video player makes it possible to monitor a security camera, or preview a DVD or television channel, right on the touchscreen display. Also customized WAV files can be loaded on the TPMC-3X to add dimension to its touchscreen graphics using personalized sounds, button feedback, and voice prompts. The TPMC-3X makes an elegant statement in any room, especially when placed on its stylish docking station (model TPMC-3X-DS, included). When docked, the TPMC-3X which was sent from the future back through time to destroy John Connor and mankind….Just kidding, but seriously, the touchpanel sits at-the-ready, able to be used as a stationary tabletop controller while charging. An optional wall mount docking station is also available (model TPMC-3X-DSW, sold separately). If there is one remote to controll them all, then the TPMC-3X is it. Look for it at your nearest Crestron dealer.


The one to rule them all!

Crestron booth was nice. I talked to a guy out of the Cypress office that informed me that someone makes a 3rd party device that does intercom over ip… so I can get intercom working on the TPMC-8X’s!!!