The iPad’s true potential as a controller lies in accessing home systems when away from the house. With a WiFi connection and an app from the control system manufacturer, users can check in on their security systems, turn the lights off if they left them on, or adjust the temperature before they get home from work, all from pretty much anywhere in the world. This provides an amazing added value and convenience to any control system, while providing the “wow” factor that consumers are looking for.

The iPad® as a Dedicated Controller:

Morgan Strauss | Guifx

The iPad® as a Dedicated Controller:
Should it Have a Place in Your System?

Author: Morgan Strauss of Guifx

The iPad® as a Dedicated ControllerThe iPad’s true potential as a controller lies in accessing home systems when away from the house. With a WiFi connection and an app from the control system manufacturer, users can check in on their security systems, turn the lights off if they left them on, or adjust the temperature before they get home from work, all from pretty much anywhere in the world. This provides an amazing added value and convenience to any control system, while providing the “wow” factor that consumers are looking for.

 

The iPad® is one of the hottest products on the market right now and consumers are increasingly looking to integrate the device into their control systems. But how does it really hold up as a dedicated controller? In this capacity, the iPad has several advantages and disadvantages, both of which need to be taken into consideration by consumers when deciding if it’s the ideal solution for their system.

The Pros

  • Functionality - The iPad offers truly amazing functionality, which is certainly appealing to consumers. With the iPad, you can read a book, check your email, and change the channel on your TV, all on one stylish device.
  • Cost - Assuming a user already owns an iPad, utilizing it for system control allows them to maximize the potential of the device without investing in a dedicated control system.
  • Flexibility - Users can carry the iPad with them throughout the house for control from room to room, or hard-mount it to the wall for a sophisticated look in any setting.

 

The Cons

  • Fingernails - Whether “real” or acrylic, they simply don’t register on the iPad’s capacitive touchscreen, which requires direct flesh contact. So unless your nails are really short, the iPad might be a poor choice for you as a home controller.
  • A Single Interface - If you have a large home and plan to have several iPads to operate everything, you may be stuck with a single interface for all of them. Many systems store a single GUI on a central processor which is loaded by the iPads in real time, making it impossible to create different user experiences in different areas of the home. For example, if you’re in the kitchen, you’ll have to drill down through the interface to switch the lights on, which is less convenient than just walking over and flipping a switch.
  • Connect Time - Home control on an iPad runs just like any other iPad app. That means it takes time to launch and connect, which can be frustrating when you want to perform simple tasks such as turning down the volume on your stereo. You could leave the home control application open all the time, but with 150,000 apps, books, Web browsing, email, and more, that would defeat the purpose of having an iPad in the first place.

 

The Verdict

While the iPad might serve as an acceptable controller in very basic systems for users looking to get the most out of their devices, for more sophisticated installations its disadvantages as a dedicated controller clearly outweigh the advantages. However, that is not to say that it doesn’t have a place at all in these systems. The iPad’s true potential as a controller lies in accessing home systems when away from the house. With a WiFi connection and an app from the control system manufacturer, users can check in on their security systems, turn the lights off if they left them on, or adjust the temperature before they get home from work, all from pretty much anywhere in the world. This provides an amazing added value and convenience to any control system, while providing the “wow” factor that consumers are looking for.

 

Morgan Strauss is the president of Guifx, an interface design studio specializing in touchscreen interfaces for home automation and embedded systems. He can be reached at morgan@guifx.com.

 

Guifx offers Graphical User Interface Kits (GUI) such as Oscar, Deana, and Victoria, which offer end users unprecedented ease of use with simple, intuitive navigation, and an elegant design. Through Crestron’s Mobile G iPad application, for instance, users have access to their distributed audio, video, and whole-house climate, lighting, and security systems from virtually anywhere in the world.

 


Oscar

 

Deana

 

Victoria

 


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