As control system programmers, it is our job to turn a collection of devices from different manufacturers into a system that works together seamlessly and easily.
As we know, not all devices are created equal. What may be a great fit from a design standpoint could be a headache when it comes time for integration and programming. And, in the end, project success and client satisfaction hinge largely on ease of use.
While control functionality and programming simplicity may not be on the radar of designers or manufacturers, they should be, because control functionality and programming simplicity make or break the success of a system or product.
To address these issues, identify the availability of proven control modules or invest in developing control modules. Almost all programmers rely upon modules to get projects done accurately and efficiently. Whether they are pre-developed modules provided by manufacturers, modules the programmer has taken the time to develop independently, or modules that can be purchased from other industry professionals, the key to controlling most feature-rich devices is through proven control modules.
What happens if you are stuck with a device and don’t have a proven control module to rely on?
If you don’t have a control module in place, you have two options. You can struggle to make the product work on the fly, which results in higher costs and most likely an undesirable outcome. Or you can invest some time and money early and have a control module developed for you that meets your desired outcome and avoids potential problems.
How do you avoid unexpected difficulty integrating and controlling certain devices?
As you walk the floor at CEDIA EXPO
and view various products, consider the control capabilities and ease of programming along with the other selling features of a product. Ask about control capabilities and functionality and most importantly, see if there are resources available like plug-and-play modules that make programming easier.
What does control module development mean for manufacturers?
Manufacturers can take matters into their own hands by investing in the development of modules that they can customize, own, maintain, and distribute to ensure that their products are well represented and supported.
Availability of proven control modules can be the sales and marketing tipping point that not only satisfies a need and provides a competitive advantage, but also reduces the technical effort needed to support the product.
About Steve Greenblatt
Steve Greenblatt is President of Control Concepts, Inc. and was a member of the 2012 #CEDIATweeps social media team. Follow Steve on Twitter at @stevegreenblatt.