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Control panels: eight solutions to improve customisation

Advances in control panel technology have improved the level of customisation available to installers as well as assisting the move towards more self-contained interfaces.

2N’s luxury IP-compatible system

The Indoor Touch is the new luxury access control and door entry system from 2N. The touchpanel is suitable for both commercial and residential applications, and offers all the benefits of an IP-addressable system. Available from CIE-Group, the system is fully compatible with 2N’s IP Helios Vario or Verso Door Entry system, as well as third-party IP devices.

Designed with a 7in HD screen, the Indoor Touch is aimed at owners of multi-dwelling units and apartment blocks, large residential properties and high-spec office environments. The system works well as a remote door entry system as it enables two-way visual and aural communication, in high-definition video and clear audio. The unit features an Android-based operating system and uses Power over Ethernet to reduce cabling and speed up installation.

The system operates using IP-addressable remote door locks, which unlock internal/external doors when a visitor is allowed in; at the same time, corridor and stair lighting is switched on. This is particularly useful in apartments and large homes as visitors do not need to be met at the door.

The user interface allows two-way communication with IP door intercom systems, VoIP telephones/videophones, or other Indoor Touch devices on the same network.

The control system also allows for integration with other third-party IP-controlled devices to provide remote touchscreen control of building elements such as lighting, heating and curtains.

Crestron extends wireless control

The Crestron TST-602 Wireless Touch Screen delivers dedicated wireless control, voice command recognition and web browsing in an ergonomic design.

The unit features high-resolution graphics and H.264 streaming video on the 5.7in widescreen display. It also has 15 customisable pushbuttons, including two-button up/down for volume control or channel select, and a five-button D-pad for onscreen display navigation.

Accessed by pressing a button on the touchscreen, the voice command function enables instructions to be spoken, ranging from turning devices on/off to choosing a lighting scene or entering a password.

Content from video sources can be streamed to the touchscreen. Native support for H.264 and MJPEG formats enables the display of live streaming video from an IP camera, a streaming server or a DigitalMedia switcher.

To reduce the need for WiFi, primary touchscreen functionality for the TST-602 is supported via Crestron ER wireless communications, extending up to 60m indoors. Dual mode, which uses ER and WiFi together, enables advanced wireless capabilities such as streaming video, intercom and web browsing.

The TST-602 incorporates lithium ion battery technology that makes it possible to keep the device docked indefinitely. To help extend battery life, the ‘Instant-Waking’ feature allows the TST-602 to go to sleep within seconds of being put down.

Customisable show controller from Alcorn McBride

Alcorn McBride’s ShowTouch comes preloaded with a complete touchpanel interface for controlling and monitoring Alcorn show controllers via Ethernet.

The touch software can be used on any Windows PC and enables easy configuration for tasks such as setting a security unlock code, unlocking the script running on the show controller and starting to design a graphic interface with the graphics library that is included.

Multiple image formats are supported including PNG, JPG, GIF and BMP. There are also fully customisable design options to allow users to combine images, text colour and fonts to create an interface for any size installation.

The ShowTouch offers mounting flexibility as well as 24/7 operation, with no moving parts to wear out. The iOS app allows even greater flexibility, remotely interacting with the V16Pro/V4Pro show controller. The app retrieves interface files from the show controller to provide portable show control at the user’s fingertips.

AMX targets broad appeal with secure interface

Massio is a high-performance control interface from AMX’s ControlPad Series available in six-button and eight-button models, in both black and white, with a built-in AMX Controller. It is targeted at use in classrooms and conference rooms; its low cost and lack of additional programming further broaden possible applications.

Instead of using traditional programming, Massio ControlPads are configured via AMX’s Rapid Project Maker (RPM) software; the processor includes the latest security features. RPM makes the Massio particularly cost-effective for small spaces where a significant portion of the budget is usually set aside for programming costs.

The ControlPad Series combines the affordability of a wall-mounted keypad with the device and room control capabilities of a central controller. The LED-backlit pushbuttons and rotary control knob facilitate quick adjustments and the integrated PoE connectivity simplifies installation.

Control4 brings consistency with upgrades

Control4 has made a number of improvements to its range of touchscreens with twice the resolution of previous models. The new additions include 7in and 10in in-wall touchscreens and a 7in tabletop option. Supporting Control4’s HD AV intercom service is an onboard HD camera with high-quality speakers and microphone.

The touchscreens meet the same standards as existing models. Equivalent interfaces on all touchscreens, mobile apps and onscreen displays ensure a consistent user experience between devices. Upgrading is made easier with the new in-wall touchscreens having the same back-box as previous models, so no additional labour is required to install them.

A number of hardware improvements have facilitated faster touch and gesture-capable interactions. One of the software improvements is that the HD AV intercom now features a large window displaying the camera feed at the other end of the call. The new interface for all comfort equipment and settings is more intuitive, and there’s one-touch access to local weather forecasts native to the OS.

Extron’s dual platform delivers input variety

The Extron MLC Plus 84 EU and MLC Plus 84 MK are Ethernet controllers designed for mounting in dual-size EU and MK junction boxes. They are used for controlling common AV system functions such as display on/off, input switching and volume control. They each feature nine customisable, backlit soft-touch buttons, PoE and a variety of ports and inputs, including a remote volume control port for use with select Extron amplifiers.

The MLC Plus 84 controllers’ main advantages are their configuration-based platform, powerful functionality and their easy-to-install, region-specific form factors. These controllers utilise Extron’s Global Configurator Plus and Global Configurator Professional software, which feature conditional logic, variables and macros to enable more elaborate control system designs.

RTI’s all-in-one touchpanel

The KX7 in-wall colour LCD touchpanel from RTI provides customised control over the entertainment, environmental and security systems of any building. RTI’s Integration Designer software is used to create the user interface on the 7in WVGA (800 x 480) LCD display. In addition, the KX7 supports composite, S-video or component analogue video on its display. Underneath, the unit boasts wired 10/100 BaseT, which provides the option of powering the unit via PoE or with the included power supply.

The in-wall touchpanel is a self-contained control system, which helps lower installation and operational costs. The unit’s customisable interface enables an always-on status. Built-in IR and RS-232 ports provide direct control of devices, and when used as part of a complete RTI system, the KX7 offers two-way communication for control and feedback from third-party components such as music servers, HVAC and lighting. In addition, the KX7 features a built-in camera, microphone and speakers to support future video intercom capabilities.

Configuration options from HRS Control

HRS eTouch touchscreen controllers are customisable through HRS Designer software, which can tailor graphics, branding and system design to suit the user. The controllers come in wall-mounted and desktop configurations and are available in 4in and 7in models with PoE injector options.

In multiple touchscreen controller environments, the eTouch can be used with a UDC Pro ECS-Raptor or other HRS Control servers. It can also be used in a single-controller application as it requires no additional hardware or software and features a built-in control server.