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Keep control simple, urge integrators

The need to cater to the specific requirements of each customer came through loud and clear in many of the responses given during the ‘Everything Designers Wanted to Know About Home Technology, But Were Too Afraid to Ask’ session at yesterday’s inaugural CEDIA Design and Build conference.

Homeplay managing director James Ratcliffe and NV Integration director Pip Evans fielded questions from designers Dean Keyworth, founder of Armstrong Keyworth, and Susie Rumbold, founder and creative director of Tessuto Interiors.

Invited to consider the main control requirements when designing a new residential installation, Ratcliffe said “[control panels and keypads] should always be intuitive. It’s no good having a system that requires lots of training – it should be possible for anyone to use it without explanation.”

The way in which control is implemented, said Evans, “inevitably depends on the individual client – everything has to be done for them”, but there is often plenty of reason to think that “simple push button controls” constitute the best way forward.

Other questions included the priorities for a non-dedicated media room installation (“a rollable TV can be a good approach”), the upgrade from HD to 4K and now potentially 8K TV (“good support and regular firmware updates” are vital), and the ideal viewing angle for most home cinema installations (45°).

There were also several emphatic warnings about security as the general network environment becomes more complex. “If you know all your passwords, you are doing it wrong,” advised Ratcliffe.“The only way to go is to use a password manager and have unique passwords for every single site.”