In an effort to provide ultra convenience to customers in the home and office, Audio/Visual (A/V) equipment manufacturers now provide feature-rich remote communication and collaboration functionality. With the added convenience follows excess clutter. In boardrooms, classrooms and home theaters, more A/V equipment translates to more remote controls and more time spent trying to set up multiple devices.
What if there was a way to truly take command of your system by using only one interface, and setting up everything with a touch of a button? Common automation systems use basic controllers to turn objects on or off, or to indicate status. High-end systems that provide complete control can be expensive. RCS Programming found a solution with Rabbit’s BL2100 single-board computer that offers complete control of A/V systems at an affordable price.
RCS Programming manufactures the XSYS Control System, a network device with Run-Time Editor that allows users to control A/V equipment over the network. This solution connects all media devices in the home, office or classroom to a touch screen operator interface, helping to alleviate the frustrations of controlling multiple devices, including infrared (IR) devices. The XSYS offers premium control without the premium price.
A common system setup is comprised of the XSYS module connected to a control CPU that is interfaced with a touch screen panel. The control PC and other Ethernet based devices are connected to a hub and a modified BL2100 via the Ethernet jack. A/V equipment such as amplifiers, signal switchers and equalizers are connected via serial connections. DVD players, CD players, MP3 players, digital tuners and satellite tuners are controlled by the XSYS module via IR. The A/V signals feed into the switchers and amplifiers via their respective connections. The XSYS also provides interface control capability to lighting, window shades, projector and screen. All of the critical components are tied together into one unit, simplifying the control system. The Run-Time Editor software gives users custom control over how the entire control system works, including the graphical interface. The software also gives the ability to make changes on the fly without having to recompile the software.
John Rule, owner of RCS Programming, expresses the importance of the BL2100’s role in the XSYS system.
"The BL2100 includes most of the functionality that I needed for the integrated control system I was designing," says Rule. "The industry at the time had very limited network integration; the Rabbit product not only has the network integration built in, but a professional and royalty-free library to use."
Rule’s inspiration to develop the XSYS system stemmed from the lack of effective tools in the control industry, especially for A/V and facilities control. Most control systems lack the IR capability that allows for wider control of devices such as media players that can only be controlled via infrared.
"I integrated infrared control and much of the functionality you would find in professional control systems costing thousands of dollars more," Rule explains. "The design of the BL2100 was so close to what I needed and the Dynamic C® software was so easy to use, that I could develop my professional product very quickly."
Rabbit’s BL2100 and the Dynamic C integrated development environment provide the right mix of features that give Rule an edge in the industry.
"I did look at a few other companies offering similar hardware and software, but they did not seem intuitive. Rabbit’s professional design and professional tools made it easier for me to add my level of customized features to make it a product that my customers needed," says Rule. "The combination of hardware and software was important, and it saved me a lot of design time. Much of the time I felt like I had a whole engineering team behind me."
John Rule and RCS Programming found that Rabbit’s hardware and software provide the tools to quickly develop a product, saving time and money not only for RCS, but also for its customers. Rabbit’s commitment to introducing innovative products enables companies like RCS to develop products that can grow with the end customer, giving the flexibility to add features such as mass memory and wireless technologies to future control products.
For more information on RCS Programming, visit: www.rcsprogramming.com