How to make sure you get the best control and automation system for your needs.
By Steve Greenblatt
August 16, 2012
system to accommodate unique user needs. Rather than specifying the physical requirements (which is easier and faster) and then figuring out the operational needs later, define the user experience first to build a successful system.
The Successful Systems Approach
To create a successful system, approach the design in the following ways.
- Understand the your past experiences
- Determine the your needs and expectations
- Review systems that you have currently and discuss what you like and don’t like
- Define the parameters of the system, similar to the process above
- Discuss the system operation and functionality requirements — These functionality requirements lead to selection of equipment and system design because the functionality needs define the system rather than the system defining the functionality
- Propose a user interface design that captures the functionality — It is important to note that the size and type of the physical user interface will also be defined as a result of this process
- Mock up an interactive user experience to share with users in advance — This involves creating an interactive demo that doesn’t control any devices, but can be used to simulate the operation of the system
- Document the user interface and functionality for approval
Through this process, the system can be specified and designed to meet the specifications of the user experience. For your user, if it is critical to have feedback from the components being controlled, devices with bi-directional communication and a robust and easy to integrate control protocol should be strongly considered.
- DVD transport controls with status
- Projector power status
- Switcher or interface to detect laptop connection
- Volume level and mute status
- Conference controls with incoming call indication
- Sensors and measurement equipment for energy management considerations
As this process of defining the user experience progresses, more features, functionality and user requirements that would not necessarily be assumed or predicted by leaving this task to
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