Continuing our roundup of home automation innovations on display at this year’s CEDIA Expo, next up on my tour of the show was the booth of Savant Systems, whose presence in the home control space has positively exploded in the past few years.
Savant had a lot to announce at the Expo—including new WiFi and Ethernet controllers; new pricing, with the one-room Savant Host controller starting at $799; a new Pro line of controllers that enables access to adaptive phase dimmers and more advanced lighting control; and a new premium subscription service dubbed Savant Plus, which gives the homeowners complete remote access to their Savant systems for $150 per year (after a 90-day free trial).
But the biggest news by far was the new Savant App, which delivers unified, personalized control of lighting, entertainment, security, and comfort all from one slick, intuitive, completely personalized interface that boils down the control interface to its barest essentials without losing a bit of functionality.
And I do mean personalized. The first thing you see when you fire up the new Savant App is a screen containing every room in your house. And not merely a simple list; I mean you’re literally looking at an image of your living room, your kitchen, your bedroom, your dining room. Or it could be stylized images that represent each of those rooms. Or you can get really whacky with it, if you wanted to, take a photo of each member of the family, and quickly assign that headshot to his or her room, with a family photo representing the communal living area.
From that home screen, no matter how it’s graphically represented, you can quickly see the state of each room, including which AV source is playing, the state of the lights, the temperature, security settings, what have you, without pressing another button.
Touch the button for any of those rooms and you’ll start to dig into a deeper level of control. Tap the little light bulb at the bottom of the screen, for example, and the lighting control sliders for that room pop up. If the Apple TV icon appears onscreen, you’ll know that it’s currently playing, but give it a poke and you can easily change to a different source—your satellite receiver, TiVo, Blu-ray player, music server.
Here’s where things get really cool, though. Most professionally installed home control systems these days allow you to set up your own lighting scenes. But the new Savant App takes things one step further by allowing you to create scenes that capture the state of any and all controlled devices. So, say you’re having a dinner party and want everything in your home to be just-so when your guests arrive. With the new Savant app, you can walk around your home hours or days before, adjusting every light, turning on music sources, queuing up playlists, and when everything is set exactly how you want it, you can capture the state of your home—in one room or every room—make slight tweaks, and save it as a custom scene with your own personalized photo. Perhaps a screen shot of the evening’s main course.I’ve seen a lot of home automation user interfaces in my day—heck, I’ve programmed a lot of them myself—but I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Especially not with this level of intuitive end-user customization.
If you want to see it for yourself, you won’t have to wait much longer. All of the new Savant Systems hardware unveiled at the show, as well as the new Savant App for both iOS and Android, are scheduled to launch on November 10. For more information, check out the newly revamped Savant.com, where you’ll also find a video demonstration of the new user interface.
Content courtesy of: Dennis Burger, Editor in Chief, HDLiving.com