AMX iPhone app

a_riot42a_riot42 AMX WizardPosts: 1,619
Seen the new iPhone AMX control app? It allows you to load a TPD file onto an iPhone.

http://www.touchpanelcontrol.com/

Haven't seen a price for it yet though. Considering you don't need a touch panel, I don't know if it was created with the blessing of AMX or not. Since it requires a TPD file, a regular user wouldn't be able to load it themselves.
Paul
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Comments

  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    Wow. Very cool...I like the "and sooo much more" at the end, showing her drag 3 levels at once.

    I can't wait to try this out.
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,154
    Did you notice in the video the TP4 iPhone panel type when they created a new TP4 file? How did they do that?
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    I've been told there will be an evaluation download available around the 20th. Pricing info at the same time...

    It seems to work in a similar fashion to the iridium mobile app, although with greater TP4 compatibility

    Presumably there is a ini file for TP4 that allows them to add the file type and resolution - they'd be on very thin ice if they tried to market something that used a hacked TP4 download.
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,154
    Jimweir192 wrote: »
    It seems to work in a similar fashion to the iridium mobile app, although with greater TP4 compatibility
    This guy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJpeGWzEL9w

    Is there an app in the store for this? I didn't see one.
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    Can Netlinx by default handle mulit-touch? Has it been a UI hardware limitation? I was thinking that the code would just handle the touches sequentially, but is there any reason that multiple push: events for different channels couldn't happen at the same time?
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    ...different channels from the same device at the same time.

    Actually the more I think about it the more it makes sense that this would work.
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    Wow! That's awesome! Almost seems to good to be true!!
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,154
    <The sound of bursting bubbles>
    Colzie wrote: »
    Has it been a UI hardware limitation?
    Yup, although I can?t find it in writing anywhere I have to assume that AMX touch screens are resistive since you can use a stylus. Resistive touch screen technology does not support multi-touch.

    iPhone touch screens use capacitive technology which is why you can?t wear gloves or use a stylus with the iPhone.

    Sounds like a fair trade off don?t ya think? :)
  • samossamos Junior Member Posts: 106
    how much will it cost?
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    Considering you don't need a touch panel, I don't know if it was created with the blessing of AMX or not. Since it requires a TPD file, a regular user wouldn't be able to load it themselves.
    Since this could potentially cut into the sales of TPs from AMX - I highly doubt it, which is why I've not posted anything on this since I saw it a few days ago. I debated posting, but decided not to before I talked with someone at AMX about it. See more below...
    Joe Hebert wrote: »
    Did you notice in the video the TP4 iPhone panel type when they created a new TP4 file? How did they do that?
    Colzie wrote: »
    Hackers!!!!
    Exactly! I actually started looking into "how" they could have done it. And here's what I've come up with.
    1) TPD files themselves appear to be a mashup of the XMA and XML files that dictate what and how each button is displayed on the popup or page. In order to break this out - some reverse engineering had to have been done, or used / hacked a DLL to extract all the files. Either way, I could see a EULA violation.

    2) XML, XMA, bitmap and font files are sent to the panel during transfer, not a TDP file. One can easily capture these and "sync" them to an iPhone; the iPhone then surely has some code that parses these out and shows what it needs and does what it's supposed to - just how I'm sure an AMX panel uses them except with the Unix operating system.

    3) Here's where I bet the majority of their time was spent in development: having the iPhone talk natively with an AMX processor (I'm assuming that is what's happening.) Depending on *how* they did it would determine if any real reverse engineering actually occurred. They either (A) sniffed the ICSP protocol out OR (B) they used the ICSP documentation that can easily be found online and built their code around that documentation of the protocol. I'm not sure of the capabilities of an iPhone - but you *could* potentially use a DLL that AMX sells.

    4) Adding some entries into a few exisiting XML files and creating a few new ones in a specific directory on the user's computer allows for a "device" to be added to TPD easily. Figuring out how the XML files were linked and modifying a few images at midnight while being distracted by the World Poker Tour took a bit longer than what I had hoped. Attached is what I was able to do in a couple of hours (hey, I was distracted!) But when you install their program to sync, I'd bet these files are loaded into a certain directly - which I'm guessing also would be a EULA violation.

    Now, these assumptions are based off of what I would do if I were to do the same thing for my Android phone. If I were them, I'd be a little bit worried about the reverse engineering speculation that I'm guessing AMX could start if interested. Granted, doing some modifications or reverse engineering of any kind is discouraged - but once you start "making money" off of it, I'm only going to guess that's when companies really don't like it.
    samos wrote:
    how much will it cost?
    Ummm.....see above. ;)
  • Jorde_VJorde_V UX Scientist Posts: 393
    jjames at least take the Hero when you do stuff like that! Or use the google nexus one!

    Edit like this: (check attachment)
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    Nerieru wrote: »
    jjames at least take the Hero when you do stuff like that! Or use the google nexus one!

    Not to derail, but I do have the Hero - great phone. After reading about the Nexus One - I wish it did CDMA to work on Sprint's network . . . but oh well. I'm happy with the Hero. I'm trying my hand at some AMX apps - but currently I'm just too darn busy to actually implement anything. If I was able to use a DLL on the Java based phone - I'd have something up and going soon as I'm not about to decipher or write my own ICSP interpreter.
  • Jorde_VJorde_V UX Scientist Posts: 393
    Well it's easy to add them this way, but you still need to change the firmware of the actual device to get it to communicate with amx, and make tp4 capable of transferring the necessary files. (Also I did it for you jjames, and grats on the phone. I have an iPhone and me being a 'tweaker' means I can't do much unless I jailbreak it, but it's my business phone so I wont. I'm thinking of getting the trinity zii phone when it comes out. So I can mess around with that, and still be able to accept calls etc :P)

    Check my post above to see how sexy the hero looks
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    Nerieru wrote: »
    ...but you still need to change the firmware of the actual device to get it to communicate with amx, and make tp4 capable of transferring the necessary files.

    To transfer through TPD4, yes - you'd need to do some emulation or hacking to make the program transfer to it. You can make a "device" show up in TPD4 as a transferable item, but it just won't actually take it. This is not how TPC is doing it though.

    In the video, it shows that you sync the tp4 file - but as I pointed out, I suspect they extract all of the actual files out of the compiled file (the TP4 file.) Then, some code is on the iPhone / iPod to parse out the XML file of the pages and displays them correctly. If one were so inclined (as TPC appears to be) you could do this with a lot of effort. I've spent some time laying out how to do it, at least as a Microsoft .NET program. I started to play around and theorize that it is possible to create a .NET program that could as an emulator - with communication to an AMX processor. I might play around with my theory and idea once a few jobs are over and I have some "spare" time - but will never take it to the point of selling or sharing whatever I come up with.

    Either way - what they've presented is a very cool application. Legal? Not sure. Against AMX EULAs - most likely. Would I purchase it before AMX makes some sort of "ruling" on whether they endorse this or not? No way.
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    Joe Hebert wrote: »
    This guy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJpeGWzEL9w

    Is there an app in the store for this? I didn't see one.

    Not it the store, its a manual install. see http://iridiummobile.net/

    It works well in general, but is limited in that your TP4 file needs to use your own graphics for everything - no system graphics are transfered.

    I've not rolled this out to any clients but have played around a bit.
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    me wrote:
    Has it been a UI hardware limitation?
    Joe Hebert wrote: »
    Yup, although I can?t find it in writing anywhere I have to assume that AMX touch screens are resistive since you can use a stylus. Resistive touch screen technology does not support multi-touch.

    iPhone touch screens use capacitive technology which is why you can?t wear gloves or use a stylus with the iPhone.

    I guess I meant is this only a UI hardware limitation? What about on the processor side?
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    Jimweir192 wrote: »
    It works well in general, but is limited in that your TP4 file needs to use your own graphics for everything - no system graphics are transfered.
    Does their Gui Converter actually take existing TP4 files? Or only the ones you create using their GUI Editor? And can that open existing TP4 files?
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    Yep it converts the original TP4 file at any resolution / panel type.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    Jimweir192 wrote: »
    Yep it converts the original TP4 file at any resolution / panel type.
    Hmmmmm......
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    I don't have a problem with that - by not extracting any of the system graphics etc, then surely what is being used is purely that created by the original TP4 user.

    Once it is uploaded and attempts to connect to the master, it shows up as a native AMX device - this is then down to your interpretation of whether the freely available ICS Net protocol is restricted or not.

    Modifying TP4 to include your own device as an option is more tricky.

    1) When AMX release an update to TP4, presumably this will over-write the modifications and so will require reseting.
    2) The use of AMX owned graphical elements without license is surely in breach of the EULA

    It would be very interesting to hear AMX's view on all this. Surely AMX must be working on something along these lines (despite the NXV300 product) themselves...
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    Jimweir192 wrote: »
    It would be very interesting to hear AMX's view on all this. Surely AMX must be working on something along these lines (despite the NXV300 product) themselves...
    I highly doubt it. Releasing something that does not require any AMX visual gear would be a shot in the foot, unless they used an MVP-8400i price point. If they were working on an equivelant (or give the blessing of TPC's product), they might as well just give us a full panel emulator to run on a PC or Mac to where we load the TP4 file and the user just opens it up, and connects to the master. Sort of like a version of G4 Panel Preview that connects to a master.

    It'd be a very stupid business decision in my opinion.

    Additional though: the panels have got to be the gold in AMX's cash flow. Think about it, a single job can have one NI-4100 and 20 touch panels. You think they want to lose maybe 4 or 5 panels on one job?
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    Yes, but word is that AMX (& Cre*tron) Panel sales have dropped off markedly in the last 18 months, with jobs going to simpler systems.

    I would say that selling a AMX App would be a major boost to many jobs - I would guess that every job would spec at least one - often 4 or 5 as it is unique to each user and I would think that would be in addition to the normal TP sales.

    In other markets this would actually enable new sales of AMX hardware. There are loads of applications that use a set of Keypads & would certainly welcome the added flexibility of something like this.

    Set a sensible RRP and you are looking a good profit for the dealer and for AMX.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    Jimweir192 wrote: »
    Yes, but word is that AMX (& Cre*tron) Panel sales have dropped off markedly in the last 18 months, with jobs going to simpler systems.

    What's more "simpler" than having an NI-2100, and 2 iPhone Apps?

    I dunno . . . might be a booster, but I just don't see it.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    jjames wrote: »
    What's more "simpler" than having an NI-2100, and 2 iPhone Apps?

    I dunno . . . might be a booster, but I just don't see it.

    A Pronto Pro, or Universal MX-6000 ... both small touch panels with some very good integration modules, supporting IP devices and RS-232. I can tell you they are what I have been filling in the low end with, and for one-room theaters or basic multi-room, they are more than up to the job.
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    URC, RTI, etc.etc all very capable and at a much lower price point.

    I can understand why AMX aquired ProCon, but lets face it those Keypads (sorry control pads) are not cool or aspirational - and I use a fair few of them.

    Virtually every CEO has been telling their board - get me an iPhone App - for the last couple of years. Nearly every product launched in any market is accompanied by an App - nothing but marketing tosh and the desire to be associated with a cool product.

    Residential or Commercial - I think there is massive mileage in this route for AMX.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    I agree that most companies are wanting an iPhone app - but how much control should the company give the app? If you make it nearly a touch panel - what's the point of having them? Now granted, there's only going to be so much you can put on an iPhone for control and the 10-17" panels will still have their purpose. But losing sales to a cheaper (or free) app to me is dumb. We'll just have to see.

    I'm just torn on this whole thing. If TPC does not either (1) get a cease and desist from AMX (not that I expect it, but I wouldn't be surprised), (2) get bought up by AMX - then I'll assume AMX just doesn't care about the whole thing . . . but I do suspect someone's gotta care.

    Here's the bottom line to this conversation (IMHO) - if a 3rd party product (that had been made by hacks and possibly protocol sniffing) does not help in creating more sales for a company and instead potentially takes them away - then I for one personally would not support it as a dealer (if I were an owner of a dealership.) If I'm not going to make money which in turn affects AMX - why would i want to support that? To me, it's about money and loyalty (in that order.) If you can make money from the company who supports you heavily - why would anyone in their right mind choose someone else over them?

    Anyway - gotta get back to work . . . probably won't post for a bit.
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    I agree, I wouldn't support a product that was not receiving the OK from AMX. I'll try it out and see how it goes, but not for a client application - yet...

    I've asked TPC what the position on AMX approval (and the updating TP4 situation) - and will post any reply I receive as and when...

    I think we're agreed on the main point - we'd both rather support AMX than a third party companys back-door product.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    I have been working on this myself but fell prey to my schedule. It was more-or-less a little exercise in seeing if it could be done. I didn't plan on using TPD4 to do the graphics, however.

    I look forward to this myself in that every single one of our clients and/or propspective clients over the past 18 months have asked for iPhone apps for their system. Most our clients are fairly savvy about this stuff and when we'd tell them, 'not-so-much' they'd instantly ask about Savant. Like it or hate it, it's there and we'll all have to deal with it.

    I run my personal AMX system on my iPhone right now and have found the platform to be very stable. It certainly handles a wireless connection much better than the AMX touch panels I have sitting right next to them.

    These kinds of things don't happen in a vacuum. The reason they are being done is that AMX has not offered anything to date that fills this blank. When we were all complaing about this about 9 months ago on the forum, we were told to cool our jets and settle down; they (AMX) had it under control. (the whole Savant/iPhone/AMX TP interface future plans discussion)

    iPhone apps aren't hard to write. The programming environment is pretty standard stuff. I find it hard to fathom why they haven't come out with something unless there is a genuine desire to NOT have something.

    So, if that's the case, then why should they care if someone else does come along and write it for them?

    I can sell quite a few small NI-700s with an iPhone/iTouch interface systems. For us, there's a big hole right there to fill. Our high-end customers universally demand it and in the last 3 months we've actually had to go with another control system because AMX doesn't offer it.

    Hopefully, it'll play out well for whomever. All I know is I really need and iPhone interface. All my clients are asking for it. I honestly don't care who provides it. either party will get my money.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    ericmedley wrote: »
    IThese kinds of things don't happen in a vacuum. The reason they are being done is that AMX has not offered anything to date that fills this blank. When we were all complaing about this about 9 months ago on the forum, we were told to cool our jets and settle down; they (AMX) had it under control. (the whole Savant/iPhone/AMX TP interface future plans discussion)

    I believe the NXV-300 fills the void. Perfectly? Sure if you dont' mind using VNC on your phone.

    Using the ICSP (small packets) compared to VNC (I'm guessing very large packets) would be preferred, but nonetheless - the void IS indeed filled.
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