AMX iPhone app

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Comments

  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    ericmedley wrote: »
    Best Thread Ever!!!
    Eric, your sarcastic remarks are not helping.

    By the way, I'm out of popcorn - anybody got some they could share? ;)
  • truetrue Junior Member Posts: 307
    I have some, but I am homeless and have no microwave.

    When a third party can market your item for you in a technical discussion, this is GOOD. When competitive, uh, competition mumbles, you are BALEETED. Or maybe those rules only apply to CT guy and me, I don't know. It's awesome.
  • HARMAN_icraigieHARMAN_icraigie Technical Trainer II, Harman Professional University Posts: 490
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    I didn't realize that feature was available. Thx.
    Paul

    Me neither, and I was just thinking about that feature for some reason...
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,154
    <-- Detects Ninja deletion

    Zed?s dead, baby. Just like this train wreck of a thread.
  • tracktoystracktoys Junior Member Posts: 46
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    Huh? It is very common to have software far exceed the cost of the hardware it runs on. Surely this isn't difficult to comprehend? The last company I worked for leased software that cost $70,000 a year and ran on a $3000 PC. Pretty soon Windows 7 will cost more than the netbook its running on.
    Paul

    There's absolutely no relevance when comparing an $70,000 enterprise level software solution to a single purpose app running on a $499 handheld consumer product. Keep in mind, it's the iPad itself that makes the solution appealing, not the expensive app. So I guess that does make it hard for me to comprehend.

    This is just another instance of AMX trying to license their end users to death, which is one of the 2 driving reasons behind us using other products. The number 1 reason is no surprise...price.
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    tracktoys wrote: »
    There's absolutely no relevance when comparing an $70,000 enterprise level software solution to a single purpose app running on a $499 handheld consumer product.

    I have no idea what is meant by "enterprise level software solution" as it sounds like one of those meaningless marketing terms. The software in question was a very sophisticated CAD program that had only one very specialized function with a very small market, similar to what we are doing with AMX. Hence, it was much more expensive than your typcial CAD/CAM product like Autocad. The iPad hit a million sales in its first week. If it isn't profitable, then it won't be available for sale.
    tracktoys wrote: »
    Keep in mind, it's the iPad itself that makes the solution appealing, not the expensive app. So I guess that does make it hard for me to comprehend.

    I don't agree at all. Software is what makes the hardware appealing to humans. There has been touch panel hardware available for many years so why is the iPad successful? Because of the software.
    tracktoys wrote: »
    This is just another instance of AMX trying to license their end users to death, which is one of the 2 driving reasons behind us using other products. The number 1 reason is no surprise...price.

    I have a hard time believing programmers expect specialized software and hardware with a limited market to sell for the same price as mass appeal products that sell in the tens of millions. After all, they are the ones that should know how much work goes into a product like the TPC app.

    As an aside, I think its funny that Apple is not going to support Flash on their products and that C4 decided to base their new UI on Flash. I knew it was a mistake when I heard that and I have a feeling that that business decision could cost them dearly as the iStuff gets a hold in the market..
    Paul
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    As an aside, I think its funny that Apple is not going to support Flash on their products and that C4 decided to base their new UI on Flash. I knew it was a mistake when I heard that and I have a feeling that that business decision could cost them dearly as the iStuff gets a hold in the market..
    Paul

    What's funny about the decision of one company to NOT support something, and everybody dropping support for it, and start hating it? Seriously?
    I'm not an Apple hater, nor an Apple fanboy, but the whole Flash thing is ridiculous...
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    Frankly, AMX needs this product, or something much like it. I have a considerable percentage of clientele who we have sold Savant systems purely and solely for the iPhone app. I can program an AMX system to do anything a Savant can do. Their touch panel screens, IMO, are ugly and awkward (though I admit, the screensavers are nice). But tell the client they can use an iPhone or an iPad, and it's sold. I am not a fan of Savant, but I cannot ignore them either. I even have a client who is planning on ripping out their AMX-controlled system in favor of Savant, even though it has been reliable for years.

    So, the bottom line is this app will save some sales. I vastly prefer a system I can control and tweak exactly as I would like it, and there is nothing comparable to the flexibility of an AMX control system If I can put control on an iPhone or iPad, I can sell AMX to some of these clients who love the flash and glitter most.
  • tracktoystracktoys Junior Member Posts: 46
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    I have no idea what is meant by "enterprise level software solution" as it sounds like one of those meaningless marketing terms. The software in question was a very sophisticated CAD program that had only one very specialized function with a very small market, similar to what we are doing with AMX. Hence, it was much more expensive than your typcial CAD/CAM product like Autocad. The iPad hit a million sales in its first week. If it isn't profitable, then it won't be available for sale.



    I don't agree at all. Software is what makes the hardware appealing to humans. There has been touch panel hardware available for many years so why is the iPad successful? Because of the software.



    I have a hard time believing programmers expect specialized software and hardware with a limited market to sell for the same price as mass appeal products that sell in the tens of millions. After all, they are the ones that should know how much work goes into a product like the TPC app.

    As an aside, I think its funny that Apple is not going to support Flash on their products and that C4 decided to base their new UI on Flash. I knew it was a mistake when I heard that and I have a feeling that that business decision could cost them dearly as the iStuff gets a hold in the market..
    Paul


    Wiki definition:
    "Enterprise level software is software which provides business logic support functionality for an enterprise, typically in commercial organizations, which aims to improve the enterprise's productivity and efficiency."

    I guess this can be loosely interpreted to describe your CAD program. By your definition of the software, it was built for business use and is not really an "Apples to Apple" comparison to a low-end consumer product. I took a wild stab at what you meant when you spoke of a $70,000 piece of software on a $3000 PC. In the future, I will be much more attentive at controlling my uninformed, uninhibited responses. I will refrain from using "meaningless marketing" terminology as it clearly invokes confusion and contempt.

    If this product and the costs that accompany it are valid to the various residential markets, then great for AMX. Maybe it does open up doors to other areas.

    There was some initial interest in it for my personal system. Being that I was not quite thrilled with iRidium's product, I started looking into this as a possibility. The price has been a very quick turn-off. I've also come to realize that the iPad is not really the "magical, amazing, beautiful" device that it should be, either. If someone were to give me one, it would end up on eBay 15 minutes later. The money would be better than a larger model of the iPod Touch that I currently have and cannot stand. There's just not a lot to get excited about for me, but I understand how it would be interesting to everyone else, even some AMX customers. The iPad is successful because it's in a one horse race. How many other devices in this category are actively being marketed to consumers? Not a lot, at least not on the scale that Apple has marketed their device. It's not exactly the "messiah" device that Steve Job's prophesied about. I'll keep my money under the mattress for now.

    Now considering the low to mid grade commercial systems, AMX continues to push the idea that they can consistently lock customers into their product with licensing requirements. To me this is an unappealing model and could possibly be disastrous in the long run. Based on past results, this has caused us to almost completely move away from AMX in these areas. They relentlessly market products that seem viable to our particular area, only to conveniently forget to tell them that there is a software license fee that requires an additional 30% (roughly) investment on the part of the client. Everyone screams and yells that you can't expect to have a company survive by giving everything for free, yet fail to realize that AMX is in the minority here. Does anyone else know of a large scale, AV manufacturing company that licenses software like AMX to the end-user/ client? Most that I am aware of treat the software end as a means to sell product. c-tron licenses RoomView, but only after a bunch of rooms. Other than that, I'm drawing a blank. Other companies have no problem providing system and device configuration software at no additional charge, what's AMX's excuse? Take it for what it's worth, it's just a matter of one client's opinion.
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,526
    Fees?
    tracktoys wrote: »
    AMX continues to push the idea that they can consistently lock customers into their product with licensing requirements. ... They relentlessly market products that seem viable to our particular area, only to conveniently forget to tell them that there is a software license fee that requires an additional 30% (roughly) investment on the part of the client. ... Other companies have no problem providing system and device configuration software at no additional charge, what's AMX's excuse?
    I'm not sure what this refers to. AMX tools (NetLinx Studio, TPDesign4, even Visual Architect) are free to dealers and are all you need. There's no AMX license fee added to software generated by dealers or third party programmers for any system... Are you referring to RMS or other -purchased- AMX software specifically?
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    John Nagy wrote: »
    I'm not sure what this refers to. AMX tools (NetLinx Studio, TPDesign4, even Visual Architect) are free to dealers and are all you need. There's no AMX license fee added to software generated by dealers or third party programmers for any system... Are you referring to RMS or other -purchased- AMX software specifically?
    There's a subscription fee for i!-Weather.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    ericmedley wrote: »
    There's a subscription fee for i!-Weather.

    But that's not a device configuration tool, it's an added service not; it's not needed to make your systems run.

    I (am amazingly) with John on this one as far as confusion goes.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    jjames wrote: »
    But that's not a device configuration tool, it's an added service not; it's not needed to make your systems run.

    I (am amazingly) with John on this one as far as confusion goes.

    tru dat. More or less, I'm just stirring the pot.
  • JeffJeff Junior Member Posts: 374
    I would think the primary reference would be to RMS. I've now had two jobs that were perfect for RMS get turned into "budget RMS" where I wrote a master control program that talked to every panel in the building and did it all because RMS was priced out of range once they considered how many rooms they needed (one was 30 rooms and another was 65). This only works, of course, if you just need the master control and not the scheduling aspect, but RMS would still have been preferable to my solution, it's just all the clients could justify. Keep in mind that these are people already spending thousands of dollars on AMX hardware, including panels, and they're getting a subpar system because of AMX's ridiculous licensing fees.

    Then remember that clients don't discern the difference between "Joe's Integration Shack" and "AMX". If the system they got from Joe doesn't work well, then in their mind, AMX doesn't work well. So when AMX encourages dealers to do things the crappy way because licensing the good stuff is too expensive, they're shooting themselves in the foot.

    Back around to the point of the discussion though, I'm going to have a real tough time selling someone a piece of software that costs more than twice was the device itself costs. I don't care how justifiable the price is, an iPhone costs $199, and when the software outprices it by that much, clients are going to balk, and debating whether that is valid or now won't change the fact that I'll end up selling them a system from New Jersey because the software costs less.
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,526
    Jeff wrote: »
    they're getting a subpar system because of AMX's ridiculous licensing fees.
    So...
    Ferrari is forcing me to get a subpar car because of their ridiculous price.
    So if only there were no Ferrari, my choice of a Mercedes I can afford would be PAR, not sub par.
    Darn them for ruining my Mercedes.

    So if only AMX didn't offer a superior solution that you'd like to have but consider too expensive, your custom solution would be PAR...
    Darn them for ruining your custom programming.

    I suggest that neither are ruined by there being a more expensive and probably superior choice. Such is life when you have choices. I think choices are good, and if there's something in Jersey that meets your need and budget, that's a win for you. If it ends up "sub-par", it's not AMX's fault. Just like I am not owed an affordable Ferrari.
  • JeffJeff Junior Member Posts: 374
    The difference is that you are getting a performance machine that justifies the price and the person buying it feels like they're getting their money's worth when they buy a Ferrari.

    On the other hand, when I present a proposal to a prospective client and I'm asking them to pay $1000 a room for some software, when all the other hardware is so expensive, they feel like they're being cheated, and I don't make a sale at all. I'm not saying it's unfair, or that AMX is somehow "wrong", its just that they're missing out on sales of equipment because the client is turned off by the licensing price. The same thing is going to happen with the iPhone pricing, and it frustrates me, because if the licensing prices were more reasonable, I'd be able to sell the better equipment and make a better system.
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    Jeff wrote: »
    an iPhone costs $199

    I keep hearing this and its just wrong. An unlocked iPhone is not $199. If it makes you feel better, sell them the app for $199 and make them sign a 2 year contract at $79.99 a month to use it like AT&T does.
    Paul
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,900
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    I keep hearing this and its just wrong. An unlocked iPhone is not $199. If it makes you feel better, sell them the app for $199 and make them sign a 2 year contract at $79.99 a month to use it like AT&T does.
    Paul
    Great idea! Love it!
  • JeffJeff Junior Member Posts: 374
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    I keep hearing this and its just wrong. An unlocked iPhone is not $199. If it makes you feel better, sell them the app for $199 and make them sign a 2 year contract at $79.99 a month to use it like AT&T does.
    Paul

    OK. I'll let you explain that to my clients. Telling them that they're wrong and they don't understand what they're talking about generally results in a sale, right?

    Like I said, it may not be fair, but its reality. You can sit here and say it shouldn't be til you're blue in the face, and you might very well have an incredibly valid argument, but that doesn't mean I can sell this to a client who knows how to read the prices of competitors products.

    J
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,526
    The product here has opened the door to increased versatility even while cutting system costs significantly in many proposals, but some of the contributors here sound like they will reject that potentially massive improvement because it isn't as big as they think they are owed. It looks to me like things are way better with more possibilities at lower prices today than ever before. I plan to make the most of it.
  • tracktoystracktoys Junior Member Posts: 46
    John Nagy wrote: »
    The product here has opened the door to increased versatility even while cutting system costs significantly in many proposals, but some of the contributors here sound like they will reject that potentially massive improvement because it isn't as big as they think they are owed. It looks to me like things are way better with more possibilities at lower prices today than ever before. I plan to make the most of it.

    There are a lot of instances where AMX has opened doors with new products, only to slam them shut with high prices and licensing fees.

    Since I'm in the mood to challenge analogies, I'll take on your previous one about Ferrari. Yes it is a high performance car, but why spend 200k on one when you can get a Z06 Vette for half the price to compete with the Ferrari on the track? If you are strictly looking for performance, this becomes a reasonable analogy. Keep in mind if you want to consider the looks of a Ferrari over the Vette, you are bound to accept the reality that they need constant TLC, whereas the push-rod consistency of the Z06 makes it much more reliable and affordable to own. "Apples to Apple?"
  • tracktoystracktoys Junior Member Posts: 46
    John Nagy wrote: »
    I'm not sure what this refers to. AMX tools (NetLinx Studio, TPDesign4, even Visual Architect) are free to dealers and are all you need. There's no AMX license fee added to software generated by dealers or third party programmers for any system... Are you referring to RMS or other -purchased- AMX software specifically?

    Free to dealers, not the customer. The customer pays a premium to have these tools be used to make their system perform to a level usually dictated by price and capability of the programmer doing the work. This is not the argument and there's nothing wrong with that end of the spectrum.

    I am referring to RMS and the newer products associated with Meeting Room. These are probably not relevant to you because it sound like you work for a residential company. Their competition does not follow this approach and hence, a fallout of market share for AMX has resulted. Not once did I get a respectable answer from our rep as to why they insist on peppering customers with licensing fees. This app is an extension of that philosophy, but more directly targeted at the residential market. Will they charge for subsequent updates to the app? Apple does it with their software for devices, I imagine AMX/TPC wouldn't be shy to attach additional fees for this down the road.
  • the8thstthe8thst Junior Member Posts: 470
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    I keep hearing this and its just wrong. An unlocked iPhone is not $199. If it makes you feel better, sell them the app for $199 and make them sign a 2 year contract at $79.99 a month to use it like AT&T does.
    Paul

    True an unlocked iPhone is not $199, but the starting price for an iPod Touch is $199, so it is a valid price for the hardware to run this application.
  • remeolbremeolb Junior Member Posts: 79
    MSRP Pricing

    Just got an e-mail from TP Control saying that the previous dealer price is the new MSRP and dealers can buy at a small percentage off of that. Sweet margin, thanks TP Control.
  • the8thstthe8thst Junior Member Posts: 470
    Looks like we get a 15% discount.... yay!
  • Spire_JeffSpire_Jeff Formerly Caffeinated Programmer Posts: 1,917
    This doesn't upset me, as the only quotes my company has sent for this product had the product listed at dealer cost (with one sort of exception :) ). If they are going to let people buy it directly, I am even more happy. Our company can charge an integration fee and, if there is a problem, we can have the customer deal directly with TPControl (or pays us to deal with them).

    Jeff
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,526
    The announcement doesn't have a hint of any intent to sell to end users. Looks like just a revision (and reduction) of the price to provide more guidance to dealers who couldn't cope without an MSRP. It's unlikely that they will advertise the price openly anyway, so you can say thanks for the 15% and still charge what you need to make it worth your time.
  • JeffJeff Junior Member Posts: 374
    For what it's worth, I sent them a reply to their announcement, telling them that I loved their product, I thought it was great, and that I would continue to be unable to sell it as long as they continued to price it at 5X the price of the competitors product.

    They responded with the following message, which had nothing involved to make me think I can't repost it here.

    "Hi Jeff,
    Many thanks for your comments, I will share these with the team for you.
    The thing to bear in mind is that as a complimentary / alternative solution to the genuine panel it is by far the cheaper solution. It will not suit everyone of course but for an average solution that costs thousands of dollars bundling this into the price becomes a drop in the ocean.
    With regard to competition the ammunition there is on a number of levels - the $99 solution is purely digital with no analogue controls. All of the products in the same space are incomplete in terms of functionality so TP4 designs are not totally portable, and they will continue to be so because they do not have access to IP from AMX that we do as an official party. We run QA testing with AMX own test team and are now virtually compliant for all the implemented commands - our software effectively is an AMX system panel.
    I know we aren't the cheapest but we do provide a substantial service for the price and have an assured future whereas the others interfacing with AMX are potentially exposed to some sizeable litigation.
    Beyond price, if we can help you to sell some units then let us know how we can help - be it literature, features or anything else.
    Tristan Graham
    Touch Panel Control Team. "

    So, in other words, it's gonna continue to cost this much because we think it's better than the competition in a way that you can't really explain to customers. Thanks for that.

    Fundamentally, it's not quite at the point where I'd do this instead of a panel entirely (and I'm not absolutely certain we'll ever get there, just because of size and location, I don't always want to take my phone out of my pocket to turn on the lights, I just want a wall panel to run some stuff), and if thats the case, $500 is too much to add a little bit of convenience. $500 is fine if I can legitimately avoid buying a $4000 panel in the process, but as long as thats not the case, I can't justify it.

    I also particularly liked his point that $500 is almost nothing compared to the cost of the system. I'm guessing this is their entire strategy, make it so that people just pay it without looking at it, instead of pricing it competitively.

    Oh well. One day, maybe. Probably not though.

    J
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,526
    I've tried many of them, and IMHO it's clear that TPC is a better product than the cheaper ones. It would seem that you agree, but you don't want to pay the difference to get the difference.

    Please, take this reply as an exploration of market position, not as an attack. In no way am I intending this to offend, and if it does, try to accept that it is not intended. I fully accept and would defend your right to think what you want to about value... but there is more cause here than you give credit for.

    You say they leave you with, "we think it's better than the competition in a way that you can't really explain to customers." I don't think that's what they said at all. I think that FULL instead of partial functionality/compatibility, assured support, continuity of business, and an officially licensed technology instead of one potentially under a legal cloud are pretty easy to explain to customers as value issues.

    They have more people working on it. They caught the interest of AMX and got them involved both in technology and QA instead of being sued like others in this field. And they are highly responsive with great support. That costs more to do and is worth more, as customers can certainly comprehend. And TPC deserves to profit by that effort and result.

    We'd all like free Tesla's and Jaguars. Or maybe at competitive prices with some cheap cars. I don't think we'll get them. I'm resigned to live in a world where better costs more, and people who want more and can afford it, pay for it.

    Closer to home, do you write to ADA or MERIDIAN or KRELL or ANTHEM and tell them that although you grant that their products are great, you'd rather have them at WALMART prices? How do you think they would respond?

    If you can live within the constraints of cheaper solutions and satisfy your customers, you win! Why does it bother anyone that there's another choice that you don't think is worth the extra cost? (This happens every day with nearly any product you can name - there's a more expensive version than the one you will buy.) If you can't abide by the limits of cheap solutions, what is wrong with knowing that you can choose is a good one that still costs, in total, 1/3 or less the price of a native AMX panel, something you were selling last year.... and continue to sell today?

    Choice is good. TPC folk are pretty smart from what I've seen so far (and there are a lot of them!). If their market at their price can't sustain their business, something will change. A lot of good products have gone away because they cost more to make than they paid back. It's all about good business to find the right price for a product.

    I know we have customers who want this product at this price. They've proved it by BUYING it.

    And by the way, I would agree that for purely occasional iPhone use, the value and functionality of the iTeleport VNC solution ($25) is unmatched by any panel emulation software. No sounds, slow response relative the need to stream entire screen images instead of tiny push commands, shares a real panel instead of being independent... but it is 100% as functional as the panel you point it at. I can also tell you my customers prefer the TPC solution. Not all that prefer it buy it. That's the market in action.
  • mushmush I programme in the dark! Posts: 285
    Jeff wrote: »
    Fundamentally, it's not quite at the point where I'd do this instead of a panel entirely (and I'm not absolutely certain we'll ever get there, just because of size and location, I don't always want to take my phone out of my pocket to turn on the lights, I just want a wall panel to run some stuff), and if thats the case, $500 is too much to add a little bit of convenience. $500 is fine if I can legitimately avoid buying a $4000 panel in the process, but as long as thats not the case, I can't justify it.

    Will this do for a wall mount?
    http://www.iportmusic.com/products/cm/CM-IW2000
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