AMX iPhone app

1356716

Comments

  • Spire_JeffSpire_Jeff Formerly Caffeinated Programmer Posts: 1,917
    jjames wrote: »
    I think it depends on who considers what "reverse engineering" is since it is directly laid out in the license agreement when you download any software from AMX. They say they've not change things in the "binary" since, but if I were to make a windows based program DLLs put on my computer when installing AMX software, and then turned around and sold it - couldn't I be in some legal trouble?

    It just doesn't seem right in the sense of what their doing and how they did it; but kudos for innovation though.

    I am reading it as they do not require TPD4, they just have the ability to use a TPD4 file to create their own proprietary file. If you think about it, the TPD4 file is just a collection of graphic files (probably created by you the dealer) and XML data that dictates which graphics files go where, what buttons exist and so on. Chances are good that TP4 files are compressed/contained by some standard compression algorithm so uncompressing the file to access a bunch of data created by the person running the software (in most cases) doesn't necessarily seem like a bad thing. As far as connecting to the processor like any other touch panel... I'm not sure... but I would think that if there was a way to prevent this, Apple would have sued Palm long ago for Palm's continuing efforts to allow Palm phones to connect to iTunes. (Including at one point the Palm phone identifying itself as an iPhone).

    I understand that AMX doesn't want their touch panel business to dry up, but stunting the growth and evolution of the market doesn't seem like a good way to do this. Just look at the fight over digital music distribution... imagine how much money could have been saved had the music companies looked at ways to harness the power of digital distribution in the beginning. IMHO, a couple of good ways for AMX to handle this are: release a better product that eliminates the need for this product (officially supported by AMX adds value :) ) or decide that this product is not worth their time and leave it to the market to decide if the product has value. Obviously, the second option eliminates AMX needing to provide support for such a product.

    Jeff

    P.S.
    All of the above is personal opinion based on pure speculation. Please do not take this as anything more than ideas presented for educational pondering.... or something like that :)
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,898
    Spire_Jeff wrote: »
    If you think about it . . .

    I already have. See post 12.

    Like I've already said, even if there was an algorithm they've used to "decrypt" the panel files, it's a direct violation against the license agreement when you download any of AMX's software. I'm no lawyer, but I feel there's no "ifs-ands-or-buts" about it. Their software either decrypts the TP4 file - OR - they use a DLL of some sorts from AMX to obtain the XML, bitmaps, XMA, etc. etc. I posted the entire agreement that everyone by default accepts when using the software about a month ago when staticattic was wondering if he (or the company) could give out AMX's software.

    The real test would be, can you use their software without any AMX software installed on your computer. If not, then they're obviously dependent on software installation. If you can - then they're decrypting it some how, either by a direct reverse engineering effort, or a library they've "hacked" or "stole."

    Like I said, I'm not lawyer, but they've done one of two things: (1) Positioned themselves to be bought (which if this is the case, I would have worked on this!!; (2) blatantly violated AMX's license agreement.

    I've been thinking my way through this for other devices for quite some time (for personal use - I'll openly admit it) and the ways that I've thought of are pointed out in post 12 that I made days ago.

    P.S. - Also see post 16.
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,154
    For those that are interested, here is a response that I received from TPC:
    Our pricing structure will be announced on launch day on or before Jan 20th, at which time you will be able to install an evaluation copy to test our software.

    Please sign up to our newsletter to be alerted to it's availability.

    In answer to your other questions:

    No glue-code is required. You simply define the device as you would your standard AMX devices. TPControl connects to the AMX NetLinx master as if it were a native device for the AMX NetLinx control system. Configuration settings, similar to those found on an AMX touch panel e.g. NetLinx Master IP settings, Device number etc, can be configured within the iPhone/iTouch Settings for the TPControl application.

    NetLinx processors execute code in an _event_ driven system; each "Level Event (level change)", "Button Event (press/release/hold)", "Data Event (strings, online/offline?)" etc, is reported by the TPControl application to the AMX NetLinx processor and is acted upon accordingly. Imagine an AMX system comprising of 3 x AMX touch panels each with a unique Level Slider on it, then simultaneously on each touch panel a user ramps the slider up and down. Each of the AMX panels reports it's respective change, and the NetLinx master acts on those changes accordingly. This scenario is very real (multi-room video/audio control implementations etc), and executes without issue.

    With our TPControl application, we have harnessed a feature of the iPhone/iTouch which brings a very powerful feature, Multi-touch, to AMX implementations, but implemented via a single user interface.

    We consider TPControl to be complimentary to AMX solutions. Although it can be used independently as a user interface solution for NetLinx based systems, it does not replace or negate the functionality provided by AMX touch panel solutions. Our vision for this product is as a value-add to engineered AMX solutions.

    The main reason I became a licensed Apple developer last year and bought my first iMac was so that I could write an app to integrate with AMX. Assuming TPC works as advertised (and I have no reason to believe it won?t) I?m glad I didn?t get very far with that app as it looks like what they did blows away anything I was attempting.
  • KrobarKrobar Junior Member Posts: 32
    This looks to be a really interesting product, might be a bit early for accusations of reverse engineering. I like the idea of Itouches for "mini" remotes for HT use.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    Just received this emaili from TP Control 1/14/10

    Thought I'd post here for all to see.
    e
    Apple approval

    We are proud to announce that we have just received approval for TPControl from Apple in the AppStore ahead of time, and the listing is paused at this time as we work hard to complete the TPTransfer application and our new website, we'll bring you a preview of the new website during the next week.

    Keep tuned for the launch date of January 20th for TPControl for iPhone/iPod Touch and TPTransfer for Windows.

    Kind regards

    Touch Panel Control
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    @Eric - for once the approval by Apple is not the one most people are interested in :p
  • amdpoweramdpower Junior Member Posts: 110
    AMX is really going to have to adjust to recent technology advancements over the last several years. I mean, it's starting to get ridiculous when you look at the hardware and prices in comparison. Look at a small AMX wireless panel that goes for $3000-$4000 retail and then look at an iPod Touch. The Touch supports multi-touch, has better battery life, is 100x thinner and lighter and goes for $199.00 retail. I mean, really? It's only going to get harder and harder to sell their TPs. The lower-end control systems are really starting to advance and PC control based systems with iPod Touches are damn near free. I love AMX's products and engineering but the cost and competition is really starting to skew. Good luck to them. I hope they can adjust. And I hope this application sticks around or is eventually sold by AMX. I think it is an added benefit to AMX products.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,898
    amdpower wrote: »
    Look at a small AMX wireless panel that goes for $3000-$4000 retail and then look at an iPod Touch. The Touch supports multi-touch, has better battery life, is 100x thinner and lighter and goes for $199.00 retail. I mean, really?

    And Apple sells probably 100 times more of their devices than AMX. It's all relative.
  • amdpoweramdpower Junior Member Posts: 110
    OK. There.... Fixed it. :) I know it's relative but you can't just charge more because you sell less. You need to have value added. AMX does indeed have value added, especially from what the integrator and programmer add to a project. I'm just saying it's going to be more difficult and competitive in the coming years. Everyday consumers are demanding and getting similar controls to that which was reserved for high-end residential and commercial projects in the past.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    I would probably qualify as one of the most vocal people on the board concerning this issue. However, I don't think we should go as far as to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the cost of an AMX touch panel vs. the cost of an iPhone or (insert smart phone technology)

    The things are really not the same. the AMX panel is designed to be just that, an AMX panel that is always an AMX panel and nothing else.

    an iPhone/iTouch/Smart phone is designed to do several things and is not always 'on' so to speak. It is a peice of technology being leveraged into being a control interface. In a lot of ways one could argue it's probably a higher level of technology. But, it is very far away from being a dedicated AMX remote control. I personally have to deal with the back fire from a lot of 'leveraged' technology nowadays and it is becoming the bane of my existance. So, I'm not hoping AMX sells it's technological soul to the iPhone. But, I don't see the long-term harm in adding it to the tool box of stuff we have at our disposal.

    I still think there is a very big market that AMX is choosing to ignore or at least is choosing a very ham-handed approach for addressing it. But, that's their choice to make.

    I think a little sober perspective is in order here.

    Just a thought.
    e
  • tracktoystracktoys Junior Member Posts: 46
    Lets not forget that Apple is *supposedly* announcing (January 26) some sort of new sofa-surfing tablet in the 7"-10" range. To debate something that may or may not exist is somewhat pointless, I know, but it would be of much more value to this app and for AMX sales than the traditional iPhone/iTouch hardware. There are rumblings that this *device* would run any current app, assuming it had made allowances for different resolutions, hence the newer *device*.

    I may end up using this app within its strengths and limitations for the near future, just to get rid of my G3 panel. Ultimately I would love to continue creating a flash-based website for full blown potential (and cool factor). Time is somewhat short these days...
  • PhreaKPhreaK Senior Member Posts: 966
    ericmedley wrote: »
    an iPhone/iTouch/Smart phone is designed to do several things and is not always 'on' so to speak. It is a peice of technology being leveraged into being a control interface. In a lot of ways one could argue it's probably a higher level of technology. But, it is very far away from being a dedicated AMX remote control.

    Why does that matter in the slightest? Unless you have your AMX system hooked up to a pacemaker that you have to manually pulse via the UI I couldn't imagine to many situations where your need an always on control interface. Yes there are some systems where a installed interface is nescessary (and an iPhone duck taped to a lectern isn't quite professional enough), however especially in the resi space having multiple, personal, highly portable, always available interfaces combined with a carefully planned sensor network trump large aging installed interfaces on all sides.

    P.S. I'm not trying to start a flame war if this came out that way, just adding my $0.02.

    P.P.S. I may be biased as I'm one of those 22yo's that run their house an a NI-700 and iPhone.
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    PhreaK wrote: »
    P.P.S. I may be biased as I'm one of those 22yo's that run their house an a NI-700 and iPhone.

    What if you want to adjust your lights while making a phone call? What if your iPhone runs out of battery power, or you have to send it in for a battery replacement, or it gets a virus and starts doing strange things etc. I can't see having an iPhone as the only UI in an automated house, but in addition to standard UIs I can see how it would serve a purpose.
    Paul
  • PhreaKPhreaK Senior Member Posts: 966
    Lighting control is sensor based (not all in yet, currently renovating, but the sensor network is combination of motion, light level and astro clock - I'm also starting to learn my way around some computer vision so that will be fun to play with in the future). One of the main things for a control system for me is that it should reduce the amount of active interaction that you have to perform, and allow you greater control of tech uncousiously. There's also a web based interface for backup if the phone is offline for whatever reason.

    I'm not too fussed with my place because if something breaks I can engineer a workaround until it can be fixed, but for installation in the wild the keyword in that paragraph was 'multiple' small interfaces. Because of the reduced device cost it is viable to have redundant interfaces should anything fail. Additionally devices such as the iPhone have such high availability (well apart from when new models are released) that a replacement can be obtained in a matter of hours rather than days / weeks.

    The 'what if the battery goes flat' and 'what if you need to send the device in for repair' arguments seems a little redunant to me. What if the battery goes flat on a 5200i/8400 - you plug it in and charge it, if it needs repair you swap it out for a replacement.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,349
    I think alot of older folks will prefer to use their TPs after the initial "coolness" wears off, while todays youngsters lives revolve around these things and may never get off the couch. I heard today they make an average of 80 calls/texts a day plus Myspace, FaceBook and that Twitter thing. So AMX has time before this generation becomes their main clients and whatever todays technology is by then is what AMX will have be selling to be relevent. But that means they has to keep up to speed cuz after a certain point they won't be able to play catch up.

    So even if today's customer won't use it as much as they think they might, they want it and if they can't have it, well there's other companies that will provide it. It's hard to stay on the cutting edge but supposedly that's why our stuff cost so much and we're supposed to be providing the ultimate cutting edge technology to the few that can afford it.

    I'm sure they know this and I'm sure it makes them nervous trying to figure what's the correct moves to make but somtimes you got to with the flow until a light bulb turns on and illuminates a better path.
  • amdpoweramdpower Junior Member Posts: 110
    I honestly don't think it's the AMX Engineering is holding anybody back. If they wanted to release their own version of this, they could do it in about an hour or two for the PC/Linux and an iPhone in a week or two. No problem. It all comes down to $$ and what the higher ups say is best for the company. The geeks at AMX want all of the toys just like we do. The company just needs to make financially sound decisions for their future. Hopefully, that means an outcome that will make everyone happy. We'll have to see.
  • HARMAN_rgellingHARMAN_rgelling AMX Engineering Posts: 96
    Very well said.
  • AuserAuser Junior Member Posts: 506
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    What if you want to adjust your lights while making a phone call?

    You have ten iPod touches scattered around the house for general use by occupants for the cost of one AMX panel?
  • PhreaKPhreaK Senior Member Posts: 966
    Ha ha... Just got this image of a video wall built of mounted iPod touches. Could make for an interesting UI.
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    Auser wrote: »
    You have ten iPod touches scattered around the house for general use by occupants for the cost of one AMX panel?
    Nah, you have an iPod dock in the wall in each room and an app that looks (and takes gestures) like a lightswitch. You turn that app on and stick the iPod in the wall dock. You have the app open a socket to your AMX master and send a 1 or 0 with the name of the iPod dock depending on the direction of the gesture. Now you can turn the lights on or off wherever you go. No more shelling out all that cash for multiple light switches per house. Also each person in the house can have their own light switch. In this age of H1N1 who wants a shared light switch for a room that everyone has to touch. Gives me the willies just thinking about it.
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    How accurate is GPS? Doesn't it return elevation, too? Can't the iPhone just know which room the user is in?
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    mpullin wrote: »
    Nah, you have an iPod dock in the wall in each room and an app that looks (and takes gestures) like a lightswitch. You turn that app on and stick the iPod in the wall dock. You have the app open a socket to your AMX master and send a 1 or 0 with the name of the iPod dock depending on the direction of the gesture. Now you can turn the lights on or off wherever you go. No more shelling out all that cash for multiple light switches per house. Also each person in the house can have their own light switch. In this age of H1N1 who wants a shared light switch for a room that everyone has to touch. Gives me the willies just thinking about it.

    Great idea BTW! :)
  • PhreaKPhreaK Senior Member Posts: 966
    mpullin, I like it. Maybe other docks could be installed in the place of taps, this would allow you to open a tap app which actuates electronic valves valves installed in the location of each tap. Ditto for door handles, just think of all the effort that could be saved everyday by not having to turn door knobs and push open doors. :p

    @Colzie GPS signal is severly weakened by buildings and it doesn't quite give you a high enough accuracy for room based location. If AMX were to build active RFID transmitters into their panels and you installed 3 receivers for triangulation, that might be another story.
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    Today is supposed to be the big day!!!
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,898
    Today is supposed to be the big day!!!

    Well . . . I would have expected to have heard *something* by now considering they are a UK based company and at the time of my posting it's already past noon. I wonder if they hit a bit of a "snag" . . . .
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    Hopefully they are in the process of selling their ap to AMX, making it official.
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    The plot thickens

    and that is pretty much what the email they just released says! Although its a "platform provider"!

    I hope this is AMX and that this doesn't become a available in 90 days vapour-ware...
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    and their website is down!

    Email:
    TPControl

    With just hours to go until the launch of our first product and our new eCommerce website, we have entered into discussions with a platform provider. So that we can take advantage of this, we have decided to delay our launch. Thank you for your patience, we will keep you updated in the coming days.

    Kind Regards

    Touch Panel Control
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    Jimweir192 wrote: »
    and their website is down!
    Error 403 - Forbidden
    You tried to access a document for which you don't have privileges.

    Sounds like these "discussions" involved one party taking the other to a nearby clearing.
  • amdpoweramdpower Junior Member Posts: 110
    Why did I sense this coming? I really hope this comes out and isn't just bought and buried. :(
Sign In or Register to comment.