Visit from Savant

ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 PostsPosts: 4,159
we had another visit from the Savant control system people. I don't know how many of you have seen or heard of the product.

It's a new company making an integrated control/video/audio processor.

They're touting themselves as an AMX/craptron killer. I made a report on this forum following a product show-n-tell they sponsored in Florida in Feb of 07.

We were recently visited by the CEO and President of product development.

This is to report what has changed since 16 or so months ago.

They have improved on thier concept and inplimentation quite a bit.

They have scaled back their use of a Macintosh OSX Server for touch panels to individual Mac Minis.

They also have improved the on-screen-display control. I like this feature a lot.

We kind of sparred quite a bit on their whole concept of a programmerless design environment. Their software is graphically based. The idea is that you put together a system in a wireing diagram, hook up the wires and the system programs itself. It's obviously a lot more involved than that. But you get the gist.

Touch Panel design seems to be a little less clunky. Before you had to lay out the whole thing in Photoshop. Each button is made up of three layers. By dong the math you can see that your touch panel file would end up having 100s to 1000s of layers by the time you were done. As of the meeting this week, they seem to have integrated the TP design into the programming environment. They basically create a bunch of boiler plate pages (think Elan) and you pick a theme.

All this aside, there are a lot of very cool features that utilze the Macinstosh's graphic abilities. (Motion backgrounds, etc....)

They also implimented the full Apple programming/open source protocol. Even though, their programming is done inside the box, you can add in Applescript modifications and/or applets.

I personally feel that they are on to something. It should appeal to the non-programmers in our midst. It's a different approach. They are predicting that everyone will be using their style of programming environment in 10 years. It is truly a good implimentation of object-oriented programming.

It's puzzling to me. I think they're onto a great system. However, I also think they are basing everything they do on a bad experience with AMX. Most of their gripes about AMX or Craptron are gremlins that I would attribute to bad programmers, not AMX/Craptron per se.

Many of the things they tout as exclusive to Savant, I already had running on our AMX systems. However, there were many areas that AMX simply cannot go.

I still don't have a working system in my hands, nor do I have access to one. Assuming it delivers features/functionality as promised, I think I"m changing my tune a bit from last year. I'd move my opinion in the direction of thinking AMX/Craptron should investigate this company and watch it closely.

If any of you have specific question, please ask and I'll try to address them as I can. Obviously, you'd be best served directing you questions their way. However, I can tell you their sales people are wearing full-metal jackets. It's hard to get anything beyond the company line in the way of information.
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Comments

  • mcottonmcotton Junior Member Posts: 38
    Thanks for the update. We have been watching them and it has been the source of many heated debates around the office.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,898
    ericmedley wrote: »
    We kind of sparred quite a bit on their whole concept of a programmerless design environment. Their software is graphically based. The idea is that you put together a system in a wireing diagram, hook up the wires and the system programs itself. It's obviously a lot more involved than that. But you get the gist.
    Did you tell them their concept wasn't new and to have them look at Visual Architect?
  • TonyAngeloTonyAngelo Code Monkey Posts: 315
    I don't know about you but I really like the idea of using Mac Mini's as TP processors. I mean it's not as if Apple will ever discontinue their worst selling computer.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    TonyAngelo wrote: »
    I don't know about you but I really like the idea of using Mac Mini's as TP processors. I mean it's not as if Apple will ever discontinue their worst selling computer.

    :)

    actually, I do like the idea of using a Mac for TPs. But, relying upon something as fickle as a computer company to keep your box up and running is frankly a little scary to me.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    jjames wrote: »
    Did you tell them their concept wasn't new and to have them look at Visual Architect?

    VA nothing, what about Landmark? The concept itself is very old.

    I think that what they neglect to realize is not that the idea hasn't been tried, but that it has been tried and abandoned. Even C had a "visual" programming implementation at one time that has largely gone by the boards. The bottom line is that it is too inflexible for "custom" installations, and too unwieldy to do complicated systems.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    DHawthorne wrote: »
    VA nothing, what about Landmark? The concept itself is very old.

    I think that what they neglect to realize is not that the idea hasn't been tried, but that it has been tried and abandoned. Even C had a "visual" programming implementation at one time that has largely gone by the boards. The bottom line is that it is too inflexible for "custom" installations, and too unwieldy to do complicated systems.

    This is true. I think what people are missing about them and what is sneaky is that you do get a lot of visual bang-for-the-buck. This and another thign I saw is that they are not marketing the product to people like us. they are aiming their R&D at business owners and do-it-yourself-ers who cannot afford to get into AMX or Craptron.

    The main people who are excited about this stuff is our sales people and the owner of the busness.


    It's truly a case of 'if you can't impress them with knowledge, dazzle them with BS)
  • GSLogicGSLogic Original Member Posts: 562
    The system is still very expensive and you are limited with the drag and drop confusing programming.
    I think of Savant as an upgrade from Control 4, but I will be watching.
  • davidvdavidv Junior Member Posts: 90
    Savant

    I just had a meeting with our sales team and I at the Savant office in Cape Cod. We met with the Savant Sales and Engineers and they pitched us hard on why Savant is the greatest thing. Why programmers are a drain to companies and how they have the ultimate solution for making programming as simple as a drag and drop... so simple that even a dumb sales guy could do it.

    Most of the things they presented AMX was able to do. However they presented it as if it were an impossible task using AMX. Email notifications, VA like drag and drop system design with wire diagrams, touch panel themes etc... The problem I see is when you have a real customized job that Savant doesn't have drivers and device files already created. This will leave you relying on the 3rd party company(Savant) to program these devices for you since the whole backbone is running off of a MAC computer. You also need several licenses for each device you have. Programming with drop down menus may be easy for some but I think this would limit the capability and flexability that AMX offers. I think most guys understand this.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,898
    davidv wrote: »
    Programming with drop down menus may be easy for some but I think this would limit the capability and flexability that AMX offers. I think most guys understand this.

    That's exactly the reason I hated programming Vantage, it was super fun to try and "hack" the system and get around it's limitations but at the end of the day, the limitations were too much.
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    ericmedley wrote: »
    another thign I saw is that they are not marketing the product to people like us. they are aiming their R&D at business owners and do-it-yourself-ers who cannot afford to get into AMX or Craptron.

    Funny that - I received an email invite to the European Launch, via an email address that only features on freelance AMX programmer lists!!

    The interesting thing is their choice of UK Distribution - genesis technologies, those product lines hardly match the DIY / Can't afford AMX / Big C options...
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,349
    I just got an email from my AMX rep here in the NorthEast who informed me as of the New Year they will no longer rep AMX and instead will handle Savant. My contact is supposed to get back to me and explain their reasoning and probably give me the sales pitch which I could give a rat's a$$ about but I am very curious as to the why. Money, politics, is there writing on the wall somewhere that I can't see. Hmmm... Definitely caught me off guard today. Now I need to find out who the new rep firm will be and hopefully it won't be a company that's already pissed at me or I of them.
  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    Why does it always seem these companies compare themselves to the big 2 ? They also seem to have the greatest way to program that AMX and Crest companies don't have. We all know about VA and the other guys software and how ot works and why you still need a programmer. The limit to any drag and drop approuch is the lack of flexibilty if you want to do something 'freaky' with your system. If all systems were standardized to how they operate then drag and drop would work perfectly but there not. Does AMX have any issues?, yes- their systems are a tad on the pricey side. The panels are pricey (good quality but costly) for the average home user. Make a good quality wireless panel under a $1000 would help sales from the residential side.
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    vining wrote: »
    I just got an email from my AMX rep here in the NorthEast who informed me as of the New Year they will no longer rep AMX and instead will handle Savant. My contact is supposed to get back to me and explain their reasoning and probably give me the sales pitch which I could give a rat's a$$ about but I am very curious as to the why. Money, politics, is there writing on the wall somewhere that I can't see. Hmmm... Definitely caught me off guard today. Now I need to find out who the new rep firm will be and hopefully it won't be a company that's already pissed at me or I of them.

    Visitec bailed on AMX also...though I don't think Visitec has picked up any other control system (yet).
  • kbeattyAMXkbeattyAMX Junior Member Posts: 358
    davidv wrote: »
    I just had a meeting with our sales team and I at the Savant office in Cape Cod. We met with the Savant Sales and Engineers and they pitched us hard on why Savant is the greatest thing. Why programmers are a drain to companies and how they have the ultimate solution for making programming as simple as a drag and drop... so simple that even a dumb sales guy could do it.

    We (AV programmers) exist because of the word "CUSTOM". Emerging companies are always trying to tame the mass of manufactures that have no financial incentive to standardize. I thought everything was going to change to 1394 (firewire) for video and control but manufacturers maintained their own little control kingdom. Business models demand manufactures to build their products for the masses. Once the masses have the need for control systems like what we develop, then control systems will be standardized and manufacturers will need to fit into the standard. Because who wants to buy a product that won't work with their control system. I do not believe this will happen in my lifetime.
  • glr-ftiglr-fti Junior Member Posts: 286
    From my understanding Visitec is still the rep for the Commercial side. Those of us in the Midwest for residential now are direct with AMX. Perhaps they are doing something similar in the NorthEast? While my Vistec support was always fantastic there were some bumps in the road with AMX when this originally occurred. Since then they have now properly staffed and I always receive timely responses.
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    glr-fti wrote: »
    From my understanding Visitec is still the rep for the Commercial side. Those of us in the Midwest for residential now are direct with AMX. Perhaps they are doing something similar in the NorthEast? While my Vistec support was always fantastic there were some bumps in the road with AMX when this originally occurred. Since then they have now properly staffed and I always receive timely responses.

    Nope, not according to this: http://www.visitec.com/Visitec_AMX.pdf

    Can't blame you for missing this press release though, it won't be published until October 2009.
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    Visitec stopped carrying residential AMX a while ago (over a year?). Visitec dropping AMX completely is a new development (October 2009 apparently....).

    AMX has a new commercial rep that started Dec 1 to take over the Visitec area.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,349
    mpullin wrote:
    Can't blame you for missing this press release though, it won't be published until October 2009.

    from the article:
    "it became apparent that the interests of AMX and Visitec were divergent."
    Everything in the article up to this line seemed contrary to this. Sounds like a line of BS to make things seem like an amicably split. I don't know jack but it seems like something is definitely going on. Maybe AMX just wants to lower overhead and cut out the middle man to stay competitive with the all the new competition that's out there. All be they not equal to the big 2.
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    As someone who has been involved in AV even before I was dealing with control systems, I was hearing of control manufacturers that would be better and simpler than we we are now calling the big two. Well, none of those companies exist anymore. In fact it was those new players constantly comparing themselves to AMX that led me to AMX in the first place!... If everyone is talking about something, I want to know about it.

    As Ken said, the key word is "Custom." There will always be a need for customization which requires customizable systems and customizers.

    Our systems are not intended for people who want one press-one event control and never were. The smaller control systems are for those people. We're not losing something we never had.

    Good luck to whoever this latest flash in the pan is. Call me in a year.
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    Our systems are not intended for people who want one press-one event control and never were. The smaller control systems are for those people. We're not losing something we never had.

    Agreed. On the vast amount of custom jobs I have done, no system other than AMX would have given the customer what they wanted. Can these systems send famous quotations from certain Bible passages chosen by the client to the touch panels at random? Can they control a system where the client has his own internal cable system gleaned from different satellites all over the world? Can they allow the client to have a matrix display where they can have 9, 13 or 16 channels at once in a grid completely customizable so that on any grid the user can choose any channel? Probably not. It was all pretty easy with AMX though.

    Can they duplicate the buttons on an IR remote from most of the common manufacturers? Probably, but who cares?
    Paul
  • bcirrisibcirrisi Junior Member Posts: 148
    We are going up against a Savant proposal, so I am trying to compile a list of bullet points for the sales team. Here's what I got so far.

    - Savant lacks a full touch panel and remote control line.
    - Savant is terribly in-efficient, requiring a computer for each touch screen.
    - Are at the mercy of Macintosh.
    - They haven't been installing succesfull systems for more then several years.
    - System requires a computer running on the network to operate, which is a security risk.

    .. anything else??
  • BCalderwoodBCalderwood Junior Member Posts: 35
    you forgot one thing... they won't be around in a few years when you will need them the most either for an upgrade or warranties. This reminds me of when Control 4 came out and they went around to all of the custom residential systems integrators and said "Our goal is to be in Best Buy in the next few years." My answer is then what are you doing here?

    Programmers aren't as expensive as one would think when you calculate all of the customization that can be done against the cost of doing so with an untried product. The second you move anywhere outside the the scope of the systems intention, guess what? A programmer will be needed somewhere whether it's the guy at the project end or the guy re-writing code of the Drag and Drop software just to get it to work. I don't know... something like, seen this been there, pops into mind.

    The goal of a good integrator is to offer affordable solutions to types of clients. Client doesn't have a huge budget so if they want the basics, then these small guys are for them. If client has a budget and wants a highly customizable system, well that's why there is AMX and the other. I like being a programmer/engineer for one of the big two. Plus, it's always a good feeling to know that our Government uses AMX systems too for their mission critical systems so as far as I'm concerned, they can have the smaller budgets and limited features.

    All of this starts at code somewhere so to say programmers are a drain on resources and will be obsolete in 10 years is just silly. Well, that's my two cents. Ciao!
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    Keep in mind that Savant is not even a 'little guy' Their systems seems to be coming in somewhere around 10-15% more expensive than a comparitive AMX or Craptron system.

    And, to the comment on customization, we've already hit that here. In our case our boss is trying to get a demo system. We have an existing demo system with many different components and control systems. It's a case where we've put in an Elan S12 controlling the whole-house audio and a few TVs. We then have an AMX system clam-shelled over the top of this running it and the rest of the home.

    The owner is already thinking of things that he wants but is met every time with, Oh, you can't do that. In fact, it's going to be difficult to pull of the multi-controlled system like the one present.

    We're going up to Mass in a couple weeks. We'll know more by then.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    Savant Dealer Conference Update - Friday

    If I hear the word 'leveraged' one more time, so help me....

    I'll post more useful info later.

    jazzwyld - got stranded in a Limo with your boss for an hour. Ask him for video footage.
  • iainshawiainshaw Junior Member Posts: 133
    Really keen to get your perspective

    After you've expunged "leveraged" moments from your mind....This thing is floating around like a nebulous baddie in a Harry Potter film. Slay the rascal
  • jazzwyldjazzwyld Registered User Posts: 199
    ericmedley wrote: »
    If I hear the word 'leveraged' one more time, so help me....

    I'll post more useful info later.

    jazzwyld - got stranded in a Limo with your boss for an hour. Ask him for video footage.


    I can only imagine. I'm guessing leveraged is a word they enjoyed using, I tried to find it in this forum and not really there.

    So were you impressed?
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,159
    Report: Savant Dealer's Conference 2009

    Okay,

    I've had a little time to digest this weekend and to recover from the 13 hours of airport to get home.

    Let me first say that this entire report is coming from a hopelessly right-brained person. So, I'm sure culling the details will be annoyring for any left-brained persons.

    Firstly, the Dealer's Conference went well for Savant. It was well attended and I hear they doubled the number of dealers. My boss also did the deal. It looks like I'm going to be traiing on this stuff.

    We were present for the origianal conference on Amelia Island, FL a few years back where we were able to break thier box in 40 seconds. This time they had the kinks worked out and the demo was pretty flawless. I will say that the visit to 'demo alley' as they called it was a heavily managed experience. The demo was a virtual house with Living, Kitchen, Bathrooms, Bedroom, Patio and whatnot. I think there something like 20 panels going at one time in various and sundry configurations. I just wanted to left alone to bang on the thing and not be drug around. I had the distict impression that I was being steered away from things at times.

    However, the vultures eventually disperssed and we were left to play alone. We spent a lot of time trying to break things and found it to be remarkably solid. We did manage to trip it up in one case where we walked over and manually turned off a display. The head programmer was standing right there and was rather shocked at what we did. His comments were along the lines of, "Well, yeah... but how often does that kind of thing happen? " We responded that that kind of thing does happen all the time.

    However, they ran off and obviously fixed the problem and made it work within the hour.

    They seem to be moving toward larger ad larger TPs where AMX and Craptron are heading smaller. The iPhone/iTouch integration was very very cool. And the OSD (On Screen Display) Control method is pretty much a deal winner. Nothing in the AMX or Craptron camp comes close to this concept.

    We spoke with a few of the high end dealers that our boss is friends with who signed on from the the get-go. Reports are fairly positive and expected technical problems were there but were resolved fairly agressively.

    Overall, I'd say they pretty much knocked it out of the park.

    Now, for the right-brained observations. This has mostly to do with what we do as AMX people and how we view the world we live in and how Savant-esque type stuff fits in.

    I've been very skeptical about the Savant product concept since being first introduced to it. I've been programming A/V systems for a long time over a wide range of project types ranging from very small installations to very large, CEDIA award winning behemoths. I've worked on commercial, educational and residential systems of all sizes. So, my interacction with this concept has been rather antagonistic.

    I think this stems from quite a few areas.

    1) Savant is marketing their product to A/V company owners, not to technical people.

    Each time I was at these conferences, I was incognito, so to speak. I didn't have a lanyard saying who or what I am. It was just me, humble, loveable "Hello my name is Eric Medley". Consequently, the dealers sitting around tables were pretty open about their general disdain for having to have to hire programmers. They see people like us as fussy, grumpy, geeky and expensive people who draw resources from them. The common phrasiology was along the lines of "I GOTTA hire a programmer...." as opposed to "I NEED to..." Now, I know that this kind of product is naturally going to attract that kind of person. So, the numbers are nothing close to a scientific poll of the general opinion of people like us. However, I think it's a fair assesment based on the fact that the dealers at the conference were a fairly good sample of who's doing business in North America. There were tons of AMX and Craptron dealers there, pretty much fed up with it all.

    2.) A good portion of what we're up against is not Savant but Apple.

    As a programmer, I can see the man behind the curtain so-to-speak. I know what Savant is doing and how they're getting there. I know that ultimately there's nothing that special about their product. In fact, I can see some pretty clunky design flaws in their work flow and interface. (Nothing that cannot be corrected over time. Ignorance is curable. Stupid is forever) But, I'm not that dazzled by it.

    The first hunk of the conference, I was in my shell filtering all things through this set of glasses. I had several discussions where I concluded that when you look at a 'Savant System' you're really looking at a system that is 30-40% Savant and 60-70% Apple OSX. That's my referenc in an earlier post about the word 'leveraging' They are glomming on to other people's technology and with a wink and nod, making it a feature of Savant.

    Here's a very bare bones break down of a Savant system.

    You 'program' in an app called Blueprint by drawing up the system and wiring it. You create graphic themes for the TP in Photoshop. You manipulate basic touch panel layouts in a Savant utility that is Apple based.(the name escapes me at the moment) You create customization of the program in Apple's Automator. You create animations and interact with the outside world with Apple Widgets and Quartz Composer and XCode.

    As I stuggled my way through the conference, a couple thoughts kept coming to mind. One was how dealers and people were reacting to the thing. The other was how it would help/hurt our business and the model of how we do things.

    3.) Savant is using language as a weapon that ultimately might make me and others like me extinct in this industry.

    The Savant people were using an interesting term for AMX/Craptron products. They refered to them as 'legacy' solutions. This had an interesting effect on the conversations with the non-technically inclined dealers. Previously, they were answering questions from folks like us who were using AMX or Craptron as a measuring rod. This leaves Savant wide open to questions about the wisdom of using Apple vs. PC, reliability, customization of programming, expandaility, etc... We know that using a modern PC or Mac to control stuff lin the home is a very topo-heavy solution that cannot possibly be as reliable as an AMX or Craptron system.

    Their use of language has turned this set of arguments on its ear. We know there's nothing legacy here. to run a control system, you don't need the latest (and much more expensive) processor and bloated operating system designed for home computing. Graphics on the other hand is quite another thing. The problem is, the dealers don't know the difference. They see the pretty pictures and somehow equate that with the computing power of the whole system.

    4.) They're leveraging the hell out of everthing the Mac has to offer.

    Now we all know the danger involved in leveraging technology. Any of us who has fished for information forn a server on the web or scraped web or xml information from a site has been bitten by this before. Your routines work well as long as whoever is writing the web page (who, by the way, doesn't even realize you're relying upoin them for your data) keeps the formatting the same. Some sites are not that much of a problem. Others change often. Take that a step further and imagine what happens if Apple announces the end of a particular model of computer.

    This trip I saw a lot more implimetation of the power available from the Mac side of thigns. For example, putting an RSS newsfeed onto a panel literally took 2 minutes. It was stripped of all ads and non-eseetial verbage. This included allt he graphics asociated and the layout of what you'd see on the webpage. It was a simple process within the built-in apple software. You can basically open up a desired web page or RSS feed, select-drag of the desired part of the page. The softwre even highlights the effected area relating to the code you're grabbing. Give the new widget/quartz composer module a name, close the window, open up the TP software, select it from the menu, drag it to the diired location and your done. There's still some work to be done on how to push these things out to multiple panels. But folks, that's not that big a deal. We all must admit that it would take quite a bit of coding time to make this happen. And if/when it gets broke we'd be retooling as well.

    The other thing that made the worm turn for me was Savant's full implimentation of Quartz Composer. Quite simply, it is what I've always wanted to be able to do on an AMX touch panel but will never be able to do with the current technology and business model.

    For those of you who don't know what Quarts is, go to Apple's site and search for it. Also, there are dozens of Quartz forums where you can download all kinds of crazy stuff. In the nutshell, it's the interface to manipulate graphics with the same engine that runs the Mac's graphics. In this class we created a volume dial from scratch. It would have taken me hours of time in Photoshop to do the same thing and this was completely editable on the fly. I've used Quartz for many other things and have alwasy wished I could get it on an AMX panel somehow. Quartz also has some programming abilities that can be ported into the Savant system, so you can use it to do some higher level programming from outside the box. It's just Java. This was where I finally gave up really.

    I realized that I can sit and rail against it all I want, but the user experience is on a totally different level. What came to mind was a statement made here by Dave Hawthorne a while back that basically said, "(paraphrasing) We like to think high and mighty thoughts about what we're trying to do in our programs, but at the end of the day we're all just flashing IR emmitters, clicking relays and sending/receiving RS232 strings." When it comes right down to it, I'm sure I and most here can come up with some pretty clever ways of doing things, but if the goal is to get the TV on when the customer pushes the button, if that happens, then what's the major difference in how it happened? It happened and the customoer is happy. If it happens Savant-style or *insert AMX programmer name here*-style, what is the difference?

    The differences between us as programmers/graphics designers/desingers occurs in the User Interface and the customer experience with it. I and others have found issue with Savant's usse of a Mac to be the touch panel. However, we've also on this very forum sought ways of getting that kind of graphic power for our users. Peck through this forum on various subjects and I beleive you'll see this. While the thread might not be specifically about jazzing up the graphics, it will be the underlying theme.

    My only gripe with Savant's Touch Panel concept originally was the prossibility of a computer being flaky. What I've seen as of late has silenced those concerns in my mind. It really is pretty stable. As for the future of Macs and their current use of the Mini as a touch panel: I've been a Mac user since the first Mac Plus back in 1984. It has been through more changes than a frog in a blender. However, this trip I finally saw what they were doing and felt a lot better in that the interface just needs to run on a Mac. It can be any Mac. So, if the Mini goes away for some reason, just grab another off-the-shelf Mac and you're back in business. You might have a stack of Mac Towers somewhere, but the customer won't know the difference. The cost is still going to be roughly the same.


    Now to my last observation concerning Apple's role in what's going on and my feeling that they're hovering over Savabt to aquire it...

    Anyone who's been around this mess has probably seen a wierd coyness when it comes to conversations about the Mac and Apple's involvement with Savant. That coyness was still present at this conference. I have to admit that I jumped on one of the press guys and a company owner who were standing around chatting; totally gulping down the Koolaide.

    The press guy was going on about Apple's role and how 'on board' they wer in the whole thing. I've been an Apple developer for a quite a while and haven't seen much talk about Savant in Apple circles. Home Automation is just not that high on their list. It is there but, it's not the talk of the town. He also started using the term 'Partner' a lot in his conversation. I'd finally tired of this strageness after hearing it for the umpteenth time that day. I jumped in to the conversation by asking the press guy, "I heard you say that Apple is partnering with Savant. I don't think that's right. In fact, I've heard so many conflicting statements about Apple and Savant from both Apple and Savant people that I cannot get a fix on what's going on. I pressed an engineer last night to give me details on just how Apple plays into Savant and he couldn't even answer me. Where did you hear that they are partnering?"

    He just stared at me in a stuttering silence. He's a smart guy and didn't try and back pedal. Between us we gathered that they are an authorized Apple dealer, repair center and a few other things. There are some people at Apple who will answer the phone for them and have helped quite a bit in the development of their software. This is the same treatment you'd get if you were Avid Pro Tools who writes Digital Audio Workstation software for both the Mac and the PC. They paid for their license and have access as an enterprise level developer. Most people on this forum could afford to pay that fee. It is not accurate to say that they have a ringing endorsement or Steve Job's cell phone number.

    As it tuned out, there was a guy from Apple there to speak to the conference. (I'll edit in his name when I get it in front of me.. sorry) His speech was about 5 minutes of how he came to know Savant. The basics are that he moved into a house with ********, couldn't get it to work, heard from a buddy about Savant and how it was Apple based. Savant put in a Rosie for him and he loves it. He used 'leveraging' quite a few times. (I won buzzword bingo that round) He then went into a 20 mintue schpeel on wireless networking with Apple's Air Ports, thanked us and left.

    Once again, I was stunned to silence. Here's the president of the Apple TV division and developer of iTunes who flys over 2000 miles to give a speech on the basics of setting up a wireles network and a short pat on the back for Savant. "CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!!!!" I thought quietly to myself...

    Now, as providence would have it, I and one of my coworkers ended up riding with the speaker from Apple in a limo back to Logan International Airport from Hyannis. (about an 1.5 hour drive) We chatted quite a bit about a lot of things and it was a very cool experiece for me. (probably not for him, however...) I couldn't take it any longer and decided to settle the matter for myself once and for all. I flat-out asked the guy if he could explain Apple's relationship with Savant. I cannot give your verse:chapter:book but here's the gist of it.

    Apple is somewhat interested in Savant in that they are utilizing their technology in a intersting and progressive way. However, they are not actively seeking to endorse or, even further, aquire the company or technology. Savant is just not big enough to even show up as a blip on their radar screen aparently. (this is his general feeling towards home automation as an industry in general. It's just not in their face right now.)

    I'm not saying in any way that this is the truth of the situation and still would not be surprised to see Apple's jaws snap shut suddently on this. However, if we can take his statements as fairly accurate, then for the mean time, Savant will continue to be Savant and not become iSavant.

    So...
    from where I stand right now, it looks like I'm going to be learning this stuff. I have to admit that I'm really stoked about it because I'll finally be able to design the touch panels I've always wanted to do. I'm not at all happy about not being able to program on the thing.

    I'm now officially in the camp that feels that AMX/Craptron should probably start to feel threatened by it. (I do not consider that a good thing.) My loyalties still lie with AMX and I don't like what Savant is doing. Their Jedi mind tricks do not work on me and I didn't drink the Koolaide. But I also cannot argue any longer with the results. With AMX I cannot offer a responce to Hollywood-movie-level graphics and animation on a touch panel. If it is reliable and turns on the TV when asked, the argument is moot as well.

    I'd be curious to hear from anyone else who was there and your impressions. I'd also love to hear some kind of response from AMX on this. The only missing part of the puzzle is the the touch panel. If we could somehow get that elevated to the level of a computer, this argument would be over.

    Hope this helps :D
    e
  • iainshawiainshaw Junior Member Posts: 133
    Thanks for the debrief

    Wow, thanks for such a detailed debrief. Take a bit of time to study this and absorb what you're saying. I really hope AMX are listening to this sort of feedback
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    If you can't write custom programming for it, how do you interface with third-party hardware not already in its database?
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    Nice to have an AMX programmer's perspective. Great inside look...thanks for taking the time.
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