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Topic:
EI going straight to builders with Lifeware
This thread has 350 replies. Displaying posts 61 through 75.
Post 61 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 14:40
tsvisser
Founding Member
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I went ahead and took a look at the videos on your website, and to be honest, I didn't really like what I saw. One of your staff made a comment, something to the effect that we as custom installers and integrators often like technologies that we would like in our own house, but we don't think of what the client would like in theirs... I'm trying to think of the profile of a typical client in our market, an I don't think that the Lifeware solution is really fitting to what they would want. In the videos, I saw a significant amount of navigation through menus. The demonstrators, would have to go up to select a function, then navigate down to select a source/zone/function, then go to another menu to set levels... now some of this simply is not 1-button operation, but many things, such as media selection, should be 1-button interaction. A computer gives you menu driven operation, that is the existing paradigm. An automation system should give you activity based operation. Just because your videos did not show 1 button operation does not mean that it is there. Does LW offer remote controls for watching TV where the user can press a single button to start watching TV?

MCE is a technology that some will like and some won't. What is the advantage of using LW for both the front end controls and the back end equipment? Why wouldn't a Crestron, AMX, RTI dealer simply build systems like they would otherwise, and for MCE clients, add a server and XBOX360 endpoints. For Apple clients add XServe/XSRaid and Apple TV endpoints. For people that don't want media servers (there are lots of those) a high end DVD player and high end audio source.

In about 2 years when MS releases its next version of Windows or when a non-MS vendor becomes the leader in (likely DRM equipped) online purchased media, is LW prepared to ditch the MCE paradigm of controls and embrace the next standard, or will the consumer be locked into a the existing paradigm... Is the consumer being unwise by investing a large sum of cash into a product that inherently only has about a 2 year lifespan? Wouldn't a more generic control solution be wiser, one that is modular so that parts can be removed and upgraded when / if necessary?

It is easier to criticize a product, so don't let me take away my appreciation for the work that it has taken to get the product to where it is now. However, I am far from being convinced that this is the direction that I want to go... I don't see any evidence in my market of this product gaining any momentum (which doesn't mean that it is not) and am seriously questioning the process by which consumers will go to BB to be advised on LW hardware/software. You an I both know that certain lighting systems will work while others won't. How is the BB's ability to "manage the client" and coordinate with AEC professionals to allow automation with their subsystems compare with the ability of a traditionaly custom installer. Even if you have a healthy network of custom installers, I'm not sure that the BB relationship is a healthy one. I can understand the desire to increase public awareness of the product, but if it exists at BB, you will be catering to the big box mentalities, no matter what your strategy is. People's perceived value - buying it from BB vs working with a competent integrator will always be about the bottom line and not the value of the system as a whole. Your initial order to BB just to provide stock must be massive - probably more than some control system companies ship in a year.

What percentage of these systems to you expect to be sold through BB vs traditional installers/integrators? If someone were to buy it from BB, would BB do the installation or is it expected that the homeowner would be a DIY? Once the system is installed, who is the first point of contact for support? Would it be LW or the party that did the installation? What would the return policy be on hardware if someone purchased it from BB and decided that it was not the product for them? If I were a consumer, what would be the manufacturer's warranty on hardware / software?
[Link: imdb.com]
Post 62 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 14:40
roddymcg
Loyal Member
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6,791
I like Moe's analogy.

If you are not allowing customization I think you are missing something huge here. Our client's love this feature. Some of our client's have personalized themes for each room and house each house in one case. One has a picture of their house on all the touchpanels.

Personalization and custom are huge factors...

Crestron is our go to currently if this matters.
When good enough is not good enough.
Post 63 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 14:45
tsvisser
Founding Member
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If you are not allowing customization I think you are
missing something huge here. Our client's love this feature.
Some of our client's have personalized themes for each
room and house each house in one case. One has a picture
of their house on all the touchpanels.

personally, I hate those clients...
[Link: imdb.com]
Post 64 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 14:51
Moe's original BBQ
Active Member
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703
On February 18, 2007 at 14:45, tsvisser said...
personally, I hate those clients...

I like 'em.
Paramount Audio Video
California/Colorado
Post under Matt Marple on www.esiorg.com and Matt on www.integrationpros.org
Post 65 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 14:54
tsvisser
Founding Member
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On February 18, 2007 at 14:33, 2nd rick said...
Has anyone else noticed that the software guys the only
ones who cannot figure out how to effectively use quotes
here??

as a software guy myself, my spelling a atrowsious. i also hate to use capitals and punctuation... although i normally try to end sentences with at least a period - but really love to make run on sentences and use other pseudo breaks in formal sentences with ..., ;, - etc...

//cleanup above at a later date

you can also tell who the psycho posters are by the odd hours they post.

Q3 does a pretty good job of having a consistent volume of posts both in quantity and temporally.
Allan seems to do well on volume, but I have a feeling that we only see him when he has free time on his hands.
I only post when I have a lot of work on my hands and am looking for a distraction from what I am supposed to be doing.
[Link: imdb.com]
Post 66 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 14:54
QQQ
Super Member
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4,806
Steve,

Another question. Is your name really Wesley?
Post 67 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 15:19
Audible Solutions
Super Member
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3,246
On February 18, 2007 at 14:54, tsvisser said...
as a software guy myself, my spelling a atrowsious.
//cleanup above at a later date

Spelling? Love Google spell check and the IESpell Doug suggested I download. Otherwise Ernie would have no free time.

you can also tell who the psycho posters are by the odd
hours they post.

Allan seems to do well on volume, but I have a feeling
that we only see him when he has free time on his hands.
I only post when I have a lot of work on my hands and
am looking for a distraction from what I am supposed to
be doing.

If it weren't for procrastination I'd have zero posts. For some reason I'm having difficulty downloading .pdfs from Crestron today. What could be more relaxing than to spend time on problems that have no effect on my reality.

Alan
"This is a Christian Country,Charlie,founded on Christian values...when you can't put a nativiy scene in front fire house at Christmas time in Nacogdoches Township, something's gone terribly wrong"
Post 68 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 15:22
roddymcg
Loyal Member
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September 2003
6,791
On February 18, 2007 at 14:51, Moe's original BBQ said...
I like 'em.

I do too, some of the best projects I have been a part of.
Some the hardest as well.
When good enough is not good enough.
Post 69 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 16:05
Dean Roddey
Senior Member
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May 2004
1,009
RemoteCentral has their unusual quoting mechanism. I'm used the [quote] type UBB style quotes that almost every else uses. So I'm using to just grabbing the part I want to respond to and putting the quote markup around it, which requires no manual wrapping of lines to make it work. By the time I remember that this isn't going to work, it's too late so I just put the quotes around it.
Dean Roddey
Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems
www.charmedquark.com
Post 70 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 17:06
Long Time Member
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31
On February 18, 2007 at 14:54, QQQ said...
Steve,

Another question. Is your name really Wesley?

Confused, but no i am using my real name, check our webiste i am listed on the about EI screen.
SC
Post 71 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 17:15
rlustig
Advanced Member
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912
On February 18, 2007 at 12:50, [email protected] said...
May not do everything that you can do today
with amx or crestron, but our goal is to get you 95+%
of the way there and do it a lot quicker, also add a peice
of scalability and being able to replicate systems.

Does this statement not completely contradict pretty much everything Steve has said up to this point? He has stated several times that Lifware is far beyond what Crestron and AMX are. LW is the "best" media manager etc etc.

If the goal is only 95% of the capability of Crestron or AMX, then how is this ever going to be a market leader, especially at the same , or higher cost than Crestron or AMX?
Post 72 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 17:16
Moe's original BBQ
Active Member
Joined:
Posts:
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703
Wesley is our resident visionary.
Paramount Audio Video
California/Colorado
Post under Matt Marple on www.esiorg.com and Matt on www.integrationpros.org
Post 73 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 22:34
Long Time Member
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On February 18, 2007 at 17:15, rlustig said...
Does this statement not completely contradict pretty much
everything Steve has said up to this point? He has stated
several times that Lifware is far beyond what Crestron
and AMX are. LW is the "best" media manager etc etc.

If the goal is only 95% of the capability of Crestron
or AMX, then how is this ever going to be a market leader,
especially at the same , or higher cost than Crestron
or AMX?

Guys this is a simple toyota/lexus model versus say a bmw or bentley. Toyota came in to an already dominated luxury car business with the lexus product, which was just a rebadged and touched up camry. They promised better service, increased margin, and streamlined luxury cars. They built off a dominant platform of toyota and built what today outsells any luxury car company by nearly triple and their dealers enjoy higher margins and greater profitably than anyone they compete with it. It is very arguable that a lexus is not as good as a bmw, mercedes, or bentley. But Lexus beat them by finding parts of their business that where exposed, and they built a product that was probably 95% of the way there in performance, but killed them in every other aspect that most customers care about. It wasn't the last 2 foot of the braking distance, or the extra 10 HP, or the prestige. Even the majority of the wealthy have earned their status and for the most part they like products that do 95% of the nitch things, like sophistication while being streamlined, well serviced, and well respected. Lexus is arguably even better is some areas. Lexus sound systems kill the one in the BMW. Microsoft is our dominate platform, nearly every customer you will have in the next two years will already own a PC with the Vista OS and be using it for movies, tv, pictures, and music. Think about expanding that platform and making it better and more powerful, rather than trying to sell against it. You can not convince a lexus owner that there is anything better and they have the hgihest return buyer rate of any luxury automobile. If you went out looking at doctors, lawyers, accountants, and the core customer base of lexus, you would find a crowd that loves and depends on microsoft and software applications that run on it. I realize that you may not fully understand the model, but we are here to help CI guys take advantage of this trend and market acceptance and we are doing very well. CI has been and will continue to be one of our core focuses. If you want to talk to dealers that have been very happy and successful installing and selling our product, drop me a personal email. I would bet that we already have a dealer or two in your market, and some of the best in the US, they are seeing this as a major peice of thier business over the next few years.
SC
Post 74 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 23:16
Audible Solutions
Super Member
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March 2004
3,246
I've stood out of this debate as I do not believe in my ability to predict the future. However, you are now making a dangerous argument that cannot go unchallenged. Mr.Roddey has made a convincing argument elsewhere that stripped down XP can be a capable backbone to a control system but it must be left alone in the back ground to operate by itself. It has to be closed down. It needs to be closed down to applications and viruses. But you are preaching about putting a MS OS not in the back ground, stripped down and free from any applications to one that is a quasi-server--but not quite--and susceptible to every possible virus and ad-ware attack some Eastern European 15 year old suffering from anomie can dream up. Of course it's cheap. You've developed nothing but an application and a skin. But this is not a car where you have full control of the manufacturing process. This is a control system running people's homes and you are suggesting a control system paradigm where the back-end control system is the same as the front end DVD/music server?!!! Other than gas and oil what can you put in a car. If you don't close Windows down you leave it open to every possible attack known to man. FYI, my brand new laptop just stopped running crucial software after 1 week. And you'd leave that system's architecture unprotected and open to attack?

Even your example of XBox is suspect. That too, is a relatively closed system, save for the game developers using the SDU. But you are leaving opened ended Windows, completely vulnerable to attack, without any systems engineering for any UI. If this is how you hope to reach the high end then you will go the way of Phast and C4. Crestron has already lowered the bar with the Adagio and it's entry price is half of yours. That includes a pre-engineered system that takes 15 minutes to program. AMX has made purchases that suggests that it too will be entering the entry level system's integration market. These are companies with both the engineering talent, the marketing power and the experience. What would have happened to CQC if Dean Roddey had only the financing to hire a high powered marketing firm? At least his system makes sense and I have problems with his system's integration as it is purely a software based solution that depends on third party hardware upon which he has no control ( touch panels, not the PC ).

Everyone wants to go after Red State value consumers. But I'll promise you this. If your paradigm is to suggest that the same HTPC or media PC that will act as the front end source also serve as the back end control then you are a snake oil salesman. Enterprise servers have a different topology and Microsoft is even marketing a stripped down version of these enterprise solutions. So why would you wish to suggest, what Mr.Roddey has here suggested is a bad idea, that Mr. and Mrs. RedState, who value reliability as much as their bank account, follow a typology that has been proved unreliable? Because you have a horse in this race? I understand why Best Buy has partnered with you. They don't wish to commit to the one solution that works. they'd rather sell a pseudo solution that doesn't work. The Tweeter model is what will eventually happen. Centralized integration by programmers for the national chain, running on a reliable hardware and software. It may be Lifeware or life support but it will not be the hardware typology you've suggested.

However good your software application, I will promise you this. As long as you permit your application to run on an open source open ended architecture it will fail as a control system. It will be bogged down by applications ( as in anti-virus ) by DVD burners, by virus and spyware attacks.

Alan
"This is a Christian Country,Charlie,founded on Christian values...when you can't put a nativiy scene in front fire house at Christmas time in Nacogdoches Township, something's gone terribly wrong"
Post 75 made on Sunday February 18, 2007 at 23:33
juliejacobson
CE Pro Magazine
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Posts:
April 2003
3,032
On February 18, 2007 at 14:40, roddymcg said...
I like Moe's analogy.

If you are not allowing customization I think you are
missing something huge here. Our client's love this feature.
Some of our client's have personalized themes for each
room and house each house in one case. One has a picture
of their house on all the touchpanels.

Personalization and custom are huge factors...

Crestron is our go to currently if this matters.

A lot of passion on this one.

A lot of high-end custom integrators have gone out of business for this very reason--over-customizing, saying yes to anything. How do you keep your programmers in check when it's oh-so-tempting to perfect every little detail of an interface?

I happen to have Crestron, got to pick any interface I wanted, and it's nice (guifx). But if the integrator had come to me and said this is what your interface will look like, I'd have been fine with that. That's why I went with Guifx, using the same template that so many integrators seem to use.

Would I like the design to match my Frank Lloyd Wright-style mid-century modern home? Sure, but I wouldn't pay a programmer $100 per hour for the extra effort.

High-end, complete customization is a good business model for some, but it represents a very small portion of this industry. The large majority of integrators use less-customizable products like HAI. That's a swell business model, too, and shouldn't be pooh-poohed. (ha ha, I said pooh-pooh)
"CEPro: your website sucks!" - Fins
www.cepro.com
[Link: twitter.com]
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