A challenger for Intermatic

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
It's nice that Intermatic is rumored to be doing the work to really take Z-Wave up to the next notch. But here's what we REALLY need, in addition to the usual lamp and appliance modules and contact closures and motion sensors... We need a simple, reasonably priced LCD touch screen panel.

Z-Wave couldn't handle graphics, because it just doesn't have the bandwidth. But it could easily enough handle transferring text and sending back button selection commands. It would be good enough if an OEM could just connect to the device and put a background bitmap into the device in static memory probably, or have some pluggable flash ROM type chip that a vendor could put their graphics on before shipping.

But, if that's too complex, just text would be good enough probably. We really need a wireless touch panel, even if just a small 4" one or something, that is inexpensive enough to put in 4 or 5 of them for $500 or $600 or so. It would make such a difference in allowing companies like ours to compete with the C4's and Crestrons out there, for the retrofit market.

Of course it would be very nice to have a larger, smarter, wireless IP based on that can do graphics and whatnot, maybe in the $250/per range or so. But there would still be a need for more ubiquitous, small and inexpensive touch pads that be dynamically driven from a device driver to show the desired text (and nagivate through 'virtual hierarchical menus' by the driver responding to presses by uploading new text.)

I really wish someone would provide such a thing, so that it's not just Crestron and C4 who have access to retrofit friendly wireless touch pads.
Oh, and in case it wasn't obvious, I'm not talking about a device that has any real smarts at all. So don't try to make it a 'Z-Wave controller in the wall'. I'm talking about a completely passive device that is designed to be driven by an automation controller. So all it has to be able to do is accept an upload of text strings and their display slots, and to send out a 'button X' pushed when one of the slots is pressed (or the hard button beside of them is pressed.) Keep all the smarts in the automation controller and make these guys as simple and dumb and inexpensive as is possible.
And I'm sure that an even simpler one with fixed, customer labelled, buttons would be an option as well, at the low end, which should be something I would think that could be sold at the $50 to $60'ish range or thereabouts. It's effectively a Z-Wave transmitter that can send out a message with one of X button ids in it, based on the button pressed. It would be nice to have the $100'ish small LCD based one as well though.
At EHxpo in orlando they had a company called zykronix that was manufacturing touch screen win ce embedded devices with z wave and802.11g built in. At that time they stated they would be available soon. Well, I have emailed them multiple times about availability and they have not replied. As for a price range, they stated that they were only ~ 250 for the small version and ~350 for the larger. They were also working on a portable battery powered one.

You can check out their web site at Zykronix

Anyway, it's fairly cheap, can handle hs interface, mainlobby, or web browsing. Not sure how the zwave module would interface with homeseer but for the price and capabilities I would easily buy 5 of them.

Perhaps Automated Outlet could contact them as a distributor to find out about sales for the product (hint, hint).

So not the device you wanted but able to do what you wanted (I think.)
A CE device would have to be used via RDP to show MainLobby scenes. CE does not support Flash natively- which is needed for ML clients. This is possible, but very expensive for Macromedia license for CE player. Running ML on a full PC (XPPro or Win2003Server) that supports RDP and then using the RDP client for CE works fine. You will then run into issues (and solutions) for multple RDP sessions if you are running multiple CE touchscreens.
For us, if it's 802.11G, then it doesn't need to be Z-Wave enabled really. In that case, it could just run our .Net interface viewer locally and talk directly to our back end and the back end can do the Z-Wave work.

That's definitley something we are interested in, as just a wireless touch screen. But for a simple, dumb 'press a button to invoke an action' type of panel, it could be a lot simpler and I would think considerably cheaper.

In the price range you mentioned, I'd expect a text LCD display (maybe graphic, but unlikely). And no touch screen. But "menu" buttons would certainly be possible.

It's really simple to build the hardware for things like these. It's only the communications (hardware and software protocols) that complicate things.
Here is an idea :)

Dean can buy the z-wave developers kit and hire smee to develope a display just like Dean wants it. Could bring a lot of attention to CQC.

of course I know that this is not possible with the price zen-sys is charging for the developers kit. :p
It's really simple to build the hardware for things like these. It's only the communications (hardware and software protocols) that complicate things.

That's true, but in this case, that's a gimme, since it would be a Z-wave based device. So it would only need the tiniest extra bit of smarts than a Z-Wave light switch really. It would just send out a broadcast when one of the buttons is pressed, indicating the button number.
Wow I missed all that talk about Zykronix. Some of that stuff looks really cool. The problem I am seeing with all of this Z-wave technology is that the software developers are getting left out of the picture. HS still has not got their Z-wave plugin rock solid from what I understand and it doesnt seem like it will happen any time soon. There is a big communication problem between all the developers of both hardware (including ACT) and software developers. And in the end the consumers are the ones getting hurt.
For our purposes, with the .Net Viewer, the Z-Wave stuff in those doesn't even matter really. If they are actually good quality devices, they are useful just as 802 wireless touch pads. We'll have to check into those. I hope that the Z-Wave stuff doesn't add much to them cost-wise, or that they'd sell a Wave-less version if so.
Ok, not recieving an email response from them I called them for more information.

David at zykronix was VERY helpful. He sent me spec sheets for their entire product line. I am unfortunately unable to share this information (I agreed to complete confidentiality - don't ask me why I can't share spec sheets)

My original pricing level was underestimated so here are the new quotes (ballpark figures and based on order quantity):

zv10: 800-1400 based on what options you configure and quantity (my 1st choice - win xp embedded (main lobby compatible) or full os with add on hd) - let me just say that this is a full blown pc very much like the crestron screens with tons of additions for a fraction of the price

rbr: ~ 300 -500 (win ce which would allow integration with hs, but not mainlobby)

pantera: win ce ~1000

z6 & z10: win ce and ~ 400 - 600

while fairly expensive, each device is available with many configurations and in my opinion beat out the $800 touchscreen homeseer is selling (no offense - but $800.00 for just a touch screen that requires a pc)