Vantage Equinox 73 Touchscreen Heralds in Next Gen Control Interfaces


By Jeremy J. Glowacki July 31,2013


Vantage’s Equinox 73 can be dynamically updated by users or by certified integrators as the user’s needs and preferences change.
Equinox 73, Vantage’s new glass-to-the-edge LCD touchscreen, represents the next step in the development of the Orem, UT, manufacturer’s new family of interfaces, following on the heels of the December 2012 release of its Equinox 40 keypad. The concurrent release of Equinox tablet apps provides aesthetic consistency across all user touch points in the line.

Slated for release this month for $1,500 (SRP), the single-layer interface touchscreen initially will include nine pre-programmed widgets for control of functions, including lighting, scenes, weather, climate, multi-zone audio, multi-zone video, home theater, cameras, and security. Energy and timer widgets will be added in the near future, according to the company.

Vantage’s VP of marketing Reid Cram said that the Equinox 40 and Equinox 73 have common design aesthetics. “Both are glass-to-the-edge LCD touchscreens with titanium trim,” he explained. “The LCD color schemes are consistent; both are the same height. The differences are that the Equinox 40 is a single page wide and Equinox 73 displays three widgets at a time.”

With two tactile buttons, one to navigate to the home page and the other fully programmable, the 73 can be dynamically updated by users or by certified Vantage integrators as the user’s needs and preferences change. As a Vantage Ethernet object powered by POE, Equinox 73 can also be retrofitted into any existing InFusion system, taking advantage of current infrastructure. Equinox tablet apps have been designed as complete manifestations of these on-wall touchscreens, so users will have the same interaction with their systems at home or away.

A Vantage integrator can configure the Equinox 73 for immediate access to 90 percent of user functions, but once an Equinox 73 touchscreen is programmed by the integrator, the end-user can personalize or adjust, and save each widget with a simple on-screen interface. For the integrator, Equinox 73 offers both a prescriptive template for quicker programming time as well as user onscreen editing for further personalization.

The introduction of additional Equinox interfaces, including the full single-widget version of Equinox 4–a single-gang LCD keypad station by Q4 2013–and mobile phone iOS and Android apps, will round out the family. These products will incorporate Vantage’s full widget-based control environment.

User Feedback Aided Equinox 73 Design Process

Vantage’s Equinox 73 touchscreen was conceptualized based on the results from in-depth interviews with several luxury automation system users and influential designers, according to the company.

Some of the key pieces of feedback included:

1. Keep it Simple. While the systems working in the background might be complex, keep the user interaction and user interfaces simple.

2. Grow with Me. Users wanted the system to be adaptable as their family or needs change.

3. Let Me Play. Consumers said they wanted to be able to engage with the interface and enjoy interacting with the system.

4. Talk to Me. The homeowner is making a substantial investment in a lighting and automation system and wants Vantage to engage with them and keep them informed on improvements and changes to the system.

5. My Dealer Defines the Magic. The client depends on his dealer to recommend, install, program, and maintain his system, and to add personal touches for him.

Having learned these elements of a good experience, Vantage set out to develop a set of simple interfaces that are adaptable, intuitive, provide for user customization, and minimize dealer-programming time.

“Based on these tenets, we will continue to focus on improved product design, innovation, and improving dealer productivity,” Vantage's Reid Cram said.

–JG

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