Savant Updates to Pro 8.0 Release, Begins Remote Pre-Orders

Firmware Upgrade Coincides with Remote Launch
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Savant announced to its dealers today that the Pro 8.0 update for the brand’s software is now available for pre-orders. The upgrade coincides with the May availability of Savant’s new Pro Remote, Pro App, and Sonos integration capabilities.

The Pro Remote, not to be confused with its less capable and lower priced consumer cousin that was showcased at CEDIA in October, is intended only for the professional integration channel. It will feature button-enabled voice control of services, scenes, and favorite channels. The voice command feature, which is built into the remote and not originating from the cloud, can be custom programmed to respond to specific commands, but is designed as a space-saving “simple command” rather than “natural language” feature. 

The Pro Remote, which features only essential buttons and a high-res touchscreen, is programmed via Savant Blueprint, where it auto configures via Wi-Fi after having been dragged and dropped into the software. Service includes entertainment, climate control, advanced lighting control, and custom work flows.

The Pro Remote is $700, which is $200-300 more than the consumer version due to hardware and software differences. Pre-orders begin on April 5.

The Savant Pro App, which was originally released in the Fall of 2014, has been upgraded based on end-user and dealer feedback. The app’s popular Rooms View has been enhanced to include a whole-house view via a new home screen that allows users to quickly access everything an integrator has designed the home to do. “That’s how most people want to interact with their home,” said Savant director of marketing Tim McInerney. “They want to be one button click away from running any scene in their home.”

Scene Capture is another fresh feature included in the new Pro App, which allows an end user to save a scene that they may have manually set up in their home. It also allows one to build a scene from scratch and save it. A system status indicator informs the user if anything is disconnected from the network.

A new press-and-hold function engages a drop-down menu on the app that showcases all available commands for a specific device or technology in the system. A new climate interface allows one to drag a finger around the temperature slider, rather than having to manually click through each degree of difference. 

Savant’s new Sonos integration capability allows the integrator to capture Sonos as part of a scene in a control system. There the user can access playlists, favorites, and recently played songs. A “Now Playing” screen presents album artwork and song information. 

McInerney pointed out that some users or their dealers may see no reason to upgrade from 7.0 because that version of the OS is still fully operational. However, the new features included in the 8.0 upgrade will likely be appealing to many. 

“We had a pretty darn good app before, but we made it better,” McInerney said.

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In addition to those changes, Savant also has added embedded Savant Music to its Smart Host, the device at the center of every Savant home that enables wireless communication between other devices in the home. Smart Host now provides all of the streaming services as the company’s Autonomic-based SMS-001A media server, such as Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, TuneIn, and Deezer. The SmartHost connects to the system through its Tos-Link port. The Savant Music controls have been redesigned within the Savant App, as well. All of these updates have been made to Smart Host without adding cost. The only upgrade price increase would be associated with adding a larger-capacity unit.

Other announcements from Savant include new hardware, such as new 4K video input and output service cards for the Pro Chassis, new 4K video switches, new RS-232 functionality, and a new lamp controller.

Savant’s new 4K video input module (with pre-orders starting April 5, for a May 2016 ship date) feature new VIM modules for the SmartMediaPro chassis and enables 4K video at 30 Hz, supports HDCP 2.2 compatibility, includes audio signal down mixing, and a VIM module that simultaneously down converts to 1080p.

The company’s new 4K video output module features new VOM (voice output modules) for the SmartMediaPro chassis, enables 4K video at 30 Hz, supports HDCP 2.2, and offers automatic output of 1080p or 4K, depending on the display. 

Savant’s new 4K video switches are based on a new partnership with commercial brand Purelink, which is known for serving government, military, and hospital markets. The switchers, which are listed as “Coming Soon” are available in 4x4 and 8x8 configurations. 

Both the Purelink 4x4 and 8x8 4K HDMI switches supports HDCP 2.2 and HDMI 2.0A, 4:4:4 color depth, and 60 frames per second. A SmartHost Premium license is included with either switch. 

Also “coming soon” are Purelink 4K extenders, which are a HDBaseT transmitter and receiver package designed to transmit 4K up to 40 meters over a single Cat-5e/6 cable. These transmitter/receiver pairs are priced at $350 U.S. MSRP.

Savant also will soon offer a Wi-Fi two-port serial controller called the Smart Control 2 RS232. It will share the same form factor with the Smart Control 2 and 3 and will add RS232 anywhere via Wi-Fi. 

Further down the pipeline is Savant’s new Lamp Controller, a simple Wi-Fi-controlled lamp dimmer designed for a maximum voltage of 250W (5W minimum.)

In addition to these hardware introductions, Savant is also offering software enhancements, including new Blueprint Tools such as Pro App preview function. This time-saving feature allows a system designer to preview the Savant App user interface in the Blueprint software before uploading the configuration to the host. Blueprint also includes Siedle integration for that particular MDU intercom service. It does not require a Savant Intercom Server to work and includes concierge service for doors.

Lastly, Savant now offers a BacNet profile tool featuring a setup assistant tool with tester. The tool creates a unified BacNet Data Table, for dealers working in major metropolitan areas where BacNet is the data communication protocol for building automation and control networks.

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