In a follow-up to what it privately introduced to dealers and trade press back in mid-February Savant’s latest software update, version 8.3, offers expanded features such as new door lock and garage services, plus service reordering and definable buttons to make installations more customizable. In addition, new hardware options enable integrators to offer the Savant experience with a range of features at an entry-level price point.
According to Savant CEO Bob Madonna, Savant 8.3 enables the Savant Simple Host and Pro Remote Kit to serve as the ideal starter kit ($500 MSRP) for a Savant Home and the perfect control and automation solution for home theaters and media rooms. It replaces the company’s consumer remote at the same price point, but with professional-level Blueprint software inside.
“We’re definitely going with one software for all of our products,” Madonna said. “We’re taking the best aspects of the consumer remote and merging into our entry-level pro offering.”
The consumer remote is no longer available to pro dealers, and the company appears to be moving away from its DIY remote offering altogether, in favor of a professionally programmed remote, with end user-controllable features.
“Want customers to be able to create their own scenes,” Madonna added. “This is our first big release, but you’ll see a lot of interesting things coming out of this platform in the next six months. There’s a big investment going on in the technology right now.”
Madonna thinks the new software provides a great starting point for a single-room solution, blending Simple Host and Pro Remote. “It’s a simple system, but is really only limited in how many zones (two) can be programmed into it because of its smaller processor. Otherwise it handles the same depth around the TV as the Smart Host handles.
The new software has been fully beta tested by hundreds of Savant dealers over the past two months. “We’re confident in the quality and very happy with our beta program,” Madonna said.
With the new software, dealers can now customize names of services and rearrange the service dock for customers with specific preferences. Dealers were asking if we could make it easier to see if a device or a room was already on, from various pages on the app. They didn’t want to take control of the system, if say, someone else in their family was already listening to music in another room. Now you can see clearly in the UI what’s already turned on.
Also dealers can create custom scenes through templates and themes (to match the look and feel of the app) to tackle unique control scenarios. “One dealer created a ‘night mode’ button for controlling his sound system, essentially turning off his subwoofer when his wife and kids were sleeping,” said Tim McInerney, Savant’s director of product marketing. “Bob has a motorized mount for his TV that he can pivot to the area of the house he wants by touching custom buttons.”
Additionally, the Savant Music Server, which is packaged in the same hardware as the Smart Host and powered by the Autonomic Mirage OS, includes music streaming software as well as a built-in controller ($1,000 MSRP). By including the controller in the same package as the music server, the dealer saves $400-1,500 in cost, saves space in the rack, and reduces power supplies needed in the system. As well as popular streaming music services, the server supports AirPlay for mirroring what’s playing on a mobile device to the home system.
Also included in the software are dedicated door lock and garage door services that provide video feeds, entry access, and open/closed status. This feature can also identify if a garage door is stuck or malfunctioning.