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Technology Showcase: IP-based AV Control Systems

Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles

Hardware options for centralized control.

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Calypso Control Systems Ion-16i

Calypso Control Systems Ion-16i

Calypso Control Systems follows the universal compatibility theme with its Ion series of intelligent AV controllers. These may function as standalone controllers or as components in an IP-integrated network based on open architecture. The low-cost devices such as the Ion-16i controller use the Calypso c_Link for hyperlink control from a wide variety of third-party software applications — including Microsoft PowerPoint, Windows desktop icons, and other hyperlink-friendly software applications. Controlled through its onboard web server, the Ion-16i and other Ion controllers function on an embedded 128-event-by-512-action database to translate the incoming links to schedule and coordinate outbound events. The Ion-16i offers an RS-232 port and 16 inputs on block terminals, along with the RJ-45 port for Ethernet connectivity. A blue LED indicates the power state, and an amber LED shows input activity on this simple but versatile 12V, 4W unit.

Primarily marketed for cinema chain and postproduction house automation, the Christie ACT from Christie Digital Systems is a 2RU chassis with seven non-isolated, general-purpose I/O posts with a 12V rail; 14 SPST relays; 16 opto-isolated bidirectional inputs; RS-232, RS-422, and Ethernet connections; and a realtime internal clock. The front panel offers status LEDs and a USB connection for a local computer interface once the rackmounted chassis is in place, and it contains eight hot buttons and integrated web services. As is now typical with such systems, the unit can be configured and controlled through IP with a common web-browser user interface. This can be used to set up predefined scripts for up to 8 channels of programmable manual actuators. An expansion slot with a D-sub, 9-pin connector allows for future growth.

Crestron 2-Series control systems are well established, and they form a product group that is very adaptable in the capabilities provided. At the top of the 2-Series line is the Pro2 dual-bus control system for medium to large installations offering six COM ports, eight IR/serial ports, eight I/O Versiports, eight isolated relay-contact closures, and optional Ethernet connectivity. The 32-bit Freescale ColdFire processor works with a 40Mbps Y-bus to provide fast control operation, while the 300Mbps Z-bus supports fast Ethernet linking. The unit communicates with touchpanels, lighting controls, and keypads through the Cresnet interface. Ethernet connectivity provides a link for centralized control, monitoring, diagnostics, and programming through Crestron RoomView, SIMPL, and VTPro software applications. The onboard web server and email client allow very easy remote monitoring and email alerts with both static and dynamic IP addressing. The unit can provide expansion capability when configured as a Cresnet slave device. SNMP, SSL, and NAT support augment the unit's ability to be centrally managed and monitored by the Crestron RoomView application, which allows event scheduling and conditional email alerts.

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