Ultimate Install Winner: Where Does Windows Go From Here?
One of the awesome things about an “Ultimate Install” like the one cyberManor performed is that it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Windows Media Center ecosystem. Life|ware is a huge part of that system and developments that have transpired since the winning installation took place would not only make the job easier, but add capabilities as well.
For instance, Life|ware now supports a ZigBee wireless interface that would have made set-up easier and required quite a bit less cabling. “No doubt, the new Zigbee interface could have helped,” says Life|ware chief of staff, Bret Fitzgerald. “The LMS-170 series provides consumers with a compelling solution which can quickly and easily be installed and more importantly can be done with no additions of new wire.”
One of the more impressive rollouts at CEDIA EXPO this year was the “Life|ware Visual Project,” which is essentially a drag-and-drop configuration tool for programming the interface. Device status indicators, a search feature and simplified device grouping are some of the enhancements that speed up the dealer’s configuration process.
“Life|ware Visual Project has significantly improved the process for creating scripts for customer’s Life|scenes,” Fitzgerald explains. “Dealers can now add Xbox Media Center events to scripts, use predefined templates to create new scripts quickly, and test scripts line-by-line within the configuration environment itself.” All of this was unavailable to cyberManor during its “ultimate” of installations.
Finally, the company is now offering “Life|ware Delivery Guides,” which feature 13 different installation scenarios (home theater, whole-house control, retrofit, etc.) complete with schematics, estimated labor requirements, bill of materials, proposal templates, and more. The scenarios range from simple to complex, with very granular details, like the exact parts and the amount of time it will take to install.
“It essentially takes the guesswork out of system design,” Fitzgerald says. “For example, integrators can do a complete ‘walk-through’ with their customers, either by the project applications or room by room.” After they have completed the walk-through and discussion, an Excel spreadsheet can then “auto-suggest” a sample system based on the discussion. –BP