AMX Rapid Project Maker: So Easy an Editor Can do it
Cloud-based RPM helps dealers configure one-room commercial-oriented projects in less than an hour, ensures programming code is uniform across projects; plus, build new drivers in just a few minutes.
Julie Jacobson · February 14, 2013
And some of them did it in less than 5 minutes (I was either too vain or too late to participate).
RPM represents an entirely new programming – scratch that, configuring – environment for AMX systems, helping to slash development time from days to hours.
There is an even bigger benefit to this new paradigm, though – the code for any given project is generated by the RPM software itself, not the programmer.
What this means is, “Every project uses the exact same AMX code,” says AMX product manager Justin Kennedy. “All projects look the same.”
This benefit won’t be lost on integration firms who recognize that every AMX (and other sophisticated integration) program differs from project to project and programmer to programmer. It can be darn near impossible to take over an existing project – whether that project was initiated by someone in the same company or a different one.
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How many times has an integrator looked at a job and told the client, “The code is a mess. It would be easier to start from scratch.”?
In the case of RPM, “the dealer doesn’t get into the code,” Kennedy says.
Instead, all configuration is done through a Web-based user interface. In fact, the entire system is cloud-based, so multiple programmers from the company can access any given system, without having to wonder if it is the most current iteration.
If this new scheme seems limiting, it’s not, says Kennedy, who says RPM includes drivers for “thousands” of products used in boardrooms, conference rooms, classrooms and other single-room commercial venues.
“Standard rooms and functions are built in,” says Kennedy.
The system even provides preset macros for dealers to use as is, or to tweak … or not use at all.
Kennedy says that a single-room system that might take 30 to 40 hours to program in AMX’s NetLinx Studio environment could take less than an hour to configure with RPM.
Furthermore, RPM automatically generates wiring schematics and installation visuals that are so simple even the greenest of techs can hook up a system with little chance of errors.
Creating RPM was a “huge, massive project,” Kennedy says.
But that’s not all.
Simplest Driver Development Tool Ever
Although RPM already has drivers for thousands of devices for the applications it serves, new drivers can be added quickly, thanks to AMX’s new Driver Design tool.
“You can create a device driver in a few minutes,” says Marji Smith, who heads AMX’s driver development and product portfolio strategy.
The new tool supports two-way RS-232 and IP communications. Developers (manufacturers, dealers and AMX itself) can start with an existing driver and edit as needed, or else start from scratch.
Development is “just three easy steps,” Smith says: select the device type, pick the communications method, and configure the control functions.
Where control functions need to be added to the standard feature set, developers need only drop in the hex codes.
“You don’t have to worry about our format,” Smith says.
All the while, the Driver Design tool will tell you if any particular feature is RPM-compatible.
So easy an editor can do it?
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at email@example.com
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