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Sling Founder Brings Android to Home Automation

Blake Krikorian, founder of Sling Media, to demo Crestron automation app on Android-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab during CEDIA Expo; other Android apps to be shown as well.


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A few early-release Samsung Galaxy Tabs will be hand-delivered to CEDIA so Blake Krikorian can demo his Android app for home automation.

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Over the past three years, Apple and its iOS have completely disrupted the home automation business, bringing affordable, multipurpose machines to an industry built on higher-priced, single-purpose touchscreens.

This week at CEDIA Expo 2010, the big event for custom electronics professionals, home systems integrators will be scouring the show floor for new iOS controls apps; iPad mounts, docks and smart sleeves; competitive products that stack up to the iPad in terms of price, performance and aesthetics; and business models for this enigmatic platform.

And, quietly, the relatively new Android platform from Google will make its mark on the home-control industry.

Sling Founder Brings Android to Automation


For the past 18 months, Blake Krikorian, founder of Sling Media, has been working on an Android-centric home-control interface as part of an extensive home remodel project, he told CE Pro in an exclusive interview.

Specifically, Krikorian has developed an Android app for Crestron, the home control system that powers his own house. Codenamed R2, the solution will be demonstrated at the Crestron booth at CEDIA Expo.

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Already the Krikorian household has numerous iPads and iPod touches for remote control of lights, shades, security, audio/video, thermostats and other Crestron-enabled smart systems.

But that’s not enough for the perpetual tinkerer and problem solver who always wants more – like the ability to watch the San Francisco Giants while traveling, which was the genesis of the Slingbox.

For example, he says, “I just wanted the iPad to let me bypass the slide-to-unlock bar so I could immediately control things with one button. Apple doesn’t give you the flexibility to do that.”

An Open Platform


Krikorian thinks the iPad and iPhone are “fantastic mass market products,” but the locked-down iOS limits their use as home-control devices.

Ideally, a home-automation screen should always be at the ready – in “supervisory” mode, as we say – so it can respond automatically to various triggers such as the press of a doorbell or the tripping of security sensor. In either case, you might want the screen to light up automatically with images from one or multiple surveillance cameras.

You can do that with an Android device.

“If someone rings the doorbell, I want all of these displays to pop up,” Krikorian says. “I couldn’t do that unless I had an app running in the background all the time.” Which you can do with Android.

And that brings us to multitasking, a feature famously supported by Android.


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While Apple is making strides in this area, the multitasking functionality of the new iOS 4.1 is “limited at best,” Krikorian says. For example, he notes, “In most cases, you basically have to close one app to get to the control app. And then you have to close down that app to launch another. The additional friction caused by those unnecessary steps detracts from the convenience I am trying to provide.”

With Android, on the other hand, you can mute the television via the home-automation app, without closing your e-book for example. And, if you want to see a guest at the front door the moment he presses the doorbell, you can make that happen with Android, even if you’re currently engrossed in said e-book.





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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Events · CEDIA · Cedia · Android · Cedia 2010 · Ios · Blake Krikorian · Crestron. Ipad · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
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. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

12 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Me  on  09/21  at  09:13 AM

Android + Crestron = FTW!

No where are those yummy delicious Android tablets already?

Posted by Me Again  on  09/21  at  09:19 AM

That was supposed to read:
“Now where are those…”

Duh!

Posted by Whitevan Lifestyle  on  09/21  at  10:24 AM

Whoooooooo Hooooooooo! Thats what I’m talking about!
This will open up a whole realm of possibilities.

Posted by Tuck  on  09/21  at  10:49 AM

I had to look up what FTW meant, lol.

Posted by Me  on  09/21  at  11:00 AM

Thats funny Truck!

In all seriousness, I’ve been counting the days for well over a year. I hope we have plenty of good news coming from CEDIA over the next few days!

Posted by Whitevan Lifestyle  on  09/21  at  11:04 AM

Me and Me both! I’ve been patiently waiting for the explosion thats about to happen. This will be a Cedia topper for sure.

Posted by gearhead  on  09/21  at  12:45 PM

this is f**kin awesome! I can’t wait to see the Samsung Tab in action. How did he get those units? They aren’t shipping yet, are they?

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  09/21  at  01:21 PM

Gearhead—Blake has a lot of friends!

Posted by Very cool  on  09/21  at  02:18 PM

What will Savant have to say to this-other than don’t download the latest iOS until we test it. And the other guys-AMX, Control4, RTI, URC, ABC, 123, etc…will they have the same functionality?

Posted by Tuck  on  09/21  at  02:56 PM

URC? They need to get off their duff and join the iPad bandwagon or get left behind. They are about to miss the boat.

Maybe CEDIA will bring an unknown URC surprise.

Posted by Thomas Abell  on  09/21  at  10:36 PM

This is pretty exciting stuff if you ask me, and yeah @gearhead, I’m pretty stoked about seeing that Samsung also!  Seriously, technology rocks!

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  09/22  at  11:04 AM

Very cool. Im glad that touchpanels are finally being massed produced(less expensive, betterbuild quality) and im glad that the software guys are making it possible to integrate with our fav control systems.

The oversized dinosaur touchpanel days are over and our systems will be that much cooler.

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