Sometimes you need to experience something up-close and personal to decide if it is going to be a “wow” or not. I do anyway.
I have owned every iPhone since they were launched and I love my iPad. I am going to wait to purchase the iPhone 5 until I can hold it. Even more important than the touch and feel is how something works — the graphical user interface — the GUI. And of course it has to perform the functions I need. Apple has taken away Google Maps, which I am really unhappy about. This is one of the applications I use a lot. For me, they are taking away a critical user experience. What they are replacing it with better be as good if not better.
I recently got to touch, feel and take a spin on Vantage Control’s new Equinox LCD keypad. Lighting designers, interior designers and anyone responsible for specifying room control and more importantly the user interface into luxury hotels are going to love this product.
First, the look of the Equinox is very elegant, tech savvy and welcoming. It doesn’t scream off the wall like a cheap (and sometimes expensive) temperature control panel that I see in so many hotels. It feels somehow familiar. That’s because it looks more like — an iPhone or iPad. And as we know, this look has a very high acceptance factor.
Over the years one of my biggest pet peeves with control and automation graphical user interfaces is that they get over-designed and render them useless. This GUI is simple and intuitive. Andrew Wale, Vantage Controls’ Vice President of Marketing commented that the internal Vantage team developed all of the design features and that, “ultimate simplicity and ultimate consistency” were key factors and represented the future of their design philosophy. My hat is off to the Vantage team — they nailed this.
From these keypads hotel guests can control of lighting scenarios, interior climate, and audio systems. There are two tactile buttons in addition to an “always on” design which enables the keypad to sense presence and wakes up with a simple gesture.
Equinox runs on the Vantage station bus connection for full compatibility with the existing InFusion station bus-based systems, as well as Vantage’s new Enhanced InFusion Lighting Solution.
When asked what size hotel this system was targeted, Wale commented that it was fully scalable from a single room, to a suite, to a whole floor with zones and larger. In addition the system is perfect for retrofit as well as new construction and of course meets global electrical and installation standards.
I was told that there is a system underway at a large, high-end hotel in New York. I will be reporting on that in December. I am thinking I need to stay at the hotel in order to get the full experience. After all it is about the user experience.
The Equinox LCD keypads come in two sizes: The Equinox 4 is a single-gang and will be available in November. The Equinox 7, a double-gang available at the end of 2012.