i-Command Technology Leverages Fast-Spreading Home-Network Infrastructure
To Give Custom-Install Experts Unprecedented Power and Flexibility
North Reading, MA–The B&W Group has announced the introduction of i-Command, a new brand that is expected to profoundly influence the future of custom audio-video and whole-house system design and implementation.
The B&W Group has acquired the exclusive rights to the technology for the consumer electronics audio/video markets from In2Networks–a software company with extensive experience in networking standards, home automation, and control-systems design. The i-Command brand will be distributed through B&W’s global network of specialty home audio/video retailers and custom installers.
The i-Command Integrated Control System is a patent-pending technology that works through standard Ethernet networking to control home audio and video components, multiroom media systems, lighting, projectors, screens, motorized drapes, peripherals, and more, eliminating the clutter of multiple remote controls, expensive wiring, and complex programming. The system combines the ease of an icon-based touch screen with the power of computer networking, giving flawless one-button system operation.
i-Command utilizes standard Category 5 wired Ethernet networking protocols (IP) or wireless 802.11b connections to provide fully integrated system command with virtually limitless potential.
The heart of the i-Command system is the i-Node device–no larger than a deck of playing cards–which attaches to the RS-232 port found on most components which the consumer desires to operate with a one-touch control system. This can be done via an
i-Command touch panel or other available wireless PDAs, tablet-PCs, laptop, desktop PCs, or any wired or wireless product that provides a Web-browser window. Motorized devices or components such as some VCRs or cable boxes without an RS-232 port can
utilize the ir-Node, an infrared module which sends the infrared equivalent of a serial RS-232 command to each component in the system.
The i-Node is pre-programmed with a full suite of operating commands for a wide variety of compatible audio, video, and other control/source components, including sister brands Classe Audio and Rotel. The ir-Node can capture or download IR codes for any IR-controlled device or it can output 12-volt triggers to devices.
Once connected to the network (a broadband internet connection is not required), each i-Node is automatically assigned a network IP address so components in the system can communicate with each other. Whenever the system is turned on, the i-Node automatically recognizes a component and knows which commands it will accept.
By simply touching an icon on a screen or a dedicated keypad, the consumer can control a complete audio/video or media system, room by room, across the country or around the world. As new devices or components are introduced to the existing system, the owner simply adds additional i-Nodes for complete control.
Add-On i-Command Devices
Additional i-Command products include a wireless (touch screen) Tablet–a fully featured Tablet PC pre-configured with a full-screen application optimized for home theater and distributed audio control. The i-Command Keypad–16-key control and eight-character fluorescent display with fully duplex real-time feedback; and the Powered Audio Matrix that delivers four amplified, independent 40-watts-per-channel stereo outputs, a bass and treble control–make system expansion to a fully integrated multiroom layout a snap. Additionally, each Powered AudioMatrix can accept an unlimited number of Keypads for zone control, and additional units can be daisy-chained to expand the amplified stereo-output zones to eight, 12, or more.
Last comes the Powered Hub, which provides intelligent power to the Keypads and i-Nodes in the system plus Ethernet interconnectivity and operating power for all system components. Auto-sensing provides each i-Node, and Keypad with power through the Ethernet connection. It is also compatible with conventional, non-powered Ethernet devices that may also participate in the system, such as standard hubs or switches, which it automatically recognizes and thus does not send power.
The open-architecture format of the i-Command System eliminates the frustration of complicated custom software programming and possible future upgrade incompatibilities as the system expands. Once the system is individually designed and installed by an authorized retailer, operation is simple and easy. Periodic updates to software can be downloaded from the Internet by the consumer or by the electronics professional who installed the system.
The i-Command System will be introduced to specialty retailers and custom installers at the 2004 CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana, Booth #421, main convention center.
Availability: August 2004
Model: Suggested Retail Prices:
i-Node $ 300.00
ir-Node $ 600.00
Keypad $ 600.00
Powered Hub $1,000.00
Powered Audio Matrix $2,000.00
The B&W Group’s portfolio of consumer electronics brands is comprised of Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) Loudspeakers, Classe Audio (electronics), i-Command (control systems), and Rotel Electronics. This extensive combination of premium products are marketed in more than 60 countries worldwide via B&W’s network of wholly owned and independent distributors. Headquartered in Worthing, England, the B&W Group also maintains a U.S. office in North Reading, Massachusetts with Equity International, a subsidiary, which distributes the brands throughout North America.