Traditionally control has been defined as one device telling another what to do. This may be a wall panel changing the music volume in a room or a computer sending notes to a synthesizer. In all cases, the receiving device needs to understand the commands being sent to it.
It is relatively easy to control a single device or to get two specific devices to communicate. But beyond that, there are very many different demands and considerations. There has been a requirement for a more universal control platform for years, but it has always been a struggle because of the diverse and sometimes even conflicting requirements.
There are many layers to control. You might need a system that can allow for multiple users operating the system at the same time and there may also be scheduled events. Control system designers have to consider which of these takes precedence in what circumstances. Then there are real-time controls that adjust settings as they happen, against others that simply switch from one setting to another. There is also persistent control for monitoring status of items and reporting faults.
There are also different control technologies that each serve different purposes; device control and control over media streams are often handled completely separately within the same system.
Adapting to a variety of demands
With different devices, different user demands and different types of control, it has been difficult to find a technology that satisfies everyone, let alone delivers in a way that is accessible to everyone – until now.
Most control is quite proscriptive; you have to define each device that is connected, and reconfigure or reprogram whenever additional or replacement items get connected.
It would be good to find a way to bring everything together in a way that is standardized, dynamic and can cope with the variety of demands and technologies AV systems employ.