Originally Posted by Randy Bessinger
But are serial ports the best way to control equipment in this day and age of home networking? I know Crestron, AMX, etc. but still....? I happen to love equipment I can control through a home network without having to have someone program RS232 protocals.
Well, whether it is IP or serial port, you still have to "program" the automation system to talk to it. In either case you are sending a command to the device and have to tie it into the control surface/remote.
I personally prefer IP because it is one less wire to run. Alas, to implement IP, companies run full blown operating systems which means that if you want to turn the device back on using IP, the OS and CPU need to be running and that means you use fair bit of standby power. I have not seen Wake-on-LAN to get around that.
Second question, if you were looking into a crystal ball and someone wanted to learn RS232 programming for various remote solutions, is that going to be a sellable skill in 2-4 years?
Per above, the work is the same. In my home, I use my Crestron to control my Media Center PC using IP, and the rest using a combination of serial and IR. The work was the same for all as I described.
Fortunately there are newer automation systems like Savant which auto-generate all the code and UI which help to sharply reduce this work.
Longer term, what we need is standardization in IP control so that one drive is needed for all. Alas there is no movement toward this. Every embedded programmer thinks he is going to be a hero by inventing yet another scheme to turn the unit on and off!