|Do also try to remember that those Isys panels have a built in processor and can exist as both control system, touch panel and Windows interface. All in a very attractive package. And this is such a simple feat of engineering that there are many competing products for consumers and integrators to choose from.|
It's a full Intel/XP computer with built in touch screen, in a fanless, attractive package. Add our software and some external serial ports, and it's a powerful control system, touch screen, and Windows interface. The primary difference between this and the iSYS is that this one is not a diskless system.
They are really selling it as a commercial product, so they are charging a fair amount for it, about $3500 is the least expensive I found. But still, it's the same sort of product and all it needs is the control software and ports to become a powerful control system.
And the Nobu wall mounted system is also a full XP machine with integrated touch screen, so just add CQC and external serial ports and you've got a powerful control system, touch screen, and Windows interface. It sells for about $2000 dealer price.
So clearly these types of products aren't rocket science. They aren't trivial fo course, since no quality product is, but they are not a big step up from what Dell and Gateway do, i.e. integration of standard compnents into a nice package, well tested to work together. In this case, the package is just fancier and they are more specialized, so lower volume and higher price.
The big problem is that diskless configurations would be purely of interest for OEMs to apply to vertical apps, so no one out there really makes these for general sale and any company who wants one has to make their own right now.
If you look at what you need to build this type of box:
1 - The custom enclosure. Expensive up front as mentioned, low cost per-unit after that.
2 - micro-ITX motherboard. These are common and inexpensive, with plenty fast enough CPUs, lots of memory, fast AGP video with scaling, USB, ethernet, audio, and CF card support all on board. Really nice ones are in the $250 range, retail.
3. Touch screen unit. These are also fairly common and not terribly expensive. When Planar 15" standard touch screens can be had for $500 retail, the cost of the actual touch unit itself cannot be much more than $100.
4. Embedded XP for the OS. About $90/unit low volume, as low as $45/unit at higher volumes.
5. Solid state disc system for holding configuration data. These are also getting quite reasonable and more than good enough capacity, and are very smart about moving stuff around to keep wear down.
For a non-portable unit, this is basically what you need to create a product very much like the iSYS boxes. It could run our entire product suite and have plenty enough oomph to control the entire home with some outboard serial ports (either USB or ethernet based.)
Paying straight up retail for everything, for a system with 512MB static disk storage (probably considerably more than required) and 512MB RAM, eXP, and a really good mini-ITX motherboard with all the goodies required for a full system, leaving aside the initial custom enclosure cost, you could put together all the bits above for about $1300. For even a small volume I think you could get that below $1000. For a large company, at higher volume, less than that.
If you really wanted to video in, you'd have to add a video capture card, but for most folks looking for home automation that wouldn't be a requirement. Lots of folks just use IP based security cameras these days, so the video comes in over the LAN as MPEG or similar format.