Can an inexpensive iPad or mobile device app replace the need for a more expensive ‘purpose built’ control interface for your automated home systems.

Great question, and the answer is, “Absolutely –your tablet or smart phone will work wonderfully-in most situations…”

Tablets, like the iPad, or mobile phones are an excellent and cost effective tool for getting system controls for much less money than a purpose built device like the Crestron wireless touchpanelCrestron Touchpanel Control or handheld WiFi touchpanel.Crestron Hand held control

You can do everything on a tablet that a purpose built device can do. Control music, lights, heat and even see cameras – all from one app. Crestron has even developed the Mobile Pro App for just that purpose. this.

So what is the drawback and why not use tablets and mobil devices for everything?

The simple answer is convenience.

Convenience you say…..but a tablet and mobil device is always by my side……how can that not be convenient?

The reality is that these mobil devices are not entirely convenient when it comes to quick simple tasks like turning down the volume or changing channels on the TV.

Imagine for example, that you have the tunes going at a good volume while cooking dinner. You’re jamming out, enjoying the music and all of a sudden a phone call comes in. What do you do? How do you quickly turn down the volume? Answer: With a mobile device, there is nothing quick about it. You have to first locate the device…maybe your pocket, maybe on the counter, or maybe little Jonny is playing a game with it. Then you have to activate the device (2 seconds), open the app (2 seconds), let it sync up (4 seconds) and then turn down the volume. Now 8-12 seconds may not seem like a lot, but in this scenario, it’s an eternity and will leave you feeling anxious and rattled. Enough so, that you may stop jamming out to loud music. Now that’s a shame.
Instead, imagine a keypad or touch panel permanently fixed to the wall that has dedicated buttons for volume and mute. You calmly walk over and push the button. Instant response. No anxiety. No pole vaulting around the kitchen. No swearing at your kids for using the iPad like a toy. And when the call is over, just turn it back up and rock out baby.

So what does this mean? Well, having mobil control is convenient in one way and is great as a back-up tool, but it should never be relied upon as a primary device in rooms or areas of the home where you need real convenience. Mobil devices will allow you to save expense but will not supplant the usefulness of at least one or two dedicated devices.