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Key Digital Introduces Compass Control

Home and commercial control system developed specifically for iOS devices

May 7, 2012 By Jeff O'Heir
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Key Digital's new Compass Control system, scheduled for a roll out this summer at InfoComm, is the first developed specifically on Apple's iOS 5-based devices, giving it what company executives say is an advantage over other systems currently sold through custom installers and specialty dealers.

Some of those advantages include iOS 5 devices' (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch) natural capacity as controllers, the proven software platform, and the rigorous testing process all Apple-related apps go through, said Mike Tsingberg, founder and president of Key Digital, based in Mount Vernon, N.Y.

"The iPad is such a comfortable, well-working product, and it has all the elements people are looking for in a controller," he said, adding that the system is designed to use iPads as the main controller and iPhones and iPod touch devices as secondary controllers.

As a developer and manufacturer of digital A/V switchers, processors, cables, and HDMI connectivity products, Key Digital's other advantages is that the company has a long history of manufacturing products compatible with control systems, Tsingberg said.

"When two products are made in the same place, the user has more confidence in them," he said. "The products will probably work better together when they are tested together. One brand doesn't always test well with another, that's why testing is so important in the control market."

Key Digital recently increased its tech support staff to eight people, from five. They sit next to and train with the company's eight engineers. The technical support staff can quickly put them on the phone if a dealer has a question or problem in the field, Tsingberg said.

The two main hardware products Tsingberg referred to are the KD-MC2500 master controller (SRP $2,500) and the KD-HD8XBT HDMI matrix switcher, which is designed to greatly expand the capabilities and reach of the controller. Other key components of Compass Control include the Compass Navigator programming system, and the KD-WPCB and WPCW wallplates (due in September), for in-wall iPad mounting and charging.

Key Digital charges $300 for each iOS device license. The Compass Control app is free from the Apple App Store. Dealers are required to undergo free Web-based and/or face-to-face training. Glenn Gentilin, Key Digital's national training manager, said he and his team recently held trainings for about 100 dealers.  "The easier we make it (the programming and installation process) for dealers, the better," he said.



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