Under control

Hardware or software? Touch panel or tablet? Which way is the market headed? Hurrairah bin Sohail looks at how control systems in Asia are shaping up under the influence of current trends.

Sight and sound are the two primary modes humans possess to receive and process information. This goes some way to explain the widespread prevalence of AV technology. A quick look around can show that we are surrounded by screens and speakers in one form or another. Behind all the AV technology, making it tick and function are control systems.

“Continental America tends to be the driving force behind all of the technical trends that our industry follows,” said Daniel Ball, managing director at Savant Systems MEA. The general consensus among control system manufacturers, conducting business in Asia Pacific, echoes similar sentiments. Graeme Fraser, managing director at Emersive Technologies Ltd and the Savant Systems distributor in Australia and New Zealand said: “The automation and control market is much more mature and a little bit better understood in the United States.”

The Asia Pacific control market on the other hand is different. While being less mature, it is also difficult to make a generalized, blanket statement regarding the state of the control market across the region. “There are regional differences between Australia and New Zealand and by extension Asia Pacific,” said Graeme Fraser.

Highlighting the same point, Patrick Yeung the director of system and application engineering at Crestron Asia said: “In Asia, the control market amongst different countries is different. The market state depends on the country. For example, in Singapore the major markets are residential and commercial sectors; in Hong Kong we put more focus on commercial markets, as there are many financial firms and corporations. While in China, we have many international and local large corporations therefore the commercial market is our key battlefield.”

In order to tackle this problem, Crestron Asia has a total of 21 offices across Asia. As Patrick Yeung put it, this is to ensure that “We have local staff to adapt to the market.” While the Asian market may be different, the trends found collectively across American and across Europe are the same that are shaping the formation of the control market in Asia. Identifying one of these main trends Yuval Inditzky product manager for PC and mobile application at Kramer Electronics said: “The control market is changing and we see several drivers pushing this change forward. AV and IT convergence has its impact, of course, since many more products can be a controlled over Ethernet.” This convergence has meant that manufacturers have had to reimagine the roles their products may serve. Yuval added: “In many cases the IT department wants to take charge of the control and monitoring of the AV equipment, which means the AV control system is expected to serve as a translation layer between AV products and IT monitoring.”

As AV and IT convergence makes control systems more accessible to IT managers the control market is seeing an uptake in the demand for room management systems. Patrick Yeung from Crestron Asia said: “The market direction goes towards multi-room systems in the whole building. We see there is more demand for room management systems and for energy saving technologies.”

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