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Gefen Enters Home Automation Space with Web-Enabled Controllers

New GAVA system enables control of audio, video and home automation via any Web browser or iOS/Android device; Orrin Charm leads new control group.

Gefen is getting into the A/V control business. The famous maker of A/V switchers, extenders and adapters demonstrated for the first time its new GAVA (Gefen Audio Video Automation) system during CES 2012.

The new GAVA line includes the GAVA processor and two control hubs: the Professional Automation Control System (PACS) and the Mini PACS, which differ only in their I/O feature set. Both models offer RS-232, IP and IR communications, as well as relays for triggering motorized shades or other automated devices (more details in PR and specs, next page).

The PACS can be used in a rack in the case of a centralized A/V and control system. For a more distributed architecture, use the Mini PACS at each equipment cluster. When plugged into a home network, the GAVA processor brings added control to the PACS solution.

But that’s just the hardware. GAVA is really a software product, enabling control of audio, video and home automation products via any Web browser, smart phone, tablet or traditional home controller. The PACS and Mini PACS have built-in Web browsers, and Gefen provides easy-to-use configuration tools.

“There’s no programming required,” says Orrin Charm, a home automation veteran recently hired by Gefen to spearhead the company’s new automation initiatives. “You just tell it which products you’re using.”

GAVA is not unlike similar solutions offered by Global Cache and Bitwise, but Charm says the Gefen solution offers more built-in memory and provides streaming capabilities and content management not found in other Web-enabled controllers.

The streaming is “a big one,” says Charm. “It’s not just control.”

Furthermore, Global Cache and Bitwise are more like platforms on which third-party developers can create applications for A/V and home control (and they have do!). For now, Gefen is only using the GAVA hardware with its own software; however, Charm says the solution will "evolve to allow other apps."

Home systems integrator and CE Pro contributor Rich Fregosa says, “Hagai Gefen's company has certainly evolved and expanded from its initial 'Touch the Music' CD Management System from the early. It was revolutionary at the time.”
Published Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:31 AM by jcole


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