How to Design Systems in Minutes, Not Hours or Days

Tom CoffinNews

One of the marketing pitches from Simply Reliable Software (SRS) about its new Design Machine software is that dealers can now take “10 minutes, not 10 hours” to design and create system drawings.

But after sitting through a demo of the software, SRS might be understating the capability of Design Machine. Indeed, the software was able to create a four-page drawing for a multiroom audio/video system in less than one minute… literally about 30 seconds if I had my stopwatch out.

The software is SRS’ latest lower-cost option for integrators that comes in three versions:

Design Machine for Control4: (available now) After the dealer has completed the bindings (connections) in Composer and saved the c4p file, Design Machine reads the file and automatically creates a block schematic diagram for how the installers in the field should connect the system. Additionally it creates a cable schedule with wire numbers and four printout choices: Super B, Letter/A4, by wire number or by room.

Design Machine for Crestron: (available now) After the integrators has added all the devices into a Simple Windows program and saved the smw file, Design Machine reads the file and automatically creates a block schematic diagram for how the installers in the field should connect the system. Additionally it creates a cable schedule with wire numbers and four printout choices: Super B, Letter/A4, by wire number or by room.

Design Machine Connection Center: (available in mid-April) This module allows the user to create his own devices for connections to automatically build a block schematic and cable schedule. Connection Center can be used to supplement Control4 or Crestron to integrate other disciplines into a drawing that the control system data does not cover. Current SRS users can also use Connection Center to create drawings for proposals created in SmartOffice. They only need to add the connections and watch the drawing build automatically.

The company is offering the Design Machine software to dealers on an annual subscription basis of $399 per year. For the first time, Design Machine, which is solely for designing systems, is available as a standalone purchase. Dealers do not have to purchase SRS’ complete SmartOffice package, which the company is also trying to make more accessible for dealers with a lowered cost of $2,000 vs. the previous $3,500 price tag.

Among the capabilities of software is the ability to create Cable Schedules by cable type, room, device connection, wire color, and patch cables. Another feature places wire numbers at both the beginning and end of the wire in the drawing to avoid confusion. When a user hovers the cursor over an individual wire, a box pops up telling him where that wire is going and what it is connected to.

Users can also integrate a MS Visio drawing into Design Machine. If some of the wire runs change, a dealer can make the alterations in Connection Center’s Visio Viewer module and not have to go back into the original Visio file.

“You can see the changes quickly and visually,” says Tom Coffin, vice president of business development. “This opens up the world of engineered drawings to a whole new group of integrators which will reduce mistakes dramatically.”

About the Author

Tom Coffin

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Tom Coffin is CEO/President/Co-Founder of Simply Reliable. He has owned and operated companies in retail, security, Audio/Video, Systems Integration, and Home Automation product manufacturing sector.

Website:   https://www.simplyreliable.com