|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2011)|
|Type||Private (taken private in 2005)|
|Industry||Automation and control|
|Founded||Richardson, Texas (1982)|
|Key people||Rashid Skaf, CEO (09/2005)|
|Revenue||(est) $295.5 million USD (2008)|
AMX LLC, commonly known as AMX, is a manufacturer of audio/visual control devices.
AMX designs and manufactures hardware and software capable of remote control of a wide variety of equipment.
Typical uses include room automation in boardrooms, auditoriums, classrooms, museums or home theaters, where users use fixed and wireless touch panels and remotes to control devices such as video projectors and displays, PCs, DVD and VCR players and recorders, cameras, teleconferencing systems, audio/video switchers and processing equipment, motorized projection screens, drapes, lighting, HVAC systems, and a wide variety of other types of equipment. Other common uses include entertainment systems, industrial command and control centers, security systems, hotels and restaurants. There are many other applications.
AMX systems are configured from modular hardware, allowing systems to be customized to meet current needs, while providing a foundation for unlimited scalability to adapt to future requirements.
Custom programming allows many functions to be reconfigured with a single button push, providing greatly improved ease of use with complex systems. For example, pressing a button labeled Video could cause the room lights to dim, the drapes to close, the projection screen to roll down, the projector and other components to turn on, switch to their appropriate inputs, and a DVD to start playing at a preset volume level. Remotes and touchscreens can be laid out with only the functions the typical user needs, while technical menus are password protected to prevent unauthorized tampering.
The older AMX Axcess systems consist of local devices running directly on a proprietary Axlink Bus. The newer more powerful NetLinx systems are able to be controlled remotely over IP from anywhere in the world whilst still maintaining backwards compatibility by retaining the Axlink bus as well as incorporating a new proprietary bus 'ICSNet'.
Numerous software programs are available for programming and configuring the hardware, laying out touchscreens and remotes. AMX also offers a variety of 'Integration Solutions', which provide advanced feature packages and services that can be added to touchscreens. There are also specialized software packages for specific applications such as conference, meeting and classrooms, which combines room scheduling, the ability to reserve equipment, and remote monitoring of equipment status, such as automated email and pager announcements if a projector lamp fails.
AMX distributes software for complete customization of display and function of their systems. Their flagship software suite, NetLinx Studio, integrates the NetLinx and Axcess compilers into a full-featured source code editor with organization, debugging, and research tools. Other applications, such as Touch Panel Design 4, allow design of extremely complex and intricate touch panel interfaces. Finally, several utilitarian applications, such as DIP Switch and NetLinx Diagnostics, simplify and expedite tedious or difficult tasks.
AMX home automation controls are now also available through separate applications ("apps") for smartphones and tablet PCs through its authorised product partners such as Touch Panel Control. The application is now also being made available for the Android platform and was demonstrated at the CEDIA expo last year.
Programming an AMX control system, which is commonly a solo project undertaken by in-house or freelance programmers, involves a rare combination of skills in computer science, programming, user interface design, control systems programming, event-driven programming, audio visual systems technology, customer management, scope management and project management.
On November 1, 2006, AMX announced it had acquired Endeleo, a UK-based manufacturer of analog audio visual distribution technologies. Just over a month later on December 4, 2006, AMX announced the acquisition of another signal switching and routing company, Washington-based AutoPatch. Less than two weeks later, Matrix Audio Designs, a Canadian company based in Barrie, Ontario, was acquired by AMX that specializes in high-quality, multi-room distributed audio systems.
On October 2, 2007, AMX again announced the acquisition of another UK-based company, ProCon Technology, a company that specializes in configurable control keypad systems, switchers and distribution amplifiers. In less than a year, AMX has acquired five companies, bringing its combined employee head count to over six hundred.
A typical AMX system consists of the following elements:
- Master - The central "processor" of the AMX system. Commands are relayed to it via the interface devices, and the master executes NetLinx code (or conversely, AxLink for legacy equipment) written by a programmer. The Master then sends a message to the Controller/Cardframe, which responds appropriately. NetLinx masters are available separate from a controller (such as the NXC-ME260/64 or built into the Enova DGX switchers) or packaged with a controller (called an "integrated controller").
- Controller/Cardframe - The action point of the AMX system. Commands are relayed to it via the master, and the Controller/Cardframe executes the commands to the required devices. A controller contains a variety of fixed devices such as Relays, Infrared Emitting ports, Simple I/O ports, and RS232/422/485 ports. A cardframe is like an empty controller, in which one adds any combination of ports, relays, modems, and other devices.
- Input Device - Sends commands to the master and also potentially receives feedback from the master and / or the Controllable Devices. Input devices can take the form of Touch Panels directly wired to the controller or increasingly running Wireless communication either WiFi RF or ZigBee, or simple push button panels. The latest generation of AMX Modero Touchpanels offer the ability to display video, play audio and deliver VOIP Intercom functionality. The groundbreaking Modero X Series even offers panoramic viewing and capacitive multitouch. The modern NetLinx Controllers are also controllable over IP by means of Java Applets emulating the touchpanel's display. (Internet/LAN/WLAN) This has excellent benefits ranging from being able to control remote classrooms from the other side of the world to being able to switch on your porch light while you are away on a vacation.
- Controllable Devices - The devices the AMX controller has been programmed to control, items such as Televisions, VCR's, Projectors, Teleconferencing equipment, Lighting control systems, HVAC and Security systems etc. IP enabled devices such as Media Servers can provide rich two-way communications with the AMX Controller or processor allowing a user to browse, manage and control a digital media library of audio and video files with full metadata, cover art etc.
- A large range of LCD Touch panel user interfaces. Available with wired or wireless IP connection.
- Central Controllers
- Communication Devices
- Media Servers
- Network Devices
- Remote Controls
- "TPControl Authorized AMX Touch Panel Application for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad Devices". AMX.com. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "AMX Acquires Endeleo". AMX.com. Archived from the original on 17 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
- "AMX Acquires AutoPatch". AMX.com. Archived from the original on 9 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
- "AMX Acquires Matrix Audio Designs". AMX.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
- "AMX Expands Digital Signage Offering with Acquisition of Inspiration Matters". AMX.com. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
- "AMX Unveils Groundbreaking Modero X Series Panoramic and Widescreen Touch Panel Line". PR Newswire.