Nemirovsky Victor

Nemirovsky Victor

iRule Announces New Investment, Raising $2.5 Million Round Led By Detroit Venture Partners

Detroit, MI – (January 5, 2015) iRule LLC (iRule) today announced that it has closed $2.5 million in Series AA equity financing.

The funding is dedicated to expand sales, marketing and product development and comes from existing investor Detroit Venture Partners (DVP), AOL co-founder Steve Case , fulfilling his commitment to invest in the company following iRule’s participation in the Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day and another new and significant investor.

iRule is a software solution which transforms all iOS and Android based mobile devices into a universal remote control, allowing its customers full control of audio video gear simply and reliably, anytime from anywhere. iRule focuses on a powerful personalized remote with a simple user experience. iRule controls audio/video equipment, and all business and home automation devices (the Internet of Things) making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. The company’s brands are On Controls for the professional installer market and iRule for Do it yourself users.

The iRule platform that began in 2009 has seen significant growth in the DIY control space, expanded to serve the professionally installed audio video and automation markets with the ON Controls brand and now continuing to expand into the commercial audio video markets.

About iRule: iRule transforms iPad, iPhone, iPod touch (or just say: iOS), and Android phones and tablets, already used by millions of consumers, into an intuitive remote control of Internet of Things devices. Using iRule is easy—the application is designed to deliver a user friendly experience with the ability to efficiently create a powerful, personalized interface. iRule is fully upgradeable to accommodate users’ evolving needs.

iRule is a software solution coupled with sophisticated yet compact hardware that controls any audio/video equipment and home automation, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need. iRule is available from hundreds of integration professionals worldwide.

About Detroit Venture Partners: Detroit Venture Partners (DVP), www.detroitventurepartners.com, is a venture capital firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology companies with a strong emphasis on Detroit-based startups. In addition to capital, DVP provides hands-on coaching, mentorship, support, and resources to help drive growth and success. Founded in 2010 and led by Dan Gilbert and Brian Hermelin, the firm aims to create jobs, urban density, and hope by backing the next generation of Detroit entrepreneurs.

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iRule wins Google Demo Day, releases Android Version 2.0 for iRule, OnControls systems

DETROIT, Mich., – Detroit-based iRule beat six other competitors to win the Detroit Google Demo Day, earning an opportunity to pitch its business to Google executives in Silicon Valley, Calif., in April. The contest, one of seven held nationwide, is a part of the prestigious Google for Entrepreneurs Program.

The contest, organized by Grand Circus Detroit as part of a partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs, lasted several weeks and featured more than 100 applications. 21 companies were selected to demo to a panel of judges and finally seven companies made it to the final stage, presenting to a panel of four Southeast Michigan investors and an audience of more than 150 people.

Shortly after, the company released Android Version 2.0 for its iRule and OnControls systems.

“iRule 2.0 for Android is a major new release that creates opportunities for our dealers to do some amazing things,” stated Victor Nemirovsky, iRule Chief Technology Officer. “Integrators can create an even richer, more informative user interface with Handset templates for more Android devices and multi-state buttons. We’ve made dozens of enhancements, all designed to improve speed, performance and flexibility.”

Highlights of iRule Version 2.0 for Android include:

• Variables — Variables make building complex controls simpler as almost any aspect of a remote can be controlled by a variable • Multi-state Images –buttons and links can now have three appearance states — Default, pressed and selected. This, coupled with Variables, means Integrators can create a more interesting, informative and interactive user-interface for their clients

• Full-Resolution Grid Support — Integrators can make client’s grid the same size as the number of pixels in their Android handset template and position buttons and other elements right down to the pixel.

• New Handset Templates — All Android Handset templates are updated to include multistate buttons and new Handset templates have been added to include newer devices such as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX. • Builder Enhanced Backup / Restore — Offers better performance for larger projects

• Many other Improvements, Changes and Fixes

For the most up-to-date information on the Android Version 2.0, please visit the iRule Release Notes page and support center. Dealer inquiries should be directed to Matthew Blouin (313-373- 7614; Matt@iRuleathome.com)

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infra-red (IR), RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio/video equipment, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

iRule is available from Apple’s App Store, Google Play, and from hundreds of integration professionals worldwide. iRule hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has sold tens of thousands of licenses in more than 55 countries via word-of-mouth and online “buzz” among early adopters, home theater professionals and online forums.

About iRule: iRule is an application that transforms the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android devices into a universal remote control, allowing you full control of audio video gear simply and reliably. Based in downtown Detroit, iRule focuses on a simple user experience that allows non-experts the ability to quickly and easily create a powerful personalized remote. iRule is fully upgradeable and accommodates users’ changing needs.

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iRule Honored as Control Product of the Year at the Consumer Electronics Show

Las Vegas, NV – Detroit based iRule, LLC was honored with the 2013 coveted Consumers Electronics Association (CEA) Mark of Excellence Award as the “Control Product of the Year”! CEA announced the winners at the annual Consumers Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

“We’re delighted to receive this award and to be recognized for our team’s hard work and innovation” said Itai Ben-Gal, CEO of iRule. “What really sets iRule apart is the customization, flexibility, and value. We put the ‘custom’ back in ‘custom integration’, and our dealers can do it at a price that more customers can afford. Never before has such a customizable, flexible control solution been available to a such a wide audience.”

iRule integrators build custom remote controls “in the cloud”. The system requires no “coding,” yet offers deep integration with the most popular third-party audio/video, lighting, and automation products for the smart home.

The company accepted the award at the CEA Mark of Excellence Awards Ceremony on January 8th at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

iRule was founded by two A/V fans, Itai Ben-Gal and Victor Nemirovsky, when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system.

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infra-red (IR), RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio/video equipment, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

iRule is available from Apple’s App Store, Google Play, and from hundreds of integration professionals worldwide. iRule hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has sold tens of thousands of licenses in more than 50 countries via word-of-mouth and online “buzz” among early adopters, home theater professionals and online forums.

About iRule: iRule is an application that transforms the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android devices into a universal remote control, allowing you full control of audio video gear simply and reliably. Based in downtown Detroit, iRule focuses on a simple user experience that allows non-experts the ability to quickly and easily create a powerful personalized remote. iRule is fully upgradeable and accommodates users’ changing needs.

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iRule acquires On Controls to offer expanded line of professional control and home automation systems

DETROIT, Mich. – iRule, makers of the cloud-based universal remote control system of the same name, has acquired On Controls, a Salt Lake City -based control and automation system for professional dealers and installers. The acquisition enables iRule to offer a professional automation and control solution for dealers only, On Controls, while still selling the iRule product direct to consumers. On Controls Managing Director Steven Scharp will stay on with the company as a senior consultant to help grow the brand.

“As we continue to grow, we are constantly evaluating new business opportunities, through partnerships, entering new markets or acquisitions,” said Itai Ben-Gal, iRule CEO. “We are excited to bring On Controls under our company umbrella, offering our dealers a line with unique features and capabilities while continuing to sell iRule direct to consumers.”

iRule dealers and distributors will be able to offer the On Controls professional product line while receiving the expanded outstanding technical and sales dealer-only training and support that iRule dealers have grown accustomed to receiving, including concierge service and faster turnaround on hardware and software support.

The acquisition will be finalized by the end of December 2013. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

iRule was founded by two A/V fans, Ben-Gal and Victor Nemirovsky, when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate many components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses.

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infrared (IR), RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio/video equipment, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

iRule software is available through Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The iRule gateway package hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has already sold more than 13,000 licenses in more than 50 countries via word-of-mouth and online “buzz” among early adopters, home theater professionals and online forums.

About iRule: iRule is an application that transforms the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android devices into a universal remote control, allowing you full control of audio video gear simply and reliably. Based in downtown Detroit, iRule focuses on a simple user experience that allows non-experts the ability to quickly and easily create a powerful personalized remote. iRule is fully upgradeable and accommodates users’ changing needs.

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iRule debuts iOS Version 3.2 of its Universal Remote Control System days before CEDIA

Newest release follows several iRule Android platform updates

DETROIT, Mich. – With its third major software update this year, iRule has released iOS Version 3.2 of its cloud-based universal remote control system, just days before the 2013 CEDIA Expo. Highlights of Version 3.2 include Top Drawers, multi-state deselection and a rebuilt URL scheme with panel/page linking. iRule’s Android version is expected to receive the same updates later this year.

“Building on Version 3.1 updates, we’re providing more iRule users and installers with the increased power and functionality they’ve asked for,” said iRule CTO Victor Nemirovsky. “Combine that with cloud computing, and installers can make changes for their customers with or without a site visit – in hours instead of days.”

Highlights of iRule iOS Version 3.2 include:

· Rebuilt URL scheme with panel/page linking: allows iRule to be opened using nothing more than a URL

· Second Multi-state Deselect Group: allows two sets of source/activity buttons to interact with one another

· Additional upgrades include: improved functionality of Variables, improved feedback when pages load, and iOS 7 compatibility.

iRule Version 3.1 for iOS, released earlier this year, included:

· Introduction of multi-state images, a drag-and-drop ESI Module for blinds, shades and drapes, also followed by updates to the Android platform app.

The company will be exhibiting the latest version of iRule and modules for audio/video and automation at the 2013 CEDIA Expo trade show in Denver, in booth # 1829.

iRule was created by two A/V fans, Itai Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky, when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate many components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses.

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infra-red (IR), RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio/video equipment, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows professional users to simplify controls, upload their custom images and personalize menus to best suit their customers. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote users will ever need.

iRule software is available through Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The iRule gateway package hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has already sold over 12,000 licenses in 50+ countries via word-of-mouth and online “buzz” among early adopters, home theater professionals and online forums.

iRule is an application that transforms the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android devices into a universal remote control, allowing you full control of audio video gear simply and reliably. Based in downtown Detroit, iRule focuses on a simple user experience that allows experts and non-experts alike the ability to quickly and easily create a powerful personalized remote. iRule is fully upgradeable and accommodates users’ changing needs.

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$100 iRule Could be Next Big Thing in Cloud-Based Home Automation

Starting at $100 for software and $100 for hardware, iRule cloud-based home automation works great as a DIY remote control or as a professionally installed system for large commercial jobs. See it at CEDIA 2013.

iRule started out in 2009 as a couple of “enthusiast geeks” making iOS-based remote controls for do-it-yourselfers. Today, the Detroit-based company is one of the biggest sleepers in home automation and commercial integration with thousands of installs in homes, conference rooms, sports bars, retail showrooms, yachts and numerous other venues.

Starting at $50, the iRule software (for iOS and Android) is written for networking gear from Global Cache, which provides every manner of two-way modules for IP (wired and Wi-Fi), RS-232, IR and relay controls for roughly $100 apiece.

So enthusiasts can create a nice little one-way IR remote for their iOS or Android devices for about $150.

A good two-way solution for controlling and monitoring audio, video, security, lighting, thermostats, motorized shades and other systems starts at a mere $100 for the iRule Pro software, plus some optional plug-ins, plus a few hundred dollars for Global Cache hardware. Even then, we’re talking maybe $1,000 to $3,000 for a complete system, sans labor of course.

But is it any good? You can be the judge at CEDIA Expo 2013, where iRule is showcasing its existing products and its first piece of hardware (coming soon in another story).

Let me just say that iRule is the most extensible, least risky home-control platform I’ve seen. You can start small with a simple remote and build up to solutions that control thousands of devices. If the company ever goes out of business – doubtful—the off-the-shelf hardware can be repurposed and the software is likely to be supported for a long time via an active user community.

The iRule System

I met recently with iRule founder Itai Ben-Gal in Detroit and spent some time with the system.

I can understand the allure. iRule provides numerous templates for the do-it-yourselfer and custom installer. The templates – both the user interface and the programming logic—can be modified or users can start from scratch, “so it is the best of both worlds,” says Tom Morgan, CTO of Worthington Distribution, which distributes the system.

Going with modified templates allows dealers to install lots of systems quickly in a cookie-cutter-kind-of-way that can still look different from job to job. It gives customers the impression that their system is unique, “so they really can’t price-shop,” says Ben-Gal.

Despite its DIY roots, iRule can rival the richest of pro-centric home automation systems with extremely flexible interfaces and a wealth of programming options.

“They started out with an excellent focus on A/V control,” says Morgan. “However, they have now moved towards two-way drag-and-drop drivers for connectivity partners.”

Virtually all of the popular audio, video and control brands are supported, as well as some other brands you don’t always see in high-performance automation systems – like Roku, Boxee, Plex, Popcorn Hour, XBMC, Sky, Shinybow (huh?), Insteon, Sonos and Belkin Wemo (partial list of supported devices here).

The day I visited, iRule was demonstrating integration with Nest thermostats even though Nest has not yet released an open API.

Furthermore, iRule supports full-featured home automation systems like MiCasa Verde and HAI (now Leviton Security & Automation ).

So if you use Leviton (HAI) for security, lighting control and energy management, for example, you can integrate those controls into a complete cloud-based whole-home audio/video/automation system.

It is undoubtedly the best HAI add-on ever, and it’s a wonder not every single HAI dealer is using it.

iRule charges $25 for the HAI module, as it does with some of its other software modules, but more on theinteresting pricing formula later.

With a rich database of supported devices and the flexibility of its software, iRule has won numerous commercial integration jobs over its more recognizable rivals.

Ben-Gal showed me the user interface for an iRule system used by a race track to monitor and control some 200 TVs with an iPad. The TVs can be arranged on the screen in a number of ways, allowing easy access to individual or groups of displays. Designing the system was as simple as dragging the TV icons on the iRule Builder programming editor.

Earlier, I called iRule the most extensible, least risky home automation system I’ve seen. That’s because it is modular, requiring no proprietary hardware. Instead, iRule uses palm-sized Global Cache adapters that cost roughly $100 each. Want to add an RS-232-controllable A/V receiver to a system? That’ll be $95 (retail) forGlobal Cache iTach IP2SL TCP/IP to Serial adapter. (Obviously IP-controllable subsystems don’t require network adapters).

To be sure, there are scores of developers today writing home automation software for Global Cache, BitWiseand other low-cost network-enabling controllers (Roomie Remote is a popular one; see them at CEDIA).

But iRule seems unstoppable. The product is good, Ben-Gal is hungry and the company is funded and credible.

“Even before we quit our day jobs,” says Ben-Gal, “we were selling systems. We already had 1,000 customers.”

The Cloud, Compuware and Credibility

Although iRule started life in the basement of a geek who didn’t like the existing remote controls on the market – like where all these things begin – the company looks all grown up now, with 12 full-time employees and a real office.

Today iRule shares space with Compuware, the massive IT service provider, in downtown Detroit, where I had to pass through Mossad-worthy sentinels and other security measures to get to the iRule office.

The tight security is required for Compuware’s Tier 4 data centers upstairs, which are encased in layers upon layers of bullet-proof glass. There, the IT giant stores sensitive corporate and government data and powers 12 of the top 20 most visited U.S. Websites.

Of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies, 46 use Compuware.

And so does iRule, which enjoys some backing from its landlord.

Clearly security and uptime shouldn’t be a concern for customers of iRule’s cloud-based service. Programming is done in the cloud; applications are processed and served via the cloud.

Also in the cloud, iRule users and programmers can share their software modules and templates with each other – which the DIY and dealer community has embraced.

“Once the commands are working, a dealer can share them to the iRule community saving the next dealer a tremendous amount of time,” Morgan says. “Best of all, everything is in the cloud so all updates and changes are in real time.”

On Complicated Pricing, Pros and DIY

iRule is one of the few companies I’ve seen that has successfully made the leap from DIY to pro. The company serves both sectors.

Many professional integrators pooh-pooh products of DIY ancestry … which can be a big mistake. Who would you rather beta-test products – yourself of little time and patience, or an enthusiast who might stay up all night playing with the stuff? (AVSForum so far has nearly 9,000 posts on iRule.)

“DIYers love to tweak,” says Ben-Gal, rightly. “We’ve learned stuff that is off the charts. They have no issue giving feedback directly.”

In fact, it was a do-it-yourselfer who created the Belkin Wemo driver – mind you, Belkin still has not opened its API – and then shared it with the community.

In the case of dealers, however, by the time a manufacturer gets feedback, it has been filtered through techs, product managers, owners and the fog of time.

Now, let’s get to pricing.

iRule has a somewhat confusing price structure, the likes of which killed Life-Ware (among other things).

There’s iRule Basic ($50) for anyone, and iRule Pro ($100) for authorized dealers only.

Purchased licenses don’t expire and they include updates and improvements. Templates and most drivers are included in the price, but some of the more advanced modules (iTunes, Lutron, HAI, Z-Wave, Sonos and others) cost $25 each.

The licensing fees include a certain number of “handsets” (what IT guys might call seats) – three for Basic and five for Pro. Additional handsets are $15 each.

The “per handset” fee is not per smart device, but per person. If you personally use iRule on an iPad, iPhone and Android tablet … that comprises a single handset.

In fact, iRule’s ecosystem revolves around the person, not the room or the device.

“It used to be one remote per TV,” says Ben-Gal. “We designed our system around the person instead of the room. That way, the dealer can interview everyone in the home for greater engagement.”

Licenses also include a certain number of controlled devices – 15 for Basic and 25 for Pro. Additional devices are $7 each. Note that a system like HAI, which might control multiple subsystems, counts only as a single device in the iRule pricing structure.

The Pro version gives you other features that Basic does not, such as two-way feedback. The comparison chart is here.

While the pricing structure is unusual for this industry, at least it keeps to the theme of modularity and flexibility. Since the add-ons are so cheap, though, I’m sure integrators would rather pay a flat fee for simplicity’s sake. But that’s just not the way it is.

As for the modest pricing, “I’m selling stuff for less expensive not so dealers can put more money in their pocket [from the software], but so they can sell more products,” says Ben-Gal. “Nobody brags about their remotes, but they do brag about big amps.”

Dealers can purchase iRule through distributors like Worthington, which also provides training and support. Or else integrators can obtain authorization through iRule (here).

“All of the installer’s billing and account information is stored in a portal account so the dealer never has to look for a file,” Morgan says. “All they need is a Web browser and access to the Internet.”

I concur with Morgan’s parting words: “Keep your eye on iRule. They are doing really good things.”

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iRule Releases iOS Version 3.0 Universal Remote Control System

Updates to the iRule cloud-based remote control system focus on ease-of-use with a Builder Wizard and automation modules.

With its first major software update this year, iRule has released iOS Version 3.0 of its cloud-based universal remote control system. Version 3.0 offers more functionality and automation while simplifying the system for A/V enthusiasts and professional installers.

An upgraded Android version is expected later in 2013.

“As interest in iRule continues to grow, we saw an opportunity to streamline many of the features while remaining true to our original goal of creating a fully customizable remote control system,” says iRule CTO Victor Nemirovsky. “Adding Wizards and support for more lighting and automation systems will help users create remotes faster with better control of more devices in the home.”

Highlights of iRule iOS Version 3.0 include:

iRule Builder Handset Wizard helps new users create custom remote layouts by selecting a theme, activities and devices. The Wizard will create the layout while still allowing users to tweak and fully customize their remote

Automation Modules for lights, HVAC systems and appliances with full feedback for Lutron RadioRA 2, HAI Omni, Universal Devices ISY, Mi Casa Verde Vera ZWave, and Radio Thermostat

Updated modules for Leviton Z-Wave that now supports HVAC control with full feedback via Leviton Vizia RF controller, and another for Onkyo-Integra Module that now supports multi-zone receivers

Gateway Configurator for easier, faster set up of the iRule handset device.

iRule was created by two A/V fans, Itai Ben-Gal and Victor Nemirovsky, when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate many components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses, according to the company.

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infrared (IR), RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio/video equipment, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences.

It is also updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets.

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iRule Releases iOS Version 3.0 Of Its Universal Remote Control System

DETROIT — With its first major software update this year, iRule has released iOS Version 3.0 of its cloud-based universal remote control system. Version 3.0 offers more functionality and automation while simplifying the system for audio-visual enthusiasts and professional installers. An upgraded Android version is expected later this year.

“As interest in iRule continues to grow, we saw an opportunity to streamline many of the features while remaining true to our original goal of creating a fully customizable remote control system,” said iRule CTO Victor Nemirovsky. “Adding Wizards and support for more lighting and automation systems will help users create remotes faster with better control of more devices in the home.”

Highlights of iRule iOS Version 3.0 include:
* iRule Builder Handset Wizard — helps new users quickly create custom remote layouts by selecting a theme, activities and devices. The Wizard will create the layout while still allowing users to tweak and fully customize their remote
* Automation Modules for lights, HVAC systems and appliances with full feedback
* Gateway Configurator for easier, faster setup of the iRule handset device

iRule was created by two audio-visual fans, Itai Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky, when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate many components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses.

iRule is cloud-based software coupled with simple hardware which controls any infra-red (IR), RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio-video equipment, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

iRule software is available through Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The iRule gateway package hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has already sold over 10,000 licenses in 50 countries via word-of-mouth and online “buzz” among early adopters, home theater professionals and online forums.

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iRule releases iOS Version 3.0 of its Universal Remote Control System

Major updates focus on ease-of-use with an all-new Builder Wizard, and automation modules for rich, interactive control and feedback

DETROIT, Mich. – With its first major software update this year, iRule has released iOS Version 3.0 of its cloud-based universal remote control system. Version 3.0 offers more functionality and automation while simplifying the system for A/V enthusiasts and professional installers. An upgraded Android version is expected later this year.

“As interest in iRule continues to grow, we saw an opportunity to streamline many of the features while remaining true to our original goal of creating a fully customizable remote control system,” said iRule CTO Victor Nemirovsky. “Adding Wizards and support for more lighting and automation systems will help users create remotes faster with better control of more devices in the home.”

Highlights of iRule iOS Version 3.0 include:

• iRule Builder Handset Wizard – helps new users quickly create custom remote layouts by selecting a theme, activities and devices. The Wizard will create the layout while still allowing users to tweak and fully customize their remote

• Automation Modules for lights, HVAC systems and appliances with full feedback: o Lutron RadioRA 2, HAI Omni, Universal Devices ISY, Mi Casa Verde Vera ZWave, and Radio Thermostat

• Updated modules: o Leviton Z-Wave now supports HVAC control with full feedback via Leviton Vizia RF controller o Onkyo-Integra Module now supports multi-zone receivers

• Gateway Configurator for easier, faster setup of the iRule handset device

iRule was created by two A/V fans, Itai Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky, when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate many components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses.

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infrared (IR), RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio/video equipment, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

iRule software is available through Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The iRule gateway package hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has already sold over 10,000 licenses in 50 countries via word-of-mouth and online “buzz” among early adopters, home theater professionals and online forums.

About iRule: iRule is an application that transforms the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android devices into a universal remote control, allowing you full control of audio video gear simply and reliably. Based in downtown Detroit, iRule focuses on a simple user experience that allows non-experts the ability to quickly and easily create a powerful personalized remote. iRule is fully upgradeable and accommodates users’ changing needs.

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Detroit Venture Partners Invests in 15th Detroit-based Digital Company: iRule

Universal Remote Technology Platform Connects Home Entertainment Systems to Apple and Android Mobile Devices Detroit-based Detroit Venture Partners (DVP) announced a second round of funding for iRule, a platform for home entertainment automation that makes it easier for consumers to control their home theater system with a universal remote control anytime from anywhere from a mobile device. iRule, one of the newest tech-based companies to move to downtown Detroit’s emerging tech hub, helps its clients accommodate many audio and visual components to eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remote controls with limited uses.

Based in the M@dison Building, downtown Detroit’s digital corridor, DVP is a venture capital firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology companies, providing capital and resources to help drive growth and success. DVP was founded by Josh Linkner, Dan Gilbert and Brian Hermelin in 2010.

Itai Ben-Gal and Victor Nemirovsky, two self-described die-hard audio and video fans, founded iRule in 2009. The company’s flagship product is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls all infra-red (IR), RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio/video equipment. The technology makes it compatible with nearly all systems or combination of components. A fully-customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or migrate to the latest versions of smart phones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

“We love home entertainment and home automation, and we wanted the perfect universal remote to control it all,” said iRule CEO Itai Ben-Gal. “We were sick of the pile of remotes with missing battery covers at home. We were frustrated that our wives and kids couldn’t figure out how to watch TV, and we’d had enough of all the universal remotes that were ridiculously complicated, insanely expensive, or both. We knew what we wanted, but no one else made it. So we created iRule to do it ourselves.”

With a customer base of more than 10,000 households and businesses in more than 50 countries, iRule has grown significantly since its founding in 2009. The second round of financing will help continue to fuel the company’s growth and improve the iRule system for its worldwide users.

iRule software is available through Apple’s App Store and from Google Play. The iRule gateway package hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has already sold thousands of licenses in via word-of-mouth and online buzz among early adopters, home theater professionals, and online forums.

In addition to DVP, other iRule funders include Invest Detroit and several Michigan angel investors.

“We believe in the team and their vision to take home automation to the next level, and we look forward to helping them make their mark,” said Josh Linkner, DVP CEO and Managing Partner, serial entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author and contributor for Inc., Fast Company and Forbes. Linkner will also join iRule’s board of directors.

About iRule: iRule is an application that transforms iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android devices into a universal remote control, allowing its customers full control of audio video gear simply and reliably. iRule focuses on a simple user experience that gives non-experts the ability to quickly and easily create a powerful personalized remote. iRule is fully upgradeable and accommodates users’ changing needs.

About Detroit Venture Partners: Detroit Venture Partners (DVP), www.detroitventurepartners.com, is a venture capital firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology companies with a strong emphasis on Detroit-based startups. DVP is based in downtown Detroit’s digital corridor inside the renovated M@dison Building, which was chosen by Inc. Magazine as one of the world’s 20 coolest offices. In addition to capital, DVP provides hands-on coaching, mentorship, support, and resources to help drive growth and success. Founded in 2010 and led by Josh Linkner, Dan Gilbert and Brian Hermelin, the firm aims to create jobs, urban density, and hope by backing the next generation of Detroit entrepreneurs.

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Detroit Venture Partners Invests In 15th Detroit-based Digital Company, iRule

DETROIT — Detroit-based Detroit Venture Partners announced a second round of funding for iRule, a platform for home entertainment automation that makes it easier for consumers to control their home theater system with a universal remote control anytime from anywhere from a mobile device.

One of the newest tech-based companies to move to  downtown Detroit’s  emerging tech hub, iRule helps its clients accommodate many audio and visual components to eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remote controls with limited uses.

Based in the M@dison Building, downtown Detroit’s digital corridor, DVP is a venture capital firm thatinvests in seed and early-stage technology companies, providing capital and resources to help drive growth and success. DVP was founded by Josh Linkner, Dan Gilbert and Brian Hermelin in 2010.

Itai Ben-Gal and Victor Nemirovsky, two self-described die-hard audio and video fans, founded iRule in 2009. The company’s flagship product is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls all infrared, RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio and video equipment. The technology makes it compatible with nearly all systems or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or migrate to the latest versions of smart phones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

“We love home entertainment and home automation, and we wanted the perfect universal remote to control it all,” said iRule CEO Itai Ben-Gal. “We were sick of the pile of remotes with missing battery covers at home. We were frustrated that our wives and kids couldn’t figure out how to watch TV, and we’d had enough of all the universal remotes that were ridiculously complicated, insanely expensive, or both. We knew what we wanted, but no one else made it. So we created iRule to do it ourselves.”

With a customer base of more than 10,000 households and businesses in more than 50 countries, iRule has grown significantly since its founding in 2009. The second round of financing will help continue to fuel the company’s growth and improve the iRule system for its worldwide users.

IRule software is available through Apple’s App Store and from Google Play. The iRule gateway package hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has already sold thousands of licenses in  via word-of-mouth and online buzz among early adopters, home theater professionals, and online forums.

In addition to DVP, other iRule funders include Invest Detroit and several Michigan angel investors.

“We believe in the team and their vision to take home automation to the next level, and we look forward to helping them make their mark,” said Josh Linkner, DVP CEO and managing partner. Linkner will also join iRule’s board of directors.

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5 Apps to Turn Your Phone into a Universal Remote

Controlling your home theater system used to be easy—you simply told your kid to turn the knob and presto, Honeymooners. But today’s home theater packed with feature-rich TVs, cable boxes, AV receivers, and streaming boxes—and all demanding their own remotes—there’s no way the little guy can keep up. Instead, replace your pile of remotes with an app that does everything they can do and more.

Dijit

Dijit is a personal media assistant app that allows you to build a custom electronic program guide for your favorite channels, create personalized menu layouts, discover new shows, or get series recommendations from Facebook friends. And with the help of the Griffin Beacon—pairs with the iPhone via a Bluetooth connection, then translates the iPhone’s command into IR signals—it can be utilized as a universal remote. The Beacon is able to control not just the TV but AV receiver, Blu-ray players, and even Xboxes all from your iPhone. The Djiti app itself is free, though it is an iOS exclusive and requires rev 5.0 or later, but the Beacon runs $80—a price, according to our own Casey Chan, that is well worth it.

iRule

iRule also uses a combination of software and hardware to control your home devices. However, unlike the Beacon, iRule leverages your home’s existing Wi-Fi network to send commands, allowing it to communicate with just about any Wi-Fi-enabled device—A/V equipment to lights to thermostats.

Users first create customized menus, commands, and key layouts using the iRule Builder web app, then sync them to the iRule app. The app then communicates with a separately-sold gateway that, in turn, sends commands to the IR-based devices. iRule can also communicate with TCP/IP-based devices directly. It’s software comes as either a $50 Basic package that supports up to three separate controllers and a $100 Pro package that allows up to 5 unique remotes, allowing remote monitoring of supported devices, and other features. The hardware isn’t cheap either, running between $95 and $300 on the iRule site for IR gateways.

RedEye

The RedEye app works much like the Djiti-Beacon—your phone communicates via Wi-Fi with the base station which translates the command into IR for the devices. However, the RedEye is far more platform-tolerant and can be used with the iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Android, PCs, and even the Kindle Fire. An online database of more than 85,000 control codes covers the major brands and models of devices. The app also allows you to define profiles—custom menus, button layouts, etc—for each room in your house, then share that profile with your roommates and plan your collective viewing schedule on the integrated programming guide. The RedEye base station retails for $200 on Thinkflood as well as the feature-limited, iOS-exclusive RedEye Mini that retails for $50.

The Rē remote control app from NewKinetix essentially cuts out the Wi-Fi-to-IR middleman by utilizing an IR dongle that plugs directly into your iOS device(sorry Android and WP users). When used in conjunction with the free Rē app, this system will allow you to control (literally) any IR device. In addition to the Rē’s large and regularly updated database of control codes, it can also learn the controls of a device from the device itself. What’s more, you can create a custom menu for controlling, say, your PS3, then use the integrated BUMP app to painlessly transfer it to another iOS device. The plug-in hardware will set you back $60.

Zmart

The Zmart system also leverages a 5-ounce dongle that plugs directly into your phone. But since it plugs in to the device’s audio jack rather than a 30-pin connector, it can runs on both iOS and Android. Like the others, the Zmart hosts a massive collection of 200,000-plus control codes that support virtually every major AV manufacturer and can easily learn the ones it doesn’t. The Zmart remote retails for $20 on the Vivatek website.

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HydraConnect Adds iRule for Matrix Processors

HydraConnect LLC has introduced iRule support software for its HSS family of HDMI matrix processors. Now, iRule users will be able to use a HydraConnect HSS matrix processor to simultaneously connect eight different program sources and eight different video displays under the remote control of iRule’s home automation system for tablets and smart phones.

The iRule system utilizes cloud-based design and mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, and Android devices) to create a powerful customized remote control for AV, lighting, shades, security, and other home automation devices. HydraConnect extends these capabilities by now making it possible to create more complex multi-source and multi-room environments.

iRule-enabled mobile devices, in conjunction with an HSS system, provide a complete AV distribution and control system without a traditional automation system. iRule site licenses are inexpensive (under $100), non-expiring and include updates and improvements. Additionally, an iRule-based automation system is a solution that both dealers and end-users can install.

HydraConnect LLC’s iRule software was developed to automatically and invisibly deal with the problems that arise in multi-source/multi-room environments in a custom installation (CI) environment where typically a collection of sources may be connected in any order and any combination to a varied collection of  displays. Since the iRule control software executes within a mobile device, there is no inherent “centralized” intelligence to manage concurrent use of AV equipment. For example, when more than one room is viewing the same source and one of the rooms selects “power off”, the shared source device must be left in the powered on state until the other room has also selected “power off.” The HSS control software manages a centralized database of current connections that allows it to determine when it is safe to power off a source device.

Other features of the HSS iRule support include: automatic detection of volume ramping for highly efficient and responsive changes in volume; feedback notifications for connection changes, audio changes, and other device status changes that can be reflected in the iRule user interface for a richer experience; and straightforward iRule gateway setup utilizing a simple TCP/IP “port to device” map to ease installation.

The many unique features of HSS Matrix Processors are now available to iRule environments. These include whole house audio, video, and control distribution via 8×8 HDMI and independent 8×16 audio matrix switches. It provides auto-configuration of detected AV devices, automatic EDID and HDCP key management. CEC control of AV devices (including sources, AV receivers, and TVs) that eliminates the need for IR flashers and provides 2-way control and status, and on screen display (OSD) of source device sharing status changes. HydraConnect also provides automatic software updates for new features and software improvements, remote access without the need for security weakening port forwarding, and a web administration interface that is accessible locally and remotely using PCs, tablets, and other mobile devices

HydraConnect’s iRule support comes in the form of new software components that have been included in all new HSS matrix processors. This technology upgrade is also installed automatically on all fielded HSS-2 systems in use worldwide during Q4 without customer or dealer intervention.

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iRule iOS and Android WiFi Universal Remote Control System

Executive Overview

There’s a certain dread to reviewing A/V equipment. I know, I know, you’re saying “that’s easy for me to say”, right? I mean, for me its all just fun and games… playing movies and spending countless hours just lounging around listening to music on high resolution speakers and watching on high resolution displays… actually that’s pretty much spot on. But anyway, thanks to all those devices I have another problem on my hands: getting all those devices to talk together. That requires a pretty decent remote. You see, while the average consumer upgrades once every couple of years, I have to upgrade every couple of weeks. And that kind of amps up my remote control needs. So needless to say I need a good remote. A couple of months ago we ran through a couple of batches of Bluetooth and IR remotes.

But we only touched upon what we consider to be the next generation of remotes, the most powerful  – the WiFi remote. This is a system that connects into your existing WiFi network and then allows your iOS or Android device to control your equipment without the confusion or hassle of Bluetooth or the hit-and-miss or line-of-site issues of IR. In fact, you can use IR emitters to route commands directly to your devices without the need to actually have to point anything.

That brings us to iRule. iRule is an iOS or Android app that works on just about any device and delivers a pretty robust software interface so you can roll your own remote. And it works with Global Cache hardware (and other suppliers) so you can interface with a host of products so you can deliver IR or RS-232C control to almost any device.

SO you have the software, iRule and the hardware – which varies. Let me set up what we have and what we used. We have a Denon AVR-5308CI(A) which we just upgraded. It’s fed by an Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player as well as a DISH Hopper DVR, and Xbox 360 – and we’re feeding all of it into an Epson Pro Cinema 6010 3D projector. Oh, and it’s all in a closet (well, not the projector).

In the past we used an MX-3000 remote from URC which we fed into an MSC-400 base station. And that worked awesome. It was a dream come true… until it all got hit by lightning. Then it was time for ‘Plan B’ or as I like to call it: iRule. iRule is available; as Basic and Pro version. The Basic version lets you use up to 3 unique iRule remotes you can control. The $100 Pro version lets you set up 5 remotes but also gives you two-way feedback so you can verify the status of RS-232C and IP controlled devices during the use of macro commands. I opted for the Pro version as well as a Global Cache GC-100 18R which I racked up with my gear and an iTech WF-2IR for my Epson projector. The WF-2IR is a WiFi IR device which has two emitters  and the ability to control any projector I happen to be using in my theater room.

For the equipment rack I grabbed a system that can use RS-232C and IR emitters as well as relay connections. While I can’t “teach” you the iRule, I can get you the basics.

First, the iRule software is web-based – it’s all in a web browser. And the bigger the screen the better – we filled up a 1920×1600 monitor completely, so you may feel cramped, even on a 1080p display. On the interface itself, the left side is your panels, what you see on a “mockup” of the actual remote interface. The right side is the GUI. We though that the database was pretty robust – kudos to whoever manages that at the source. Where iRule may fall a little short is in the graphics department. They have some nice basic interfaces, but it would be great to see more and better graphics, as well as some missing GUI elements and matching IR commands, like those for the colored buttons for my cable box.

Learning commands includes the use of a separate app, a dongle and/or something like the iTech devices. The iRule builder is simple and not very sophisticated. Copy and paste is possible but not sophisticated. You basically have to figure out your base layer and then copy it to all the screens you want… there are no punch through buttons. And then hope you don’t have to change anything because it’s extremely difficult to do so.

“Feedbacks” allow you to know when macro command went through as planned. The software is powerful and it can really accomplish just about anything you want to do. It’s cheap enough that you should really check it out if you like to customize and tweak and you have an iOS or Android device. There are more sophisticated devices on the market, but they also cost a lot more.

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iRule selected as control system of choice by top CEDIA Expo exhibitors

DETROIT, Mich: The cloud-based universal remote control, iRule, proved to be an asset to several industry-leading companies at the 2012 CEDIA conference in Indianapolis. Epson, ESI, Vutec, and HydraConnect all chose iRule, which runs on iOS and Android phones and tablets to control their booth displays, taking advantage of the app’s customizability, functionality and ease of use at CEDIA Expo. The annual trade show is held by the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association in Indianapolis is attended by over 16,900 professionals from 71 different countries.

“We know exhibitors have only a minute or two to impress their visitors at a trade show, so we’re proud that these successful companies have chosen iRule as the control solution that works best for them at the biggest, most important show in our industry,” said Victor Nemirovsky, iRule CTO.

More specifics on how each company used iRule:

– Epson, the global projector sales leader, trusted iRule to control all its live A/V demos and lighting in the two theaters in their booth.

– ESI, an iRule partner for more than a year, used iRule to control the majority of its booth, and recommends iRule for its cost-effectiveness, ease of use, customization and flexibility.

– HydraConnect selected iRule as one of two control partners for its booth.

– Vutec, a top-four screen manufacturer worldwide, employed iRule for a custom-branded solution, controlling the company’s $35,000 best-in-class, premium motorized screen, debuted at the CEDIA Expo.

iRule was created by A/V enthusiasts Itai Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system.

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infrared (IR), RS-232, or Ethernet-enabled audio/video gear, as well as lights, heating/cooling, shades, security systems, garage doors, sprinklers and others, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components.

A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences.

iRule gateway package hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has sold thousands of licenses in more than 45 countries via word-of-mouth and online “buzz” among early adopters, home theater professionals, and online forums.

About iRule: iRule is an application that transforms the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and most Android devices into a universal remote control, allowing you full control of audio video gear simply and reliably. iRule focuses on a simple user experience that allows non-experts the ability to quickly and easily create a powerful personalized remote. iRule is fully upgradeable and accommodates users’ changing needs.

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iRule and AIN Group/GE Home Technologies Announce Partnership to Provide Universal Remote Controls, Apps and Software to AiN Group Dealers

Through a joint agreement with iRule, AiN Group managing partner of GE Home Technologies will offer systems, product, software and applications to dealers installing home automation and home entertainment for their clients.

Detroit, MI – October 1, 2012 – iRule, an industry leader and innovator for home automation and entertainment control, and AiN Group/GE Home Technologies, the country’s largest low voltage integration dealer network, today announced that they have entered into a partnership. iRule is now the primary universal remote control and home automation software and applications partner for the AiN Group/GE Home Technologies. AiN Dealers will be able to purchase products and software direct from the Detroit-based company starting today.

“We’re excited to partner with AiN Group/GE Home Technologies to bring our simple yet powerful control solution to the integrators that make up the AiN Group” said Itai Ben-Gal, iRule’s President and CEO. “The caliber of companies in the AiN Group is second to none and we look forward to empowering these installers with cutting-edge, cloud-based control for their client’s homes-faster, cheaper and easier than their competitors.”

“iRule is an innovative, progressive company that offers an exceptional, cost-effective, allencompassing solution for AIN Group dealers and their customers. Partnering with iRule adds ingenuity and integrity to our established, impressive portfolio of some of the most recognizable brands in the industry” said Stan Matysiak, President, AiN Group/GE Home Technologies. “We are excited about this partnership and the significant opportunities it will provide for both the AiN Group/GE Home Technologies and iRule.” said Matysiak.

About iRule: iRule was founded by A/V enthusiasts Itai Ben-Gal and Victor Nemirovsky when they were looking for an easier way to control their home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate several components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses.

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infrared (IR), RS-232, or Ethernet-enabled audio/video gear, as well as lights, heating/cooling, shades, security systems, garage doors, sprinklers and others, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. iRule runs on iOS and Android devices and features a fully-customizable interface that allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need. Visit www.iRuleatHome.com to learn more.

About AIN: Authorized Integrators Network (AiN Group) offers the building industry THE only complete, one-stop shop, low-voltage program. Enhancing homes and workplaces with a comprehensive line of electronic products from the most recognized brands in the world today, the AiN Group assists their clients in meeting what has become a universal demand in the residential and commercial marketplaces—integration of the newest, most consumer demanded products coupled with state-of-the-art low voltage installation and service.

AiN Group is also the power behind GE Home Technologies, a residential building program of unprecedented brand leverage and competitive pricing packages. AiN Group and GE/Interlogix have simplified integration for the builder by presenting all low-voltage systems in a single, turnkey program. Learn more about becoming an AiN Dealer at www.aingroup.com.

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We’re excited to announce that iRule version 1.4.0 for Android is now available for download!

We know everybody’s been really anxious to get their hands on the new version of iRule for Android, so we’re excited to announce that it’s now available for download from Google Play and our website now!

New Features in iRule Version 1.4.0 for Android Drawers Drawers are now available for Android!

Drawers offer a solution to two issues. The first is faster design by instancing or “punch-through” as it’s sometimes called. Create a page, add some buttons and commands, then “re-use” that page anywhere in the remote by “pinning” the Drawer open. For example, configuring source and volume buttons on the sides of a tablet layout previously required configuring each page where the buttons were used. With Drawers, there is no need to keep defining and redefining links and input commands for each page; simply configure the buttons once in a Drawer and re-use the drawer anywhere you need the links and buttons.

The other issue Drawers help resolve is that of screen real-estate on small-screen devices which typically require “hunting” around the remote. For instance, in the “Watch TV” page, there is no room for input selection and volume and mute buttons. With Drawers, you can add an “overlay” or sliding sheet that be swiped out from the side of the screen to add functionality even though screen area is limited.

Feedback Tokenization: Some devices output feedback strings which included changing values or lengths, making simple parsing impossible. Feedback tokenization solves this problem and allows for much more powerful feedback display.

Physical Button Volume Control: The use of physical buttons for volume control are now enabled. Make sure your device

HTTP SOAP Command Support: SOAP support facilitates control of devices using this protocol, including Sony Blu-ray players and others.

IR and Relay Feedback: IR and relay feedback from Global Caché hardware is now supported which enables the feedback from sensors on the Global Caché Gateways.

Dimmed-Screen Tap: Tapping a dimmed screen will now wake the screen only; not trigger a command. This makes the behavior consistent with iRule for iOS.

Username/password Fields in Network Gateways: Network Gateways now include username and password fields for more intuitive configuration, eliminating the need to create more complicated strings for device URL’s with embedded username/password. This capability also better supports devices using the Telnet protocol. Send empty username/password when for network gateway.

Other Changes and Fixes

• Added a Sync button in Settings panel layout for easier syncing.

• Fixed empty feedback code (without value) that breaks sync feedbacks.xml

• Fixed a connection issue with RS-232 serial models of iTach devices.

• HTTP/Network Gateway passwords are now masked.

For more information on this new version and more, visit the Release Notes page, the Support Community, or the Support Center.

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Crain’s 40 Under 40

ITAI BEN-GAL, 35

President, iRule LLC

• Biggest achievement: Bringing his product, which allows consumers to use a smartphone as a TV remote, from concept to market.

• Current goal: Keep improving the product and satisfying customers.

When Itai Ben-Gal was building out a home theater that he describes as a “labor of love,” he was interested in getting a universal remote system installed but found it was too expensive.

Lucky for him he was unable to afford the quoted work because out of that happenstance was born the idea for his Detroit-based company, iRule. The iRule is a universal remote app that is compatible with iOS systems used on iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

It is available in more than 50 countries through dealers or can be purchased from the iRule website and installed by the customer.

Ben-Gal, an engineer from Israel, and business partner Victor Nemirovsky, the chief technology officer of iRule and a software developer from Russia, established the company in 2009. For the first year, they crafted the product and worked out technical glitches.

Version 1.0 was released in February 2010, and Ben-Gal said he and Nemirovsky thought of it as a side project. But by the end of the year, the company had revenue of $115,000, and they realized it might be bigger than they’d planned. It also received a boost with funding from the venture capital arm of Compuware Corp.

This year, iRule is on pace for $1 million, and the company now has 10 employees.

A major hurdle Ben-Gal encountered was preparing the product for dealers instead of individual customers. The company had to focus on how to make the product work for larger installers and developed the right tools to make that happen.

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iRule Releases Version 2.5 Of Its Universal Remote Control System

DETROIT — With its second major software update this year, iRule has released Version 2.5 of its cloud-based remote control system.

This new version is designed to work on iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  An updatedAndroid version will be released later this year.

IRule allows one device to replace multiple remotes with touch-screen controls for nearly any household device that uses a remote.

“As we continue to fine-tune iRule, we’re looking at ways to not only control devices, but making the controls simpler, faster and more efficient,” said CTO Victor Nemirovsky. “We’re committed to being able to quickly update and improve our system to respond to our customers’ needs and requests.”

New iRule features include:
* Drawers – allowing page configurations to be used on multiple screens without having to recreate the page, and providing additional real estate when needed. Drawers are an “overlay” sliding sheet for additional page controls on small-screen displays
* SOAP support for control of devices using this protocol, including Sony Blu-Ray players Faster creation in iRule Builder with nudging elements, allowing users to move elements in the remote layout one row or column at a time, making designing more intuitive

IRule was created by two audio-visual fans, Itai Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky, when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate many components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses.

IRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infra-red, RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio-video equipment, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. IRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

IRule’s version 2.5 software is available through Apple’s App Store. The iRule gateway package hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has already sold thousands of licenses in 45 countries via word-of-mouth and online buzz among early adopters, home theater professionals and online forums.

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2012 CEDIA Report

After 2 action-packed days at CEDIA, our feet are tired, our heads pounding, but it’s all good.  Here’s the basics and things of note.

The big deal at this CEDIA was 4K.  Sony had the biggest display of 4K product, and though it’s expensive now, it’s available.  My impression of their 4K display: simply impressive.  I was not expecting to be impressed, for a lot of reasons, mostly that at normal viewing distances 2K should in theory be good enough.  But if you creep just a bit closer to the screen you can easily start to see pixels in most 2K displays, and it was quite a treat to move close and away from the 4K image and not see pixels, but see a silky smooth image, crystal clear, sharp and noise-free.  Content is the issue of course, there’s no native 4K available to mere mortals, unless you buy your own RED camera,  but scaled 2K is darn nice.  No more detail, but no visible pixels either.  Turns out it’s not a big deal to scale 2K up to 4K, not as hard as SD video to 1080p.

My pick, though, for practical HD displays was the Pioneer/Sharp Elite LCD line, actually introduced last year, and shown this year in 60″ and 70″ class.  Call me slow, but I watched the display for several minutes before realizing I was watching an LED/LCD unit and NOT an plasma!  Off axis viewing is amazing, contrast shocking with blacks so deep you’ll feel you’re looking straight into an abyss, and spot-on color, pretty much that way out of the box, but capable of being calibrated too.  It’s 1080p, not 4K, but since few will be able to afford 4K for a few years yet, this would be the pick this year for the most amazing practical TV.

In audio, there were a lot of wireless solutions.  Wire less speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, and all-in-one speaker/amps.  Sonos didn’t have much new, but it was good to see the entire line, though impossible to hear above the din of their own other demos.  But they were far from the only game in Indy.  There are lots of custom install solutions, including an impressive line of wireless audio amps from Knoll ElectronicsContact us for more info.

GoldenEar Technologies showed Sandy Gross’s latest brainstorm, his version of the soundbar speaker called the SuperCinema 3D Array.  But as you might expect, it’s got Sandy’s touch, including passive crosstalk cancellation, and it does create a believable  LCR soundstage.  It’s simply the best soundbar I’ve ever heard, though that statement in itself does the product a dis-service.  Soundbars are notably the worst category of speakers in today’s market.  That makes the Golden Ear soundbar all the more impressive, as it actually sounds quite good, and even on music.  A soundbar I could live with? Even I have a hard time believing it!

In a category I normally wouldn’t bother talking about, it’s funny there should be more than one soundbar innovation at CEDIA worth talking about, but there is. The second was theDefinitive Technology Solo Cinema XTR, designed to aim squarely at the overly simplistic (and frankly a bit shameful) HTIB market, and shoot holes in it.  You know the type: they got to Big Box, say “I want a surround system!”, walk out with a dinky set of speakers, and under-powered DVD/AVR combo, and a subwoofer that barely qualifies.  Enter the DT XTR.  The new product not only is a fine sounding soundbar speaker system, but it takes care of the entire 5 channels with a believable virtual surround system.  While not has high impact or dimensional as having real surround speakers, if you don’t have the room, this is the solution, and does provides a believable surround sound field.  But then they throw in the wireless subwoofer that really has some sonic heft, and a little remote.  And as if that weren’t enough, the thing will take a digital output from your TV with all that 5.1 material on it, handle decoding, processing and volume control.  So with the bar and sub, and your TV, you’re done.  The DT SoloCinema XTR soundbar and sub combo sell for $2000,  and when you consider the simplicity and performance of this system that runs without the help (or need) of an AVR, you’ve got yourself a bargain.  Call us to get yours on order.

Being the creators of our own control system built with iRule, you can bet we’d be interested in the competition in that area.  There were more iPad apps than  ever, and everybody has their own idea of how a control app should look and operate.  Crestron was doing their own iPad app that works with their systems, but they weren’t particularly interested in discussing the exact cost of even the most basic system.  It seems you’d be into them for well over $3500 (plus programming time!), but that’s a guess.  (Sorry, Crestron, I’m not linking to you!) Key Digital showed their Compass Control system, which would be fairly economical until you needed to control any device that isn’t up to IP based commands (like your TV, projector, older AVR, AppleTV…need I go on?), at which point you need their $2500 master control unit.  So you could throw $2800 their way but you wouldn’t have anything that actually controlled something until it was programmed. Universal Remote showed their usual line-up of candy-bar remotes with pseudo touch screens and the usual tiny buttons with 3 point gray type legends.  We were impressed by the fact that touching a function button on their flagship touch screen system brought up the Windows CE logo for 10 seconds before it responded.

Pretty much every serious equipment manufacturer has a control app now.  And this has created the virtual coffee table full of remotes (see my earlier post).  It’s exactly the same problem: a remote for each device, each is different, each works and looks differently, and you have to find the right app to accomplish the task at hand.  But it’s actually harder to exit one app and bring up another than dropping one stick remote and picking up another.  I say: don’t bother.  They’re free, and worth every penny you spend.  I’m more convince than ever than our Platinum Control System will make your remote control life easy and happy, and won’t break the bank.

We visited our partners at iRule and got our first look at the latest software that includes “drawers”, little slide-out trays on your screen that can hold seldom used functions that slide out of the way when you don’t need them, or help make a more usable screen on a smaller device.  Watch for us to integrate those features soon! I’ve said it before, but again, after years of searching for the best solution, I think iRule, in the hands of an expert programmer/integrator, is the ultimate solution, winning in functionality and value simultaneously.

On our way out of the main show floor we stopped at the VRX booth to test drive their latest iMotion  simulator designed for driving and flying game play.  They showed a triple screen 3D display with full motion in the seat and steering wheel, a package that cost about like a family car, but can caster out of the way in your basement until you’re ready to play against other players world wide in the 3D head-to-head race of your life.  Video 1 here, Video 2 here. Watch the Platinum web site for more details soon!

While I’m on 3D for a moment, this one comment:  3D wasn’t absent from CEDIA this year, but was a small fraction of the total display demos, which now focus on high brightness, high resolution, and by the way, we can do 3D if you insist.  It’s a refreshing take on what I’ve been saying was just another peak in the on-going 3D wave that started in the 1950s.  Every so often 3D makes an appearance, is claimed to be the next big thing, peaks, then fades again for another decade or so.  And we’re now riding the wave downward.  The benefits of 3D this time around, though, are great bright displays, particularly projectors, at a reasonable cost.  Epson showed their latest not-release-yet projector that will be THX and THX 3D certified, lots-o-lumens, and comes with 2 pairs of 3D glasses.  We saw the demo, the 3D was as good as any, but the 2D was spectacular, blowing away Sim2’s admittedly better styled Italian-looking units.  The Sim2 demo was just another huge but average picture, but with a surprisingly noticeable amount of chromatic aberration in it.  Sorry Sim2, they’re beautiful boxes to look at, not so great to watch.

One odd surprise was the Perrot Zik headphones, a full sized over the ear set that is bluetooth wireless, and has active noise canceling.  Being a many-decade headphone listener, I’ve been disappointed with nearly every headphone set I’ve demoed in the last few years.  I had no expectations from something that looked this slick, had finger-touch volume control, and would also work to make phone calls, but surprise, they really sounded excellent, and the active noise canceling worked scary-well.  400 beans is a lot for a set of cans, but I’m hooked, will probably end up with a pair.  The were actually less colored in response than a set of Stax electrostatic phones I recently divested.  That’s saying quite a bit.

Lastly, in a rather odd tangential product, I’ve found a solution to one of the more annoying problems of this century: poor cellular coverage in your own home.  I suffer from living in a AT&T hole, both at home and at our summer home, and it often renders my iPhone about as useful as a brick.  But I’ve got the solution, thanks to zBoost from Wi-EX. Simply, it grabs the tower signal up on  your roof where it is, and repeats it down in your home where you live giving you all the bars you want, even in the basement.  Yes, I know it’s odd for a home theater guy to handle this product, but when I see a tech solution I can get behind,  it’s worth it to me and my clients to make it happen.  As usual, call us for details.  We’re Wi-EX dealers as of this weekend.

It’s impossible to completely cover a show of this size in two short days, but those are highlights.

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