The Zentium's User Experience

21 Jun 2022

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A combination of Asthetics, Usability and Intergration

The Zentium

Just as lighting is a key aspect to enjoy any space, the client experience is also affected by the temperature of that space. The user experience of temperature control is often overlooked as it is seen as something difficult and out of many installers’ comfort zone.

In many luxury buildings, air conditioning is standard. However, these are typically commercial systems that require a significant amount of design and calculations. This industry is heavily commercial based and the idea of elegant, easy to use controls is often lost. With all the calculations, environmental impact and performance specifications, the consideration of the user is lost. The goal of the Zentium pro thermostat is to meet the concerns of installers and interior designers in a process that benefits everyone.

The Zentium is a key part to a complete solution and one that gives the ability to control both heating and cooling systems from an elegant unified interface. Not only does it combined heating and cooling it also has optional controls for towel radiators and hot water, making it an incredably unique controller.

Aesthetics

Superbly engineered commercial control systems lack a luxury user interface. For this reason, the industry seems to have adopted a less than ideal approach which is typically to hide the thermostat, not a customer centric design. We also see installations where a small probe is placed on a wall and wired back to a cupboard. This not only adds kilometres of unnecessary cables, it increases the risk of faults and increases costs of servicing. Probes can also get painted over or damaged. A hidden cost to these designs is that any changes a user wants to make means this must be programmed into the control surface, such as increase of the dead band, changing from Centigrade to Fahrenheit, fan control or disabling heating. This could mean a BMS or AV controls engineer call-out, and updates done to the core of the home’s control system. We all know what happens when that update is done on Friday evening!

This approach also means the homeowner, guests or staff have to understand the layout of a touch screen and adapt to your way of thinking. Whilst none of this is wrong and, in some situations can work, it is a solution to a problem that should not have existed in the first place if there had been an elegant thermostat fitted at the start.

The importance of styling is paramount in luxury developments, but the Zentium thermostat has added ease of use and integration to that.

We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘form over function’ but our philosophy is based on three pillars; form, function and integration.

Simplicity

It is not uncommon for a thermostat to have buttons that just don’t do anything. Maybe the feature has been disabled, maybe overridden; for whatever reason, this complicates the experience and can even lead to support calls as the user’s perception is that the system is not working. This is also true for the strange choice of symbols and cryptic hieroglyphics displayed on a screen.

The luxury client is not interested if it’s in frost protection mode, the floor has reached max temperature or in the angle of the ventilation grills. Yes, this information is important and should be accessible, but does it need to be so prevalent? The best user interface is one that from a glance the user knows what’s happening and how to use it.

The Zentiums’ digital crown is a universally understood control interface. Turn it up and the room temperature increases, turn it down it stops heating or starts cooling. Press the crown to change pages to fan speed, zone two or towel radiator.

There is no language barrier to this interface and different features that are being disabled can be altered. This allows the same thermostat to be used across spaces with different requirements without causing confusion.

Integration

Something that looks great often lacks the technical features that a quality installation requires. As an installer, your company profit is reliant on repeatability from the lessons learnt on previous jobs. Why have a different solution if you use Crestron, Lutron, Control4, Savant, Elan etc. Choose a thermostat that can be used with all these control systems so a repeatable design profile can be created. Additionally, it is important to consider its integration with BMS control systems such as NorthBT, Trend and Delta etc. Many AV installers shy away from this key part of an integrated smart building, in much the same way they stuff the thermostats in a cupboard. The broad spectrum of integration offered by the Zentium thermostat allows AV and BMS companies to work in a much more harmonious way. The benefits of this are the deep technical knowledge that BMS companies offer, allowing for a truly customer centric design.

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