TICA Question

Discussion in 'Telephone Interface (CBTI) and TICA' started by Thomas, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas

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    I would appreciate some info regarding TICA. Firstly it is probably important to note that I am located in South Africa, and that for this reason there might be some issues related to the telecomms system in place here.
    I have set up TICA with the basic settings applicable to the UK, which seems to work best.

    My queries are based on the fact that I have the impression that there is a time delay for repeat log-on?s to TICA, both with a local phone, and also when dialing in from an external line. This seems to be a couple of minutes. During that time delay TICA does not answer.
    Firstly, is this correct? If so, can this be changed, and if yes, how?

    Also, it seems that at times TICA does not seem to ?hear? the DTMF tones sent, i.e. it would pick up the line when dialing in, and request sign-in, but then does not respond further.

    Could it be that some of the set-up parameters related to the SA telephone network are marginal, resulting in this behavior?
     
    Thomas, Jan 14, 2005
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  2. Thomas

    ashleigh Moderator

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    I'm surprised you have been able to get hold of one because we are not selling them in South Africa. We are not allowed to sell them there until we have telco approval to do so.

    This approval is being pursued at the moment. The unit does support South Africa, but at the moment you cannot select it. When we have approval you will be able to select this as the country.

    Our approval has currently *failed* during testing for South Africa - the issue is detection of very short duration DTMF tones. We are not sure of the exact cause of the failure, because the modem manufacturer assures us that the modem will detect the tones OK.

    We hope to have this resolved soon.

    In the meantime, I must re-iterate that it is not legal for Clipsal to sell this item into South Africa. If you got one from somewhere else, thats your business!

    Regarding your other issues: The CBTI waits for a LACK of DTMF tones before hanging up the line. This is why you see the line being held for a period after a call ends.

    We have had numerous requests to change (reduce) this period - there is a cost of course: the time available for you to enter DTMF tones will be reduced from the current 1 minute. (If no DTMF, the CBTI says "righto, the line is idle, I'll hang up"). The timeout has to be SOMETHING, so its a compromise between how long to hold the line, and how long to wait for DTMF before giving up. Too long and too short are both annoying.

    I'd ideally like to make this about 20 seconds, but configurable through the TICA configuration software.

    Your other issue - lack of detection of DTMF could be caused by the test failure I described above (the test was originally done using the UK setting - don't ask me why. Grr.) It could also be related to some mobile phones which cause poor DTMF detection. I think I have a way ahead for that one also.

    I'm working through the CBTI firmware right now, looking at this and a couple of other issues. If all goes well there will be a new firmware release in the next week or two.
     
    ashleigh, Jan 14, 2005
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  3. Thomas

    Jannie

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    Clipsal South AFrica is selling TICA. Bought one a while ago from them, installed it and it seems to work OK. I suspect Tomas also got it the same way.

    I haven't had any problems with DMTF up to now. I'm using the UK settings as well.

    There are a few improvements I'd like to see (have not spent a lot of time on it, so these might be there), including:

    1) The ability to build a hierachical navigation structure or grouping. When you have a lot of groups it becomes a problem.

    2) Slowing down the voice.

    Thomas, drop me a private message!
     
    Jannie, Jan 14, 2005
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  4. Thomas

    Thomas

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    Hi Ashleigh,
    The question about the TICA source has been correctly replied to already. I am also aware of the legalities, but that is another issue.
    I still would like to clarify that my query is related to a time delay AFTER the line has been released by TICA, ie. once I dial in to log on again. I do not see a reason why there should be a delay after a successful connection and termination, other than possibly allowing for other equipment such as an answering machine or an alarm system to become accessible "behind" TICA.
    Would you comment please?
     
    Thomas, Jan 14, 2005
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  5. Thomas

    ashleigh Moderator

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    If you dial in to the CBTI, and go through the menus and use option 9 to exit the session, you should be able to dial in again immediately after.

    On the other hand, if you dial in, do things through the menus, and then just hang up, then the CBTI will have a 1 minute wait while it tries to determine if the line is idle or not (its looking for DTMF).

    This is *probably* the line hold period you are seeing.

    Some telco's (for example in Australia) are set so that the exchange sends a BUSY tone when either party hangs up. In this case the CBTI detects that tone and hangs up. Obviously this is not happening in South Africa, OR your busy tone is different to the UK busy tone so its not being detected. You can check this by calling a friend. Make sure you hang up first, and get them to listen. If they hear a busy tone after you hang up, then the CBTI will be able to detect this case an optimise its performance.

    Not many telcos seem to do this though....
     
    ashleigh, Jan 15, 2005
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  6. Thomas

    Jannie

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    Asleigh,

    Any comments on the grouping requirement for TICA?

    I have close to 500 groups I want to control. The only sane way to navigate to any specific group would be through some hierarchical menu system.

    Floor -> Room -> Circuit, etc.

    Is something like this possible?
     
    Jannie, Jan 15, 2005
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  7. Thomas

    ashleigh Moderator

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    The CBTI has a limit of 32 groups that can be controlled.

    This limit is due to available memory in the unit, and the inordinate amount of time it would take to get the status of all of them.

    Its *not* possible to change the firmware to support a hiearchical grouping system. (Well not without a vast amount of effort which cannot be justified at the moment. Its hard enought to justify fixing the reported defects.)
     
    ashleigh, Jan 15, 2005
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  8. Thomas

    Jannie

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    Hi,

    32 Groups? That's quite a limitation. How does this compare with:

    1) Minder Pro?

    2) HomeSpeak?

    I can currently remotely control any number of C-Bus groups via SMS, WEB, WAP and custom activeX applications that run on a laptop or PDA. All from anywhere outside the home, using GSM, GPRS or 3G.

    I was hoping to use TICA to add DTMF to this list as you get voice feedback and you an't always look at a screen, driving for example.

    Any ideas on how one can add DTMF to larger projects?
     
    Jannie, Jan 15, 2005
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  9. Thomas

    ashleigh Moderator

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    Minder Pro is a rebadged product sold in some markets (not Australia). I know nothing at all about its capabilities.

    I believe that HomeSpeak can do more, however, its different when you are talking to the machine.

    I could *contemplate* going to 64 groups, without any hierarchical menus, in a future firmware update. But beyond that is a very tall order.

    Its our belief that most customers in most markets will want to control between about 5 and 20 groups via telephone. Its not generally necessary to control an entire site - only enough to achieve a useful outcome via telephone.

    Remember also that this product is highly configurable. More groups = more configuration, which makes it even more difficult to set up than it is now.

    If you really want a vast number of groups, I suggest you find a DTMF / telephony package and write some software to link that to C-Gate.
     
    ashleigh, Jan 16, 2005
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  10. Thomas

    Jannie

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    Minder Pro is a re badged Comfort system. (http://www.cytech-technology.com/)

    It's actually quite a nice controller for smaller home automation systems and integrates nicely to C-Bus.

    My understanding was that after some legal issue with the OEM of Minder, Clipsal adopted Comfort and are reselling it as Minder Pro.

    So I always though it's an official Clipsal C-Bus product. If it's not resold and supported it Oz, it makes me very 'un-Comfortable'.

    When is Clipsal going to drop this as a product? Are there legal issues around selling it in Oz?

    ----------------------------
    I agree that building a custom DMTF to C-Gate application is an option but it's always better to use off-the-shelve software. We were going to build just such a server (I'm a huge C-Gate fan) but when I saw TICA, I thought the work's done!

    64 groups will go a long way to help the situation so please 'contemplate' this!

    I assume it's (as you indicated) a memory issue and not so much coding changes?

    It'll be even cooler if you could 'contemplate' the hierarchical capability.

    I can appreciate this would require additional programming but you'll agree it would make navigation in the IVR much more intuitive, navigating from floor to room to light, for example.

    Just think if you had to call a customer support desk and all 32 or 64 options were presented on the first menu. :)

    The more intuitive we make home automation systems, the more main-stream they'll become.
     
    Jannie, Jan 16, 2005
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  11. Thomas

    ashleigh Moderator

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    Yes, we did the C-Bus Enabled certification testing on it.

    Not quite the case. Refer to the official announcement about ceasing supply of Minder.

    Clipsal sell the Comfort system in some countries, not all. You can probably work out why. :)

    No comment.

    It has been done before using off-the-shelf telephony software.
    Its both memory and (significant) coding changes. I did not write the code in this product, and I'm finding it very challenging to maintain it.

    No promises but I'll see what I can do.

    Agreed.
     
    ashleigh, Jan 16, 2005
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