Systemline Music Server API Brings IoT to AV Systems

Systemline is promoting an "Open API" for their home music systems to attract more manufacturers and installers.

Systemline creates multi-room music systems designed for use by home automation companies doing custom AV installations for homes and businesses. Systemline's S7 home music system combines a central music server (NetServer) and up to 24 distributed amps (NetAmp) to create music "zones" across different rooms.

NetServer holds up to a million songs and acts as the gateway to Internet services. NetServer also rips CDs and integrates with iTunes. NetServer connects to NetAmps via dedicated CAT5 Ethernet cables to preserve audio quality when steaming between rooms. Communication of commands between devices can also be done wirelessly.

Systemline Open API Strategy

Systemline's Open API may help it be successful in the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) Market.

Systemline needs to attract custom installation companies who make its S7 music system part of much larger automation projects that also incorporate the home's lighting, heating, cinema and alarm systems. Having a flexible and open API allows installers to create unique solutions for clients that have interesting features and can be used with a variety of other vendors' technologies.

Systemline also needs to interoperate with device manufacturers and popular Internet services to be attractive to consumers. Systemline integrates with a variety of remote controls and iDevice apps for easy control of their system. Systemline needs to let consumers switch easily between TV, home cinema and music. Systemline also provides access to web music including Internet radio channels and on-demand services like Spotify.

Systemline Open API Details

Systemline's API operates at the TCP/IP level. The API uses simple commands to control and receive status and configuration information.

The NetServer and NetAmp are designed to be controlled by third party devices via an API. Both send and recieve TCP/IP packets. NetServer IP listens on port 9090. NetAmp listens on port 9760. The NetAmp has the ability to respond to UDP broadcast packets sent through Port 30303.

API commands can be as simple as the MAC address of the NetAmp device and "Play".

Play: 00:04:20:89:7e:75 play

It is a music system, so you can access server information like favorites and playlists, while controlling amp parameters like: Source, Volume, Max Volume, Bass, Treble, Balance (Left/Right), etc.

The API also helps Systemline devices work within the home network. Here is how you would force a default DHCP configuration and reboots the NetAmp so it obtains a new dynamic address from the network router/switch.

“Reset All” command:

UDP Payload data as follows -> "IPNetAmp:00:04:20:89:7e:75:DHCP:"


UDP payload data as follows -> "IPNetAmp\r\n4\r\n DHCP\r\n OK\r\n "

Technical Documentation is available for NetServer and NetAmp.

Sophisticated Uses of the API

Janus, a smart home technology company, makes use of the Systemline API to create sophisticated "drivers" for custom installation companies and device manufacturers. The Open API makes it easy for companies like Janus to make Systemline products part of a broader ecosystem of products that easily integrate with industry-leading Smart Home control systems, including the likes of Crestron, AMX, Control4 and RTI.

Janus' Systemline S7 driver for Crestron shows the feature Integration benefits of the Open API:

"This driver allows a Crestron control system to send commands and receive status and configuration information from a Systemline S7 multi-room audio system, incorporating the 2 zone NetAmp. Featuring a comprehensive set of control commands, this driver offers the installer discrete zone and source selection as well as volume, tone and balance control, with instant feedback to the RTI system, so that things never get out of sync. Communication with the NetAmp is via Ethernet, so no need for an interface device, or any additional cabling. Advanced features include settings for enabling/disabling Systemline’s HVM (High Volume Mode), as well as one way selection of favorites stored on the NetServer, as well as the full range of transport controls."

Systemline Innovation:

UK-based Systemline has a history of introducing innovative home automation technology. In 1998, they introduced the first multi-room system to be based on universal IR control. They then introduced some of the first "modular" system designs to make customizations easier. Now they are extending to "IP control", using TCP/IP to make integrations with 3rd party systems and apps on Internet connected consumer electronics possible.

It will be interesting to see how their "Open API" strategy helps Systemline compete in the global IoT market.

Be sure to read the next Home Automation article: Myfox API Allows Integration With Home Security Products