In the next release of CasaTunes, slated for the end of February, we will be introducing our latest innovation, CasaTunes Smart Tasks.
Smart Tasks allows you to simplify and automate your music listening experience. A Smart Task is a task which can consist of one or more actions. These actions include playing music, controlling rooms, controlling your music, playing a chime, converting and playing Text-To-Speech, and adding a wait delay or a scheduled delay.
To get a quick sense of what’s possible, let’s suppose you would like to create a Smart Task to entertain your friends when they come over for dinner.
First decision you need to make is, where are you going to play the music? Sometimes, you will want to just play the music indoors, while other times, especially if the weather is nice, you may want to play your music both indoors and outdoors. No problem, with Smart Tasks you can either select the specific rooms to play in when you create the task, or you can have CasaTunes prompt you to select the rooms when you run the task.
How about which music to play? You probably already have several playlists in mind that you would like to play. With Smart Tasks you can either specify the music to play when you create the task, or you can be prompted to pick a playlist from a list of playlists you selected when you run the task, or maybe you just want CasaTunes to randomly pick a playlist from the list of playlists you selected when the task is run.
… and should you decide to let CasaTunes randomly select your playlist, then how will you know what music was selected? Well, you can configure your task to “announce” the music selected, either over the speakers, in the App, or both.
… and if you don’t like the playlist CasaTunes selected, then just run the task again!
Another nice feature of Smart Tasks is you can optionally assign tasks to users, so each user can have their own custom Smart Task screen, and to organize your tasks, you can optionally assign your tasks to categories. There is no limit on the number of users and categories you can create.
Recall that a Smart Task can have more than one action. So for example, let's say you want to create a task that your kids can use to help them fall asleep. The task's first action could be to randomly select a kids appropriate album or playlist, followed by an action that waits five minutes, then a third action that lowers the volume, another action to wait another ten minutes, and finally, the last action turns the room off.
… and what if you don’t want to manually kick off a task? Yep, you can add that to. Just add one or more schedules to kick off your tasks automagically.
There is one other feature that is worth discussing, and has proven to be a lot of fun. You can add a “Play Text-To-Speech” action and enter some text that you would like CasaTunes to convert to audio. This is called Text-To-Speech and CasaTunes uses this internally to optionally announce the random music selected for a task. Similar to rooms and music, you can configure CasaTunes to prompt you to enter the text to convert to audio when you run the task. You can use the Text-To-Speech capability, for example, to summon everyone to dinner!
What if you speak French? German? Italian? Chances are there is both a male and female voice you can select when you create the action. In fact, most of the User Interface you see in your Smart Tasks page is customizable.
So, who are Smart Tasks for?
First, Smart Tasks are a great option for commercial installations. In these installations, it is rare for employees to have trained on CasaTunes and know how the CasaTunesX App works. With Smart Tasks you eliminate this issue by configuring the CasaTunesX App to always start up in the Smart Tasks screen. Then, all the employee needs to do is select the task, or you can configure the task to start automatically using a schedule.
Secondly, Smart Tasks are ideal for users who are not comfortable with robust music apps. By using Smart Tasks, you eliminate the complexity of a robust music app, and make it incredibly easy for users to enjoy their music. You can create tasks that specifically cater to their music preferences, and customize tasks for their personal use, greatly simplifying the user interface for these users. All a user needs to do is select a task, and follow any prompts.
Lastly, Smart Tasks are useful for the rest of us! Being creatures of habit, we tend to listen to the same narrow collection of music depending on our current activity. This is a perfect fit for Smart Tasks!
Finally, Smart Tasks are a great opportunity for our dealers, both as a unique feature and as a way to add real customer value. No other vendor offers Smart Tasks, and by configuring Smart Tasks when installing the system, customers will be able to more quickly appreciate the benefits of their new CasaTunes system.
We can’t wait to see what you will do with Smart Tasks!