LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The brain of ASA Electronic’s specially customized Fuzion fifth wheel is a metallic gem of wires, circuitry board, and other electronic components. Its surgical precision of unified wiring is not the tangled ball of twine manufacturer electricians generally encounter, which can lead to warranty issues.
Attendees of the National RV Trade Show passed by ASA’s exhibit with rubbernecked glances of the fifth wheel at the Kentucky Exhibition Center. Upon further inspection, many realize that the connectivity of iN-Command Global Connect has made the fifth wheel less RV and more HAL 9000-controlled spaceship. … Or, more accurately, controlled by Google’s Alexa.
“You can go inside and ask Alexa to turn on the lights,” said Vince Smith, head of product development engineering at ASA Electronics. And then using the iN-Command app, users can match the colors of those lights to whatever object they hold up to their smartphone’s camera – mood lighting that can range from the color of a user’s couch to a red dress someone’s wearing.
The dazzle of ASA’s fifth wheel is to showcase the iN-Command system, which was introduced in 2014, and is now in its third generation.
With the addition of Global Connect, users can be on a distant mountaintop in another state and still control and monitor their RV as long as there’s WiFi available in both locations. More practically, if a user is on a hike, they can begin to cool off the trailer before entering it or monitor the activity outside of it to make sure it’s safe … a boon for those concerned with RV security.
The first generation featured Bluetooth-enabled control, which was good for 100 feet. The third generation allows users to monitor and control everything from Japan or any other spot in the world.
Why such glam?
ASA is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Given the great achievement, the supplier glitzed-out a fifth wheel trailer, customizing it front to back, turning it into a smart home that’s easily controlled through an app.
“We wanted to show off all the technical changes that’ve been able to bring us to this point over the years, and come out with a big bang,” said Jim Hess, RV industry manager at ASA.
Electricians worked around the clock, burning the midnight oil since September to get it ready for the National RV Trade Show.
What devices can be connected?
In that aspect, ASA has foregone favoritism. Many modern products can be integrated, especially between some of ASA’s partners like Carefree, Dometic, Xantrex, Surge Guard, etc.
“The industry is going to see a mad dash for smart home technology in RVs,” said Hess. “That’s what the customer is experiencing, so that’s what they’re going to expect in their RV.”
Hess explained how after the Louisville show in 2016, customers contacted ASA seeing how they could integrate together in addition to the aforementioned partners.
“Ultimately, we need to put differences aside,” Hess said, “and make sure this is going to be a cohesive collaboration.”
A collaboration between suppliers that already create awnings and leveling jacks.
“We understand that there’s a level of complexity to interfacing with systems like this,” said Hess, “and we try to minimize that as much as possible. To expand over multiple generations. Technology should exist in the background, and the consumer should just feel the result of it.”
Among many of its smart home benefits, iN-Command also allows inverter charger control and monitoring. Alarm inputs for smoke and carbon monoxide detection that sends notifications to users.
“What if you left the pets inside there for some reason? We’re monitoring literally everything in the trailer now. If the temperature rises, we’ll alert you that there’s a problem. … We can see everything that’s been connected to the system, and try to help the owner.”
Tech-savviness is NOT required.
On that note, a PC engine interface allows manufacturers to install the global in-Command system without being daunted by all the programming wizardry occurring behind the scenes.
And thanks to data collection, ASA will be able to hone in on trends, and dedicate more targeted manpower to innovation, while adding more safety and convenience.
Global Connect will launch first quarter 2018. Units that plan to have it include Keystone’s Raptor, Alpine and Montana, Dutchmen’s Voltage, and Redwood to name a few.