CQC is a scalable product in few different ways, among them the ability to support larger or smaller automation solutions. This allows us to scale the price appropriately for the size of the problem being solved, from a small home theater to a commercial establishment.
Therefore the product is available as a set of 'tiers' each of which has a name for easier identification. These range from Bronze for the smallest tier to Unobtainium for the most capacious tier. Each tier in the range allows for so many device drivers and so many touch screen clients. The specific counts are listed below.
You can also add extra client and/or driver capacity to a given tier if you only need slightly more than that particular tier offers. But each tier offers increasingly significant discounts relative to the previous tier plus the difference in driver and client capacity. So it's typically a better deal in the long run to buy the next higher tier.
You can upgrade for the difference price between your current tier and the new desired tier at any time.(Sale prices!)BronzeSilverGoldDiamondMercuryTitaniumUnobtainiumCapacities
Feature Bronze Silver Gold Diamond Mercury Titanium Unobtainium Client Features
Feature Bronze Silver Gold Diamond Mercury Titanium Unobtainium Windows Client RIVA Client CQSL Media Mgr Log Monitor Tray Monitor Application Ctrl iTunes Control Server Features
Feature Bronze Silver Gold Diamond Mercury Titanium Unobtainium Event Server RIVA Server CQSL Media Repo Logic Server Web Server XML Gateway Customization Tools
Feature Bronze Silver Gold Diamond Mercury Titanium Unobtainium Admin Client CML Driver Dev PDL Driver Dev Support and Upgrades
Feature Bronze Silver Gold Diamond Mercury Titanium Unobtainium Free Year of Upgrades Forum Support
Device drivers are how CQC talks to your devices or software systems in order to interact with them. And, in some cases, they are how you can interact with CQC. The number of devices is a reasonable measure of the size of a given automation solution, so that is why it is one of the per-tier limits
However it is not perfect. Each device driver represents a single connection to some device or software program, but some of those devices are themselves controllers for other devices. This is fairly common in lighting and security systems, for instance. So one device driver may be required to control a single A/V receiver, and only one device driver may be required to run all of your lights, thermostats, and locks. Or a driver for a single IR blaster could of course control many IR based devices.
There is more information on device types and connection types and so forth in the HTML documentation shipped with CQC.
So it's not a perfect measure but a more detailed system would be far too tedious. Some companies charge based on number of lights, locks, etc..., presumably to avoid this issue, but we consider that too confusing for the customer, and for ourselves for that matter.
Also be aware that that we do not charge separately for device drivers, though many other companies do. Obviously, if a third party chose to create a driver and charge for it, we could not stop them. But that has not happened to date, and won't happen with any of the drivers we produce. We ship a large number of them, and more are freely available on the support forum.
Clients refers to touch screen clients. In CQC that can be accomplished in various ways. The most common is the use of our Interface Viewer, which is our Windows-based flagship touch screen client. It provides access to the full capabilities of CQC and the considerable power of modern PC based touch screen clients.
You can of course run it on non-touch enabled devices. CQC will sense whether a touch screen is present and adapt as necessary.
Post 5.0, there will be more options available in the form of HTML based clients. And there is nothing stopping you from creating your own HTML clients, though that requires considerably more work.
Currently iOS clients are supported via our RIVA system, which is a very thin, 3rd party client, that essentially remotes the output of a virtual Interface Viewer instance running on a CQC server machine. We hope to replace this with HTML alternatives in the 5.1 time frame.
At this time, the licensed client counts are not enforced via technical means. However, they will be ultimately, so be sure you have licensed capacities for the number of clients you are using (at any one time.)
There are two ways to upgrade CQC. One is to pay $75 per-released version. The other is to pay a $95/year 'maintenance fee', which allows you to get all available upgrades that become available during the time you are covered. As of this time, no one has ever used the per-released version upgrade process, everyone uses the fee coverage. Since we release a couple new versions a year, the effective price is generally $47.5 per release, which is cheaper. And it also allows you access to beta functionality as it is available, and our betas tend to be very useable.
The coverage fee scheme is made more appealing by the fact that, at the end of each covered year, your $95 becomes available as an upgrade credit against a tier upgrade. Of course $95 is a considerable percentage of the cost of a, say, Bronze system. But that also means that the ultimate credit is a considerable percentage of the cost of an upgrade to the next tier. You can either wait till you have enough credits to upgrade, or cash in your credits and pay the difference at any time, though only credits that are fully vested are available for use.
Gold and higher tiers include a complimentary year of free upgrades. Bronze and Silver tiers do not