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How to build your own CallGenie Appliance

CallGenie Software

We are getting a lot of interest from customers outside of the UK and USA wanting to buy CallGenie appliances. Unfortunately, neither Smart Life Solutions nor its distribution partners are currently able to ship fully configured CallGenie appliances to customers outside of the UK and USA. However, this post details how to build your own CallGenie appliance using parts readily available on e-commerce sites such as Amazon.

Even though we need you to purchase the hardware yourself and set up the mini PC, Smart Life Solutions will support you through every step in the process to get your CallGenie Appliance running for the end user. We do, however, ask that you are reasonably computer literate and you know what a USB port and an HDMI cable are.

Shopping List

Building your own CallGenie appliance isn’t that hard if you have some basic understanding of PCs and are happy to shop online for the hardware required. The following is a list of components we recommend for customers and it will show everyone else what’s required so you can source the hardware in your own country.

It includes the following items:

  • Mini PC with Auto Power On capability
  • Webcam(connects via USB)
  • HDMI-CEC adapter(connects via USB)
  • Infrared receiver/transmitter (connects via USB)
  • CallGenie Software

CallGenie Parts List for the US

Smart Life Solutions will provide you with a Hardware Installation Guide to help you attach all the peripherals. Any driver software required will be installed by Smart Life Solutions at the same time as the CallGenie Software is installed.

Setting Up the Mini PC

Once you have all the hardware in place we just need you to connect the mini PC to a monitor or television (using the HDMI cable) and attach a USB keyboard and mouse. If you don’t have a keyboard and mouse handy you might consider buying a Logitech K400+ Touchpad Keyboard.

Do not connect to the internet, yet. Ignore the instructions during the setup to connect to your WiFi or plug in an ethernet cable.

Power up the mini PC and it will to start to run you through Windows setup. After you have selected your keyboard layout, ignore the invitation to connect the mini PC to the internet, and you will be prompted to set up a local user account. Call this “CallGenie User”, or something similar, and leave the password blank (this will allow CallGenie to be automatically logged in at power up from now on).

If you are asked to create a Microsoft account, please ignore this.

To complete setup answer “No”, “Skip” or “Not Now” to every option presented to you, including the upgrade to Windows 11 (CallGenie has not been fully tested on Windows 11, yet), if it appears.

Once Windows has finished its setup, and logged into the local user, you may connect the mini PC to the internet. For best performance, you should use an ethernet cable from the broadband/cable router to the mini PC. If that’s not possible you can connect using WiFi – click on the Network icon in the System Tray (bottom righthand corner of the screen by default), choose your WiFi station and then enter the WiFi password.

Now you are ready for Smart Life Solutions to help you with the rest of the installation. We will install all additional software and updates for you remotely.

Installation Service

The remainder of the installation and configuration can be performed by Smart Life Solutions via the remote access software.

If you prefer to do the installation yourself, please use the following instructions.

Self-Installation Instructions

Pre-requisite Software

The following software needs to be installed on the mini PC for CallGenie to work:

Requesting a Software License

Once you have placed an order for CallGenie Software, you may request your software licence which will be sent to you in an email. We will need the MAC address of your mini PC’s ethernet adapter before we can generate the license key.

Configuring CallGenie with the End User’s Television

As with the CallGenie appliances supplied in the UK, Smart Life Solutions will support you remotely to install and configure the appliance to work with the end-user’s television.

Would you like to help other people benefit from using CallGenie?

Not everyone is comfortable assembling a CallGenie system themselves. Smart Life Solutions is, therefore, actively looking for individuals around the world to assemble CallGenie Appliances (hardware and software) and supply them directly to customers in their own country. If you have an interest in IT, have some spare time each week, and would like to help others less technically minded to have video calls with elderly relatives, we would like to hear from you.