Control4 – Home Automation

If you are looking for a company that has dedicated themselves to Home Automation, then look no further! Control4 was launched in 2003 and attended CEDIA the next year. With a launch of their first product later in that year. Since then, they have had their fair share of ups and downs. With that in mind, they have always been full steam ahead! Control4 is now selling under 3 company names. They have grown to be a powerhouse in the smart home world and in doing so, launched their company to IPO status in 2013! For a company that centers its business around smart home tech, they have done some impressive things.

Control4 purchased many companies as they have gone along to offer better products to the end users, but also make it easier for their dealers to offer a great value! With their own product line of home automation, they decided to purchase Pakedge. This decision has given them more control of the network, which is the backbone of their system. Soon after they bought Triad so they could elevate their audio line up. From speakers to amps, they have all gotten a major reworking. There have been other notable companies to be brought in, like Leaf, but they were rebranded into the Control4 name. CEDIA 2019 will be an interesting one as they have recently purchased Switzerland based remote control company and have promised changes to come!

If this list of impressive things they offer is not enough, let's dump on you the 12,000 (and growing daily) number of items that they control outside of their own brands. This is from wired, to Zigbee, Z-wave, IR, RS232, and network to name a few methods of control. They are making a name for themselves and working to make more and more waves in the Home Automation industry!

With all of this impressive information, for you DIY’ers, you may be a bit disappointed to find out that they are dealer install type of company. The parts are only bought from dealers and can only be programmed by them as well. After installation is complete, they have a few ways in which you can alter some things like lighting scenes, music playlists, and some program triggers. Having a professional install can have its ups and downs, but with all things in consideration, I would say it is a good thing!

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2 Responses

  1. I don't use control 4 but respect their progress. I used to dabble in crestron and amx when these guys were coming up the curve. One of the issues that I've always found and why I switched to open source was that pricing from dealers was always extremely opaque. Noone would even give you a rough idea what it would cost to say get a 4 zone multi room audio solution without going through the complete design brief. At the time you wouldn't know if it would end up costing you a thousand or five thousand until you got to the final part. I appreciate that every job is custom (hence the custom install part) but at the time it led to endless frustration. Maybe things have changed now and I should revisit but there would need to be a bit more of a guideline on pricing so as not to waste anyone's time.
    • A custom aspect of the jobs makes it hard to make a price quote difficult. Some companies don't have guidelines to quickly perform a quote of a simple system that you are referring too. A simple way to do it is, give the quote of the parts that it would take to complete the project, then give an estimated time to complete the task, but the labor would be on an hourly rate. This allows a little flexibility for the unforeseen issues that may arise with the custom part of the install. If a major roadblock happens and it looks like you will be going over the estimated hours, then another dialog can happen with the client to come up with alternatives or to carry on forward. Doing custom installs can come with some hiccups but in the end a better overall look and feel to the project.

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