What are some of the biggest changes you are seeing in the home automation industry?
This year, we can expect the trend of voice control to grow. Being able to control the entire home with a voice command opens the door to more convenience and it will become a control mechanism that homeowners will rely on—and even expect—in 2017. Whether it’s control of one single light, to entire scenes that can control multiple devices in unison—such as thermostats, shades, music, and more—we see voice control as the next big feature of a truly smart home. Our integration with Amazon Echo has been one of the biggest, most exciting releases in the history of Control4, and we can’t wait to see that excitement continue to grow as more and more homeowners get voice control into their homes.
As consumers continue to add devices into their Control4 smart home systems, having a robust network management platform is going to become increasingly critical. More homes depend on consistent and fast connectivity, even without home automation systems. And then there are the homeowners who have an ample amount of streaming devices, cameras, and more robust audio video requirements. Having a dealer manage a homeowner’s network—to pro-actively preempt any issues and fix them remotely before they even know they occur—is also growing in demand. Network management will become an expectation from homeowners, whether it’s just a part of the regular service provided by a dealer or part of a monthly maintenance fee.
What’s the main thing you wished customers understood about the home automation industry?
We’d love for homeowners to understand that getting started with a home automation system is attainable and affordable. For as low as $600 USD and a technician’s fee, you can get a “smart” start in one room—such as a home theater or family room—with a professionally-installed system, and then expand as your needs and/or budget allows. And, instead of different apps to control different devices, you have one system that controls it all.
Also, it’s important to note that no matter if a home has yet to be built or has been standing for centuries—and no matter how big or small—any home can be made a Control4 Smart Home.
What are some common mistakes you see homeowners making when it comes to the home automation industry?
We’ve heard from so many homeowners who go the DIY route and end up disappointed in what functionality they actually get from these types of point-products. It’s not a great experience when you have to open one app to control the lights, another to control the fan, and yet another to lock the door. And even though apps are convenient at times, it’s actually quite a pain to fire up each app on your phone, and then wait until it connects to actually control that specific device.
When you have the ability to control everything from one focal point—and from interfaces that make sense for your life—it makes life in the home much more convenient and enjoyable. For example, you can have a keypad (in lieu of an ugly light switch) on the wall leading to your garage. Simply tap an “Away” button and your house will shut itself down for the day, kicking your thermostat back to a more efficient state, locking every door in the house, and turning off all lights, TVs, and music. It just doesn’t get more simple than that. So when people think of a “smart home”, they don’t realize how clunky and cumbersome it can be to have so many devices functioning on an island of their own, rather than a truly automated experience that is personalized to their day-to-day lives.
What sets your company apart from your competitors?
Our mentality is that life’s better when everything works together—from the shades that talk to the thermostat, to the lights that dim with the music, or even locks that communicate with the security system. Our solutions interoperate with nearly 10,000 third-party consumer electronics devices—and that number is rapidly growing. By partnering with the biggest brands in consumer electronics, appliances, energy, lighting and home security, Control4 leads the industry in interoperability, ensuring that an ever-expanding eco-system of devices will work together.
What is your most popular product(s)? Why?
That’s a good question. It really depends on who you are and what is your desired “entry point” to the automated home. That said, Control4 Smart Lighting has skyrocketed in popularity. Our homeowners will often say they can never imagine life before smart lighting—the myriad of possibilities with that line of products is pretty astounding. Seriously, how awesome is it that you can turn off every single light in the house with one press of a button? Another button on the same lighting keypad can activate a Pandora station or close the garage door. We hear from our customers time and time again that they’re just blown away by the convenience.
Where can your products be purchased?
Because Control4 solutions are personalized to each individual and/or family, we don’t offer off-the-shelf products. We have a network of highly-trained, authorized Control4 dealers who carefully assess automation wants and needs to deliver the smart home of any homeowner’s dream. A lot of our dealers even have showrooms, set up just like any home, so homeowners can get hands-on with the system, build ideas for their own homes, and envision what life is really like in a truly automated house. They can find a dealer(s) near them on our online dealer locator. Or they can simply give our concierge a call at 844-305-0213.
What are the most eco-friendly products you offer? What makes them green?
It’s probably easiest to give specific examples of how our solutions have enabled an eco-friendly life for our homeowners. All lights can be programmed to automatically come on at 80% (instead of 100%), which saves a little extra on bulb life. One button can shut down all lights, making certain that no light goes unseen and burns all day. Sunlight can quickly heat up a room and send the AC into overdrive—but automated shades or blinds can close or tilt at certain times of the day or when a sensor notices a heavy amount of sunshine. When you automate your ceiling fans, they’ll turn on and off at certain predetermined times of the day, helping to circulate warm and cool air. You can also automate your sprinklers and lawn systems to respond to weather conditions, since temperature and humidity can adjust according to the season.
This guest post was featured by Control4.