Connected Home works hard to bring you the latest and greatest in home automation technologies and the best selection of top quality products available. Today we are proud to present our partnership with Control4. Control4 is one of the top choices for home automation around. We love our Elan Systems and may be a little parcial(lol), but you also know a great product when you see it. Control4 has a tremendous amount of features and brings connectivity to thousands of products. Let's dive in a little deeper about Control4. Connected Home is about quality and service after the sale, so let's begin with the service and support aspect.
Service & Support
Control4 offers better after-purchase support than a majority of home automation system providers. Instead of just having a page listing its email address and phone number, the company has extensive resources online to help you learn how to use your system, including guides, tutorials and videos. There’s also a customer portal on the website that lets you control system preferences. Control4 systems have a two-year warranty, which is shorter than those of some other home automation systems but average when compared to the industry as a whole.
Its hundreds of hardware partners make it easy to customize a Control4 home control system to fit your needs, only Crestron is compatible with more products. In addition to general support for hundreds of products, the company also has certified partners whose equipment strongly integrates with the home automation system. Some of Control4’s certified partners include Apple, Harman Kardon, Roku and Weather Underground, though the list goes on.
THE HOME AUTOMATION SYSTEM
Think about the following generic definition of a “System.”
System: A set or arrangement of things so related or connected as to form a unity or
The definition applies perfectly to the design principles behind any type of home automation system. No matter where you buy it from, what brand it is, or who installs it, a home automation system will consist of several basic parts. Together, these individual parts all contribute to the functionality, convenience and efficiency of your home, so even though a trained home automation Dealer will install your system, it helps to understand the role each component plays in the management and control of your home’s electronic products and systems. Below is a brief description of the most important components in a well designed home automation system:
Referred to as the “brain” of a home automation system, the core controller receives signals from devices like handheld remotes, keypads, occupancy sensors, and timers. It then translates those signals into commands and relays those commands to the appropriate equipment. All of this happens in less than a second. For example, upon receiving a signal from a timer at 6 p.m., a home controller could instruct certain lights to activate, the thermostat to adjust to a prescribed setting and the audio system in the den to start playing for your return home from work. Or say you touch a button labeled “Good Night” on a keypad by your bed—the processor could initiate a house-wide sweep that turns o all the lights and A/V equipment, locks the doors and sets back the thermostat.
Although it holds the intelligence that makes your home perform how you want it to, a home controller is able to maintain a very low pro le in your house. The non-descript, unassuming box is typically tucked away inside a closet or utility room where it’s rarely touched or seen. It runs in the background, doing its job with little fanfare. And that’s the whole idea. A home automation processor should be so seamlessly integrated into your home and lifestyle that you often forget it’s there.
No controller can do its job without software. The software embedded in a controller tells the products and systems in your home what to do and when to do it. The software basically provides a set of rules for your home to follow. The beauty of a software-driven system is that these rules can be easily changed, altered and modi ed, often remotely, due to the fact that most automation systems can connect to the Internet. Say you’d like to add new dimmer switches to your home’s automation routines. A few simple tweaks of the software and your new switches can be fully integrated. And just as you would with any software- driven product—like your home computer and cable box—expect software updates to come from the home automation manufacturer as they continually re ne and expand the capabilities and functionality of their systems.
On its own, a software-driven home automation system is like a car left parked in the garage. The power and the performance are there ready to be unleashed, but that home automation “vehicle” needs somewhere to drive. This “somewhere” in a home automation scenario is the various “subsystems” that can be connected (either by wire or wireless communications protocols) to the core controller. Common subsystems to link include lighting, heating and cooling, whole-home audio and video, motorized shades and security. Once integrated with the automation system—a process that involves programming the automation software and adding the necessary hardware and wiring— these subsystems are able to seamlessly communicate with each other and operate as one cohesive unit. When the lights dim in preparation for a movie, for example, the shades can close and the thermostat can adjust to make the room more comfortable. Likewise, when an “Away” command is issued, every subsystem can react accordingly.
THE USER INTERFACES
Through its built-in timer and intelligence, an automation system is able to launch commands to prescribed subsystems based on the time of day, occupancy in a room and other conditions. In this case, your home is operating completely automatically. While some level of automation is bene cial, for the most part, you’ll want to stay in charge of the situation and issue these commands yourself. This is where user interfaces come into play. Functioning as a dashboard to your home automation system, a user interface provides valuable information about every subsystem on your automation network and lets you control them easily and conveniently with just a few taps of a finger. A user interface can come in many forms, including wall-mounted keypads and touch screens, smartphones and tablets, and handheld remotes and computers. No one type is better than another; which kind you choose really boils down to your personal preference and the design of your home. Some people can’t bear the thought of mounting technology to the walls of their new home, so they’ll often opt for portable user interfaces like tablets, smartphones and wireless touch screens. Other people prefer the tactile feel of hard buttons, so they’ll stick mainly with handheld remotes. Regardless of which combination of interfaces you choose, it’s important that they be intuitive for everyone in your family to use.
YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
The last, and most important link in a home automation chain, are those who rely on the system to make their lives easier and more enjoyable. In other words: you and your family. Your input is critical to the usefulness of a home automation system. Think about areas of your life and home that could benefit from being more easily managed and controlled, and apply that to the setup of your automation system. Also, keep in mind that even when your family dynamic changes, an automation system can change, too.
In conclusion, Control4 is a solid system with many options for connectivity. One of the better aspects of Control4 is they offer a wide array of products. Not only do they have amazing home control systems, here are a few other items Control4 offers to make them a full service automation supplier.
-Home Security Products
-Home Lighting Controls
-Home Audio and Video including receivers
-and many more!