The Control4 is one of the many home automation platforms available to consumers. Home automation products can make your life simpler by giving you the ability to control certain electrical devices, systems, and components in your home without having to physically get up and flip a switch, push a button, or turn a dial.
These systems let you control compatible systems and components from a central console, home computer, work computer, or even your smartphone. So, what sets this system apart making it the one you should buy? Let’s take a look at it and you can decide for yourself.
Control4: Next Generation Lighting Control System
Most of the home automation systems over the past few months have been multifaceted systems, giving you control over a wide variety of devices and systems in your home. The Control4 system, however, is different. Most of what’s on their website says that the system is just for controlling lights. However, they have a video that shows the system does much more than that.
The company was founded in 2003 with the mission of providing a means for consumers to control and automate the music, lighting, energy consumption, video, and home security. Their system currently has interoperability (the ability to operate with other systems and devices) with well over 7,000 third-party consumer electronics devices, with more devices and systems being added constantly.
The system is available worldwide with more than 2,200 certified integrators (installers) in North America, as well as distributors in 73 countries.
Attractive and Elegant Solutions
As can be seen from the labels on the panel itself (right), this device is able to control a number of different systems and devices in the home, wirelessly. This particular controller/keypad is configurable or programmable. Unlike some of what’s available so far, it’s also attractive, so it won’t look ugly or out-of-place in your home.
As an example of this programmability, you can program the controller to perform a number of functions when a certain button is pushed.
In the video mentioned above, they show that the controllers can be programmed to turn the lights down and close the shades when a movie is queued up using the system.
No more walking around the room turning off lights and closing shades when you want to watch a movie, simply press a button.
Control Just Your Lighting
For those that simply desire a means of controlling all their household lighting, without any of the fancy extras, this system also offers a line of wired lighting control panels. Typically, most home automation systems can be almost completely installed by the consumer, since they are completely wireless.
However, for those that just want to have control over their house’s lighting, the wired keypad is connected (by wires) to a lighting control center module that is tucked out-of-the-way. Unless you are familiar with running electrical wiring and how to hook up electrical devices, this is something that’s best left to the system integrators. Climbing through crawlspaces isn’t fun or easy.
Control4: Advanced, Yet Kids Can Control
Going back to the video mentioned above, the system is shown to be highly advanced, yet intuitive enough to understand and navigate that even your kids won’t have any trouble controlling it. The video shows a toddler manipulating the system on a tablet (I can’t tell what kind).
Control Your House from Anywhere
One of the (in my opinion) most attractive features of home automation systems is that they give you the ability to control your home’s electrical systems even if you’re on the other side of the country or globe, as long as you have an Internet connection. With this system, this is accomplished by downloading and installing one of their apps.
There are apps for Android and iOS smartphone and tablet owners, as well as PC and Mac desktop apps. When you’re at home and wanting to control the system via the desktop or mobile apps, the app logs into your home WiFi network, and when you’re away from home, the app connects to the Internet. When away from home, simply log into your account via the company website and make the desired changes. However, control when you’re away, like the other systems I’ve looked at, requires a subscription to their remote service.
Personally, since this system doesn’t seem to offer complete home security system integration, it’s not for me. However, for most, this shouldn’t be an issue. The system incorporates well with video monitoring and just about everything else in the house, so not having complete home security integration shouldn’t be much of a detractor.