Whether it’s Amazon, Apple or Google, the tech giants from Silicon Valley are set on uprooting the smart home industry that we’ve become accustomed to. That means legacy players in the market are being forced to step it up a notch, and we’ve recently seen what that means for Crestron, but we’re now getting a taste for what’s next from Control4.
Control4 Smart Home OS 3 is the latest version of the company’s popular automation system and offers a whole host of new features for those looking to expand the functionality of their smart home. That’s not the major focus of this new release, however. Just as the Silicon Valley promises to simplify the smart home, Control4 is hoping to do the same – albeit without sacrificing functionality.
“The Control4 Smart Home OS is designed to remove complexity,” said Charlie Kindel, who previously headed up Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, but is now Control4’s Senior Vice President of Products and Services.
“Every home is a mix of products from a variety of companies, a Smart Home OS embraces this reality, providing broad choice rather than creating a collection of tiny walled gardens that limit homeowners.”
Unlike Crestron Home, powered by OS 3, Control 4 Smart Home OS 3 is not a drastic departure in terms of design. Instead it’s a simple refinement of what was on offer with previous versions of the software. That’s by no means a bad thing, as Control4 has consistently offered one of the most intuitive home automation systems on the market, and now it’s even simpler. In fact, many popular functions can be activated through simple, one-touch control. Users also get an at-a-glance view for security and lighting.
More Than 1,000 New Features
Control4 says that OS 3 offers more than 1,000 new features, and while most are small refinements, there will be a few major additions that are likely to be fan-favourites. Ironically, that includes the addition of favourites, a feature many users have been asking for, and will make navigating the Control 4 Smart Home OS 3 much easier.
Using Favourites on OS 3, users will be able to bring any of their most-used features to the front and centre on any control device. That means whether a homeowner chooses to control their Control4 system through the mobile app, touchscreen or a TV, they’ll be able to easily find their favourite device, service, scene or playlist with a single tap.
It’s not just about making things simple, however. Control4 still wants users to know that its home automation system is massively expandable, and OS 3 is definitely expandable. It boasts support for more than 13,500 third-party devices and 7,500 Control4 SDDP-embedded products, while Control4 has also added native support for MQA. That means high-resolution audio streaming through TIDAL masters and a user’s own MQA-encoded music collection is now just a tap away.
Control4 Smart Home OS 3 Highlights:
• Introducing Favourites, OS 3 gives homeowners the ability to bring virtually everything in the home to the top of the room in the mobile app, touch screen, and TV. Favourites provides one-touch control and, more importantly, homeowners can now see whether the home is secure or lights are on anywhere in the home without tapping.
o Favourites provide homeowners the flexibility to prioritise the devices for each room. In a living room, the news station can be at the top of the app, where the over-island lights show up first in the kitchen view.
o Simply press and hold to Favourite a device, service, scene, or playlist in any room. Drag icons to reorganise or delete them from the screen with a simple tap, interactions any mobile user is familiar with.
• Assemble whole-home dashboards for at-a-glance views of the most vital devices from any room. In the master bedroom, Favourite the front door lock, garage doors, and security cameras to ensure the home is secure before going to bed.
• Easily see only the lights that are on, the blinds that are open, and the doors and security zones that are secure, a necessary capability required when you have many connected devices throughout the home.
• Homeowners can personalise their system and tailor it to their needs as they live and grow with it. Edit or create smart home scenes, set schedules to automate devices, and modify how devices interact.
• OS 3 has reimagined multi-room entertainment. With OS 3 share your music throughout the home with an elegant look, crisp sound, and the ease of one-touch access to the most popular streaming services. Stream video with the same intuitive approach, just relax and watch.
o Music and video take a prominent position with Active Media located at the top of the screen, showing music controls, and track details right at the front.
o Streaming music and video throughout the home is simple with all-new Sessions to easily add or remove rooms, adjust the volume everywhere or within a single room.
• OS 3 adds native support for streaming high-resolution audio in Control4 systems with the addition of MQA (Master Quality Audio). Now homeowners can stream better-than-CD quality music through TIDAL Masters and listen to their own MQA-encoded music collection.
• Advanced security system management — With unified lock management, lock users, and PINs are now easily managed through OS 3 for all locks (with no need to create and edit users for each lock). Create a user, assign a PIN and a schedule, and apply the changes to all locks installed in the home.
• Coordinated shade control — New blind and shade options with more than 350 new icons that represent the wide variety of ways window coverings operate, let users easily see all shades that are open, and with one-button press, close them across the house.
• Users can set a different wallpaper for every room, choosing from a variety of designer-approved images or their own photos matched to their home and lifestyle.
• Dealer Tools — Control4 has always led the industry with tools that enable swift, easy, and reliable deployment. With OS 3, dealers will enjoy enhancements that further simplify programming, reduce repetitive tasks, and speed up deployment.
• Thoughtfully refined and optimized, each interface is designed for the different ways a customer will use a mobile phone, a touch screen mounted on the wall, or a hand-held remote and a TV. The mobile phone is optimized for one-hand control in portrait mode, while the TV interface is focused on the entertainment experience from the couch.
Control4 Smart Home OS 3 – For Installers & Owners
Control4 is keen to differentiate itself from its competitors in Silicon Valley, and it’s doing that by stressing its commitment to installers. While Amazon, Apple and Google offer home automation systems that are brought together with their respective voice assistants, they don’t offer the cohesion that can be achieved when having a professional come in and install a central system to tie everything together – and Control4 knows that.
“For more than 15 years Control4 has held steadfast in the belief that meeting the expectation of a true smart home requires professional installation,” stated Control4 Chairman and CEO Martin Plaehn.
“We have relentlessly built a network of trained professionals, and today Control4 has more than 200 Control4 Certified Showrooms where consumers can walk in and experience OS 3. Control4 has nearly 6,000 Authorised Dealers, OS 3 leverages the talent and skill of tens of thousands of smart home pros around the world to install, update, and manage smart home technology for families.”
Despite its commitment to installers, Control4 recognises that one of the benefits of a consumer-grade system is that it puts the user in control. That means they don’t have to contact an installer every time they want to change a scene or create a new command. Control4 Smart Home OS 3 offers the best of both worlds – granular user control, with the support of a professional installer to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Control4 Smart Home OS 3 is available now through Control4 Authorised Dealers. Control4 Smart Home OS 3 information can be found here. Homeowners and professionals are invited to get hands-on with Control4 Smart Home OS 3 at their nearest Control4 Certified Showroom location for C4Yourself Day worldwide on June 13 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. local time.