Control4 has introduced a new version of its smart home OS, with it bringing features similar to IFTTT. This will enable fully customisable scenes using the over 10,000-plus devices that Control4 supports.
Dubbed When/Then, this new feature from Control4 is launching this week at CEDIA 2017 as part of the company’s new OS 2.10 and the 4Sight cloud service. For Control4 and the home-technology channel in general, this changes everything.
“We’ve been hearing for a long time that home owners want to make adjustments after they’ve lived with their systems,” says Brad Hintze, senior director of product marketing for Control4. “We think we’ve struck a good balance between the quality and reliability of a professionally installed system with the hands-on capabilities that consumers have wanted.”
Over the past few years, virtually all the major home-control vendors have incorporated DIY-type features in their professionally installed systems. Once the installer walks away, users can make adjustments like creating lighting scenes, setting up automation schedules, or programming text alerts for certain events.
But no pro-oriented system goes as far as Control4 with its When/Then engine. The user can take virtually any configurable button in the Control4 environment – whether it’s on a remote control, keypad or doorbell – and tell the system what to do when someone presses it, taps twice, presses and holds ….
The whens don’t have to be physical actions such as pressing a button. A when can be a time of day, sensor activity, temperature setting, basically anything that could occur in the Control4 environment.
Users can program thens to be as simple as sending a text message when the door is unlocked, or as complicated as launching a morning scene that ramps up the lights, opens the shades and turns the television on to CNN.
Developing the When/Then engine was no small feat for Control4, which had to ensure it was simple enough that “customers wouldn’t be bombarding their dealers,” says Brad, but also safe enough that users couldn’t wreck the programming.
Nothing the dealer programs in Composer Pro can be touched, but it can be supplemented. For example, if you want a pre-programmed button to control an additional light, simply create a command that when the button is pressed, then control that light.
All of the When/Then commands are pushed into Composer automatically, so dealers can view, delete and modify the programming as necessary.
Oh the Engagement and Analytics!
When/Then helps dealers avoid all the little customer calls for adding a light to this scene, or changing the TV station on that scene, or sending a push notification when the kids come home.
But the feature does a few other things. First, it keeps customers engaged with the system. As every integrator knows, if the system doesn’t keep up with the needs of the family, eventually the family stops using it, stops adding to it, and stops telling friends about it.
Once they start playing around with it, however, Brad says customers will likely want to add more devices to the system and “tell others about it.”
“We think it will be transformational for our channel,” he says.
There’s another thing: Since dealers see the end-user programming, they can get a better understanding of how their customers are using – or not using – their systems.
This knowledge can help dealers better understand their clients’ needs and how they might benefit from additional products and services.
Additional OS 2.10 Features
In addition to the When/Then engine, Control4’s new OS 2.10 and 4Sight service includes a new Intercom App that lets users receive calls directly from their Control4 door stations and other video intercoms on their mobile devices.
While on a call in the Intercom App, with a single tap, homeowners can initiate Control4 commands such as turning on lights or unlocking the door, without leaving the app. The company says this feature is unique to Control4.
Also new: Control4 has added iHeartRadio and Spotify to its roster of native streaming services, which already includes Deezer, Napster, Pandora, TIDAL, and TuneIn.