Two years ago, Control4 had an itty bitty booth at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE). Last year, the manufacturer of affordable home control systems upped its booth size substantially, and this year the Control4 exhibit is downright large.
Business in Europe increased 38 percent this year for Control4, a relative newcomer compared to its competitors in the home automation category. “We are taking some competitors’ business away,” says VP EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, Africa) Tony Leedham.
Control4 attributes much of its success in Europe to a growing market in certain territories including Israel, South Africa and Ireland. Control4 expects yet another boost in business thanks to the departure of Philips Pronto, one of the most popular home controllers in Europe.
“A lot of people were doing a lot of Pronto. Control4 fills the gap,” says Jane Scotland of Extra Vegetables, developer Control4 integration drivers.
Will Control4 come out with a larger touchscreen remote a la Pronto? Probably not, suggests Scotland, who thinks the company’s multi-button remote with its small screen and TV GUI are just fine.
Even so, it’s probably time for a refresh of the Control4 remotes, and the company plans to introduce a new one this year, according to VP Paul Williams.
Meanwhile, Control4 has shored up its European offerings.
Last year, the company came out with a DIN rail version of its products. This year, Control4 is showcasing a variety of new drivers for Euro-centric subsystems including those based on the KNX automation standard.
“They have a bunch of new drivers,” says Steve Moore, principal of UK-based integrator SMC. “It makes them look all grown up.
In particular, Moore cites drivers for HeatMiser and CoolMaster, two popular HVAC brands in Europe. Extra Vegetables wrote those drivers, as they did Sonos, Apple TV and several others before that.
Demonstrating in the Control4 booth during ISE 2011, Extra Vegetables showcased integration with HDI Dune media servers. The company also previewed a new “Tube Status” app for the 4Store. The app will allow users to check status reports on the London underground and eventually to tie the information into automation events.
For example, if traffic is unusually busy on the user’s typical route, an alarm clock could blare earlier than usual.