mic2010

2017 Thoughts for Control4

263 posts in this topic

Happy New Year to all!

I'm an end user and my prospective might be very different from a dealer. But here are my New Years thoughts for Control4 from a users perspective! 

I have been using Control4 for about 8 years and I am ready to abandon ship for the much better options and value that are hitting the market. I'm extremely tired of hardware failures and upgrade problems, not to mention the nickle and dimming that Control4 has gotten away with for years. 

The light at the end of the tunnel is a train! Your business model is going to be be similar to Polaroid if you don't treat your customers better and start providing much better value in your hardware and services.

With Amazon, Google, Apple, Nest, Ecobee and hundreds of smart home devices hitting the market it is entirely possible that Control4 goes down the tubes sooner than later.

Now that most consumers have smart phones, having a few apps to control their home devices is not a big deal and the Control4 integration is no longer worth the huge expense.

Just my thought to start the new year!

 

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Happy New Year to you. From a dealer stand point, good luck to you. C4 doesn't nickel and dime. They have a price for the part and then for 4sight. They have even started including mounting and other items into the purchase of the product. So if you are being nickeled and dimmed, look at your dealer or most likely the way you are integrating. Buying and installing one or few items at a time versus having an integrator install the whole package at once will be more costly to the end user. But what do I know, I'm just the guy who installs it. Good luck to you in 2017 and beyond.

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13 hours ago, mic2010 said:

With Amazon, Google, Apple, Nest, Ecobee and hundreds of smart home devices hitting the market it is entirely possible that Control4 goes down the tubes sooner than later.

Now that most consumers have smart phones, having a few apps to control their home devices is not a big deal and the Control4 integration is no longer worth the huge expense

For me, im not interested in having to flip back and forth between 5+ apps to control my house making things much more difficult than needed. Also what would you be using for universal remotes? For those with distributed video that is a must and something about using a remote to select a source then to pull out your phone to run the app to select content is a painful experience in my opinion. It really depends on your level of complexity but a unified system definitely has its advantages

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Also I was having a conversation with a friend about harmony remotes and a lot of the consumer products that are out there. The issue is they are designed to be set up and configured by the average person so that in itself limits the systems capabilities because they cant make it too complicated

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every option has tradeoffs, you just have to figure out which is right for you

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I see lots of less expensive and easier ways to accomplish individual things, but nothing that ties it all together in a slick interface. That and good handheld remotes are the hardest parts to do elsewhere.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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15 hours ago, mic2010 said:

or the much better options and value that are hitting the market

? Such as?

You can do it CHEAPER, sure. But value is an opinion. As others mentioned, if you want to switch back and forth between multiple apps, lose and or don't care about a lot of interoperability, you can piece things together. Not to mention having to spend your own time to figure it out and do it (not an issue for some, but it is too many)

First 2 projects of 2017? Old clients that moved, did what you propose here, and found it lacking. Now we'll be retrofitting C4.

 

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As an end-user, my experience has been very good over my limited time with Control4. Two months in and I find myself using its capabilities 75% of the time I am at home, and we haven't added any lighting yet. I researched cheaper options for a year (including Vera, etc) before I decided on Control4. Very happy.

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I have a client with a cinema system in his house with an HC-300 and SR-250 remote. Think it was installed 5 or 6 years ago, works 100% of the time. Do you think the products from Amazon, Google etc etc will still work with 100% of the time after 6 years in use? All control in the cinema is IR, RS232, relays ... if the broadband goes down ... aw, it still works! Wonder what cloud based control would do ... eh, nada!

The new control devices are exciting, but limited. People wonder why Crestron, AMX, Control4, Savant, RTI, URC etc have been around for so many years with such bad products ... it's amazing they survive :)

 

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As I mentioned in my original post this was my observation (two cents worth) and certainly dealers will have different thoughts and motivations on this topic.

I am glad to hear that recent end users are happy. Wait till you decide to upgrade a version or one of your out of warranty hardware devices fail.

My system was fairly bulletproof for the first few years when I was on an older version. When I upgraded to a newer version and was forced to add new hardware the problems started so I am going by my experience only.

If 8 years ago, when I considered Control4 there were the various current options available I would have never shelled out the money for Control4. I don't mind moving between simple apps on my IPhone or IPad to control my home devices. I feel fairly confident that as Apple, Google, Amazon and other add compatible devices that issue will go away also.   

I would much rather handle updates and changes myself than pay (and wait for) a "certified Control4 dealer" to charge me for what should be simple changes or upgrades.  When I consider the wasted time when dealing with the past issues it also has to be calculated into the "value add" for home automation.  

I think a great example would be if I want to add a thermostat, it should be as simple as adding a state of the art, Nest or Ecobee to the system. Buy it, check YouTube and your up and running in 30 minutes. 

 

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20 hours ago, mic2010 said:

Happy New Year to all!

I'm an end user and my prospective might be very different from a dealer. But here are my New Years thoughts for Control4 from a users perspective! 

I have been using Control4 for about 8 years and I am ready to abandon ship for the much better options and value that are hitting the market. I'm extremely tired of hardware failures and upgrade problems, not to mention the nickle and dimming that Control4 has gotten away with for years. 

The light at the end of the tunnel is a train! Your business model is going to be be similar to Polaroid if you don't treat your customers better and start providing much better value in your hardware and services.

With Amazon, Google, Apple, Nest, Ecobee and hundreds of smart home devices hitting the market it is entirely possible that Control4 goes down the tubes sooner than later.

Now that most consumers have smart phones, having a few apps to control their home devices is not a big deal and the Control4 integration is no longer worth the huge expense.

Just my thought to start the new year!

 

I would love to jump right in with you on the bashing but time has shown that there is not a realistic market for whole home DIY AV control. Too many configurations out there and not easy for non tech consumers to configure. That is why I can't abandon Control4. My wish now is that they keep moving more stuff to be user configurable from the app. I also wish they would allow users to have a license for Comproser Pro that only worked with their registered controllers. 

The DIY market is moving to the Sonos/Google Home/Echo type of audio setups. No wires and easy setup. 

If you don't have to do AV control there are other options out there just as good if not better than c4. 

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28 minutes ago, mic2010 said:

If 8 years ago, when I considered Control4 there were the various current options available I would have never shelled out the money for Control4. I don't mind moving between simple apps on my IPhone or IPad to control my home devices. I feel fairly confident that as Apple, Google, Amazon and other add compatible devices that issue will go away also.

Tough situation, back 8-10 years ago your options were pretty much control4 or crestron and I can tell you that all systems that are around that age tend not to age well. period. That is a risk you take to be bleeding edge, this was likely before HDMI distribution was attainable to most consumers. Today you can do sonos/heos/google home and chromecast audios and for many that is great for zone audio under most situations to the average consumer. Then you need another solution for lighting and door locks so you go the smartthings/hue/vera route for z-wave. So now another app and there is a little bit of IFTTT configuring that can be done to help bridge them together, but most people are going to want a turn key solution so this will not work. DIY is gaining popularity but has a far way to go even still, maybe in 3-5 years but even still that still doesnt tie in your AV needs so then again another system to turn the TVs/AVRs and control the sources without an encyclopedia of an owners manual for the end user to use just to get things turned on

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I also try to stay vendor agnostic if I can. My whole home audio system is russound, audio streamer sonos, global cache for IO, lutron for lighting and honeywell for security and thermostats. Only Control4 gear I have is a controller and remotes (hopefully upgrade controller and add 2 touch screens this year). 

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43 minutes ago, mic2010 said:

out of warranty hardware devices fail

And this is different with Google or Amazon? or Harmony?

43 minutes ago, mic2010 said:

I feel fairly confident that as Apple, Google, Amazon and other add compatible devices that issue will go away also.   

can they yes, have they no.  No one is tackling whole home. Everyone is tackling niche's.

 

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I do think that discussions like this are healthy for the home automation market.

I also hope that Control4 can stay in the game and don't end up like Polaroid that did not see the train coming. 

Change is great for the consumer and end user and I can only hope that Control4 is doing market studies to best provide hardware and services that compete better moving forward. 

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I'm obviously a bit biased (as I'm a Control4 employee), but speaking as someone who has been in the Home Automation industry for nearly 20 years (and has done AMX, DIY, and Control4), I've heard many, many times that 'full home' automation was going to be overrun by large company X or Y.  20 years ago, that was Microsoft or Sony, now it's Apple and Google.

They're certainly big players, and will have automation functionality (as they should), and there are small players that do a lot of 'IoT' functionality, but creating what Control4 has created, a comprehensive system that allows you to use nearly any (controllable) device with nearly any other device, and that isn't a 'walled garden' that only lets some devices play is difficult.

While I'd never say it's impossible for Google or Apple or someone I've never heard of will come out of the blue and take over the market, I still feel that Control4 is in the right place at the right time, and has the right strategy.  I've not seen anything that beats the ease of use (and 'Wife Acceptance Factor') that Control4 has when properly setup.

Control4 *does* continually try and provide better value to the homeowner on both products and services, and will continue.

To the original poster, good luck with whatever your Home Automation system turns out to be.  Hope you find something that works for you.

Control4 is not for everybody, and that's OK.

:)

RyanE

 

 

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WAF is key

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

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The funny thing is the consumers on this forum are not your typical client. ALL of my clients just want it to work when they want to watch TV, put on lights etc. They don't care what is under the bonnet, they just want it to work.

People have a tendency to assume that everyone else has the same attitude towards there home technology. A current client of mine has retired from being a CEO of a large company that deals with technical control systems that I couldn't even imagine controlling ... people die if it goes wrong kind of stuff. He hasn't got a clue what is in his system, he just knows that it works and if there is a problem he will ping me a text message and I fix it ... that is it. He knows where to power cycle sat boxes when they freeze up and that is the full stop of his interest in interacting technically with his system. This guy has greater knowledge of control systems than I will ever have.

There seems to be a lot of people on hear that have a go at dealers ... and then in another post ask the same dealers and programmers to help them!! I would love to give all customers that wanted Composer Pro a copy ... on the provision that if they mess the system up it will cost a premium for me to fix there mistakes. This is how it works in every walk of life ... if you fix the brakes on your car and do it badly and wrap it round a tree ... it costs you more and you should have asked someone that knew what they were doing!

I really enjoy what I do and if I didn't have to earn money to pay for silly things like food, I would still do it ... and free,

 

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26 minutes ago, RyanE said:

I'm obviously a bit biased (as I'm a Control4 employee), but speaking as someone who has been in the Home Automation industry for nearly 20 years (and has done AMX, DIY, and Control4), I've heard many, many times that 'full home' automation was going to be overrun by large company X or Y.  20 years ago, that was Microsoft or Sony, now it's Apple and Google.

They're certainly big players, and will have automation functionality (as they should), and there are small players that do a lot of 'IoT' functionality, but creating what Control4 has created, a comprehensive system that allows you to use nearly any (controllable) device with nearly any other device, and that isn't a 'walled garden' that only lets some devices play is difficult.

While I'd never say it's impossible for Google or Apple or someone I've never heard of will come out of the blue and take over the market, I still feel that Control4 is in the right place at the right time, and has the right strategy.  I've not seen anything that beats the ease of use (and 'Wife Acceptance Factor') that Control4 has when properly setup.

Control4 *does* continually try and provide better value to the homeowner on both products and services, and will continue.

To the original poster, good luck with whatever your Home Automation system turns out to be.  Hope you find something that works for you.

Control4 is not for everybody, and that's OK.

:)

RyanE

 

 

My wife uses it all day and still hate me for it 😉

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My wife claims should something happen to me she would have to sell the house !

Go figure, its all there on the touch pad and iPad with labelled switches.

I truly like my Control4 but if I knew then what I know now as to the acceptance of its capabilities by the boss I would not be a Control4 owner.

:rolleyes:

 

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I have to agree with @NextGenAV.

I've been lead programmer on dozens and dozens of systems, and none of my customers wanted to deal with the system. They just want it to work.

In fact, for most of them, we wind up adding more integrations and features than they originally planned, because they hate having to use 6 different apps to control their house.

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I also wish they would allow users to have a license for Comproser Pro that only worked with their registered controllers. 

I bet there would be a mass exodus from dealers if that ever occurred. Are you willing to take a week off from your real job to attend the week of training? Are you willing to pay for every minute associated with fixing what you may break and cannot resolve? I had a dealer a couple weeks ago wonder why the client's lighting scenes (several dozen of them) had all mysteriously vanished among other oddities; that prompted a truck-roll for the dealer ($$$). Turns out the client had loaded an outdated version of the project while monkeying around with Composer.

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3 minutes ago, d1amund said:

I bet there would be a mass exodus from dealers if that ever occurred.

 

> No, only from bad or non-responsive ones.

 

Are you willing to take a week off from your real job to attend the week of training?

> Absolutely.  

 

Are you willing to pay for every minute associated with fixing what you may break and cannot resolve?

> Of course.  But if we pay attention during training, the odds of that happen diminish.

 

I've said it before - not licensing Pro only protects bad dealers and probably hurts good ones.

 

3 minutes ago, d1amund said:

I had a dealer a couple weeks ago wonder why the client's lighting scenes (several dozen of them) had all mysteriously vanished among other oddities; that prompted a truck-roll for the dealer ($$$). Turns out the client had loaded an outdated version of the project while monkeying around with Composer.

 

Too bad for him.  If he screwed it up, he should expect to pay time and materials to get it fixed.

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16 minutes ago, d1amund said:

 

 

I bet there would be a mass exodus from dealers if that ever occurred. Are you willing to take a week off from your real job to attend the week of training? Are you willing to pay for every minute associated with fixing what you may break and cannot resolve? I had a dealer a couple weeks ago wonder why the client's lighting scenes (several dozen of them) had all mysteriously vanished among other oddities; that prompted a truck-roll for the dealer ($$$). Turns out the client had loaded an outdated version of the project while monkeying around with Composer.

There is nothing magical about composer pro. if I had access to the same kb articles as the dealers I would never need training or have a need to call a dealer. Ever. Not being conceded as there are plenty of people like myself who could do the same.

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