mic2010

2017 Thoughts for Control4

263 posts in this topic

Thing is with Dish, they don't have a hope in hell of penetrating the European market. Sky would have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

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Posted (edited)

I have been a user in SLC since 2007 and have gone through maybe 5 different companies as installers and continued maintenance - man, the housing crash was brutal to many, but really brutal to AV people in the valley (the reason for so many companies).  Anyway, I love the system, have continued to upgrade and am pleased.  Will be building a new home in a year and will install a moderate size C4 option. 

My only advice, the system works as good as the company who installed it or maintains it - a good network solution is the most valuable piece of the install (man network issues can just cause unusual behavior).

Also, my opinion only, don't upgrade your software unless you have to.  Meaning, you are way behind, or a new feature is needed.  In my experience, an upgrade just to have the latest xxx.xxx.xx version can introduce unneeded hassle or bugs.  Just my 2 cents.

I am currently dealing with my remotes randomly losing reception, shows hourglass for 5 - 20 seconds (no response on remote), then all becomes good.  My AV guy moved zigbee off the main controller to a centrally located 250, seemed to fix it for a week, now its happening again, but less frequently.  This all happened about 3 upgrades ago, this summer.

I know first world problem, even with that tiny issue, I love C4 and look forward to new options in the future.

Edited by panamagixxer
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Okay.  I've been stalking this forum off and on for ~5 years ... ever since I purchased Control4 for the new house I was building.  But this topic jarred me enough to register so I could weigh in on this subject.

First, I love my Control4 system and I'm a committed customer (or maybe I should just simply be committed?).  But I absolutely HATE being tethered to dealers to perform tasks that I am more than capable of.

In my opinion, I should be able to buy Control4 hardware products from multiple sources (including Amazon) and should be able to download Composer Pro for use on my licensed system. I am willing to assume responsibility for my system.  I'm delighted to have a dealer network available for high-end consulting and to charge accordingly (and also to save my behind if I screw up).  But why do I need to pay a dealer $90 to add a single device into my network?  Why should I pay $300 to configure 6 wireless outlets ($50 each - not including hardware!)?  Why should it cost $350 to swap a receiver?

My wife (a gadget gal) got a new Google Home from the kids for Christmas and she's been busy integrating it into our home calendar and other things.  As for me, I would personally LOVE to integrate it into my Control4 system.  That functionality would be wonderful.  I've read the available documentation and think this is certainly within my capabilities.  But I can't see hiring a dealer to undertake this.  I could never afford it!

Frankly, I think if Control4 fails to change their business model and give greater "control" to their customers we WILL see the Amazon/Google's of the world either buy them out or make them irrelevant.

Personally, I hoping for the buyout.  I'd hate to think my past investment in hardware and customized dealer consulting services would be wasted

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13 minutes ago, JimG said:

Okay.  I've been stalking this forum off and on for ~5 years ... ever since I purchased Control4 for the new house I was building.  But this topic jarred me enough to register so I could weigh in on this subject.

First, I love my Control4 system and I'm a committed customer (or maybe I should just simply be committed?).  But I absolutely HATE being tethered to dealers to perform tasks that I am more than capable of.

In my opinion, I should be able to buy Control4 hardware products from multiple sources (including Amazon) and should be able to download Composer Pro for use on my licensed system. I am willing to assume responsibility for my system.  I'm delighted to have a dealer network available for high-end consulting and to charge accordingly (and also to save my behind if I screw up).  But why do I need to pay a dealer $90 to add a single device into my network?  Why should I pay $300 to configure 6 wireless outlets ($50 each - not including hardware!)?  Why should it cost $350 to swap a receiver?

My wife (a gadget gal) got a new Google Home from the kids for Christmas and she's been busy integrating it into our home calendar and other things.  As for me, I would personally LOVE to integrate it into my Control4 system.  That functionality would be wonderful.  I've read the available documentation and think this is certainly within my capabilities.  But I can't see hiring a dealer to undertake this.  I could never afford it!

Frankly, I think if Control4 fails to change their business model and give greater "control" to their customers we WILL see the Amazon/Google's of the world either buy them out or make them irrelevant.

Personally, I hoping for the buyout.  I'd hate to think my past investment in hardware and customized dealer consulting services would be wasted

sounds like you need Composer HE and help from another dealer if you are not happy with them.

with the above you can have the ifttt driver dropped in your system and you can program everything yourself.

see this thread here why it is so important to have dealer training, all he wanted to do was play music to a stereo amp.

 

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For the google home go through a dealer to buy composer HE, the IFTTT driver and install it and you can tinker around and do as much as you can handle in HE

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If Control4 products and Composer Pro are available on Amazon, who is going to provide technical support? This forum would be full of people with problems and no dealers to help, I certainly wouldn't help someone that bought stuff off eBay or Amazon and had no training or experience in installing and setting up C4. A very small minority of people with Control4 have the skills, time or desire to install or modify there system. 

In the UK Control4 only have a small amount of staff and in no way could they handle the volume of calls if all consumers contacted them for support.

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based on Comcast's last few attempts, it will be dead in a year

Comcast Home is big here in Chicago as is Vivint's automation offering.

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23 minutes ago, NextGenAV said:

If Control4 products and Composer Pro are available on Amazon, who is going to provide technical support? This forum would be full of people with problems and no dealers to help, I certainly wouldn't help someone that bought stuff off eBay or Amazon and had no training or experience in installing and setting up C4. A very small minority of people with Control4 have the skills, time or desire to install or modify there system. 

 

You sell Pro only to that small subset of users you mention.   If that person needs help, hire a dealer on a Time and Materials basis.  If C4 wants to offer direct email or phone access, license it on an annual basis for non-dealers.   This is not a hard problem to solve; it's just one C4 doesn't want to solve.

 

 

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Just now, jfh said:

 

You sell Pro only to that small subset of users you mention.   If that person needs help, hire a dealer on a Time and Materials basis.  If C4 wants to offer direct email or phone access, license it on an annual basis for non-dealers.   This is not a hard problem to solve; it's just one C4 doesn't want to solve.

 

 

whos gonna make that call on who to sell it to? I think if control4 were even going to do it that customer would have to end up paying for the week long course training and time.

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29 minutes ago, NextGenAV said:

If Control4 products and Composer Pro are available on Amazon, who is going to provide technical support? This forum would be full of people with problems and no dealers to help, I certainly wouldn't help someone that bought stuff off eBay or Amazon and had no training or experience in installing and setting up C4. A very small minority of people with Control4 have the skills, time or desire to install or modify there system. 

Here is the thing; if Composer Pro is open to anyone who purchases a system, then other people become experts on the software who are not dealers. Those people who become experts share their experiences and so on. Dealers can still offer help on this forum (or whatever site) if they want but now they don't have to answer calls from people who just need a light switch installed or a TV to switch out. They can focus on the doctors, lawyers and other high end clientele who "just want it to work".

I don't think Control4 should ever offer through Amazon though. Hardware purchases should always go through an authorized dealer who would license the software for you and what not.

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8 minutes ago, Matt Lowe said:

whos gonna make that call on who to sell it to? I think if control4 were even going to do it that customer would have to end up paying for the week long course training and time.

 

So only sell/license it to those that pay for/complete the C4 training.  Create a "Control4 Certified" program.  

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Comcast Home is big here in Chicago as is Vivint's automation offering.

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Viviant doesn't really have an offering? Isn't it ⚖ cobbled together bits

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Here is the thing; if Composer Pro is open to anyone who purchases a system, then other people become experts on the software who are not dealers. Those people who become experts share their experiences and so on. Dealers can still offer help on this forum (or whatever site) if they want but now they don't have to answer calls from people who just need a light switch installed or a TV to switch out. They can focus on the doctors, lawyers and other high end clientele who "just want it to work".

I don't think Control4 should ever offer through Amazon though. Hardware purchases should always go through an authorized dealer who would license the software for you and what not.

That's an assumption that they become experts...

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2 minutes ago, msgreenf said:

That's an assumption that they become experts...

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Depends on the definition of expert I guess. I would think the number of competent, non-installers willing to help would be significant enough to support most setups.

The complication of a Control4 system isn't really found in installing drivers and doing bindings though; it is in the programming, which can already be done by the homeowner with HE.

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People don't seem to get it ... there would be NO CONTROL4 DEALERS. The reason we do this job is to make a living, if products and programming software is offered to the mass market then margins will collapse and it will not be worth our while installing and programming systems.

I'm not a charity and I don't want to drop-ship Control4 to a customer and then be expected to support someone because they can't get a driver to work.

How many professional Harmony Remote dealers are out there installing there products ... none? And if a professional AV installer suggests Harmony as your control system ... show him the door!

Installing and programming Control4 isn't difficult, in fact it is easy ... but, it is easy because of time spent being able to quickly identify and resolve problems. I've seen new C4 installers pour over a problem for hours and I have looked at the projects and within a couple of minutes spotted and resolved the problem ... how? 100+ installations completed, not doing 5 days training!

I see the scenario mentioned above about a consumer having Pro and if they got into trouble, call in a dealer! 'I tried to take out my appendix doctor because I bought a scalpel online, but something went wrong ... help!'

Very early on I did give a copy of Pro to a guy who was a Senior Network Analyst, he cocked up the system so bad I had to upload the backup I made after I had finished the initial setup. None of the lights worked and his wife was close to killing the guy.

I'm sure some people on here would be perfectly capable of updating and modifying there own system, but some people who bought Pro and did the training wouldn't. Just as a lot of the people that do the Control4 training and pass the course are completely incapable of setting up a system once they are sat in a home with a bunch of boxes and a blank project file.

Is there an example of a home automation system where a consumer can have all the benefits of a dealer? Access to software, tech support etc ... I'm struggling to think of one.

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5 hours ago, therockhr said:

Those people who become experts share their experiences and so on.

They become experts on THERE system, not Control4 installations.

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Some things will need to become easier and something will need to stay just as they are. I think most of us have seen C4 move in the direction of making things easier, which is awesome.

In the end it will come down to are their enough people within the current market segment to sustain growth for this publicly traded company.  If there are enough then the company will continue down this path, if they see the market getting soft and find that they need to lure more people in then you may see more concessions in an attempt to bring those lower level consumers into the Control4 fold.  It will be a fine balancing act of keeping dealers profitable and being able to attract new customers who possibly don't have the money to afford to have a dealer for everything. In the end C4 is a public company and its about profits and continued growth.

I think right now they are doing just fine. 

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As a recent entrant to the fold I echo what a few are saying here - good system but dealer model/interactions a serious PIA (not generalizing, I'm sure there are tons of great dealers).  

Ultimately there will be a lot of pressure from open systems and current model will have to change.  As an example I've  used google home with IFTTT and the possibilities it opens up are endless.  A closed system will find it hard to match the pace of innovation from open systems.  Security and reliability are the deterrents today for open systems but the difference will rapidly diminish.  My two cents - understand people feel differently about this so not trying to rain on anyone's parade.

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1 hour ago, NextGenAV said:

People don't seem to get it ... there would be NO CONTROL4 DEALERS. The reason we do this job is to make a living, if products and programming software is offered to the mass market then margins will collapse and it will not be worth our while installing and programming systems.

I'm not a charity and I don't want to drop-ship Control4 to a customer and then be expected to support someone because they can't get a driver to work.

How many professional Harmony Remote dealers are out there installing there products ... none? And if a professional AV installer suggests Harmony as your control system ... show him the door!

Installing and programming Control4 isn't difficult, in fact it is easy ... but, it is easy because of time spent being able to quickly identify and resolve problems. I've seen new C4 installers pour over a problem for hours and I have looked at the projects and within a couple of minutes spotted and resolved the problem ... how? 100+ installations completed, not doing 5 days training!

I see the scenario mentioned above about a consumer having Pro and if they got into trouble, call in a dealer! 'I tried to take out my appendix doctor because I bought a scalpel online, but something went wrong ... help!'

Very early on I did give a copy of Pro to a guy who was a Senior Network Analyst, he cocked up the system so bad I had to upload the backup I made after I had finished the initial setup. None of the lights worked and his wife was close to killing the guy.

I'm sure some people on here would be perfectly capable of updating and modifying there own system, but some people who bought Pro and did the training wouldn't. Just as a lot of the people that do the Control4 training and pass the course are completely incapable of setting up a system once they are sat in a home with a bunch of boxes and a blank project file.

Is there an example of a home automation system where a consumer can have all the benefits of a dealer? Access to software, tech support etc ... I'm struggling to think of one.

 

I'm sorry, but you're buying into the propaganda that C4 uses to justify the "dealer exclusive" model.   Allowing a program to certify non-dealers is going to produce graduates that are great, some that are OK, and some who will just never be any good - just like the dealers that exist today.   Since any program would be voluntary for non-dealers, odds are that there would be more "great" non-dealers than not.

 

other than possibly losing margins on C4 hardware sales (which I can understand), as a dealer, why do you care if someone calls needing support, regardless of where the hardware came from?  Bill the customer the and material.  If the customer has really screwed up, it could be very profitable ...

 

If C4 is going to grow its market/market share, they have to significantly expand support.    It's not cost effective for dealers motivated primarily by new installs and equipment margins to spend resources supporting existing customers whose primary needs are software based.   

 

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2 hours ago, NextGenAV said:

Installing and programming Control4 isn't difficult, in fact it is easy ... but, it is easy because of time spent being able to quickly identify and resolve problems. I've seen new C4 installers pour over a problem for hours and I have looked at the projects and within a couple of minutes spotted and resolved the problem ... how? 100+ installations completed, not doing 5 days training!

 

Missed this.   Guess what?  I've implemented code with HE  for function with C4 that my dealer said was super complicated or couldn't be done and they were wrong.   Your assumption that any dealer is going to be better than any non-dealer is ridiculous.  Yes, experience can be helpful.  But many times desire and interest trumps experience.  There are many dealers that will just never have the mindset to do what some technical DIYers invested in learning/doing will have the drive to do.

The only dealers that will suffer if C4 implements a certification program open to non-dealers are those that can't figure out how to survive and prosper without market guarantees and protection.   

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Desire, interest and experience trump's desire and interest. That's what a good Control4 dealer is. The majority of people here that want to use Pro have had / are having a bad dealer experience, therefore dislike not being able to DIY.

How would it work if I installed a system that I support through a service contract, and the 'expert' neighbour with Pro decided to 'help out'. I get a call on Friday, dinner guests arriving, no light, no music, neighbour hiding.

Anyway, this will just go round and round in circles.

Last parting shot, if the lights stop working because you were trying something new with Pro and someone in the family fell down the stairs and broke there neck. Would you cover it up and sue the original installer?

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Last parting shot, if the lights stop working because you were trying something new with Pro and someone in the family fell down the stairs and broke there neck. Would you cover it up and sue the original installer?

This just generated the biggest blank stare .

If someone can't walk down the stairs without lights they have bigger issues. People all over the world walk around without automated lights or lights at all.

Now back to our regularly scheduled debate.

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14 minutes ago, NextGenAV said:

Desire, interest and experience trump's desire and interest. That's what a good Control4 dealer is. The majority of people here that want to use Pro have had / are having a bad dealer experience, therefore dislike not being able to DIY.

 

Then you shouldnt have any problem with those people being able to license Pronand take the training if they are willing to do so.

 

14 minutes ago, NextGenAV said:

How would it work if I installed a system that I support through a service contract, and the 'expert' neighbour with Pro decided to 'help out'. I get a call on Friday, dinner guests arriving, no light, no music, neighbour hiding.

 

A big stretch here, but that's on the homeowner and neighbor, not you.   Laugh all the way to the bank helping out the homeowner if you are so inclined.

 

 

14 minutes ago, NextGenAV said:

Last parting shot, if the lights stop working because you were trying something new with Pro and someone in the family fell down the stairs and broke there neck. Would you cover it up and sue the original installer?

 

 

You have officially gone off the deep end.    This is the most absurd  "only dealers should have Pro" argument I've read since I've been on this site.

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