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Loves2control4

POLL: In 2-3 years, will Control4 be replaced by other technologies like Alexa?

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I'm not a professional forecaster but you should always expect "waves" to occur in the tech industry.  There's a lot of competition.  Control4 is sliced bread.  Alexa is just a loaf.  The voice control is very cool and affordable, but I don't like having to ask 15 times to turn off the light in my daughter's room.  I should have named her something other than Arianna. 

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28 minutes ago, lippavisual said:

The problem with all these DIY solutions/systems, is they are all cloud based and most have recurring payments involved.  Why anyone wants to get locked into that mantra is beyond me.  These systems just seem way more vulnerable to me for hacks, especially since most of them require personal/financial information to be shared.

No thank you.

C4 isn't going anywhere and I don't see Alexa/Amazon or Google really competing with them either.  They may make some hub that will combine all their DIY products for HVAC, Security and the like.  But please don't think they will even venture into controlling everything, like C4 does.  Won't happen.

I don't like cloud based in general because I don't have real control over it.  But C4 now relies on cloud services for some function too. And I don't have a single Alexa device that requires a recurring payment.  

 

I don't think Amazon will try to control everything.  But they won't have to. They already have the ability to do a significant percentage and are advancing the platform every day.  Watch what happens with Alexa Routines support over the next 12 months.  Imagine the flexibility of IFTTT with the responsiveness of Alexa.  

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9 minutes ago, dcovach said:

Whats to stop any company from developing voice control that could compete with Alexa?  I think voice control is its own beast and not to be confused with true automation.  I certainly would be impressed when Alexa can discern between one voice to another to prevent Alexa from triggering from any voice.  Its not secure enough when a near by TV could accidently trigger alexa to execute something.

In theory the only barrier to entry is money.  Going to be a heckuva sales pitch to investors to say you want to compete in that market though.

Agree that voice control <> Automation, but to most people it is.

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8 minutes ago, Loves2control4 said:

That makes sense. Have you seen that tailwind translate into increase demand for C4 type products over the last few months?

Im not a dealer so I can't comment on that.  All I know is what we want as a family and that is never to have to touch a switch if we don't absolutely need to.  Right now that requires both Alexa and C4.   But more and more of the interface with my automation is moving out of C4.  I want it (Voice Control / response) integrated into C4 including device location awareness and variable responses (even if that's just directing a Simon says command response)

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With automation as the subject, I think the trick to all these tech companies staying alive is to have some symbiosis instead of trying to bury each other.  I'm sure there is a point in time when companies decide to buy out the competition, or they go all guns-a-blazing with cheaper competitive products or lawsuit upon lawsuit until the company with the least of funds for lawyers caves and dies a slow death.  Healthy competition is necessary for the tech industry to grow and advance.

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Yes, but not Alexa.
Control4 is heading the same way as Nokia and Kodak.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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25 minutes ago, Zuhair said:

Yes, but not Alexa.
Control4 is heading the same way as Nokia and Kodak.


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I don't want to get too far off topic but the failures of Kodak have been greatly exaggerated and misconstrued. It's not that they didn't change with the times, or didnt see digital coming, it was that digital pictures and physical pictures are as different industries as airplanes and food.

https://www.smartindustry.com/blog/smart-industry-connect/in-defense-of-kodak/

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The custom integration industry is not in trouble. There will always be a need for professionals to set up home systems either for people who don't have the time or don't have the skill.

I do think there are too many custom automation companies out there. I don't think RTI, URC, Elan, Savant, Control4, Bitwise, Crestron, etc. will all be around in 5-10 years. I think Control4 is probably positioned better than most of the others (I think Crestron is in the best shape of all them). RTI seems like a company I wouldnt bet on. They still havent really embraced moving away from custom interfaces.

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I don't want to get too far off topic but the failures of Kodak have been greatly exaggerated and misconstrued. It's not that they didn't change with the times, or didnt see digital coming, it was that digital pictures and physical pictures are as different industries as airplanes and food.
https://www.smartindustry.com/blog/smart-industry-connect/in-defense-of-kodak/


This is exactly what you are saying. They were seeing the digital age coming and acted very late.


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8 minutes ago, Zuhair said:

This is exactly what you are saying. They were seeing the digital age coming and acted very late.

 

They weren't an electronics company though. They were a chemical company. They would have no advantages over the new competitors they would have in the digital space, in fact, they would have many disadvantages. Very few, if any, companies could have made that transition.

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As an aside, Kodak is still around, though not as large as they used to be.  I watched one of there headquarters get demolished about 5 years ago in my area.

My kids have received several Kodak cameras over the years, which some still print out the photos.  They love them.  They've also received the digital versions, Kodak Share, I believe.  They don't like that one as much because it doesn't print the pictures right away!!

The freakin film for those things are hella expensive.

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4 minutes ago, Loves2control4 said:

To take you all back to Control4, are you optimistic or cautious that they will increase in overall popularity over the next 2-3 years?

this feels like one of those google surveys you have to fill out to read a USA Today article....

As for an answer to that question; I think it increases some due to the Triad and Pakedge acquisitions. I also think it depends if they have been able to talk some upper level security dealers into using the CA-1 instead of using advanced features ELK, Hai or Honeywell. If I was Control4 and trying to increase market share/popularity I would be trying to buy either RTI or Savant.

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2 hours ago, Loves2control4 said:

How much pressure? Are you optimistic or cautious over the next 3-6 months?

After buying the DS2 that will be my last C4 only product we will buy.

normal we only buy products that interact with C4 software.

fell let down with DS2 and the intercom app - Mess

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3 hours ago, jfh said:

... C4 now relies on cloud services for some function too. ...

 

Not for in-home, standalone installations.

It requires internet for things like time, etc., and for dealer remote access (at no additional charge to the homeowner), and utilizes cloud services for things like the driver database, etc., but for-cost Cloud service (4Sight) is only required for access of things outside the home, or for additional cloud-based services, such as Amazon Voice, etc.

RyanE

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no

 

For the foreseeable future Control 4 has its place among the other solutions for the professional installer. As nice as some of these DIY products are and the value they bring. They offer zero benefit to the professionals. No distribution no whole sale for the most part and even if we can get them there is nearly no margin after the hassle let alone if it breaks and we have to make a return trip. It is hard not having access to do everything you want with something you own, but that does not effect a majority of consumers in this market. As nice as alexa is i would say less than 30% of my customer have one and even less have them integrated with any smart device at all most of them use them for timers, weather , jokes , etc. 

The diy market of products is also still fairly unreliable as well for the professional market. Gonna harp on them as it was recent, but ring cameras are a good example. Majority of the time that cameras work easily and is no issue. But for something that is $200 bucks with less than 10% margin and has an average $75 install, the moment we have an issue with one its a loser. I even had one at my house and after months of issues ring wasn't even able to come up with a solution and I had to return it all.

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3 hours ago, Gary Leeds UK said:

After buying the DS2 that will be my last C4 only product we will buy.

normal we only buy products that interact with C4 software.

fell let down with DS2 and the intercom app - Mess

This is a sad commentary on the state of C4.  You would think that a video doorbell would be a no-brainer for a C4 dealer.  But if C4 can't even get a basic product working on a house LAN, I'm not optimistic there would try anything like voice control. ;)  

 

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2 hours ago, Matt Lowe said:

For the foreseeable future Control 4 has its place among the other solutions for the professional installer. As nice as some of these DIY products are and the value they bring. They offer zero benefit to the professionals. No distribution no whole sale for the most part and even if we can get them there is nearly no margin after the hassle let alone if it breaks and we have to make a return trip. It is hard not having access to do everything you want with something you own, but that does not effect a majority of consumers in this market. As nice as alexa is i would say less than 30% of my customer have one and even less have them integrated with any smart device at all most of them use them for timers, weather , jokes , etc. 

The diy market of products is also still fairly unreliable as well for the professional market. Gonna harp on them as it was recent, but ring cameras are a good example. Majority of the time that cameras work easily and is no issue. But for something that is $200 bucks with less than 10% margin and has an average $75 install, the moment we have an issue with one its a loser. I even had one at my house and after months of issues ring wasn't even able to come up with a solution and I had to return it all.

 

I agree with all this and Ring is actually a great example.  If C4 had a working reliable doorbell solution at anytime in the last four years, I would have bought one, even at the incredible price C4 wants.  I thought maybe they finally got it right with the DS2, but gave up waiting and got a Ring Elite.   I don't particularly like Ring, primarily because it does not integrate well with C4 and requires cloud services for video.  A C4 dealer made a few dollars on Ring instead of a significant margin on a DS.  Same thing when I was looking for a Thermostat. By the time there was something decent, I was already hooked on Ecobee.

 

C4 is hard to beat for lighting control, switches, keypads audio and video distribution and basic automation programming (though all the hassles with audio and announcements in 2.10 soured me on its reliability).   Anything else?  Seems like whatever innovation there is is coming from third party developers.  

 

Back on topic, C4s Alexa support seems to either be incomplete or designed by someone who gave no thought as to how it would actually integrate into an existing system.  Combine the Epic Systems driver with Alexa Routines and not only do you have more functionality and better voice recognition, you don't require the recurring cost of 4Site.

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57 minutes ago, jfh said:

This is a sad commentary on the state of C4.  You would think that a video doorbell would be a no-brainer for a C4 dealer.  But if C4 can't even get a basic product working on a house LAN, I'm not optimistic there would try anything like voice control. ;)  

 

I have a 2n/Holovisik kit.  I get calls on my cell phones and c4 touchscreens at the same time.  100% programmable in c4 so I get doorbell sounds on my c4 Amps and use Alan’s push notification for a still photo in case I don’t open the door I can still get a quick snapshot.  You can think outside the box and get a product that works.  Sometimes c4 solution isn’t the best but that’s what makes c4 great - you can pick multiple hardware solutions and mix and match 

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12 hours ago, jfh said:

The "in" is the current method of how C4 interacts with AWS.  Control is extremely limited and restricted to light device type control (on/off/up/down etc).  Current C4 Alexa support is a trick.  It (or some other form of voice control) needs to be organic.  I cannot imagine C4 developing its own VC (and certainly not a local home/controller solution) so they will rely on 3rd party integration (like Amazon) for VC.

 

My whole house Control4 system is automated with Alexa, far beyond basic lighting commands. It's also set up to automate with two previous types of voice command systems.  They will not relay, but certainly support 3rd party products including Alexa. 

13 hours ago, jfh said:

 

Yes, the amount of people using VC in their automation is a select group.  But there are no signs that VC is a craze or a fad.  It is a vital automation mechanism for non-passive control.  I'm not sure who you think is the leader in smart device voice control/recognition if it isn't Amazon.  And it's functionality is evolving rapidly.  "Amazon can't even get one Alexa to answer versus another" - if this is true for you your devices are running on very old firmware. I have nine Alexa devices and they each respond as expected.  But the C4 Alexa skill doesn't use device awareness which limits location (Room based) control.   Does whoever you think is the leader work with C4?  

You are correct that automation is about ease of use.  VC is the ultimate "ease of use" for most users.  Motion detectors, occupancy sensors and NFID devices enable passive control.  Switches/keypads and touchscreens enable active control.  Good VC takes active control to the next level.  Most that want automation aren't going to care how it's done.  They aren't going to care if it's a (mostly) contained system like C4 or disparate control through a common interface (like Alexa).  What matters is ease of use (and maintenance), cost and flexibility.

 

 

This was an example of what you hear from "regular" users. People don't know anything about firmware or appetite ways to mange technology. Ultimately these voice devices become just another part that needs managed and maintained. People don't like that and most users in turn use it less often. People don't speak clearly, they don't want to repeat themselves. Again, automation for the MAJORITY is about easy of use in a daily environment. Most people are sick of technology and try to use Control4 to simplify their life. Yelling at something isn't appealing to most no matter how convenient it may be. Most people actually care SPECIFICALLY how it is done. Alexa can just as quickly become an after thought in the coming years as it became a success. The same can be said with many of these newer devices that may again have greater or equal potential with pro-automation versus Amazon. VC is absolutely a fad. Unless its the internet or a mobile device its up for possible debate. Control4s model is to adapt to the home technologies that release. 

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13 hours ago, Hardware said:

My whole house Control4 system is automated with Alexa, far beyond basic lighting commands. It's also set up to automate with two previous types of voice command systems.  They will not relay, but certainly support 3rd party products including Alexa. 

This was an example of what you hear from "regular" users. People don't know anything about firmware or appetite ways to mange technology. Ultimately these voice devices become just another part that needs managed and maintained. People don't like that and most users in turn use it less often. People don't speak clearly, they don't want to repeat themselves. Again, automation for the MAJORITY is about easy of use in a daily environment. Most people are sick of technology and try to use Control4 to simplify their life. Yelling at something isn't appealing to most no matter how convenient it may be. Most people actually care SPECIFICALLY how it is done. Alexa can just as quickly become an after thought in the coming years as it became a success. The same can be said with many of these newer devices that may again have greater or equal potential with pro-automation versus Amazon. VC is absolutely a fad. Unless its the internet or a mobile device its up for possible debate. Control4s model is to adapt to the home technologies that release. 

 

I have absolutely no clue what you point is.  Your rambling notwithstanding, if you think Alexa or voice control is going to become an afterthought you clearly don't understand the market.  

 

Voice Control isn't like 3D TV.  Until we can control devices with thought, VC is the next best thing.  As it gets more powerful, flexible and ubiquitous those manufacturers and service providers that don't integrate it seamlessly will be left behind.

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Sadly I am. But I try to keep as minimal personal stuff as possible

Hope you arent using a smart phone then.

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No

Alexa is just another interface to use to control, much like touch screens and remotes that’s all. Alexa does not do anything special, it just takes a voice command and translates it to an action that fires it to a hub that connects to a device, hue, hive etc  etc. Even with the skills they are doing the same thing, voice command, run app, fire command to hub etc etc. Yes I know they now come with hubs built in but it’s still doing the same thing. Alexa won’t even replace a remote control just compliment it.

I love my Echo’s, I have 4, but they are just other ways of making the real clever stuff like control4 work better. 

They are just a better remote control, an upgrade to the clapper light if you wish and are not an automation product. :P

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