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C4 Connect and Assist - new CIaaS offering


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17 hours ago, eggzlot said:

I honestly do not know - so I am asking, but the "alternatives" to C4 (to me) are Crestron, Savant, Elan, URC....do they have required fees?  I am not poking the bear, I am really just inquiring because I am curious.

Are there "free" dealer based solutions that as custom installer would sell?  To me the free things are more amazon/big box store offerings but I could be wrong

Savant has way MORE fees than C4.  The ones that I know of that are "fee-less" right now are Crestron, Elan/Nice, URC and RTI.  Everyone is right about RmR becoming a regular everywhere. However we as consumers/dealers shouldn't have to accept it in everyday life.  C4 had fees for app development with 4sight.  Not enough for them.  Elan/Nice outsources most 3rd party drivers to other companies.  This is one way to minimize development costs.  There are extra fees with that but not recurring and when building a system for a customer, predictable.  Now Elan's future after the Nice acquisition...that's another discussion. 

The sad thing is I've seen this game COUNTLESS times in the IT realm over 2 decades.  It's the same playbook all companies use when they become publicly traded. 

1. They start with trying to find new revenue streams to keep that line going up.  (RmR is the darling of the public company and is a logical choice) 

2. Once peak saturation hits they are going to look for other revenue streams which means either buy additional companies or capitalizing on existing.  (Why give dealers margins when you can just sell direct and get ALL of that revenue)

3. After that you want to search for mass adoption (Since you now can sell direct sell direct everywhere)

4. Cut costs at all ends. (Cheapen production, limit R&D, and outsource support.)

5. All of this will end up cheapening the product and now it's time to merge with another company or buy another and start at 1.

 

Both Connect and Assist sets the ground work for the above.  It won't be a fast change but mark my words,  it will happen.  Anyone old enough will remember this playbook with Dell.  The current c-suites will insist the above isn't happening.  It may actually be possible that this isn't their intent, however, you are public and that line needs to go up.

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48 minutes ago, zaphod said:

Lifetime license fees are not a sustainable business model over the long run. 

I guess I did a poor job when making that suggestion. What I meant was an option to pre-pay the yearly subscription fees so it's one lump sum and called something different than a subscription. The company still accounts for it as subscription. Numerous ways to structure that so it's not forever and all future hardware revs and offerings. More simply stated find a way not to call it a subscription when it's a subscription and offer ways to pay it up front.

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14 minutes ago, eggzlot said:

I doubt anyone from C4 that participates here would answer - but curious for the dealers what % of their customers pay for 4sight versus don't pay for 4sight?  If spending $10,000s > $100,000s on a custom integration of AV, Lights, HVAC, Security, etc I cannot see someone balking over $150 or $250/year?  The only use case I see is a 1 room home theater type - no real need to pay for 4sight because local control is sufficient and don't likely need the other features.

So forcing a $99/year solution I think may deter the Core Lite + Halo bundle being sold to get people "Started" on c4 with a home theater where a dealer hopes that installation could maybe lead to a bigger job.  Its already like $1k for that bundle, adding in $99/year I think will chase people away.

It's more about burnout and people feeling nickle and dimed for little value.  If your doing RmR, you need to show value for it.  O365 arguably gives you a lot for what you pay for.  Netflix gives you a ton of content everywhere.  Adobe...etc.  Connect breaks down to about $21 per/mo.  That's almost as much as a single license for 0365 Business Premium and more than Netflix! (almost netflix premium)  What does that get them?  It's a nothing add on to high end clients however a lot of those clients are sharply aware of "value".  If I can control my lights without a fee (Lutron), watch my cameras remotely without a fee (Hik,Axis...etc) open my garage doors without a fee (Chamberlain...for now) adjust my thermostats (ecobee)....you get where I'm going with this.  If you want RmR you need to show value and connect just doesn't currently offer much except for future promises that it will be good.

 

Small installs many times lead to bigger jobs.  Start with a remote and audio a lot of times leads to..."Hey what if we add lights", "Im building a new house and thinking..", "I have a cabin where I would love to...".  I love the small jobs and this is a dagger for a lot of those.  It's too expensive for small builds with little value as it currently is.  Throw in an included streaming subscription (like verizon or Att does) and now we have some value to sell.

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If Connect wasn't going to offer more than 4sight, they would have just raised the price of 4sight or discontinued 4sight and moved every into the "new and improved" Connect.

They need to give 90 days notice, and they're a public company so they're keeping the cat in the bag.

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19 minutes ago, RAV said:

If Connect wasn't going to offer more than 4sight, they would have just raised the price of 4sight or discontinued 4sight and moved every into the "new and improved" Connect.

They need to give 90 days notice, and they're a public company so they're keeping the cat in the bag.

As of now it will offer "More visibility into how your house is being used (metrics), the ability to use the app (that's right no local app access without.), access to upgrades (confused with this one because you still need a dealer to install and the dealer has access to upgrades) and access to new features in the future.

 

Maybe in the future they will offer more but as it stands it's not there.  This is 4sight 2.0 that is mandatory.  They are a public company that needs some positive growth.  (their stock looks pretty flat after the initial IPO)  They need the revenue and they need it soon.  Implement and hope the growth will follow.  I am a long time lover of C4 and I think all of their choices were really smart up until the IPO.  They are the only control company that's public (crestron, savant, Elan/Nice (Nice for you not ltd), urc and rti are all private) and it's a hard industry to show consistent growth in.  I am quite concerned about snaps future.  They may still be around and they may make money but the value they will give the consumer is troubling.  That line needs to go up one way or another

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It's a tight rope for sure.
Legally needed to change dealer terms, and at the same time keep the cat in the bag without admitting there is a cat, but the terms have to cover the cat, but there is no cat.

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13 minutes ago, TheTechHipster said:

I am quite concerned about snaps future.  They may still be around and they may make money but the value they will give the consumer is troubling.  That line needs to go up one way or another

They (Snap One) have actually yet to make money.  Looking at the publicly available Inc Statement from 2019-22 they lost from 9 to 34 M per year, although they might have made money in 2023 - they haven't released results yet - Mar 14 is when they release results.  Revenue is pretty flat over the last 3 years at about $1B per year.

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26 minutes ago, zaphod said:

They (Snap One) have actually yet to make money.  Looking at the publicly available Inc Statement from 2019-22 they lost from 9 to 34 M per year, although they might have made money in 2023 - they haven't released results yet - Mar 14 is when they release results.  Revenue is pretty flat over the last 3 years at about $1B per year.

Ahh, so they are chasing the Amazon model.  That seems sustainable in this industry. /s

I'm sure some of that loss has to do with the control4 merger and assuming everything involved with that.  Snap was always a good niche company before that. (no idea of financials)  Control4 had a pretty good bang for the buck as well.  In 2019 they were coming in hot with the OS3 refresh, updated controllers and amps,  Triad One but they were also saddled with debt with other acquisitions before.  Leaf in 2015 and Triad 2017.  This is partial speculation due to my inexperience with anything corp finance.  I can just spot similar trends from other companies I've seen go down this road in the past.

All of this leads me to the main point of,  I don't think this is going to end well for consumers/dealers in the long run.  Right now it seems like a small change but i've seen this game before.  Luckily for consumers there are still options.

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2 hours ago, TheTechHipster said:

Savant has way MORE fees than C4.  The ones that I know of that are "fee-less" right now are Crestron, Elan/Nice, URC and RTI.  Everyone is right about RmR becoming a regular everywhere. However we as consumers/dealers shouldn't have to accept it in everyday life.  C4 had fees for app development with 4sight.  Not enough for them.  Elan/Nice outsources most 3rd party drivers to other companies.  This is one way to minimize development costs.  There are extra fees with that but not recurring and when building a system for a customer, predictable.  Now Elan's future after the Nice acquisition...that's another discussion. 

The sad thing is I've seen this game COUNTLESS times in the IT realm over 2 decades.  It's the same playbook all companies use when they become publicly traded. 

1. They start with trying to find new revenue streams to keep that line going up.  (RmR is the darling of the public company and is a logical choice) 

2. Once peak saturation hits they are going to look for other revenue streams which means either buy additional companies or capitalizing on existing.  (Why give dealers margins when you can just sell direct and get ALL of that revenue)

3. After that you want to search for mass adoption (Since you now can sell direct sell direct everywhere)

4. Cut costs at all ends. (Cheapen production, limit R&D, and outsource support.)

5. All of this will end up cheapening the product and now it's time to merge with another company or buy another and start at 1.

 

Both Connect and Assist sets the ground work for the above.  It won't be a fast change but mark my words,  it will happen.  Anyone old enough will remember this playbook with Dell.  The current c-suites will insist the above isn't happening.  It may actually be possible that this isn't their intent, however, you are public and that line needs to go up.

I am an end user, I'd rather pay $149 than $249 or even better, $0.  But I am also keen at sharpening my pencil and I no longer directly pay for any streaming service.  Because eventually they start to rebundle so I get Paramount with my Walmart Plus (which I get for free with my Amex card), I get Netflix, AppleTV and Hulu from TMobile.  It all comes full circle...

I took a look, Crestron sells a ton of licenses, so maybe not RmR but it could be larger 1x fees up front?  Change the hardware, buy a new license aka Tivo?

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14 minutes ago, eggzlot said:

I am an end user, I'd rather pay $149 than $249 or even better, $0.  But I am also keen at sharpening my pencil and I no longer directly pay for any streaming service.  Because eventually they start to rebundle so I get Paramount with my Walmart Plus (which I get for free with my Amex card), I get Netflix, AppleTV and Hulu from TMobile.  It all comes full circle...

I took a look, Crestron sells a ton of licenses, so maybe not RmR but it could be larger 1x fees up front?  Change the hardware, buy a new license aka Tivo?

Crestron is the Maserati of the industry.  Amazing system and a work-horse but always going to be a bit more expensive.  (Their new OS is re-aligning a bit though)  Elan/Nice is similar where you need a 3rd party driver for some things like Roku IP control (you can always use IR....) and that would up the cost a bit but that driver has been good throughout the years of Roku development.  URC Totalcontrol or RTI are similar to that but probably priced more similarly to C4

Just give me an old URC mx-980 with RF control at this point :)

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21 minutes ago, TheTechHipster said:

Crestron is the Maserati of the industry.  Amazing system and a work-horse but always going to be a bit more expensive.  (Their new OS is re-aligning a bit though)  Elan/Nice is similar where you need a 3rd party driver for some things like Roku IP control (you can always use IR....) and that would up the cost a bit but that driver has been good throughout the years of Roku development.  URC Totalcontrol or RTI are similar to that but probably priced more similarly to C4

Just give me an old URC mx-980 with RF control at this point :)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/156033707289?epid=2254339059&hash=item2454556d19:g:CDYAAOSwxk1luD~7&amdata=enc%3AAQAIAAAA4Ad2nk1l0WhbO0WXmGOgmydmvqIRdzgUXqt7nwmaY669v7fCF6RWvvmgNTyLwJXtpuf7%2FfQvhsCmB0SuJQRvlypcytHPfKJkrSoTZ7pOkiTWzNjer1C18i2u%2FQ%2BRaxKCjvmTkcVWq3LsKOXD3vDZw6wGylFRQ1g%2FtB2Bzo6ZHM2tsGKuc0PhNmOobhyXEfGJIecSq0HKlFrBTEUr8pW%2Fg%2B34OpRzPW5TifsjuujSVBzKLi8gxwxHU66nPTyyzwtpCFtvV7RZIaIV03OhQSAjOwk0dtMsNd47udgltFVneU9y|tkp%3ABFBMwP-3obFj

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Crestron is the Maserati of the industry.  Amazing system and a work-horse but always going to be a bit more expensive.  (Their new OS is re-aligning a bit though)  Elan/Nice is similar where you need a 3rd party driver for some things like Roku IP control (you can always use IR....) and that would up the cost a bit but that driver has been good throughout the years of Roku development.  URC Totalcontrol or RTI are similar to that but probably priced more similarly to C4
Just give me an old URC mx-980 with RF control at this point

I dunno. I think for residential, Control4 beats Crestron. Control4’s layout and third party drivers are great.


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1 hour ago, Topspin14m said:


I dunno. I think for residential, Control4 beats Crestron. Control4’s layout and third party drivers are great.


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I think depending on size of job....absolutely.  Crestron is getting better but for small to medium I think C4 is fantastic.  C4 also learned from the mistakes of the neeo.  I like that in a company. It shows they care(d) about quality.

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9 hours ago, TheTechHipster said:

Savant has way MORE fees than C4.  The ones that I know of that are "fee-less" right now are Crestron, Elan/Nice, URC and RTI.  Everyone is right about RmR becoming a regular everywhere. However we as consumers/dealers shouldn't have to accept it in everyday life.  C4 had fees for app development with 4sight.  Not enough for them.  Elan/Nice outsources most 3rd party drivers to other companies.  This is one way to minimize development costs.  There are extra fees with that but not recurring and when building a system for a customer, predictable.  Now Elan's future after the Nice acquisition...that's another discussion. 

The sad thing is I've seen this game COUNTLESS times in the IT realm over 2 decades.  It's the same playbook all companies use when they become publicly traded. 

1. They start with trying to find new revenue streams to keep that line going up.  (RmR is the darling of the public company and is a logical choice) 

2. Once peak saturation hits they are going to look for other revenue streams which means either buy additional companies or capitalizing on existing.  (Why give dealers margins when you can just sell direct and get ALL of that revenue)

3. After that you want to search for mass adoption (Since you now can sell direct sell direct everywhere)

4. Cut costs at all ends. (Cheapen production, limit R&D, and outsource support.)

5. All of this will end up cheapening the product and now it's time to merge with another company or buy another and start at 1.

 

Both Connect and Assist sets the ground work for the above.  It won't be a fast change but mark my words,  it will happen.  Anyone old enough will remember this playbook with Dell.  The current c-suites will insist the above isn't happening.  It may actually be possible that this isn't their intent, however, you are public and that line needs to go up.

Please explain how Savant how way more fees… 

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Savant has no required subscriptions. 

They have 1 annual subscription option (cost dependent on which host) that covers things like cloud system backups, DS2 cloud recording, Ring and Zoom integration. $500 is the max cost for the largest systems. 

Savant has 1-time licensing. The costs again depend on which host.

A license purchase is required every OS change , 8.x to 9.x … 9.x to 10.x but there are regular x.1, x.356 updates for each OS. Single room systems have free licenses. 

A license purchase is required for lighting, music and power 3rd party SYSTEM integrations like Homework’s or LEAP for example. This has been Savants more drastic change in the face of increasing costs we see across the industry. The writing is on the wall for all the brands. Realistically it cuts off the bottom 20% of the dealers in a continued move to position the company as the ultra lux option in the market where Control4 doesnt compare well. 

It’s really a two horse race with both now having their appropriate place in the market. 

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2 hours ago, Control4Savant said:

Savant has no required subscriptions. 

They have 1 annual subscription option (cost dependent on which host) that covers things like cloud system backups, DS2 cloud recording, Ring and Zoom integration. $500 is the max cost for the largest systems. 

Savant has 1-time licensing. The costs again depend on which host.

A license purchase is required every OS change , 8.x to 9.x … 9.x to 10.x but there are regular x.1, x.356 updates for each OS. Single room systems have free licenses. 

A license purchase is required for lighting, music and power 3rd party SYSTEM integrations like Homework’s or LEAP for example. This has been Savants more drastic change in the face of increasing costs we see across the industry. The writing is on the wall for all the brands. Realistically it cuts off the bottom 20% of the dealers in a continued move to position the company as the ultra lux option in the market where Control4 doesnt compare well. 

It’s really a two horse race with both now having their appropriate place in the market. 

I think that pretty much explained how there are more fees with Savant over Control4.  I was wrong to call it "subscription cost" however,  you mostly will need it depending on a "typical" install.  Am I wrong?  A local integrator sells the 5 year plan but it's still recurring.

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We are 90% Control4 installations. The Client has Lutron Lighting and Shades and they insisted on Savant over Control4

Savant charged $6250 for the License and the integrator makes pennies on that. 

 

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Savant has no required subscriptions. 
They have 1 annual subscription option (cost dependent on which host) that covers things like cloud system backups, DS2 cloud recording, Ring and Zoom integration. $500 is the max cost for the largest systems. 
Savant has 1-time licensing. The costs again depend on which host.
A license purchase is required every OS change , 8.x to 9.x … 9.x to 10.x but there are regular x.1, x.356 updates for each OS. Single room systems have free licenses. 
A license purchase is required for lighting, music and power 3rd party SYSTEM integrations like Homework’s or LEAP for example. This has been Savants more drastic change in the face of increasing costs we see across the industry. The writing is on the wall for all the brands. Realistically it cuts off the bottom 20% of the dealers in a continued move to position the company as the ultra lux option in the market where Control4 doesnt compare well. 
It’s really a two horse race with both now having their appropriate place in the market. 

With Savant can you remote access the system without a subscription? Because if not, a subscription is really required. I know some people don’t use remote access, but this is 2024. That’s a pretty basic feature of any smart home product-most offer that for free.

Also, I had seen $1100 for the largest systems here: https://www.cepro.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Savant-Essentials-One-Page-Dealer-Sales-Sheet-.pdf

Is that wrong/only for commercial jobs?


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1 hour ago, Topspin14m said:


With Savant can you remote access the system without a subscription? Because if not, a subscription is really required. I know some people don’t use remote access, but this is 2024. That’s a pretty basic feature of any smart home product-most offer that for free.

Also, I had seen $1100 for the largest systems here: https://www.cepro.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Savant-Essentials-One-Page-Dealer-Sales-Sheet-.pdf

Is that wrong/only for commercial jobs?


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remote in is important for whole home set ups.  C4 sells a Core Lite + Halo bundle to do home theaters (which could be a gateway into getting more C4 into the house but for some, its just a standalone offering).  No need to remote in if you just have C4 running a theater.  Who wants to pay $99/year to use a Halo to watch TV in their theater?  

Seems like an oversight to me.

Maybe start any required yearly fees based on devices in the project, or a larger Core 3/5/CA10 type controller.  They are waiving the fee on the CA1, they should probably do the same on the Core Lite/Core 1 (maybe they are and I missed it)

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5 hours ago, Topspin14m said:


With Savant can you remote access the system without a subscription? Because if not, a subscription is really required. I know some people don’t use remote access, but this is 2024. That’s a pretty basic feature of any smart home product-most offer that for free.

Also, I had seen $1100 for the largest systems here: https://www.cepro.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Savant-Essentials-One-Page-Dealer-Sales-Sheet-.pdf

Is that wrong/only for commercial jobs?


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Yes, this does not have to do with remote access to systems. 

That CEPro article is marketing sheet and dated from the press release.. Essentials and the current Savant structure was finalized at the end of last year.  It’s all been broken down after dealer feedback. The super pro host no longer even a sku. 

6 hours ago, TheTechHipster said:

I think that pretty much explained how there are more fees with Savant over Control4.  I was wrong to call it "subscription cost" however,  you mostly will need it depending on a "typical" install.  Am I wrong?  A local integrator sells the 5 year plan but it's still recurring.

Yes, id would say you are wrong. If you are comparing brand specific HA systems there are little to no additional costs.

An OS lic subscription thats several thousands in cost prices out just fine when it’s going on a $600 Mac Mini that can also be just used as a PC if you are done with it. Much better value than Core controllers. 

The essentials is really …not. Most dont care about cloud backups. Most dont care about 2n cloud recording when they have local storage. Most dont have Ring devices. Most use brand matched equipment  across the board as much as possible for stability and future support just like C4 systems. 

The Hybrid model is really again where it hurts, and you will see those costs come to the C4 and other environments in other ways besides a one time fee, which clients would prefer. When getting into integrations with Apple Music, Ring, MyQ etc… theres going to be new costs.  A $9mo subscription is a couple grand in just a few short years. 

 

6 hours ago, JSTRONG said:

We are 90% Control4 installations. The Client has Lutron Lighting and Shades and they insisted on Savant over Control4

Savant charged $6250 for the License and the integrator makes pennies on that. 

 

Sure. $1250 profit for sale of an integration hub  is really pennies…

The LEAP hub is definitely crazy expensive, but that’s really designed for large scale systems where the cost is balanced out by lesser expensive Lutron products. Not J Geiger shades and $250 dimmers that are built really, really well.  

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting read from the NICE CEO on the contrast they are taking in the subscription model compared to what can be assumed to be Snap in this interview and their prior statements.  Wondering how dealers that offer both NICE and Snap/C4 product offerings may factor this into presentation to prospective clients when showing them the total cost of ownership in addition to other feature set comparisons.

https://restechtoday.com/nice-north-america-ceo-pushes-back-against-customer-direct-cloud-based-services/

https://restechtoday.com/nice-north-america-ceo-bertolini-clarifies-partner-pledge-announces-os-8-8-601-update/

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