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Android app vs. C4 touch screen

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Is there anything that the official C4 touch screens can do that the C4 Android app can not do?

I'm planning on putting Ubiquti VOIP phones in most of the locations I would put a touch pad. The phones are really slick - they have a 5 or 7 inch screen and they are running Android. You can install any android app and run it on the phone's display panel.

So if I have one of these phones in each bedroom, etc. and install the C4 Android app on them, will I be missing out if I don't have official C4 touch panels in the house?

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Is there anything that the official C4 touch screens can do that the C4 Android app can not do?

I'm planning on putting Ubiquti VOIP phones in most of the locations I would put a touch pad. The phones are really slick - they have a 5 or 7 inch screen and they are running Android. You can install any android app and run it on the phone's display panel.

So if I have one of these phones in each bedroom, etc. and install the C4 Android app on them, will I be missing out if I don't have official C4 touch panels in the house?

Two way comes with the door station or between screens, though your screens should be able to do that.

Control 4 can integrate SIP but historically flakey.

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I guess in your case, you can use the ubiquiti phones for intercom/ video calls.

I've been considering this setup for a while, let me know how it works out.

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On 11/11/2016 at 5:54 AM, livitup said:

So if I have one of these phones in each bedroom, etc. and install the C4 Android app on them, will I be missing out if I don't have official C4 touch panels in the house?

Just like you, I absolutely cannot justify the price of a one-app C4 tablet which I need a total of 8-10 in my house. I've been researching alternative touch panels for a while now. The obvious difference in your proposed setup, which was a killer for me, is the phone being a stand alone unit vs. flash mounted on the wall (please advise if I'm missing something as I'm very much interested in the topic as well).

Another option I'm considering that you might be interested in is fire tablets. I placed an order, will let you know how that works out. Fires (as opposed to Ipads, don't ask me why) have Skype with auto-answer function. Thus you can video/audio chat with any room just like you would using intercom (the receiving party doesn't have to press anything to hear you or to be heard). You can place group calls as well. Another Fire benefit is that they just launched an update that integrated Alexa. So with a push of a button (not voice activated) you can ask your tablet to turn on your C4 devices (or so I hope, my Echo Alexa could certainly do that). This might be very handy in a guest room especially if you have elderly visitors.

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21 hours ago, osa said:

Just like you, I absolutely cannot justify the price of a one-app C4 tablet which I need a total of 8-10 in my house. I've been researching alternative touch panels for a while now. The obvious difference in your proposed setup, which was a killer for me, is the phone being a stand alone unit vs. flash mounted on the wall (please advise if I'm missing something as I'm very much interested in the topic as well).

Another option I'm considering that you might be interested in is fire tablets. I placed an order, will let you know how that works out. Fires (as opposed to Ipads, don't ask me why) have Skype with auto-answer function. Thus you can video/audio chat with any room just like you would using intercom (the receiving party doesn't have to press anything to hear you or to be heard). You can place group calls as well. Another Fire benefit is that they just launched an update that integrated Alexa. So with a push of a button (not voice activated) you can ask your tablet to turn on your C4 devices (or so I hope, my Echo Alexa could certainly do that). This might be very handy in a guest room especially if you have elderly visitors.

Very interesting, thanks for the reply.

I actually generally prefer the non-wall mount deployment, which is one of the things that turned me on to the Ubiquiti phones. There are a couple spots where I actually want it wall mounted though, and I haven't been able to determine one way or another if there is a wall mount bracket or capability for the Ubiquiti phones. I'm thinking about ordering one and seeing what happens.

I, like you, simply could not stomach the thought of the cost of enough touch screen panels to provide control everywhere I want it. So I was thinking of 6-button keypads in some locations (kid's rooms, guest room, etc.) and panels where I really wanted them (master suite, kitchen, basement, theater room). I was crying on the inside when I thought of the lost functionality in those locations where I deploy keypads instead of touch screens.  On top of that, the great room has basically no wall whatsoever to put a touch screen on - and it will probably be one of the most heavily used rooms in the house. :(

So my line of thinking shifted to one or two touch pads in the really key areas (hall between kitchen and family foyer, and perhaps in the master suite) and phones everywhere else. I wasn't too afraid of the loss of intercom - it's a feature I really want, but since that feature would come with the phones, I'd be OK. But then I realized I would lose the ability to Intercom from a touch panel location to any other location - i.e. I'd be unable to intercom from the kitchen touch pad to the kid's bedroom phone.  So now I'm back to thinking Ubiquiti phones everywhere.

Worst case, if there's something I'm really missing, I'll convert the wall mounted Ubiquiti phone in the family foyer hall into a touch pad after the fact. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I should be able to reuse the CAT6 run to that location by disconnecting the phone and unplugging it from my network switch, and then repatching it to the touch screen and C4 system. Or does the touch panel use Ethernet also, meaning I'd only have to swap out the phone for the panel (and of course get my dealer to program the panel)? I honestly have no idea how C4 communicates with wired components - is it Ethernet, or C4's own protocol running over CAT5/6 wires?

@msgreenf states that "the android app doesn't allow the 'services' to work" but, being a C4 noob, I don't know what that means, or if I care. Can anyone explain?

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1 minute ago, livitup said:

@msgreenf states that "the android app doesn't allow the 'services' to work" but, being a C4 noob, I don't know what that means, or if I care. Can anyone explain?

Services is a new 2.9 feature.  I can't really find much public info on it to share.  but it's a new menu icon that allows you to have custom buttons

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C4 Touchscreen advantage:

-Always on C4

-Faster (even then on an ipad Pro with no other apps added). This comes into play in particular if you have large movie or music databases you want to browse)

-They are 'always' there. Especially wall mounted one, but event he desktop versions aren't going to be taken for any other purposes (ie charging, gaming)

-Not dependent on underlying OS, so not affected (or broken) by changes made to andriod or iOS updates

 

Now whether or not these advantages apply to you, you find important or not is your own decision.

I have several screens in my own house, and they get used ALL the time - I never use the app on my phones or tablets unless I'm testing things.

For me, my phones go on my desk once I'm home. I don't carry them on me all the time, so they are just not conducive to use.

More so - the 'wife' factor. My wife nor kids (yet) will go and get a phone, tablet or otherwise out to control anything - yet they'll walk up or grab a dedicated TS all the time.

I'm not saying fill your house and every room with screens, but having a few C4 screens in well-thought out locations can be a huge improvement over tablet use.

I'd say my one TScreen location I implemented years ago that is on a narrow wall that is at the centre of my house, at the nexus of my kitchen, dining. living and hallway to bedrooms is the single best individual thing I've done for my personal C4 system. That screen ahas be replaced (upgraded) 3 times now, going from 7" to infinity edge 7" to V2 7" to T3 10" - not a single regret.

 

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My 'always used' touchscreen is the one in the Kitchen, which is also fairly central to the family room.  Mostly used to select music for the kitchen / family room areas, or to use lighting scenes to turn on/off yard lights or whole house lights.  Faster than starting up the app on my phone, easier than finding a SR-260 in the remote or family room.

Bedrooms typically use the SR-260, even in the master bedroom, because typically when we want to control something in there (lights, fan, TV), we're in bed, and don't want to get up to use the wall-mounted touchscreen.

RyanE

 

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Oh, and as far as re-using the CAT5/CAT6 from your phone when upgrading to a Control4 Touchscreen, yes, they use standard Ethernet, but are usually (and best) powered with PoE (Power Over Ethernet).

If your phones are also PoE, you don't even have to move the CAT5 from the existing switch to run the Control4 touchscreen, it should just work (other than being enrolled in the Control4 project, etc.).

RyanE

 

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3 hours ago, Cyknight said:

I'm not saying fill your house and every room with screens, but having a few C4 screens in well-thought out locations can be a huge improvement over tablet use.

How many do you have? Do you find that the wall mounted TS are used more than the tablets or vice versa? I'm thinking about installing 3 wall mounts (Mbed, common area, upstairs loft outside kid's rooms) and having 1-2 tablets for my new house

@ryanE, that's a great idea/solution for bedrooms, but you can't page or use the audio intercom feature from the remote, correct? 

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1 hour ago, arden.ballard said:

How many do you have? Do you find that the wall mounted TS are used more than the tablets or vice versa? I'm thinking about installing 3 wall mounts (Mbed, common area, upstairs loft outside kid's rooms) and having 1-2 tablets for my new house

@ryanE, that's a great idea/solution for bedrooms, but you can't page or use the audio intercom feature from the remote, correct? 

Total?

-Wall Mount Living/Hall (One mentioned above)

-Wall Mount Office (Probably the most redundant, occasional intercom use)

-Wall Mount Master (Could do without especially since adding a portable - this will likely move to front door for music control garage and front as well as security))

-Wall Mount Theatre/Basement (just outside theatre door which is also right at the stairs leading down - Similar scenario to the first one)

-Wall Mount Deck Door (also used a lot, to select music out there)

-Portable Living (would be used more but not a great place to put it since furniture changes)

-Portable Master (Used a lot)

-Portable Theatre (Also well used)

-Portable Kitchen (purely there because of intercom and camera view while cooking, and because I had it (V2))

 

As for what I would recommend? One per floor wall mounted in the most high traffic location. Plus one each (wall or portable depending on scenario) for the biggest movie viewing/music listening rooms.

For me if I had to do 'essentials' only (remember that I have a lot because I tend to upgrade a lot, re-utilizing screens elsewhere) I'd probable have one per floor wall mounted centrally, one at the deck door (we spend a lot of time in the backyard) and one portable for the Theatre.

Preference would be adding a portable to Living and Master to the above

Note that I could do without screens in other TV locations because I do have onscreen available at every TV for movie selection.

 

Apps for me are purely used outside the house unless I'm testing for issues. It's just slower, and as I mentioned, my phone goes out of reach once I'm home - I'm "connected" enough all day thank you very much.

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2 hours ago, arden.ballard said:

@ryanE, that's a great idea/solution for bedrooms, but you can't page or use the audio intercom feature from the remote, correct? 

That's correct.  I don't have paging to all bedrooms.

My house isn't so big that just yelling from the top/bottom of the stairs doesn't work.

:)

That said, I have some touchpanels waiting to be installed in the kids' rooms when I get a bit of time.

RyanE

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On 11/15/2016 at 0:34 PM, Cyknight said:

C4 Touchscreen advantage:

-Always on C4

-Faster (even then on an ipad Pro with no other apps added). This comes into play in particular if you have large movie or music databases you want to browse)

-They are 'always' there. Especially wall mounted one, but event he desktop versions aren't going to be taken for any other purposes (ie charging, gaming)

-Not dependent on underlying OS, so not affected (or broken) by changes made to andriod or iOS updates

 

Now whether or not these advantages apply to you, you find important or not is your own decision.

I have several screens in my own house, and they get used ALL the time - I never use the app on my phones or tablets unless I'm testing things.

Thanks for the thoughts.  Just thinking out loud here...

  • Always on C4: Nice, but worth $800?
  • Faster: Worthy of consideration. How bad is it on the app, or another way to say it, how large does the media DB need to be to cause noticeable slowness?
  • Always there: I'm talking about running the app on wired, Android-based VOIP phones, so it will also always be there.
  • Not dependent on OS: Also worthy of consideration, but I think I can mitigate that.
     
On 11/15/2016 at 0:50 PM, RyanE said:

My 'always used' touchscreen is the one in the Kitchen, which is also fairly central to the family room.  Mostly used to select music for the kitchen / family room areas, or to use lighting scenes to turn on/off yard lights or whole house lights.  Faster than starting up the app on my phone, easier than finding a SR-260 in the remote or family room.

Bedrooms typically use the SR-260, even in the master bedroom, because typically when we want to control something in there (lights, fan, TV), we're in bed, and don't want to get up to use the wall-mounted touchscreen.

RyanE

 

I was also thinking the kitchen if anywhere. At first I was thinking in the hallway between the garage entrance and the kitchen, but that's kind of out of the way. Useful for when you're coming and going, but I think we are going to be in the house a much greater percentage of time than transitioning between in and out.  Maybe that hallway is a good spot for a (cheaper!) 6 button keypad with an "away" and "home" scene programmed to a couple of the buttons for hitting when your arms are full of groceries. I'm going to have to look at my plans, but I think there might be a wall between the kitchen and family room that would be good for a full touch pad.

On 11/15/2016 at 0:51 PM, RyanE said:

Oh, and as far as re-using the CAT5/CAT6 from your phone when upgrading to a Control4 Touchscreen, yes, they use standard Ethernet, but are usually (and best) powered with PoE (Power Over Ethernet).

If your phones are also PoE, you don't even have to move the CAT5 from the existing switch to run the Control4 touchscreen, it should just work (other than being enrolled in the Control4 project, etc.).

RyanE

 

Phones will be PoE, so that's awesome.  Didn't realize C4 used TCP/IP to talk to the touch pads.  Good to confirm.

On 11/15/2016 at 2:52 PM, arden.ballard said:

How many do you have? Do you find that the wall mounted TS are used more than the tablets or vice versa? I'm thinking about installing 3 wall mounts (Mbed, common area, upstairs loft outside kid's rooms) and having 1-2 tablets for my new house

@ryanE, that's a great idea/solution for bedrooms, but you can't page or use the audio intercom feature from the remote, correct? 

Paging is a concern of mine as well. It was leading me to an all-or-nothing viewpoint. Either all the rooms had to have touch pads, so we could intercom between them, or all the rooms had to have phones so we could intercom between the phones. I didn't see any point in putting phones and touch pads in the rooms.

The better solution that you have all helped me come to is phones in the rooms, and a couple touch pads in really strategic locations like a main hallway or between the two most commonly used rooms.  Those are locations you wouldn't intercom to anyway (who intercoms to the "main upstairs hallway"... I want to intercom to my kid's room!) so you're not losing anything by not having the ability to call them from the phones in the rooms.

Thanks for all the help working this out, guys!

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2 hours ago, livitup said:

Thanks for the thoughts.  Just thinking out loud here...

  • Always on C4: Nice, but worth $800?
  • Faster: Worthy of consideration. How bad is it on the app, or another way to say it, how large does the media DB need to be to cause noticeable slowness?
  • Always there: I'm talking about running the app on wired, Android-based VOIP phones, so it will also always be there.
  • Not dependent on OS: Also worthy of consideration, but I think I can mitigate that.

If it's worth it - that's up to you, and it wouldn't be 800 in most scenarios, it would be 800- alternate cost - wallmount

The app isn't BAD - but it isn't GREAT. There is a noticeable delay in loading things, not terrible, but it's there. TS - instant.

No it won't always be there. It will happen that the app closes, you use another app...and so on. TS is JUST the C4 interface. It's just not quite the same.

 

Again, I'm not trying to convince you to buy them as such, just pointing out the advantages. It's your call to make from there.

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On 11/16/2016 at 4:20 PM, livitup said:

Thanks for the thoughts.  Just thinking out loud here...

  • Always on C4: Nice, but worth $800?
  • Faster: Worthy of consideration. How bad is it on the app, or another way to say it, how large does the media DB need to be to cause noticeable slowness?
  • Always there: I'm talking about running the app on wired, Android-based VOIP phones, so it will also always be there.
  • Not dependent on OS: Also worthy of consideration, but I think I can mitigate that.
     

I was also thinking the kitchen if anywhere. At first I was thinking in the hallway between the garage entrance and the kitchen, but that's kind of out of the way. Useful for when you're coming and going, but I think we are going to be in the house a much greater percentage of time than transitioning between in and out.  Maybe that hallway is a good spot for a (cheaper!) 6 button keypad with an "away" and "home" scene programmed to a couple of the buttons for hitting when your arms are full of groceries. I'm going to have to look at my plans, but I think there might be a wall between the kitchen and family room that would be good for a full touch pad.

Phones will be PoE, so that's awesome.  Didn't realize C4 used TCP/IP to talk to the touch pads.  Good to confirm.

Paging is a concern of mine as well. It was leading me to an all-or-nothing viewpoint. Either all the rooms had to have touch pads, so we could intercom between them, or all the rooms had to have phones so we could intercom between the phones. I didn't see any point in putting phones and touch pads in the rooms.

The better solution that you have all helped me come to is phones in the rooms, and a couple touch pads in really strategic locations like a main hallway or between the two most commonly used rooms.  Those are locations you wouldn't intercom to anyway (who intercoms to the "main upstairs hallway"... I want to intercom to my kid's room!) so you're not losing anything by not having the ability to call them from the phones in the rooms.

Thanks for all the help working this out, guys!

This is kind of an old thread now but I am considering C4 deployment for my new home. If people on this thread ever decided on Android tablets could you share your experience? Another question comes to mind if the Android app is going through and Internet connection vs C4 Touch going through the local network.

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Local Android tablet that is connected wirelessly to the same network your C4 system is on, will always remain a local connection.

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