Jump to content
c4forums | The Control4 Community

Integrated C4 Automation or Cheaper Segregated Automation


Recommended Posts

I have been using C4 systems in my two homes over the last 15+ years. Moving and deciding if C4 is really "worth it" anymore. With the rise of smart products and homes, do I really need to invest that kind of money as before?

Pros:

1 platform that is "integrated"

Cons:

Always found it difficult to find affordable and available installers.

Dimmers and controllers and devices are all expensive

I don't use the system like I used to. No longer have a family living with me. Its just me and my girlfriend visiting. 

Fragmented looks like this:

TV: Smart TV's (I don't use cable boxes anymore) and sound bar

Sound: New smart receivers use an app to control

Blinds: Just need a button on a wall and wireless connection for an app to set a schedule

Security: Blink cameras with their app

Keyless entry hardware: Do these have wifi enabled secure app functionality for remote usage?

Lighting: Caseta throughout?

AC/Heating: Ecobee

 

 

Sure all of this is fragmented but I rarely control multiple things in one session from within the C4 app anyway. I am looking to be more economical given the world in 2021 of smart devices looks MUCH different than 18 years ago. So what am I missing?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You are missing automation.  Everything you listed is isolated control - well I’m sure Caseta lights have scheduling functions and sensors to automate it

but control4 or any automation platform shines with automation and things working in harmony - no siloed control options.  If you are using c4 for control then that too is overkill. 
 

automation is a luxury I realize - far from a necessity 

Link to post
Share on other sites

ha, well i told myself i would avoid more posting on such topics here.  But i didn't start it, so...

I went through the same process as you on my upcoming house.  Couple of thoughts:

- "single app" vs. multiple is a false choice between C4 and something else.  For me at least, C4 is currently at least a 3 app solution: C4 app (1), Intercom app(1), Security camera app (1).  Sometimes 4, as I still prefer the native Sonos app.

- the answer depends a lot on whether you like to tinker.  If you don't, C4 is a pretty darn good solution, even with the drawbacks.  I do like to dick around with my home automation, so I'm better off without C4, and happier using something like Home Assistant that is more modern, has way more automation and customization flexibility for the homeowner, and more integration with newer "smart home" gadgetry.  You can get pretty close to "one app" that way.  But it's DIY, so you have to want to do it.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, wnpublic said:

- "single app" vs. multiple is a false choice between C4 and something else.  For me at least, C4 is currently at least a 3 app solution: C4 app (1), Intercom app(1), Security camera app (1).  Sometimes 4, as I still prefer the native Sonos app

This is very fair comment.  I'm a Control4 advocate, but I still do exactly what you describe.  C4's handling of intercom and security cameras has always bean a weakness, and so it remains.  My guess is that security cameras can't/won't improve until the next gen of processors.  Having to dumb down modern IP cameras to 720P resolution is a tradeoff that most people don't want or like.  I don't like Sonos integration, but I do like the Sonos app UX.  Intercom looked promising for a moment, but it's clearly a work in progress.  That's a hard sell when so many customers have a baseline that is a highly functional (if poor image quality) Ring camera.

2 hours ago, wnpublic said:

But it's DIY, so you have to want to do it.

Not just do it - maintain it.  And explain some of the string and sticky tape functionality to the rest of the family.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, eggzlot said:

You are missing automation.  Everything you listed is isolated control - well I’m sure Caseta lights have scheduling functions and sensors to automate it

but control4 or any automation platform shines with automation and things working in harmony - no siloed control options.  If you are using c4 for control then that too is overkill. 
 

automation is a luxury I realize - far from a necessity 

Well that is where things like Apple's Homekit and Google's Nest or Amazon's Alexa Smart Home come in? They all have scenes and scheduling functions. Sure it may not be as seamless as C4 but should be pretty close? Why spend the money on something big like C4 if you aren't using it that much. I was in 4600 foot home with lighting and shades and locks and AV etc. But ultimately only used a fraction of automation because it was just kind of a PITA at times. And limited ability to program without a dealer...

Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, northernlights said:

Well that is where things like Apple's Homekit and Google's Nest or Amazon's Alexa Smart Home come in? They all have scenes and scheduling functions. Sure it may not be as seamless as C4 but should be pretty close? Why spend the money on something big like C4 if you aren't using it that much. I was in 4600 foot home with lighting and shades and locks and AV etc. But ultimately only used a fraction of automation because it was just kind of a PITA at times. And limited ability to program without a dealer...

those 3 players each have maybe a few dozen partners/items that integrate.  Homekit has been around for years and it is still very limited in hardware support.  Most alexa stuff is voice control - they have some automation but its fairly light.  Control4, Savant, Elan, etc all work with 10,000's of devices and have teams internally and 3rd parties dedicated to building out more drivers/connections all the time - they make their money selling these systems to they have to be up to date.  The big 3 you mentioned make their money off selling your information, not hardware sales and not off making sure you have the latest integration with all available parties.

You can program 95% of control4 through Composer Home Edition without the need of a dealer.  This forum + composer HE can really do most day to day tasks within C4 (minus bindings and adding hardware).  

there is nothing wrong with DIY, but when your Ring Doorbell rings, are your TV and music streams going to pause so you can go answer the door?  That is just a simple example.   in my house when the phone rings or doorbell rings media pauses, except in the bathroom - that stream pauses for 10 seconds then resumes, just so you know you missed someone and to check when you get out.

My best automation is for my house keeper ironically - she comes and hits her code in a Kwikset door - door unlocks.  DSC alarm turns off.  Her favorite music via C4 starts to play in rooms.  c4 lights go on, somfy automated blinds go up, c4 HVAC temps get set.  when she leaves, all she does is press "lock" on the kwikset door - lights go off, it double checks the other doors and garage door are locked/down, hvac goes back to a different state, music goes off, blinds go down, alarm goes on and it sets up a push message to remind me at 6pm to start the washing machine as she leaves her towels in there.

First world problems - automation for my house keeper, but that would be really hard to do with a DIY big box store set up.  Is it needed, 100000% no not at all.  Mind you that is 1 of dozens of automated routines I have in my house.  And btw - I programmed everything myself with the help here and with Composer HE.  Is any of that "needed" no, does it make our life simpler and easy to manage when we were busy running around pre covid - yes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe a little off topic, but it brings up an interesting point or two.  

People are often debating if automation really saves us any time at all.....

  • For people in the household who never program, maintain, update/upgrade, etc   the system.   Yeah, it actually makes their life go a little faster / easier.
  • For the person(s) who are responsible for the former, it is either   
    • They are getting paid to do it (ie, your dealer).   So basically you are paying for convenience, which is exactly what you would expect.   (provided you have a good dealer and are happy with the result)
    • It is a hobby you enjoy.  In this case you are converting time spent on boring repetitive stuff to time spent on tinkering with your HA system.  Not going to save you time, but does change HOW you spend it.

So maybe a good decision flow chart would be:

     [Likes tinkering, Likes paying for help]   =>   Buy a C4 system.  Then buy a 3 other systems.  Constantly compare them on all the forums

     [Hates tinkering, Likes paying for help]  => Buy a C4 system.  Just be happy.

     [Likes tinkering, hates paying for help]  =>  Don't buy C4  (or maybe become a C4 dealer yourself).  Buy whatever gear catches your eye.  Enjoy making them work.

    [Hates tinkering, hates paying for help]  =>  Go back to re-posting stuff on Facebook.  Forget home automation, you will hate that too.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...