Control4

Over the last ten years, Control4 has led the way in smart homes and today they are the largest home automation provider in the world.

Their pioneering research and development means they are at the forefront of new technology that integrates devices and fully automates the home, meeting the growing demands of homeowners across the globe.

Here we describe the benefits of using a Control4 home automation system, and why they are our provider of choice for a fully integrated home automation system.

What is Home Automation?

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When we talk about home automation, we’re talking about having the ability to press one button on either an in-wall touch screen or a single remote controller, which can dim the lights, play music, change the heating, lock your doors and arm the security system. It can also mean having motion sensors and clocks in your house that respond to your schedule and needs without you touching anything at all.

One Interface For All Your Devices

You may have heard of the term ‘IoT’, which describes the connection of billions of devices to the internet. IoT device acceptance has still not hit mainstream homeowners but has steadily been on the rise over the last five years. Televisions, thermostats, wireless audio speakers, door locks, light bulbs, electrical plugs, the list goes on. The drawback with these devices is they come with their own application for control on a smartphone or tablet.

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Control4 can orchestrate seamlessly over nine thousand of your favourite connected devices through its one platform meaning you only have one interface to manage. The “navigators” user interface is also easy to use, intuitively labeled and is reliable and secure. No more guessing which app you need and which page it’s hiding on within your smartphone display.

Over the years Control4 has learnt from its clients the types of devices that they want to be able to control intuitively across the home, and they fall into the following categories:

Entertainment

Home Cinema

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When used in a Home Cinema environment, Control4 enables you to make that room even more special with little touches that mean you can sit back and immerse yourself in the cinematic experience. You can watch content from all your available video sources such as a Blu-Ray player, streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, Sky Q, Kaleidescape or network addressed storage, all in the same guise. One click on the icon and all the HDMI switching is done automatically in the background. This also means we can hide all the equipment away in the cupboard and only hold one remote controller in your hand.

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In any cinema environment there should be sufficient darkness so that the colours on the screen appear richer and more vibrant, but what about when people either enter the room or need to leave the room? Through programming within Control4, the lights can dim as soon as you have pressed “play” or ramp back up when you press, “pause.” We also recommend automating special lighting features like pathway lights or starry-night ceilings. You can also adjust the room temperature during the film as well as see who is at the front door via a Control4 portable touch screen.

Multi-Room Audio

Being able to listen to music in any room in the home is fast becoming a “must have” instead of a luxury reserved for the few. The Control4 system allows you a full multi-room audio experience meaning you can have the music follow you around the home as you get ready in the morning. If you’re entertaining, you may wish to extend the music into all rooms on the ground floor and even outside into the garden.

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Similarly, to the home cinema mentioned above, you can have all your music sources in one place and browse streaming services such as Deezer, Tidal or TuneIn radio as a native within the Control4 listening page. Control4 also offers integration with Sonos whereby you can browse through your Sonos favourites, and you can also send music from Apple Music and Spotify directly from your phone to any enabled room.

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Since the Control4 system can be customised to your exact needs, we can assign radio stations or playlists to a keypad button press or combine it with a lighting scene. For example, we could have a morning button in the kitchen, which plays BBC Radio 2 at a low volume whilst opening the shades in the kitchen and ramping up the lights progressively over a ten-minute period — easing you into the day.

The All-In-One Remote Controller

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Our clients often have a large collection of remote controllers on the coffee table when we first meet them. It’s understandable since when you buy a television, you get a remote controller, similarly with Sky Q, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, sound bar or an Audio Video Receiver. Before you know it you have to train the entire family a set of commands in order to switch from Sky Q on HDMI1 to Freeview to a built-in Netflix app, all of which have a separate controller for the volume.

Control4 has built the most robust and easy to use all-in-one remote controller available to date. We will mirror all of your physical connections between the devices in the programming tool and through a processor usually located out of sight behind the television itself, we can give you button presses that manage all of the connections in the background. The programming doesn’t end with just the viewing experience either. We can use some of the blank “custom buttons” to change the lights to a predetermined lighting scene and adjusting the heating to a comfortable viewing temperature.

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Smart Home Lighting

Smart home lighting is one of the most significant opportunities for our clients to subtly but effectively influence the ambience of their homes that complement the aesthetics of its décor or interior design. As homeowners become more familiar with lighting scenes and mood lighting, it is vital that it is delivered in a way that works every time. Customers expect their lights to come on when the switch is pressed, and Smart Lighting should be no different.

Control4 has two solutions to realise this; a room-by-room system controlled over a standalone Zigbee network or a fully integrated panelised lighting system required for properties where every room will have lighting control.

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Lighting Scenes

As we’ve already touched upon, having different lighting scenes to mirror different times of the day or activities is a must in building a Smart Home. The Control4 system allows us to get even more creative though , such as having lighting patterns trigger on certain events. Imagine all the lights switching on downstairs when motion is detected outside the front of your property at a specific time, meaning it already feels like home before you’ve stepped through the front door. Similarly, we can program the lights to come on randomly when you are not home to give the impression to the outside world that someone is in. This is called “Mockupancy” and is especially useful if homeowners are travelling regularly.

Motion and Lux Sensors

Through the use of motion sensors and/or lux level sensors, the lights in your property can switch off when lighting is no longer required, i.e. when somebody has left the room or daylight has reached a sufficient brightness. We can even set individual keypads to control all of the lighting circuits within the property such as an “All Off” button on the keypad nearest the front door. All of which should save energy, help the planet and reduce your utility bills.

Comfort & Convenience

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Heating Control

One of the IoT devices that has received the most significant uptake is the Smart Thermostat. Companies such as Nest, Hive and Heatmiser have all done a great job in giving homeowners the ability to control their heating from their smartphones. However, once you move away from having more than two “zones” of heating, you can find yourself having to fit thermostats in every zone or room which then begins to clutter your wall space with more devices. Our belief is a smart home should have as little individual devices on walls as possible meaning we hide these controllers away and out of sight.

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Control4 comes into its own in this respect when it can integrate with these thermostats and take control of all of these rooms within its single platform. The “comfort” icon on the touch screen will show you all the thermostats in all the rooms, and you can individually adjust them as required. We are also able to install thimble temperature sensors in the rooms instead of the actual thermostats meaning the walls don’t become cluttered with electronic equipment.

Automated Blinds and Shades

Automated blinds or shades are also increasing in popularity as homeowners don’t want to waste time manually opening or closing them anymore. The Control4 system can program the blinds to automatically come down or go up based upon daylight settings from the astronomical clock. When the sunlight becomes too bright or hot, it can also lower them again to keep the rooms cool, saving energy use within the air conditioning system. We can also add a heat sensor in the bathrooms so that when the homeowner is taking a shower, the bedroom blinds come down so that they have additional privacy when re-entering the room.

Intercom Anywhere

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One of the more recent innovations from Control4 was to roll out their “intercom anywhere” platform, which allows homeowners to communicate between different touch screens across the property or even on a mobile device when away from the home. This can be especially helpful when rounding up the children for meal times or checking in on a sleeping baby. When accompanied by a video enable door station, you can see who is at the front door and communicate with them without having to leave the comfort of your living room. Since all the touchscreens are also on the same network, the doorbell press can appear on all the screens at the same time meaning anyone in the property can address whoever is at the front door.

Safety & Security

One of the most essential requirements from our clients in our initial consultations is for security in and around their property. Intelligent security puts peace of mind at your fingertips so you can rest assured that all is safe and Control4 has a proven track record of seamless integration with leading security camera and alarm companies.

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Smart home security, in our eyes, is the ability to lock all the external facing doors and arm the alarm all with a single button. You may wish to only partially arm the alarm downstairs at night, which can also be programmed into a button press such as “Good Night” in the master bedroom where all the lights are switched off as well. Control4 can also use the motion sensors built into the security cameras to switch on the exterior and internal lights if detection is noticed and if an intruder triggers the alarm, then the whole home lighting system can switch on and off.

Smart Security Cameras

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If a large number of security cameras are installed on the property then having the footage displayed on the touch screens or TV displays is a more natural way of viewing footage than watching on a standalone TV screen, usually in a cold garage, which has historically been the way security systems were installed. By also utilising the Control4 platform on your smartphone you will be able to view live footage from the property whilst you are away from the home as well.

Automated Alerts

The Control4 system can send you text alerts or smartphone notifications when the system senses a problem such as a water leak, or when the children have returned safely home from school. If a door station has also been installed with a keypad, then the system can assign temporary security codes for deliveries or service workers to enter certain parts of the property. These features are not available through standalone devices or mobile apps and is where having a truly integrated system makes everyday life a lot simpler allowing you more time to enjoy the things that matter to you.

Why use Control4?

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In summary, the main reasons you should consider investing in a Control4 system are:

  • All your services, all in one place.

  • It’s scalable. Start in one room and grow to the whole home.

  • Easy to navigate through the touch screens, TV displays or remote controllers.

  • Easy to update and adapt your home to your changing needs today and in the future.

Luxe Smart Homes & Control4

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Only Available Through A Professional

Since IoT devices are widely available from traditional high street and online shopping platforms, why do Control4 require homeowners to go through an authorised channel? The reason is that Control4 has a rigorous and extensive training requirement that any company wishing to install Control4 technology has to go through before they can offer the platform to its client base, through the Control4 dealer scheme. This means that service levels for Control4 customers are high and you know that there is always someone at the end of the phone who can assist you when you get stuck and maintain the system over the long term.

Control4 Authorised Dealership

 
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Luxe Smart Homes is an authorised dealer for Control4, and we have installed the platform into multiple properties in London, Surrey and Berkshire within the last twelve months. All of our technicians have passed the certification requirements from Control4 in Home Automation programming, Specialist lighting Control and Home networking through their PCNA examination process, meaning we are fully up to date with the latest developments within the platform.

We also offer our services to existing Control4 customers who may have lost touch with their original Control4 dealer. By updating the system and servicing any broken parts, we can bring the system back to life and return the whole smart home experience to the homeowner.