How to Choose the Best Home Automation System

How to Choose the Best Home Automation System

Today’s Home Automation Systems Fit A Range of Needs and Budgets A properly installed home system blends in seamlessly. Home automation is the next frontier for many homeowners. A few years ago, most of the systems on the market were difficult to use, expensive and designed mainly for very large homes. But today’s systems are much easier to operate, cost effective and can be designed to control a home entertainment system or the electronic components of an entire home. Through a smartphone, you can remotely control your home from anywhere and decrease home energy costs while doing so. Flexibility The main feature you’ll want in a home automation system is flexibility. Higher-end systems are designed to work seamlessly with most of the major electronics you own – home theater, surveillance cameras, security, climate control systems, appliances and more – and are constantly updated to work with new components. Robust automation systems, from companies such as Savant, produce apps with elegant interfaces that can be accessed over a smartphone or tablet. Home automation solutions from Lutron, for example, work well with security systems from a variety of manufacturers to tightly integrate automation features with systems you might already own.   Control Homeowners install automation systems for a variety of reasons, but most of them are based on convenience and cost savings. Homeowners can save money by adjusting the temperature of their homes, remotely control lights, activate home security, and other uses. It pays to install a high-end system. Those on the low end tend to cut corners by leaving out the more granular control needed to optimize the most important...
Control4 Announces New Wireless Lighting Control Family

Control4 Announces New Wireless Lighting Control Family

Control4 announced a new family of wireless lighting control products for seamless integration with Control4® systems. With a fresh, sophisticated design, expansive customization options, and a myriad of innovative capabilities, this next-generation of wireless lighting control products caters to the growing number of residential and commercial projects. According to a report from Pike Research, the global market for intelligent lighting controls will enjoy steady growth through this decade, rising from $1.5 billion in 2012 to more than $4.3 billion in 2020. Control4® Wireless Lighting control products provide a broad range of elegant and energy saving lighting solutions within this robustly growing market. From new adaptive phase dimmers and combination keypad/dimmers, to 0-10V dimmers for LED applications and  configurable keypads for control, the Control4 Wireless Lighting family delivers its functional innovation with elegant design including, a diverse palette of color and finish options, custom backlit engraved buttons, and programmable status LEDs supporting customizable color hues for at-a-glance feedback. Additionally, each new switch, dimmer, and keypad includes an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the brightness of status LEDs and button backlighting. “Lighting control, when integrated with automation, is quickly becoming an essential smart home application,” said Martin Plaehn, CEO Control4. “Intelligent lighting enhances the aesthetics of the entire home, helps manage energy consumption, and with Control4 technology can integrate with security, Audio/Video and climate-control systems, as well as with window shades and other devices to create truly personalized experiences for homeowners.” With a Control4 system, creating and automating personalized lighting with virtually any mix of lighting load types is very simple; controlling them from the Control4 MyHome® app on a...
Streaming Music Throughout the Home from Any Smartphone or Tablet with the New Control4® Wireless Music Bridge

Streaming Music Throughout the Home from Any Smartphone or Tablet with the New Control4® Wireless Music Bridge

Whole-home music streaming just got easier than ever thanks to the new Control4® Wireless Music Bridge. The home automationleader has launched a new product enables you, your family and guests to instantly and wirelessly connect smartphones, tablets or computers — and all the music stored on those devices — to a Control4 system, allowing everyone in the house to enjoy their personal music collection through the home’s audio system. With the Control4 Wireless Music Bridge, if you can listen to it from your smartphone, tablet or computer, you can listen to it in any audio zone in your home. In addition to stored music libraries, the new Control4 Wireless Music Bridge also provides a convenient path for Control4 customers to connect to streaming music services such as Pandora, Spotify, or Rdio from their personal smart devices– all while preserving full phone and smart device browsing and app capabilities. “I listen to Spotify so much these days that I’ve seriously been considering replacing my home theater receiver with a newer model with the streaming service built in,” said Joe Hageman, a longtime Control4 customer. “Thanks to the Control4 Wireless Music Bridge, I don’t have to. Any new streaming audio service that’s available on my smart phone or tablet is also instantly available via any sound system in or around the house.” Just walk in the door, pull out your phone or tablet, and fire up your favorite playlist via AirPlay, and enjoy your favorite music — not on a little portable wireless speaker system, but on the best speakers in the house. Combining Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity technologies into...

Control4 Unveils New OS 2.3 Software

With expanded homeowner control, new lighting experience and unprecedented interoperability, OS 2.3 delivers exceptional performance. Control4 is now delivering the Control4® Operating System v2.3 (OS 2.3) – providing a new elegant lighting user interface, new features enabling customers to personalize their own experiences, new applications for commercial installations, and feature enhancements and updated certified drivers to boost performance and interoperability. OS 2.3 represents a next significant step in the breadth and depth of the Control4® automation platform. “OS 2.3 brings a new level of performance, reliability and capability to Control4 systems,” said Control4 CEO Martin Plaehn. “Our new software packs a punch, delivering an exceptional experience for consumers and includes enhancements and purpose-built features and tools for our dealers, including hundreds of updated device drivers supporting both residential and commercial installations.” Crafting a First-Class User Experience Control4 paves the way to an unrivaled customer experience with OS 2.3. Its enhanced performance and reliability result in faster, more responsive systems, while also empowering consumers with the ability to customize and adjust specific preferences on their own. Now, homeowners and business owners can add or swap out smart phones and tablets within their Control4® MyHome account. The MyHome app also boasts additional customer-friendly improvements including optimized start-up and reconnect time, better Rhapsody Music Service integration, and additional language support for Control4 non-English speaking customers. Elegant, Sophisticated Lighting Experience One of the key attributes of the new Control4 OS 2.3 release is the introduction of a new elegant user-experience for lighting. The clean intuitive UI makes it easy for consumers to control lighting throughout a residence or business from almost any device...

Home Automation with Yale’s High-Tech, Wireless Interior Lever Locks

Home automation is a tough concept to get if you’ve never lived with it. Lighting control, multi-room audio, systems integration… it all sounds a little out there, and a bit complicated, until you’ve had the opportunity to actually experience it for yourself. But locks? People understand locks. And anyone who has ever fumbled with his or her keys in the dark with a bagful of groceries in one hand and a toddler hanging off of one hip can appreciate the value of a safe, secure door lock that allows for convenient, keyless entry and individualized access codes. Yale has dominated the automated door lock market for the past few years with its Real Living series of wireless deadbolts, which not only facilitate keyless entry, but serve as the perfect doorway into more advanced home automation. Yale Real Living locks come in a couple of wireless varieties, and integrate perfectly with home automation systems from Control4, Honeywell, GoControl, Vera Z-Wave, and others, allowing you to initiate personalized lighting scenes when you come home at different times of the day, allow friends, family, or service personal individualized access to the home on different days, or different times of the day, or even remotely unlock the front door with your smart phone if you need a neighbor to pop in and check on your home in the event of an emergency. This past week, Yale introduced a new version of its Real Living Locks designed specifically for interior door use. These beautiful lever locks bring all of the technology of the company’s exterior deadbolts—including a choice of ZigBee or Z-Wave wireless connectivity...