Control4 Introduces Too Many New Things for One Headline to Handle

Control4 Introduces Too Many New Things for One Headline to Handle

Control4 is unveiling a new round of updates at this week’s Integrated Systems Europe show in Amsterdam, and to be blunt there’s so much cool stuff that I don’t even know where to begin telling you about it. The gorgeous and brilliant revamp of comfort controls? The new high-definition video intercom experience? The new touch screen interfaces? The newly redesigned system remote control? Control4′s newly acquired line of AV distribution products? My job would be so much easier if I could just do an information dump straight into your brain containing all of the cool new stuff that Control4 is planning to roll out next month. But, alas, we need to do this in an orderly fashion, so let’s start with the big update: Control4 has announced the release of its latest massive software update, OS 2.7. Stay Cool, Control4 You may remember that in addition to revamping its music interface in this past fall’s OS 2.6 update, Control introduced a really cool new animated control screen for pools and spas. Now the company is bringing that same look and feel to heating, cooling, and humidity control as well. I had a chat with Control4 VP of Lighting & Comfort Products Paul Williams last week, ahead of the announcement, during which I asked him about the origins of the new interface and what his team was shooting for in terms of look at feel. Unsurprisingly, intuitive programmability was way at the top of the list. Most people, he told me, simply don’t want to bother with the hassle of setting schedules on your typical programmable thermostat. And that’s hardly news. Control4′s goal was...
Apple iPad Mini Literally has a World of Home Control Possibilities

Apple iPad Mini Literally has a World of Home Control Possibilities

Apple’s new iPad Mini, the newest worst-kept secret in the company’s history, has finally been officially announced. In comparison to its larger siblings, the Mini features a 7.9-inch screen, is a mere 7.2 mm thick, and weighs less than seven-tenths of a pound. But perhaps most importantly, it can be held in one hand, and costs a mere $329. And if you’re not already controlling your home from the palm of your hand, you really have no excuse left. Just as the original iPad made touchscreens commonplace in the home two years ago (has it really only been two years?) due to its features, apps, and yes it’s price, the iPad Mini’s reduced barrier to entry will almost certainly lead to a new boom in the proliferation of touchscreens in the home. Before the iPad, home touchscreens were generally only sold as part of much larger home automation systems. They were the remote control interfaces for advanced home theater, lighting, climate, and security control. And yes, they made it easy to see at a glance what was going on around the home, as well as activate sophisticated, complicated home control scenarios at the touch of a button, but at upwards of $1500 apiece, they were also a significant investment, especially when you consider that home control and monitoring (and maybe rudimentary web browsing) were all they could do. The iPad changed all of that, putting touchscreens in the hands of a much larger audience, who naturally wanted to control their lights and security and home entertainment systems, too. It still required a custom installer to configure all of the...