I can tell you two things about security camera integration with Control4 from personal experience. Thing the first: it’s absolutely indispensible. I’m a work-at-home dad to a rescued pibble, and it’s a toss-up as to which of us gets worse separation anxiety when I’m away from home. Having my security cameras tied into my Control4 system eases that anxiety (for me, at least) by letting me check on him frequently. And also, you know, to make sure the house isn’t burning down.
Thing the second: getting my security camera integrated with my Control4 system wasn’t the easiest of tasks. It required third-party drivers and a good bit of network tinkering. And even though it’s awesome that I can whip out my Control4 MyHome app and check on Bruno at the press of a button (and maybe turn on his bedside lamp if it’s getting dark), I don’t have access to most of the camera’s capabilities via the Control4 interface. I can look at the image streaming from the camera, and that’s about it. Mind you, that’s a pretty bit “it,” but still. I’m greedy. I want more control capabilities.
So I’m pretty jazzed to hear that Control4 is feeding my greed with a new announcement made today at the Integrated Systems Europe tradeshow in Amsterdam. The company has released a newly published camera proxy API that allows surveillance camera manufacturers like Channel Vision, Lilin, Planet, QNAP, and Snap AV to develop Control4-certified SDDP drivers for their products. And I know I probably just threw a couple of strange acronyms at some of you, so let’s talk about what that means.
It means that five of the top security camera manufacturers will now have access to the programming language that Control4 speaks, and they’ll able to write drivers that allow the Control4 system to automatically detect their IP-connected cameras the instant they’re added to your network, automatically load those drivers, and best of all, tap into the unique capabilities of each camera without any additional programming. What that means for you, the home- or business-owner, is that your Control4 dealer won’t have to spend nearly as much time – or charge you nearly as much money – to deliver a fully featured security monitoring and recording integration system.
So, say for example your security camera of choice has facial or license plate recognition capabilities or motion detection; those capabilities will now be accessible via your Control4 system, and can be used to trigger alerts or automated events (like turning on lights or pumping a gnarly sounding warning through your distributed audio system).
The other really cool thing about this update is that it will add h.264 video streaming capabilities to the Control4 ecosystem. At present, I have to set my Channel Vision camera at the front of the house to output an old-school Motion-JPEG video stream. And while it looks fine if I have a rock-solid internet connection, sometimes when I’m far from home and surfing on a two-bar 3G connection, the stream from my camera can take forever to load, if it loads at all. With h.264 support, I’ll now be able to use the camera to its fullest potential and enjoy the same video great quality while using only about one-sixth of the bandwidth of MJPEG.
And that means I’ll be able to keep an eye on this sweet sleepy smooshy face no matter how far from home I may roam.