Control4

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Control4
Private
IndustryHome automation
Founded2003
Founders
  • Eric Smith
  • Will West
  • Mark Morgan
HeadquartersSalt Lake City, Utah
Key people
  • Martin Plaehn, CEO
  • Mark Novakovich, CFO
  • Charlie Kindel, SVP Products & Services
BrandsControl4, Triad, Pakedge
Number of employees
700
Websitewww.control4.com

Control4 is a provider of automation and networking systems for homes and businesses, offering a personalized and unified smart home system to automate and control connected devices including lighting, audio, video, climate control, intercom, and security.[1][2] The Control4 platform interoperates with more than 13,500 third-party products and is available in over 100 countries.[3] As of August 2018, it manages 370,000 homes.[2] The company is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Control4 was a publicly traded company (on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the stock symbol CTRL) from 2013 until 2019, when it merged with SnapAV.[4]

History[edit]

Founded in 2003 by Eric Smith, Will West, and Mark Morgan, Control4 debuted at the 2004 CEDIA Expo home technology trade show and released its first products later that year, as an early entrant in the home automation market.[5][6][7] Smith and West had previously created PHAST, an early home control system that was acquired by AMX in 1997;[8] and STSN, a provider of Internet service for the hospitality industry.[5] Control4 received funding from Foundation Capital, Thomas Weisel Venture Partners, Signal Peak Ventures, Frazier Technology Ventures, and Cisco Systems[9] prior to its IPO on August 2, 2013.[9][10] CEO Martin Plaehn joined Control4 in September 2011.[11] In August 2018, Charlie Kindel, former Amazon Alexa executive, joined the company as senior vice president of products and services.[2]

In August 2019, Control4 completed a merger with consumer technology designer and manufacturer SnapAV.[4][12]

Products and services[edit]

Control4's home automation systems have been likened to an operating system for the home.[13][14] The company offers products to manage climate control, home network, home security, intercom, multi-room audio, and smart lighting, offering a universal remote and voice control.[2][6][7][15] It offers items such as a smart doorbell, smart outlets, security cameras, thermostats, centralized lighting panels, motion sensors, and KNX devices.[6] The systems can be controlled from the Control4 smartphone app, keypads fitted to the walls, a traditional remote, or a portable touch screen.[1]

In addition to its own products and services, Control4 supports more than 13,500 third-party products,[2][3] including Amazon Alexa-enabled speaker devices,[3] the Google Nest smart home thermostat,[16] streaming services like Spotify and Netflix,[3] Sonos music system,[17] Apple TV,[6] and products from Sony, Sub-Zero, Roku, LG, Samsung, Bose, Denon, Honeywell, Yale, and Lutron.[1][18][19] With Control4, a homeowner could control "the ventilation in the garage, the music streaming to speakers in multiple rooms of his home, every light, the TV, the thermostat, even the Blu-Ray player in the guest house" from an iOS device.[20]

Installation of the Control4 system is done through a network of dealers who install the hardware and configure and customize the software to unify the homeowner's technology. A Control4 controller acts as the "brain" of the home, connecting to the home network and allowing the electronic devices and systems in the home to work together. There are various controllers available, including the CA-1, which offers Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and the EA-series controllers, which include streaming audio and HDMI out. The controllers come with touch screen panels or keypads, with versions available on both iOS and Android, and with Amazon Alexa compatibility.[6]

In 2012, Control4 released its Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP), which makes products embedded with the code automatically discoverable on a Control4 network.[21] The company licenses the protocol to other vendors for their products,[18] with more than 7,500 SDDP-embedded products as of June 2019.[22]

In May 2019, Control4 debuted a new version of its operating system, Smart Home OS 3.[7][23] The upgrade is designed to let users more easily customize and make changes to their Control4 Smart Home systems.[24] With the upgrade, Control4 added streaming of MQA files, making it the first home automation company to support the high-resolution audio format.[25]

In June 2019, streaming and download service Qobuz partnered with Control4 to bring hi-res music streaming to home automation installations, allowing Control4 users to upgrade to hi-res sound.[26]

Control4 sells products under three brands:

As of June 2019, Control4 was selling its products through nearly 6,000 authorized Control4 dealers,[22] in addition to partnering with home builders including Toll Brothers and Arthur Rutenberg Homes.[1]

Acquisitions[edit]

Control4 acquired network specialist Pakedge in 2016, and high-end audio company Triad in 2017. In February 2019, Control4 acquired Neeo, a Switzerland-based company specializing in multi-device remote controls, for $11 million plus the assumption of $4.6 million in debt.[30][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Charlton, Alistair. "Building a new smart home from the ground up: Here are the options to consider". Gearbrain. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Warren, Tom (August 2, 2018). "Former Alexa smart home chief and Windows Media Center founder joins Control4". The Verge. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Levy, Nat (May 23, 2019). "Ex-Amazon Alexa exec lays out Control4's vision of an operating system for smart homes". GeekWire. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b Earl, Jennifer (May 27, 2019). "Ex-Amazon executive reveals Jeff Bezos' trick he now uses at his new company". Fox Business. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b Jacobson, Julie (November 19, 2013). "Control4's Very First Dealers: What Were They Thinking?". CEPro. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e Lamkin, Paul (April 11, 2019). "What is Control4: A complete guide to high-end smart home automation". The Ambient. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Fisher, Christine (May 24, 2019). "Control4's new hub connects 13,500 smart home devices on one screen". Engadget. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  8. ^ Jacobson, Julie (1 June 2014). "Introducing Control4: Automation Vets Plan 'Unrivaled' Product Launch". CEPro. CEPro. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  9. ^ a b Fehrenbacher, Katie (1 July 2013). "Connected home startup Control4 files for an IPO for up to $60M". GigaOM. GigaOM. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  10. ^ Jacobson, Julie (5 August 2013). "Control4 Up 25% on First Day of IPO; How Did They Get There?". CEPro. CEPro. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Control4 Names Martin Plaehn President & Chief Executive Officer". Control4.com. Control4. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  12. ^ Knott, Jason (1 August 2019). "SnapAV, Control4 Merger Complete". www.cepro.com. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  13. ^ LaMonica, Martin (15 February 2011). "Cisco ties knot with Control4 for smart home". CNET. CNET. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  14. ^ Jacobson, Julie (8 May 2008). "Control4 Aims to Be 'OS' of the Automated Home". CEPro. CEPro. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  15. ^ Slatalla, Michelle (July 31, 2008). "Is 'Smart House' Still an Oxymoron?". New York Times. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  16. ^ Jacobson, Julie (8 February 2011). "Control4 Loves Europe: New Drivers, London Tube App, KNX". CEPrp. CEPrp. Retrieved 8 Feb 2011.
  17. ^ Bilton, Nick (October 21, 2015). "Pitfalls of the Connected Home (Part 2)". New York Times. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  18. ^ Trout, Christoper (21 January 2011). "Control4, Sub-Zero get in on the home automation game". Engadget. Engadget. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  19. ^ O'Brien, Kelly (16 March 2015). "Can Comprehensive 'Smart Home' Systems Go Mainstream?". Boston.com. Boston.com. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  20. ^ Jacobson, Julie (17 January 2014). "Control4 CEO on Home Automation Standards, DIY, Pro Install". CEPro. CEPro. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Control4 Launches Smart Home OS 3 to Unify Connected Devices". Security Sales & Integration. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  22. ^ Whitaker, Joe (May 30, 2019). "Hands-On: Control4 Smart Home OS 3 Kills 'Circle of Power' GUI". CEPro. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  23. ^ Novet, Jordan (May 26, 2019). "Former Amazon executive uses Bezos' mock press release trick at his smart home company". CNBC. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  24. ^ Gramenz, Jack (May 29, 2019). "Control4 Smart Home Update Adds High-Res MQA Audio". Channel News. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  25. ^ "Qobuz Hi-Res Streaming Now Available on Control4". Residential Tech Today. June 17, 2019. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  26. ^ "Catalog". www.control4.com. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  27. ^ "pakedge.com". www.pakedge.com. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  28. ^ "Triad Speakers". www.control4.com. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  29. ^ Lamkin, Paul (February 6, 2019). "Control4 Ramps Up Proprietary Plans With Neeo Acquisition". Forbes. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  30. ^ Jacobson, Julie (February 6, 2019). "Why Control4 Bought Neeo; EOL Clarity on DIY Remote Control". CEPro. Retrieved 15 August 2019.

External links[edit]