Control4 launches new energy-savers, a mobile app, even an app store
By Jeff Salton
January 23, 2010
At CES 2010, home automation and entertainment company, Control4, released a new energy-saving system, an app that turns Blackberries and Droid handsets into remote control for its system, and even added an app store which it is hoping will have the same impact on home automation that iTunes had on music.
The Control4 Mobile Navigator is now available for users across all leading smartphone platforms. These new applications, developed by Control UI, build on the success of Mobile Navigator for the iPhone/iPod Touch, which was introduced last year and has since been adopted by thousands of Control4 users, the company says.
“Homeowners increasingly require access to their connected home when they are on the go,” said Will West, Chief Executive Officer of Control4. “As an operating system for the smart home, we are committed to offering easy-to-use applications across mobile device platforms to provide flexibility and choice for the growing market of home control customers.”
The company also launched its 4Store at CES - the first app store designed specifically for the smart home and offers individual applications that can be integrated with multiple household devices. 4Store gives Control4 customers the option to download apps that serve a wide variety of functions – from Facebook to online dinner reservations to customizing Kwikset deadbolt locks to controlling energy usage with Eaton outlet monitors.
“The introduction of the 4Store could have the same kind of impact on the smart home that the iTunes App Store has had on the smartphone,” said West. “It provides a unique way for homeowners to personalize their control system so they get more enjoyment from their homes and more efficient use of all their devices and systems.”
4Store applications fall into four general types: Enhanced Home Control, Information, Social & Entertainment, and User Interface Customization.The EMS 100’s color monitor (EC-100) not only provides tips on how to save energy (which also equates to money), it identifies devices that use more energy, and presents the financial and environmental impact of their energy use.
Research has shown that homeowners who are able to check how much electricity they are using in real time save an average of more than 10 percent almost immediately by turning off unnecessary lights and appliances and taking advantage of lower energy tariffs before running some energy-hungry white goods, such as washing machines and dishwashers. At CES 2010, Control4 added to its home automation line-up with two new energy-saving products – a control panel that monitors devices and also has hints and tips on saving energy; and a wireless thermostat controller – that join forces to make a domestic energy management system – the EMS 100. The company says the system empowers consumers by letting them access the information nearly anywhere in their homes – on the energy controller, a PC, a mobile phone or even the TV.
Control4 says its EMS 100 is designed to be at-a-glance useful, so the most compelling information is always available to users. The company adds that the system is also packed with fun applications and social elements that hook consumers to keep them engaged over time. As part of the EMS 100 system, the Control4 EC-100 Energy Controller monitors and manages home energy use by providing detailed energy usage information per device in the home, projects billing information based on usage patterns, can automate and control other devices in the home. It features weather information, a clock, can display digital photos, traffic updates and more (when programmed into the home-owner’s Internet connection. The Control4 WT-100 ZigBee Thermostat is a wireless device that the company says is “non-power stealing”. The ZigBee-protocol device uses very little energy, meaning batteries should last around two-three years.
It offers pre-programmed or personalized schedule options and features four programmable time periods per day, with two temperature settings, which makes it easier to get started on the road to saving energy. A useful vacation mode lets users set in advance and turn on just before leaving to ensure the home isn’t consuming unnecessary heating and/or cooling bills while unoccupied.
It has a large digital display and complements the energy controller as part of a set.
Both devices that make up the EMS 100 are designed to work alongside other Control4 home automation lifestyle and energy-saving products.
More information and contacts for pricing (depending on requirements) is available online.