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Control4 Readies Voice-Controlled Home Automation

Indianapolis – Home-automation supplier Control4 plans to offer wireless voice control over home systems connected to its home-automation controllers.

Here at the CEDIA Expo, the company said it is teaming up with HouseLogix, an Allentown, Pa.-based installer and developer of home-automation software drivers, to add that company’s voice-control technology to Control4 systems. With the technology, consumers speak commands into a tabletop microphone called a VoicePod, which converts voice commands into control signals that are transmitted over wireless ZigBee to a Control4’s home-automation controller. The VoicePod, powered by household current, will recognize voice commands from across a room, said HouseLogix president Ted Rosenberger. Multiple VoicePods can be placed throughout a house to deliver voice control from many rooms.

VoicePod’s vocabulary includes commands to control A/V, security, lighting control, HVAC, motorized shades, security systems, ZigBee-controlled deadbolts and the like.

All Control4 controllers, including those already installed in homes, are compatible with the voice-control device when Voice Pod drivers are installed.

A prototype device is on display at the Expo, and deliveries are targeted for the first quarter, said Rosenberger. Pricing wasn’t disclosed.

The device also incorporates a speaker to provide spoken responses to such questions as “What is the house status?”

To initiate voice control, users speak a wakeup phrase, such as “Hello VoicePod.” The device then responds to commands such as “Watch TV, “Make the lights bright, “Lower the temperature,” and “Lock the doors”.

Although consumers must remember select command words, Rosenberger said, the system is flexible enough to act upon command words that are included in natural phrases, such as “Please make the lights bright.”