Salt Lake City — Control 4 unveiled its 2.7 smart-home OS and multiple products compatible with it, including a new wireless thermostat, new in-wall and tabletop touchscreens with HD video intercom, and a handheld remote.
The company also unveiled an upgraded iOS and Android app that sets up a complete home-control system but has also been optimized to speed up one-room home-entertainment installs, a spokesman said. The original app was launched last year to reduce setup time for large whole-home systems to hours from days and make one-room setups 70 percent faster compared with programming via laptop. The new app will further accelerate setup of a one-room home-entertainment system.
For home-entertainment systems, the app reduces the time it takes to program an entertainment system from “a number of hours” to less than an hour compared to other vendors’ laptop-based programming, said Control4 dealer Jonathan Ping of Houston’s DataSmart.
The updated Composer Express app “facilitates faster and more template-based project installs, like one-room home entertainment installs, to decrease the time in which a technician needs to complete the project, and increase efficiency and ultimately profitability,” a Control4 spokesman added.
The upgraded app also helps installers “expand their business by decreasing the training time and logistics for their technicians," said chairman/CEO Martin Plaehn. "With Composer Express, our dealers can quickly and efficiently complete one-room installations with less staff and in less time, thus freeing up their talent to focus on the larger, more complicated projects.”
The updated Composer Express update adds simpler customer account setup, access to custom device drivers via a USB drive or Dropbox storage, and support for project templates used by installers who sell standardized solutions. As a result, installers can connect to a home controller, identify the Control4 handheld remote and entertainment devices, and hand a remote to the homeowner for use, the company said. In addition, Composer Express gives dealers the ability to securely access and service a customer's Control4 install right from a smartphone on-site and remotely.
The new version of the app will be available for download on March 24.
As for the company’s OS 2.7 software release, it will support new touchscreens with instantaneous HD video intercom communications, user-interface enhancements for climate control, the company’s new wireless thermostat, and a redesigned handheld remote.
New in-wall touchscreens in 7- and 10-inch sizes and a 7-inch portable tabletop touchscreen feature HD cameras, speakers, microphone, full frame-rate HD video, and faster connection speeds to let users quickly see who's at the front door, the company said. The capacitive-touch models can also be used to monitor sleeping babies or check on children playing in another room.
The gesture-capable glass-edge touchscreens operate as dedicated interfaces for Control4 home-control systems, including music-playlist browsing.
The new touchscreens feature 1.4GHz quad-core processor for fast response and add the ability to manage smart locks throughout the home. The also feature one-touch access to local and regional weather forecasts.
The new UI is said to improve control of climate-control systems from within the house or remotely through a dial interface to quickly access comfort functions, including temperature, heat/cool set-points, thermostat mode, fan speed and humidity levels. It also accesses new configurable comfort control presets that let users save all HVAC settings, recall them with one touch, and have them take effect automatically on a preset schedule or when a designated event occurs.
The interface works with the most popular thermostat brands across the U.S., including Aprilaire, Carrier, Cool Automation, Heatmiser and Nest.
As part of the OS 2.7 release, Control4 also launched a new wireless thermostat jointly developed with Aprilaire. It features enhanced compatibility for use with such new types of HVAC systems such as geothermal, dual-fuel and humidity-control systems. The new model can be powered using AC power or batteries, allowing for maximum installation flexibility.
Also new is a handheld remote enabling control of all smart-home systems. It adds custom buttons that dealers can program, a larger display with a variety of font colors and improved readability, brighter keypad backlighting that automatically adjusts based on ambient light levels, and faster command processing. It works with Control4's existing recharging stations.