This post was originally published on PDHContractors.com and is an "Expert Interview Series" interview with Brad Hintze, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Control4.
Can you tell us about the mission behind Control4? How are you hoping to help homeowners?
Our mission is to bring technology into the home that the whole family can love. Technology that makes life easier and more relaxing. It’s quite true that there is a lot of home technology available today. But the challenge has been making it easy for the whole family and something that fits naturally into home life. Control4 is focused on making your lighting smarter, entertainment easier and more engaging, and helping families feel safe and secure.
What does home automation look like today? What are the advantages to homeowners of automation?
Home automation today covers everything from lighting, to audio and video, to comfort, safety and convenience. Technology has brought so many advantages to homeowners around the world.
Smart lighting is something that once you experience it and live with it, you just can’t live without it. Our customers tell us all the time the most valuable part of their home automation is lighting. Once-touch sensors to set the right mood or turn off the whole house at bed time. But it can also make you feel safer, never come home to a dark house or immediately turn on every light in the house if there’s an intruder or a security alarm. But now you can take it to the next level, combining entertainment with lighting, so when you’re ready to watch a movie the lights dim when you push play or come back up when you push pause.
What types of home systems can be automated?
Whether it’s a brand new home or a retrofit, automation can become a part of most homes. The way you install the technology might change if it’s a new home versus a remodel, but you still have the ability to include automation for most homes.
What are some of the challenges of home automation today? Where do you find contractors making mistakes in creating smarter homes?
One of the biggest challenges for home automation is cutting through the noise of “smart devices” and IoT to find the products that deliver the performance and durability a true smart home requires. Not every device available on the market is made to meet the demand of day-in and day-out use. The challenge is that homeowners are often familiar with these consumer products and ask a contractor to install it. Product selection is an area where contractors need to spend a little more time vetting products before they put them into a home. Are these products made like our mobile phones, designed to be changed out every year or two, or are they ready to be a part of the infrastructure of a home for five to 10 years?
Why should contractors be learning more about smart homes?
Consumers want them! Homeowners want energy efficiency and convenience to be a part of their next home purchase. They want to effortlessly secure their family. Offering this kind of technology can help contractors meet these requests from their clients. And many times they can also surprise potential clients with the capabilities.
How can contractors learn more about building smart homes?
Control4.com has many resources. But also industry trade groups are a good way to get started.
What are the most important tools for home automation?
One of the most important tools for home automation is a platform that supports a wide range of products, giving homeowners and contractors the flexibility they need to build a killer smart home. Next, there needs to be the right interfaces for the home. Lights, keypads, touch screens, remote controls, and, of course, mobile apps and voice control are all requirements to be able to use the technology easily and efficiently.
What smart home trends or innovations are you following today? Why do they interest you?
Voice control is a trend that’s driving a lot of innovation and interest. We’ve just enabled voice control via Amazon Alexa and it’s unlocking a lot of new potential for homeowners. It’s exciting because so much of what has been promised by technology in the past is now coming available to the every day homeowner.