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Control4 Shows Bigger, Better Home Automation App Store

At CES 2010, Control4 is demonstrating a growing library of apps for its 4Store; a good California chardonnay, anyone?


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Control4, developer of popular, affordable home automation systems, introduced its app store last September. But during CES 2010, you can see how beautifully the store is coming along.

Now called 4Store, the offerings are wide-ranging, to say the least.

On the more practical side, there are apps for Netflix, eBay and energy monitoring and management. But then, there are also apps for wine management (eSommelier) and games.

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There is even a first aid app that walks you through the steps of helping a sick or injured member of the household. Simply select the category – airway or bleeding, for example – and follow the steps in the tutorial.

Consumers can download the Control4 apps – some are free, others cost a small fee – from any television touchscreen or other user interface in the Control4 ecosystem.

The apps are all made possible by Control4’s OS 2.0, which is expected to be released in the first half of 2010, according to the company.

2.0 offers a rich, streamlined development environment for third parties. Pioneer, for example, created an app specifically for its own A/V receivers, adding access to the full gamut of settings available for the products.

Black & Decker built an app for its Kwikset wireless, automated door locks. Users can track the comings and goings of family members, set passwords and do all of those other things one does with Zigbee-enabled locks.



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Order up some apps from the comfort of your couch

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This security app lights up where motion is detected

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An energy management app from The Energy Detective (TED) lets users measure how much energy their electronics are consuming.




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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Events · CES · Control4 · Home Automation · Ces 2010 · App Store · 4store · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

7 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by RyanE  on  01/09  at  12:27 AM

Technically, the Energy Management app is *not* from TED, but from Peak Software, who developed the app.  It *does* use TED hardware for the energy monitoring, however.

RyanE

Posted by yaherdme  on  01/11  at  12:17 PM

What a complete waste of time.  What a home automation company should be doing is offering apps to control their devices on other platforms such as mobile phones, set top boxes, etc.or building devices that can be controlled.  The problem that C4 has is that their business model is currently dependent on being the primary interface for the home which will fail overtime as we have more and more convergence of consumer interfaces.  Why would I put touchscreens all over the walls in my house if I can do it all from my iPhone??  Why would I switch inputs on my TV if I can control it all through Uverse??

Posted by RyanE  on  01/11  at  04:12 PM

You mean, like the iPhone app and the Android app and the Blackberry app that will all soon be offered for $9.99 / month, no matter how many phones you have?

Sounds like they’re doing some of what you’re asking.

Get back to me on the Uverse thing when they enable me to adjust my thermostat, drapes, view my cameras, and control my lights, door locks and security panel (from anywhere in the world).

smile

RyanE

Posted by jiveturkey  on  01/11  at  05:15 PM

Why would anyone pay a monthly fee when remote access can be done for free? (no matter how many phones one has)

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  01/11  at  10:20 PM

This is a smart move for Control4. It worked for Apple (apps) it will work for Control4. People have no problem spending money on bells and whistles. The ring tone and iPhone app market are proof of that.

If these apps really work as easy as they say it will then wow! I am referring to things like Facbook Obviously there is hardware and configuration involved with things like energy management / lights and door locks.

But if i can just decide today to download netflix app and be able to use netflix in my family room without calling an integrator or installing a Blu-ray player then they are truly on to something.

As for the argument about touchscreens allover the wall.. Its gonna suck when your not home and people want to watch TV. As a general rule there should always be a permanent control device in every room that has a display in it. That could be a remote, an itouch, a touchpanel (wireless or wired). Attempting to share a controller always leads to frustration.

Obviously Control4 is not interested in giving up their touchscreen sales and providing people with free apps for mobile devices. But i dont think they will be able to do anything about it. The latest round of tablets, real or imagined, are less expensive and better then the touchscreens being sold by automation companies.

Problem with uverse and the iPhone and samsung and sony etc is that they cant stay focused on a product long enough to make it worthwhile. At best they will give you a few cool toys but thats it. You will end up with multiple remotes making your new toys not so cool.

Posted by jack  on  01/20  at  09:09 PM

well…  control4 nickel’s and dimes everything, so they will drive themselves out of business.  The “free” app to use on your Iphone, cost $200 for a users license, and to shut your lights off from overseas will cost you over $200 a year for access.  That’s more than my cable bill, and I watch my TV a lot more than I would try to shut off a light from hong kong.  That’s not mentioning the upgrades to your system every 6 months at $350 a pop.  Certainly not aimed for a middleclass family.

Posted by RyanE  on  01/20  at  10:09 PM

* Remote access has been $99 /year, not $200 a year.

* Upgrades are not required every 6 months.  I have family members’ systems that have been working fine for years, on the same version as installed.

* What your dealer charges for a truck roll to do an upgrade is between you and your dealer, but until 2.0, Control4 has not charged for upgrades.

If it’s not a value proposition for you, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t valuable at their price point for others.

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