Cisco, Control4 to Deploy Home Control in ‘Really Broad Way’
Leading a $25M round of funding for Control4, Cisco is teaming with the home automation company to power smart communities and utility energy management programs.
The networking giant announced a strategic investment in Control4, leading a $25 million round of funding with two additional strategic investors that have not been announced.
The partnership between the companies is two-fold, with Cisco planning to deploy Control4 products in its 1) Smart+Connected Communities and 2) utility energy management projects.
“It’s a new channel for Control4 and for Cisco as well,” said Paul Fulton, VP and general manager of Cisco’s Prosumer Business Unit, in an interview with CE Pro.
The collaboration, he says, will “get control systems into consumer homes in really broad way.”
As part of the partnership, Control4 technology will be integrated into Cisco’s Service Delivery Platform (SDP) and bear the Cisco brand in these deployments.
However, currently there are no plans for Cisco to embed Control4’s operating system into its routers and other networking gear to further Control4’s dream of being the OS of the home.
“We’re not going to be announcing new products at this time,” says Fulton, who adds that integrated Cisco/Control4 products are a possibility “going forward.”
Big New Channel for Control4
For a relative newcomer to home control, Control4 has done well to insert itself into some major installations, including the CityCenter and Aria Resort (4,300 guest rooms) in Las Vegas, and the NV Energy utility roll-out in Nevada (20,000 households).
But it’s tough for the new guy to go it alone, especially with a meager dealer base of some 1,600 dealers in North America a few hundred more around the globe.
By contrast, Cisco has thousands of integration partners around the world, plus an enormous worldwide sales force, not to mention an infrastructure solution that gives the company an entrée into very large connected environments.
Residences in Songdo will number “in the thousands,” says Fulton, who declines to provide specifics. He says Cisco currently is working with 33 communities including Holyoke, Mass.; San Francisco; Akron, Ohio; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and others that are “not so public.”
As for Songdo – a model for future SCC communities – Cisco will provide the networking architecture to basically run the city, plus connected devices within homes and businesses. The devices include everything from standard consumer networking gear such as routers, to more specialized gear such as Umi videoconferencing systems.
Control4 will extend the network to include lighting control, energy management, audio/video, security and other automation functions.
Control4 CEO Will West tells CE Pro, “When you tie every home, every business, every doctor, every school together, you can tie in services that are really remarkable.”
He points to parent/teacher conferences, telemedicine and other services “you can do at scale that you can’t do one home at a time.”
In addition to the uber-connected communities, Cisco plans large energy-management deployments around the smart grid, utilizing Control4’s EMS 100 suite. The suite comprises an EC-100 energy controller, a 4.7-inch touchscreen interface and a WT-100 wireless thermostat, all of which communicate via ZigBee to a smart meter in an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
The smart grid deployments will include Control4’s back-end Advantage platform for utilities, plus Cisco infrastructure solutions and expertise.
Cisco will begin to roll out its Control4-enabled solutions in Q3 2011.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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