Control & Automation

Control4 Acquires NEEO Remote Control

Control4 has announced the purchase of NEEO, a Swiss maker of high-end remote controls with sleek industrial design. NEEO will discontinue direct-to-consumer sales

Control4 Acquires NEEO Remote Control
NEEO's remote is known for its simplistic setup, out-of-the-box interoperability, and industrial design. At CEDIA Expo 2018, NEEO debuted a pro version.

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Jason Knott · February 4, 2019

Control4 Corporation (NASDAQ:CTRL) has acquired Switzerland-based NEEO, creators of smart home remotes, to accelerate its leadership in delivering remotes, touchpanels, keypads, and other smart home devices.

Introduced in 2016, NEEO’s original remote, which is sold direct to consumers, is known for its simplistic set up, out-of-box interoperability with thousands of devices, and its sleek industrial design. With this acquisition, the NEEO remote will no longer be sold direct to consumers. 

Meanwhile at CEDIA Expo 2018 in San Diego, NEEO announced the launch of its NEEO PRO remote with integration to Kaleidescape, Lutron, and Control4, among others.  

NEXT: Julie Jacobson on why Control4 Acquired Neeo; EOL on DIY

The NEEO PRO version features more powerful hardware and a whole set of professional channel specific software, according to founder Raphael Oberholzer. He noted some of the highlights of the NEEO PRO are the admin interface for installation professionals to maintain systems of any size remotely and the Multi-Brain feature which allows integrators to build systems of any size. NEEO PRO is compatible with over 60,000 devices.

"Thanks to its architecture there is – compared to the traditional control systems – no single point of failure," said Olberholzer in an online blog

Based in Bern, the NEEO product team, led Oberholzer, will be working with the Control4 engineering group in Salt Lake City on the development of the next generation of Control4 remote controls, touchpanels, keypads, and other devices. Oberholzer will take a leadership role in the development of Control4’s interaction devices and will report to Charlie Kindel, Control4 senior vice president, Products & Services. 

Raphael Oberholzer (left), NEEO founder, will report to Charlie Kindel, Control4 senior vice president, Products & Services.

“Raphael built a world-class customer-centric product team with proven strengths in industrial design, product development, and user experience. We’re keen to add NEEO’s unique expertise and award-winning Swiss design ethic to enhance our plans for reimagining the way homeowners interact with their Control4 systems,” says Martin Plaehn, chairman and CEO of Control4.

“The NEEO acquisition is a talent and technology investment that will yield beautifully-designed and deeply integrated products in the future. We’re excited to welcome the NEEO team to the Control4 family,” he adds.

SEE RELATED:  UK Integrator Reviews NEEO Remote

“From the start, it was obvious that both our companies are passionate for customer-centric design,” says Oberholzer. “By joining the Control4 team, we can execute our shared vision to accelerate the creation of beautiful products consumers want in their smart home.” 

As mentioned, NEEO previously sold its remote to homeowners online but is discontinuing all direct-to-consumer distribution in connection with this transaction. Control4 will support existing NEEO customers via www.neeo.com and plans to provide an upgrade path to make it easy for users to experience Control4’s broad array of smart home solutions.

NEEO originally launched with funding from Kickstarter in January 2015. 

             

Control4 is exhibiting at ISE 2019 in Amsterdam this week and showcasing its smart home solutions including the KNX line of smart lighting, multiroom audio and video offering, Triad speakers, award-winning Intercom Anywhere video intercom solution, Pakedge intelligent networking solutions, and security cameras.



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  About the Author

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at jason.knott@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics


Control & Automation · Automation · Universal Remotes · Whole House Control · Events · CEDIA · ISE · Europe · News · Control4 · Mergers and Acquisitions · Neeo · Remote Control · Smart Home · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by SKoolD on February 21, 2019

Great question.  Anyone can manufacture a piece of hardware.  There are plenty of factories ready to build a unit.  It’s software that makes something special.  The SR260 is a tired facelift version of its predecessor and the industry is quickly moving past C4 with remote models.  It’s easy to think that perhaps rather than starting a development project on a new handheld it was just too easy to throw money at something and acquire it instead.  Sound familiar?  It should, the last several years have been filled with acquisition instead of innovation and creation.  Proof…Extra Vegetables, Card Access, Leaf, Triad, ihiji, Pakedge, Neeo.  Not to say it’s a bad thing.  It’s just obvious C4 has chosen to focus more on partnerships either through integration or acquisition rather than putting resources towards in-house projects and delivering real native C4 tech.

Posted by applebyter on February 15, 2019

I’d consider this a sign of poor corporate governance at Control 4. The only value Neeo provided was hardware design, something that could have been acquired from a single industrial designer and single electronics engineer with only a few years experience. Total investment of a little over $250K USD to produce a similarly compelling remote design. Neeo’s software was in a terrible state, and the extremely slow development was a clear indication that either the development team was incapable of building this type of software, or that the company did not have the money to invest in software development. Either way, Neeo was clearly on its way to shutting down. There is almost no value in the Neeo brand, the team has very few individuals who have demonstrated any capability that compliments Control 4’s current capabilities. The IP was hardly worth anything, exactly what did Control 4 get for its $10M+ “investment”?

Posted by AVTech on February 11, 2019

I am upset about this as well, purchased a system to start trying it out and a month later this happens?  Was hoping to find a solution that would offer more than Logitech (Which I do like).  This seemed to be the answer but instead of creating the next generation of universal remotes, sounds like the guy got a lot of people to bite on empty promises and then profit from it.  Too bad.

Posted by HBlaugh on February 5, 2019

Feel for exisitng NEEO user-investors/adopters .... Extra Vegetables anyone?

Posted by JamesIceland on February 5, 2019

Well this news is hardly a surprise to those backers who were constantly let down by the false promises from Raphael. This coming from someone who had direct first hand experience dealing with him personally. The comments on Planet NEEO reflect this disappointment. Not only that, NEEO continue to delete comments they don’t like on there and have actually deactivated my account after posting my views, which were in no way offensive or unprofessional. Raphael has always been most concerned about he is perceived in the community and unfortunately takes negative feedback extremely poorly. Maybe this is something his new partners are not aware of but I’d be happy to provide them with my personal correspondence with him to show what type of businessman they’ve entered into partnership with. A terrible company run by a dishonest individual.

Posted by JamesIceland on February 5, 2019

Well this news is hardly a surprise to those backers who were constantly let down by the false promises from Raphael. This coming from someone who had direct first hand experience dealing with him personally. The comments on Planet NEEO reflect this disappointment. Not only that, NEEO continue to delete comments they don’t like on there and have actually deactivated my account after posting my views, which were in no way offensive or unprofessional. Raphael has always been most concerned about he is perceived in the community and unfortunately takes negative feedback extremely poorly. Maybe this is something his new partners are not aware of but I’d be happy to provide them with my personal correspondence with him to show what type of businessman they’ve entered into partnership with. A terrible company run by a dishonest individual.

Posted by HBlaugh on February 5, 2019

Feel for exisitng NEEO user-investors/adopters .... Extra Vegetables anyone?

Posted by AVTech on February 11, 2019

I am upset about this as well, purchased a system to start trying it out and a month later this happens?  Was hoping to find a solution that would offer more than Logitech (Which I do like).  This seemed to be the answer but instead of creating the next generation of universal remotes, sounds like the guy got a lot of people to bite on empty promises and then profit from it.  Too bad.

Posted by applebyter on February 15, 2019

I’d consider this a sign of poor corporate governance at Control 4. The only value Neeo provided was hardware design, something that could have been acquired from a single industrial designer and single electronics engineer with only a few years experience. Total investment of a little over $250K USD to produce a similarly compelling remote design. Neeo’s software was in a terrible state, and the extremely slow development was a clear indication that either the development team was incapable of building this type of software, or that the company did not have the money to invest in software development. Either way, Neeo was clearly on its way to shutting down. There is almost no value in the Neeo brand, the team has very few individuals who have demonstrated any capability that compliments Control 4’s current capabilities. The IP was hardly worth anything, exactly what did Control 4 get for its $10M+ “investment”?

Posted by SKoolD on February 21, 2019

Great question.  Anyone can manufacture a piece of hardware.  There are plenty of factories ready to build a unit.  It’s software that makes something special.  The SR260 is a tired facelift version of its predecessor and the industry is quickly moving past C4 with remote models.  It’s easy to think that perhaps rather than starting a development project on a new handheld it was just too easy to throw money at something and acquire it instead.  Sound familiar?  It should, the last several years have been filled with acquisition instead of innovation and creation.  Proof…Extra Vegetables, Card Access, Leaf, Triad, ihiji, Pakedge, Neeo.  Not to say it’s a bad thing.  It’s just obvious C4 has chosen to focus more on partnerships either through integration or acquisition rather than putting resources towards in-house projects and delivering real native C4 tech.