BlackWire Designs, a distributor and software developer for home-technology integrators, has launched a driver store for third-party home automation developers. Initially, the new site features integration software for Control4 systems, but BlackWire principal Kevin Luther says the company will soon offer drivers and modules for URC, RTI, Elan and Crestron systems.
Most of the third-party Control4 drivers now available through BlackWire aren’t exactly new – they had been sold through HouseLogix in the past – but they are nevertheless noteworthy.
We asked BlackWire software development manager Seth Johnson to highlight some of the more interesting integrations in the first batch of releases. They include drivers for HomeKit (and Siri voice control), Roku (better than Control4's own), Freshdesk (integrated helpdesk), push notifications and more.
Dealer Toolz Freshdesk by HTI Customs — This driver creates a help ticket for a client in the dealer’s Freshdesk account. Some dealers are already using Freshdesk for customer support and helpdesk services, but they’re doing it online. The Dealer Toolz Freshdesk Driver allows customers to request service with one touch through the Control4 app. Clients enter
basic project information for the support ticket, so dealers can start off with some knowledge of their needs.
Roku IP by HTI Customs – This driver enables two-way control over Roku devices including selecting favorite Roku channels – no custom programming, custom buttons or button mapping required. You can also program events based on the channel being watched. The driver’s built-in security feature can be used to prevent kids from watching certain channels.
“All of this is above and beyond what Control4’s own “stock” driver can do,” Johnson says.
HomeBridge by Veritas Software — (coming soon) This driver enables Apple HomeKit control on Control4 systems using a hardware appliance (also sold through BlackWire). The driver and appliance work together to take all of the lights, dimmers, motion detectors, contact sensors, door locks, fans, security systems, garage doors, doorbells and thermostats that are being controlled by the Control4 system … and makes them available to HomeKit.
“Veritas has made the setup as simple as installing a home router,” Johnson says. “With just a few clicks the system is up and running with zero Control4 programming required. This combo package is going to be absolutely huge once we help dealers understand what all it can do.”
PushNotify by Two Hour Lunch — PushNotify makes it easy to send push notifications from Control4 projects to iOS or Android devices. Messages can be prioritized, with each priority having a different sound (or no sound at all).
In addition to these noteworthy apps and drivers, BlackWire is offering software from Greenfield Solutions and Manfell Services, both of which support rich integration with camera and NVR manufacturers including Hikvision, Amcrest, Dahua and more.
“These two developers are really prolific in their support for IP cameras and NVRs,” Johnson says.
He adds that BlackWire also is working with Blackman Signature Designs, developer of graphical user interfaces and icons for home-control systems.
“We’ll be working closely with [BSD owner] Noel Blackman to bring his graphic designs and icons to the Control4 platform,” Johnson says. “This is very exciting and we’ll have more on this later.”