Pakedge and Control4 (Nasdaq: CTRL) are making their first joint announcement since Control4, a leading home automation manufacturer, acquired Pakedge earlier this year. Pakedge provides enterprise-grade networking products for home-technology professionals.
At CEDIA 2016, the two organizations are launching BakPak 4.0, the latest iteration of Pakedge’s popular remote networking-monitoring platform.
First, just some generally nice news: No more fees for the service.
It’s the same thing Control4 did when it acquired Extra Vegetables, maker of smart-home integration drivers. It made all those drivers free to Control4 dealers.
The reason Control4 made the move with BakPak is that dealers have not yet figured out how to monetize the remote-access tool.
“We don’t want to force them [dealers] into an RMR [recurring revenue] model if they’re not ready for it,” says Brad Hintze, Control4 director of product marketing. “We don’t need to add to the cost structure. We hope to remove any friction so dealers can use it as a tool to be successful.”
There’s more to the Pakedge news than the price, though.
Now on to the bigger news: Pakedge and the new BakPak 4.0 integrates with home automation more deeply than ever before. The service allows dealers to not only tunnel into the routers, WAPs and other traditional networking gear, but also to home automation devices in the ecosystem.
Dealers using BakPak with Control4 will be able to “see” all products including Control4’s own lights, thermostats and keypads, as well as third-party ZigBee, Z-Wave and IP devices.
“It all shows up on the dashboard,” Hintze says.
Dealers can check the health of the respective networks – Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave – and glean certain information from devices, for example, status and performance.
Control4 is able to expose this level of data because it is doing things on the back-end to enable richer integration with third-party solutions.
Most recently, the company announced rich integration with Z-Wave, such that select products are seen as native devices in the Control4 ecosystem.
Similarly, Control4’s new approach to motorized-shade integration is more “integral” than ever before, with major manufacturers adopting Control4’s SDK for seemingly native communications.
These tight integrations allow Bakpak to gain better insights into everything in the home, not just routers and IP cameras.
CE Pro contributor Joe Whitaker has the first review of BakPak 4.0 and CE Pro will be posting it shortly.
Control4 Launches Bakpak 4.0, Establishing a New Standard for Network and Automation Management for Connected Homes
Available now to all 5,000 Control4 and Pakedge dealers to enable remote management for connected homes
Dallas, TX – September 14, 2016 6:00 PM ET – Control4 Corporation (NASDAQ: CTRL), a leading global provider of connected home solutions, announces the release and immediate availability of Bakpak 4.0, the intelligent cloud-based management system. Bakpak® enables rapid response to connectivity issues, proactive device management, and greater visibility of networks and automation systems within connected homes across a dealer’s entire customer base. With the intent to enable all 5,000 independent authorized Control4® and Pakedge® dealers to deliver reliable, robust managed networks for all of their customers’ connected homes, Bakpak 4.0 is available license and subscription-free.
“Our Pakedge networking products are the foundation for high-performance networking in the connected home. Bakpak 4.0 is our first joint release after combining development teams and it should become an essential tool for all of our dealers to install and manage connected homes around the world,” said Martin Plaehn, Control4 CEO. “Today, we begin putting Bakpak into the hands of everyone offering our networking products.”
Pakedge is the CE Pro Best 100 category brand-leader for home networking, four years in a row. Control4 is building on that leadership with Bakpak 4.0, supporting dealers’ businesses and the connected home customer experience with enhanced capabilities. By including Bakpak support with Pakedge networking products, Control4 is enabling dealers to deliver greater customer service and reliability.
Bakpak 4.0 includes new iOS and Android mobile apps, providing Control4 and Pakedge authorized dealers with the ability to remedy many network issues right from the palm of their hand. The sophisticated management capabilities of Bakpak 4.0 deliver intelligent, actionable alerts directly to a technician’s mobile devices — sending a notification when something is wrong, giving them the ability to contact their customers about possible issues in real-time, and to correct certain issues from the office, home, or on-the-go.
“The connected home is happening, and the need for local installation and prompt service by trained experts is ever-apparent. With Bakpak now available to all of our dealers, Control4 is empowering our channel partners with the advanced management capability to provide the best experiences and services for their connected home customers,” continued Plaehn.
Expanding its scope to include all connected devices within the home, Bakpak 4.0 offers the ability for dealers to also remotely monitor home automation products including those connected via ZigBee, Z-Wave, Ethernet, and WiFi – bringing all connected devices into a single interface. Bakpak improves customer service and satisfaction by providing dealers with the rapid insight and data to quickly troubleshoot issues and take action.
Bakpak 4.0 is easy to use, easy to scale, delivers greater business efficiency for teams of any size, and is without additional licensing or subscription fees. Bakpak 4.0 enables dealers to bring a new customer network online quickly, and manage and monitor all installed systems in a single view on a laptop or mobile device.
The Pakedge Networking Difference
Pakedge networking products from Control4 include high-performance routers, switches, wireless access points (WAPs), wireless controllers, and power distribution units (PDUs). Installing and managing the network in connected homes is a big business opportunity. Pakedge networking products afford dealers both intelligence and management capabilities that provide the stability and uninterrupted performance expected in today’s connected home.
Pricing and Availability
Bakpak 4.0 is available today and pre-configured for use with the NK-1 Wireless Controller. With Bakpak 4.0, license fees to dealers for third-party product monitoring and management have been eliminated — providing management and monitoring of an unlimited number of connected devices within the home. Annual subscription fees for previously considered premium features, such as ISP monitoring and speed tests, have also been eliminated and are now included as standard.
The NK-1 Wireless Controller is now available with support for up to 15 wireless access points for $650 US MSRP, and up to 30 access points for $2,000 US MSRP.
Existing homes running NK-1 Wireless Controllers with the WK and WX Series Wireless Access Points can be upgraded to enable use of Bakpak 4.0 without additional license fees.