13 Dec Making Third Party Apps Even easier to use…
As you’ve probably seen on advertisements across all media, home automation products have exploded on to the market and the public consciousness. This amazing technology is now accessible and obtainable on the high streets. So, what does this mean for professionally installed home automation systems? Are systems like Control4 obsolete?
Absolutely not! In fact, in many cases we’ve found that it is the opposite and this easily accessible and constantly developing technology only helps broaden the capabilities of the system in question. Control4 can integrate with the vast majority of third party apps bringing them together into a single user interface.
Let’s start with Philips Hue Lighting.
Philips Hue is ‘wireless lighting’. The bulbs talk to a local Hue bridge and can be controlled using an app. Hue differs from other wireless lighting products in that each individual bulb can be controlled, whether you are turning them on or off, dimming them or changing their colour.
Hue bulbs can also be grouped for lighting scenes, synced to music or movies or assigned to timed functions – but who wants to unlock their phone or ipad to load an app every time they want to control the lights in their own home?
Philips do sell a light switch that works with hue, but it has limited functionality and in our experience has proven unreliable on occasion, it also isn’t the prettiest of wall controllers.
Step up Control4! Philips Hue can be integrated into the Control4 system and you can control your lighting from your bespoke Control4 keypad, hand held remote control, in-wall touchscreens or the mobile app.
Not only does this mean your automation is all in one place but lighting scenes can work seamlessly with other events that can take place throughout your home. You could have a “relax” setting on the wall keypad as you enter your kitchen. One press and Control4 could initiate a specific chill out playlist in the kitchen, drop your automated blinds, set the heating to the perfect temperature and dim your kitchen’s Hue bulbs – turning your kitchen from a brightly lit hub of activity to a warm sunset scene doused in moody reds and oranges. All of this with a simple press of a button.
The postman is at the door…
Ring is a fairly new product to the market and is fantastic for the standalone home user. It is a large doorbell that records video, sends and receives audio from your phone or tablet and can be accessed remotely from anywhere in the world. This makes accepting a parcel from a courier a whole lot easier and means you do not need to wait at home all day.
It’s a good product, the video is at HD 1080p, the speaker for the doorbell is loud and clear along with the microphone and it works with every press. The challenge posed by this wireless product however, is its reliance on strong WiFi signals and fast internet speeds. Without either of these it becomes unreliable, falls offline and can freeze. All of these issues don’t really help when that package you’ve got arriving is important and you are not home.
However, there is a driver available which will bring your ‘Ring’ into the Control4 system but it has very limited functionality and at the time of writing it is unable to provide a video feed.
At Pro Media, we recommend a product that works in the same way as the Ring but is wired to your network. This means there will never be any problems with weak WiFi or the device falling offline. Depending upon budget and aesthetics you could have either the Control4 DS2 Door Station or German manufactured Doorbird unit. Both can be integrated into Control4 and having these in your home automation system means that you will never miss activity at your door, whether you are out and about or even if you’re lying in the bath belting out your favourite 80s power ballad. Control4 can reduce the volume of the music and initiate a doorbell sound through any existing speaker system while also sending a notification to your phone/tablet.
Talking of birds…. NEST.
Nest, is a Google-owned company who produce intelligent thermostats, smoke detectors, cameras and security systems – and, being Google, they’re good ones too. The products work seamlessly: thermostats can learn how you use your heating and pre-determine your actions; the smoke detectors all talk to one another; the cameras have great video quality, audio functions and look great. But the thing that makes these devices REALLY intelligent is that they all can be accessed remotely from anywhere you have an internet connection and just like the Philips Hue, Control4 can make the Nest products even more functional and effective.
Imagine you are on the top floor of your property with the doors shut wailing along to some more of those power ballads and a fire breaks out on a lower floor; your Nest smoke detectors trigger a sound but you can’t hear them clearly. With Control4 however the music stops and an announcement sounds through the speakers, your home lighting pulses or the lights change colour to alert you there is a problem in whichever room you are. All of this happens immediately through Control4 to optimise your chances of vacating the house safely.
Whenever you have a multitude of devices pulling on the same WiFi network it can affect their performance – Nest works really well, however, having more than two Nest Cams can put a strain on your network and video quality will degrade while other devices in your home may struggle with connectivity or speed. Much like the Ring doorbell, Nest products rely heavily on a strong Wi-Fi signal and fast internet connection.
If you are having multiple automation devices installed make sure you speak to a professional here, at Pro Media. We can offer and install reliable networking systems that will have the potential to boost internet speeds and Wi-Fi signal, making these products and others around your property work seamlessly. Check out our blog “Why Isn’t My Net-Working” for more information.
If you would like to talk to a professional technician or installer about fitting a home automation system in your home, give us a call on 0345 505 1760 or email us. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Photo credit: Control4