Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
June 23, 2016

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Control4 Q&A: Why Security Installers Should Get into Home Automation

Lee Miller, Control4’s UK area sales manager, speaks to IFSEC Global about the enormous potential of a burgeoning home automation market.

Find out more about IFSEC’s Home Automation House here. You can also read about a real-life Control4 installation with the director of a London-based home automation specialist.

IFSEC Global: Please tell me a bit about Control4 and its status in the UK, US and global market.

Lee Miller: Control4 is a leading provider of home automation systems , offering personalised control of lighting, music, video, comfort, security, communications, and more into a unified smart home system that enhances the daily lives of its consumers.

Control4 recently expanded its offerings to include an industry-leading suite of advanced networking and power management solutions that include cloud-based network management and monitoring for the connected home and business. Today, every home and business needs automation horsepower and a high-performance network to manage the increasing number of connected devices.

The Control4 platform interoperates with more than 9,500 third-party consumer electronics products, ensuring an ever-expanding ecosystem of devices will work together.

Control4 is now available in 91 countries. Leveraging a distribution channel that includes over 3,600 custom integrators, retailers, and distributors authorised to sell the full-line of Control4 products, with over 1,200 additional dealers and distributors that are authorised to sell our Pakedge branded networking solutions only, Control4 is delivering intelligent solutions for consumers, major consumer electronics companies, hotels, and businesses around the world.

control4 home automation house

IFSEC’s Home Automation House

IG: What challenges and opportunities do the UK and European markets pose to Control4, especially compared to the US?

LM: The primary challenge is customer awareness.  Most customers don’t realise how much more powerful their individual devices could be if they all work together.

While the concept of interoperability is not new, most people don’t realise just how much can be done, and how much that interoperability can be personalised to suit an individual or family need.

IG: How well do you think the home automation industry is overcoming challenges around interoperability, usability, reliability, cyber security and marketing the concept to the mass market? (and what role is Control4 playing in this regard?)

LM: Connected devices are on the rise, and as more and more of them come online, they are becoming harder to manage and it’s important to connect them together. We’re consistently seeing that homeowners want choice.

They want a smart home that has the ability to manage multiple systems inside or outside – whether it’s lighting, climate, entertainment, security and so on – so that they can control and automate the devices and products that they already use and love, on one platform, through any interface they want.

Control4 homeowners use our solutions in a multitude of ways. Some have busy lifestyles that require simplification through real automation, not just control.

For instance, the moment they pull into the garage, the door unlocks, the alarm deactivates, the lights light a pathway and their favorite music begins to play in the living room.

Others may want their homes to respond to set schedules, such as a ‘Wakeup’ scene set for 6:00am that gradually turns on lights, increases the volume on the overhead speakers and brings up the temperature before they get out of bed.

And some may desire more hands-on control over their experiences, with scenes they can manually activate with the press of a button on a touch screen, keypad on the wall, or even their iOS or Android devices. And the best part is, they can have any or all of the above with Control4.

Regarding cyber security, see this consumer blog piece aimed to educate our own customers.

IG: To what extent is this a good market to diversify into for installers in the B2B sector?

LM: This is a fantastic opportunity for installers to diversify in. While awareness of the possibilities is not prolific with end-users today, they almost always fall in love with the capabilities once they see them.

Installers have existing customers coming to them today for products that they already sell, by adding home automation to that portfolio, they can provide the customer an even better overall experience by integrating with more systems and devices in the home that result in the customer bragging to their friends about what they have and in turn creating more customers.

It also creates a customer who continues to come back for more business as they add more devices to their home over time.

IG: How do you work with installers in terms of finding customers, training installers and supporting them during and after installations?

LM: We put forth a great deal of effort to generate leads for our dealers with the help of personalised microsites, and within the past year we’ve also added a team to help better qualify and prepare leads before we match them up with the right dealer.

As consumer interest in smart home technology grows, we will continue to generate and provide even more qualified leads to to our dealers.

Ass the largest home automation provider in the world, we take pride in our unwavering commitment to our dealers. Our focus on dealer success is unmatched and is reflected in the very solutions we develop, the channel tools and programmes we offer and the myriad resources we deploy to support dealer opportunity and growth.

Composer Pro and Composer Express radically simplify programming – even the most sophisticated systems – resulting in streamlined installation, reduced truck rolls and better customer support.

All dealers have access to in-class, online and live training events, direct sales support, showroom design support, and an online portal that features direct ordering, a knowledge base, account information, customer dashboards, and loads of marketing materials to help educate prospects and generate demand.

Read our Control4 home automation case study: installer Q&A and smart-home video

INTRUDER ALARM INSTALLER SURVEY - chance to win a £100 Amazon voucher

Does your business install, integrate or maintain intruder alarm systems (or have plans to)? This Texecom-sponsored survey takes a few minutes to complete and enters you into a prize draw for a £100 Amazon voucher (or equivalent value in local currency). This survey will inform the findings of a forthcoming trend report published on IFSEC Global.

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