In a busy ISE programme, Control4 is highlighting two major announcements ahead of the show with additions to it BakPak remote monitoring capabilities, plus a new introduction to its lighting line up with a new square dual load wireless dimmer, switch and keypad.
The automation specialist is continuing to leverage the capabilities afforded to its platform by its purchase of Pakedge Device & Software, Inc. in February of last year. Pakedge built a strong reputation offering networking products and cloud network-management services for wireless and wired networking solutions for homes and business, in particular offering remote access, monitoring and troubleshooting via its BakPak feature.
Brad Hintze, director product marketing at Control4, tells CE Pro Europe: “At the CEDIA show in the US last year, we added BakPak functionality at no extra charge into our platform which was well received. There are lots of options for remote monitoring now, but often with the need for additional hardware, we did not want to do that, so introduced built in BakPak with the Pakedge NK-1 wireless access-point controller.
“For ISE 2017 we are going further and adding the functionality to our RK1 routers. To us it makes perfect sense to add BakPak to a router and this simple approach should help installers build up a critical mass of clients with remote monitoring to really make it pay off in terms of building up service contracts as well as improving the performance of the system over all.
“If you have an install that is already covered in terms of Wi-Fi, then there is still the opportunity to use the NK-1. The new BakPak loaded routers can be ordered now and if clients already have the RK-1, they too can get the functionality via a firmware upgrade.
In a little more detail, BakPak manages both the IP network and connected smart devices (including those connected via ZigBee, Z-Wave, Ethernet, and WiFi) delivering real-time visibility of network health in one interface allowing diagnostics and troubleshooting, before problems happen allowing installers to increase their support effectiveness and to cut costs by keeping physical visits to a minimum.
As well as the BakPak functionality, the RK-1 Router includes a dual-core processor and CPU to manage simultaneous streams of high bandwidth, low latency multimedia traffic including 4K and HD video, uncompressed audio, running Voice over IP (VOIP) telephone services, streaming video camera feeds as well as supporting Control4 system applications. The router has five LAN ports, two WAN ports for failover, plus two USB 3.0 ports.
Martin Plaehn, Control4 CEO, says: “The connected home is a reality; with an ever-increasing number of connected devices, integrators need more sophisticated services to meet the expectations of customers. That is why we are including BakPak on every RK-1 Router as well as every NK-1 wireless controller, to provide our dealers with the remote management tool they need for every customer.”
Control4 has also revealed new BakPak features that the company says will enable dealers to bring a new customer network online quickly through a wizard-based approach. New troubleshooting and alert features include diagnostic information for ZigBee and Z-Wave signal strength and mobile alerts for diminished Internet speed tests.
The RK-1 Router with BakPak pre-configured is available now without any license or subscription fees for $750 US MSRP (£600 aprox). Existing homes running an RK-1 Router and can be upgraded to BakPak without additional license fees. The BakPak enabled NK-1 comes in at $500 US MSRP (£400 aprox) and homes already running an NK-1 WAP Controller can also be upgraded to the latest firmware with BakPak support without additional license fees.
Lighting The Way
A new Square Dual Load Wireless Dimmer and Square Dual Load Wireless Switch is the other big news from the company, enabling dealers to leverage the ZigBee wireless lighting solution for all projects, existing and new builds.
The new approach is designed to offer European installers a reliable intelligent lighting automation in a compact square form-factor.
“Expanding our lighting solutions multiplies the opportunity for Control4 dealers to offer custom lighting control in both new construction and retrofit projects in either residential or light commercial buildings around the globe,” says Paul Williams, VP of product management at Control4.
The platforms has been created to be a cost-effective and smart solution for split-load applications to independently control two lighting loads at a single location. The Square Dual Load Wireless Dimmer and Switch also function as a keypad and incorporate backlit engraving and status LEDs for two-way feedback. The fittings also offer colour options for faceplates and keypads.
Keypads offer flexible configurations and control of other functions such as music, video, shades, locks and thermostats. As far as lighting goes, the system can handle LED, incandescent, halogen and low voltage lighting, as well as motorised devices such as ceiling fans and bathroom ventilations.
The Square Dual Load Wireless Dimmer costs £175.00/ €255.00 MSRP and the Square Dual Load Wireless Switch £140.00/ €205.00 MSRP, both are available now.
So what else can dealers expect from Control4 in the near future?
Brad explains: “Martin our CEO is very hot on not talking about specific products before they are 100% market ready. However, I can say that networking is really important to us, so we are working hard in that area. We also see a big opportunity in audio, having already added high-resolution audio capability to our system. We of course also see voice control as a big opportunity announcing Alexa compatibility at CEDIA last year. However, on its own Alexa can do very little, it needs support from a full automation system and we have some stuff to show at ISE on that.”
The whole new line up can be seen on Stand 10-N114.