Control4 Shows Customizable OS 2.0, Z-Wave Integration, App Store

Control4 OS 2.0 lets CE pros personalize home automation systems; customers can shop for apps from a new Control4 marketplace.

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At CEDIA Expo 2009, Control4 is showing OS 2.0, which allows custom electronics professionals to design their own GUIs, at least to some extent.

“There’s more flexibility and personalization around the GUI,” says Control4 president Glen Mella. “We’ve always been the guys with one default screen. Now, if you want just TV and music in a room, then you can do that level of customization.”

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During a sneak preview before CEDIA, John Yoon, director of marketing demonstrated a “global” thermostat view, in which users could navigate through all of the home’s thermostats.

Previously, you had to back in and out of the various rooms to get to each thermostat.

You can change icons and backgrounds, using your own, or the options that Control4 provides.

Biker chick that I am, I’d go with the stainless steel wallpaper.

Along with its new quasi-open programming environment, Control4 is launching a new app store (but don’t call it that), where developers can sell or freely share their Control4 apps.

“We get asked by dealers all the time, ‘I built a driver for XYZ product, how can I share it?’” Mella says.

Yoon demonstrated a few apps – which consumers themselves can download – such as Tetrad (Tetris) and Rhapsody.

Z-Wave Bridge
In other news, while Control4 has just shipped its one millionth wireless ZigBee node, the company is now playing nice with rival mesh networking technology Z-Wave.

The Z-Wave Alliance itself wrote a driver that enables a Control4 system to communicate with Z-Wave devices such as lights, thermostats, motorized shades and garage door openers.

“Our attitude is that we will work with anyone,” says Yoon. “We are still dedicated to ZigBee Pro, but we’re open.”

The Z-Wave interface is a small RS-232-to-Z-Wave box. (Lutron, too, is demonstrating the interface in its booth.)

Control4 has a few other notables in the CEDIA booth this week, including:

  • Wireless bridge to respond to wireless sensors from GE
  • Integrated intercom and wireless door lock
  • Two-way Apple TV integration
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