Z-Wave Control Comes to Control4

By integrating Z-Wave technology, Control4 will be open to many more compatible devices.

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Home automation/control company Control4 will be adding Z-Wave RF-based mesh network integration, thanks to a new Control4 driver from UK-based Extra Vegetables, which creates “side dishes” for Control4 and other automation systems.

The driver connects Control4 systems to the Vera2 home controller from Mi Casa Verde. Vera, a low-cost Z-Wave-enabled control system, has an enthusiastic following among do-it-yourselfers, but has never quite made it to the custom channel.

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The new EV driver might be just the ticket. In essence, Vera provides a comprehensive and inexpensive ($238) Z-Wave gateway for Control4.

“By installing the Vera2 and the Extra Vegetables driver in a Control4 installation, the whole world of Z-Wave products and devices is suddenly made available,” according to EV.

Control4 has always maintained that ZigBee is a richer, more reliable mesh networking technology than Z-Wave. However, the company is also open to Z-Wave integration. The Z-Wave camp has far more compatible devices — garage door openers, thermostats, sensors, switches, plug-in modules, and the like — at prices that are generally lower than their ZigBee counterparts.

In 2009, The Z-Wave Alliance itself wrote a driver to integrate Control4 with its RF protocol, but the solution was just a proof of concept, and no one really proved it.

“More and more Z-Wave home automation, monitoring and control products are coming to market, providing cost-effective lighting, heating, energy monitoring and home security solutions,” says EV principal Jane Scotland. “This will really open up the choice of products available to Control4 dealers.”

Mi Casa Verde guarantees that Vera is compatible with all 500+ certified interoperable Z-Wave devices.

Extra Vegetables is famous for integrating Control4 with a variety of popular subsystems, including Apple TV, Sonos and Crestron lighting — and now Z-Wave via Mi Casa Verde.

Extra Vegetables will demonstrate this and other Control4 “side dishes” this week at CEDIA Expo 2011.

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