By Travis Leo, CEO, Residential Systems Inc.
When considering a smart home automation system, the first step is selecting which control system is right for you. But this can be a daunting feat. Take the time to consider your lifestyle, budget, and preferences.
Travis Leo, smart home technology expert and owner of Residential Systems, Inc., of Denver, Colo, has developed a side-by-side comparison of three leading home automation brands—Control4, Savant, and Crestron—to help you get started in your quest for the best.
STEP 1: LEARN ABOUT THE SYSTEMS
|· Over a decade on the home automation market
· Lower price points than Savant or Crestron
· Offers a wide breadth of capabilities including Audio, Video, Lighting, Climate, Security and more
· Easily integrates with 3rd party devices including Sonos, Nest, Chamberlain garage doors, and Lutron lighting control systems Singular, intuitive user interface
· Elegant user experience
|· Apple-based products that focus on user experience
· Extremely reliable, user friendly platform
· Allows users to define and set “scenes” without reprogramming the software- integration is not required
· Customizable to suit your lifestyle
|· Over three decades on the home automation market
· Features complex systems including video distribution, audio conferencing, access control and more
· High level of integration with simplified control
· Perfect for commercial spaces
· Perfect for larger homes with multiple televisions
· Robust, comprehensive, customizable solutions
· Ability to build on what already exists, often refreshing and re-programming the software to better leverage the value
· Truly integrated solutions
STEP 2: CONSIDER THE DIFFERENCES
Asking a home systems integrator to pick a favorite control system is like asking him which of his kids he likes best. We like all of them for different reasons.
- Control4: Entry-level platform, approachable price point, flexible, integrates with an array of third- party devices.
- Savant: Mid-level price point, extensive customization options, better user experience.
- Crestron: Most robust and customizable solution, ideal for complex integration, higher-end price point.
STEP 3: DELVE INTO THE DETAILS
- Integrates with more third-party devices than any of the other platform including Nest, Sonos, smart locks, smart thermostats, and a host of other “Internet of Things” devices.
- As close to an “out of the box” product as you can get. This allows for quick installation and systems that can be deployed in minutes, versus weeks.
- The leading choice for retrofit projects due to its Zigbee wireless capabilities. This allows you to to take advantage of home technology without rewiring your home.
- Offers an on-screen display, allowing you to control your audio and video experience straight from your television.
- The only platform that allows you to use the TV as a navigation tool.
- A favorite among Apple fans.
- Easy to install and very easy to modify.
- Gives you the ability to customize and set “scenes” yourself.
- The most reliable systems on the market. They require the least amount of maintenance and technical support.
- Require professional installation and wiring, so many of Savant’s offerings are fairly limited to new construction projects.
- The ultimate ability in customization, integration, and luxury features. As such, it generally requires some level of personalized programming. When done well, this can be a key benefit. When done poorly, it can make operating the system challenging.
- Ideal choice for a select homeowners, but for those select few, it is the ONLY choice. If you want to customize the user experience, this is the right platform for you.
- Ideal choice for large properties and quasi commercial environments.
STEP 4: DECIDE WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
When people ask “Which system do you prefer?” we tell them the following:
- They’re all great systems. At RSI, we only represent the best in custom integration so wouldn’t install a product that we didn’t believe in.
- The system you select is less important than who installs it for you. Find a reliable systems integrator you can count on. A poorly installed Crestron system will function much worse than a well-installed Control4 system, regardless of price.
- Play with the user interface and figure out which one you like best. That’s more important than the brand. You’ll use the interfaces everyday so make sure you come to our office and try them all out.
Travis Leo is CEO of Residential Systems Inc., one of Colorado’s leading providers of home technology services for 30 years.
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