Panasonic has integrated its digital phone system technology with Control4 automation.
As a result, homeowners will be able to control every home system that can be controlled via a Control4 controller through certain Panasonic cordless phones.
The beta testing is complete for the integration, which is part of Panasonic and Control4’s strategic relationship, and it should be rolled out in the next few weeks “or definitely by the end of April,” says Panasonic public relations rep Martha Whiteley. Panasonic showed an early version of the technology at CEDIA Expo 2008.
When paired with Control4’s Digital Platform, Pansonic’s IP-PBX phone systems can be used to remotely control lighting, thermostats, audio, video garage doors, network cameras, etc.
Panasonic is targeting small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and high-end residential customers with the Control4 integration. The joint effort makes sense because customers that own high-end Panasonic phone systems are similar to customers that have Control4 systems, according to Panasonic marketing manager Bill Savino.
Being able to provide Control4 control though a Panasonic phone provides installers with increased flexibility, says Panasonic director of product management Mike Timar. “You wouldn’t need as many [Control4] controllers. You can expand the power of the Control4 system; it creates a leveragable infrastructure.”
The user interface on the Panasonic phones is similar to the interface the customers will see on their corresponding Control4 interfaces, according to Timar.
When an installer adds/removes devices, they’ll automatically be available to the end user via the phone interface. Menus can be built on demand via the handset interface. The ease of programming also opens installation opportunities to any Control4 installer, as opposed to only master installers previously, according to Panasonic.
Panasonic, which was listed by 80 percent of dealers as their top telephone system brand in CE Pro’s annual CE Pro 100 brand analysis, entered the strategic relationship with Control4 back in September 2008 (CE Pro is Electronic House’s sister publication). The goal was to pair Panasonic’s Communications Solutions Group’s IP-PBX phone systems pair with Control4’s Digital Platform to offer affordable, advanced home automation capabilities.
This is the first product announcement to come out of the collaboration, but Control4 has been pushing lately to include its automation technology in various products, including LG TVs.
It’s part of Control4’s quest to become the operating system for the home, or home OS.