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CES 2014: Control4 Announces New Partners in Its Quest to Make the Smart Connected Home Smarter and More Connected

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Yesterday was another hectic day on the CES show floors at the Las Vegas convention center, but the highlight of the day for me was my private chat with Control4 Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Martin Plaehn. The last time I sat down for a chat with Martin was back in September at the CEDIA EXPO in Denver, but it’s amazing just how much his future plans for Control4 have changed even in that short amount of time. We chatted at length not just about specific upcoming innovations, but also ideas that he’s merely brainstorming at the moment, including some big ideas for the company’s MyHome app. Primary amongst these involve redesigning the app so that it operates differently when you’re away from home. “When you’re in the home, you want to use the app to control things,” Martin said; “But when you’re away from home, it’s more about wanting to monitor things.” It’s going to be exciting to see how Control4 addresses that in the coming years.

But the biggest news from the show is that Control4 has added three big manufacturers – HARMAN, Epson, and TiVo – to the list of companies whose devices support the Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP). These three join a growing rank of manufacturers like Denon, Dish Networks, Integra, Lilin, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba America Information Systems, and Yamaha. What SDDP does is allow supported connected devices to be instantly recognized by the Control4 Composer Pro software, which then automatically loads the correct drivers and quickly integrates the devices into the control and automation ecosystem.

With SDDP, the time it takes for a home technology specialist to design and install an advanced smart home system is drastically reduced, which makes the already affordable system even more economical to install. Not only that, but SDDP often adds advanced two-way control capabilities, meaning that your control system isn’t just sending commands to, say, your TiVo Roamio DVR, but it’s also receiving information constantly from the device. And in the case of network connected surround sound receivers– like those offered by HARMAN Harman/Kardon brand – SDDP often gives you direct access to the numerous connected streaming services built into the hardware. So instead of digging through your receiver’s onscreen menus to find, say, a DLNA link to the music stored on your personal computer, you just press the Listen Button on your Control4 remote or touchscreen, select your tunes, and the control system handles all of the input tuning and everything else for you. So it’s truly heartening to see more manufacturers as big as these adopting and supporting the technology.

“Leading brands in the HVAC, cable and satellite, consumer electronics, and security industries are recognizing the strong and growing consumer interest in the connected home, and our SDDP technology provides these companies with a powerful connection point into the expanding home automation market,” Martin said of the new announcement. “By creating an ever-expanding eco-system of high-profile, SDDP-enabled consumer device manufacturers along with our worldwide network of thousands of Control4 certified automation specialists, Control4 is positioned to reach and serve more consumers to deliver exceptional connected home experiences.”

For more information on SDDP and how it sets Control4 apart, check out the latest post on the Control4 blog.

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