Control4 Authorised Dealer showroom locations announced to date include the US, Canada, UK, China, and Australia, with each one designed to showcase the “real-life benefits of living in an automated, personalised Control4 smart home” through technologies including multi-room audio and video, smart lighting, security, home networking and voice control.
The fruits of one year of planning, the home automation heavyweight told HiddenWires that the move is about bridging the gap between consumers and home technology through allowing them to experience it first-hand in a nearby location.
“The primary driver for us, after doing this for 15 years and having a large dealer channel, is that we know the most successful way to really get consumers to really understand a smart home is through lifestyle experiences,” explained Brad Hintze, senior director of product marketing at the company.
He continued: “The trend for ‘DIY’ for the last several years has certainly raised awareness and I think it’s got creativity started for a lot of consumers, but it’s also created a lot of noise and confusion and I think the market is starting to come to terms with that.” He adds that mainstream consumers need more guidance if the industry is to a wider audience beyond the owners of exclusive properties, and the “cardboard display at their local electronics store”-style marketing is insufficient to propel things. “Individual devices working on their own may be novel, but it’s not really what it should be – it doesn’t really meet the potential of what can happen when you bring all of that technology together.”
“This kind of an approach leaves consumers to their own devices or methods to try and bring this technology into their lives, and we’re totally committed and we know that the best way to do it is with a pro and that’s why we’ve invested so much time in working with dealers to bring this programme online.”
Hintze says Control4 recognises that the company is not the first and won’t be the last to take this approach to interesting more people to custom technology, but states that the manufacturer very much views it as its “responsibility” to help share best practices and “make the channel better.” It also believes the accessibility of the programme, with 140 locations to grow in the next quarter and year ahead, is a clear point of difference to others. “I think we’re in a unique in that some manufacturers have experience centres, but they’re only in a handful of locations,” he explains.
“As a manufacturer, we could have created our own experience centres and managed them ourselves but I think that misses an opportunity for a dealer to show their capabilities…”
Installers involved in the programme must meet a certification “checklist” (i.e. detailed knowledge of C4 brand, ability to demo products and owning a showroom with a certain level of “wow-factor”) to qualify, but have the freedom to put their own marker on the space when it comes to aesthetics and localising the space to its environment. “As a manufacturer, we could have created our own experience centres and managed them ourselves but I think that misses an opportunity for a dealer to show their unique capabilities, and the value that they bring to a relationship with the homeowner,” says Hintze.” Ultimately, the success of the channel is down to how manufacturer and installers work together.”
Given the different levels of space installers may have at their disposal, Hintze says showrooms fall into one of two categories: a compact “demo room” where technology can be showcased in one or two rooms or an “immersive” space bringing lifestyle experiences to life in complete living space where a dealer can demonstrate how their everyday routine could be made easier.
As part of the big announcement, Control4 has also launched a worldwide event dedicated to getting building/design professionals and consumers to visit their local showroom to experience home automation technology in action in a “low-pressure, but engaging and educational environment.” “We are committed to helping drive more traffic to these showroom,” affirms Hintze, outlining that May 31 will be marketed as “#C4yourself day” to drive people to the showrooms.
Control4 is inviting any installers interested in the programme to contact them for more information.