Experience Smart Home Living at Its Best with Control4

A living room with in-ceiling speakers and the Control4 operating system displayed on the TV screen.

The Control4 Smart Home Is Improved Again with the Upgraded OS 3.3.0 Operating System

Control4 has long been a leader in smart home automation systems. Several reasons for its popularity include ease of use, integration with nearly every smart device on the market, and its continual advancements. These are just a few of the many reasons we, at Show & Tell AV Solutions, are an Authorized Diamond Control4 dealer who proudly serves Salt Lake City, UT and the surrounding areas. 

In this, our first in a three-part series on the latest Control4 system upgrade, we’ll offer an overall look at what homeowners can expect from the newest release before diving into the specifics in our following posts.

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The Creation of a Media Room


Learn How to Turn Any Room into a Media Room

When compared to home theaters, the media room is a relatively new concept and owes part of its popularity to the rise in smart home automation. Today, homeowners can tap a button on an in-wall keypad or remote control and watch as their fine art painting transforms into a large 4K or 8K HDR TV and sound fills a room from speakers hidden from view. Now, any room in your Park City, UT, home can become a media room. 

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5 Ways Josh.ai Leads in Privacy-Focused Voice Control


Josh.ai Is the Voice Assistant You Can Trust for Your Control4 Smart Home

Control4 homeowners have many options for controlling their smart home, from apps and touchscreens to wall keypads and remotes. An even simpler option is voice control, which Control4 makes possible through integration with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Josh.ai.

Recently, we celebrated the newly expanded partnership between Control4 and Josh.ai, which makes it easier for Control4 homeowners to enjoy Josh.ai’s advanced, natural, and contextually aware voice automation technology no matter how simple or complex their Control4 home automation system.

Still, the most critical feature that makes Josh.ai the best voice assistant for Control4 homeowners is its strong focus on privacy. Below, learn five ways Josh.ai leads in privacy-focused voice control.

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Josh.ai and Control4’s Partnership Makes Controlling Your Smart Home as Easy as Talking to a Friend


Advanced Voice Activation Now Possible for Music, Lighting, and More

At Show & Tell AV Solutions, we have long been fans of Control4 home automation systems. Their integration capabilities and ease of use allow us to create custom home automation solutions in clients’ homes, making smart home experiences unique to each family and living situation. 

Control4 has led the home automation pack in innovative firsts, from customized keypads with pre-set scenes to enhanced touchscreens. Josh.ai has also been one of our favorite voice control options, allowing users to speak as if they were talking to a friend instead of imitating a robot. 

In November 2021, Control4 and Josh.ai announced an expanded partnership and an exclusive distribution agreement. To say we were excited maybe a slight understatement. The joining of these two mighty forces in smart home automation significantly ups the ante in the level of service and integration we can offer our clients. 

At the core of this partnership is new driver enhancements that create a superior experience. Let’s look at what this means for Control4 smart homes in Bountiful, UT, and the surrounding areas. 

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Introducing Josh.ai: Turbocharged Voice Control for the Smart Home


Command Naturally

As we mentioned in the previous blog, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant require a certain order to commands and getting device names right. While they both have made strides in that area, even your four-year-old can process language better (they may not do your bidding, but we won’t go into that here). Josh.ai, on the other hand, has a handle on both the context of your commands and where you want to get something done. When you are in the living room and say, “lower the shades in 3 minutes,” it knows what room you are in and which motorized shades you mean.

Like your personal butler (which you won’t need anymore with Josh.ai), Josh can understand more than one thing at a time. And unlike your four-year-old, it will faithfully do what is asked. A compound directive like “dim the lights to 20%, turn the temperature to 73, and start Firefly Lane on Netflix” will be understood and executed without a puzzled look or a quizzical reply. This is voice control the way it should be.

SEE ALSO: Optimize Your Smart Home System with Remote Access

An App When You Want it

Sometimes it’s easier to manage something at the tap of a screen rather than by voice. Josh.ai has an elegant, intuitive companion app that lets you customize your smart home experience. Organized by rooms, it's easy to manage devices and functions in a room, and you can manage multiple properties too. A powerful personalization feature is profiles, where you can control how guests, kids, and visitors can manage specific parts of your smart home. Of course, Josh also integrates seamlessly with automation systems like Control4, so you can combine all your smart home functionality under one comprehensive control system. 

A Higher Intelligence – with Privacy

Josh.ai was designed as a voice control platform for home automation and not for other reasons. The company behind it does not gather information that can be used for marketing purposes. A unique feature of Josh is superior processing power built into the hardware that processes commands locally versus sending it to the cloud, creating a more secure and private approach to voice control. That power also lets Josh.ai learn your habits and do routine things for you, like lowering your shades on late afternoons in Bountiful, UT, to keep the sun's glare out – and that information stays in your home.

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How Do Alexa and Google Assistant Stack Up as Voice Assistants?


Smart Home Integration

Amazon Echo and Google Home aren’t just smart speakers; they’re smart home platforms that connect your devices so you can control everything with your voice or through their respective mobile apps. Amazon’s and Google’s voice control assistants also integrate with home automation systems like Control4 to bring the convenience of voice control to more complex smart homes.

It’s hard to find a smart home device that doesn’t integrate with Alexa or Google Assistant. Both platforms work with tens of thousands of devices that span every category: lights, locks, thermostats, video doorbells, refrigerators… you name it. And they’re adding new products all the time.

Like we mentioned, Alexa and Google Assistant work with other smart home devices and systems as well. For example, use Amazon Echo or Google Home speakers to command your Lutron lighting and shading control system, your Sonos multiroom speaker system, Nest and ecobee devices, and more.

SEE ALSO: 4 Convenient Ways to Control Your Smart Lighting System

Ease of Use

When it comes to controlling your Park City, UT smart home by voice, the more natural the commands, the better. While Alexa and Google Assistant require specific and often repetitive syntax when activating devices, Google Assistant seems to edge out Alexa in ease of use.

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What Is Voice Control and How Does It Enhance Your Smart Home?


The Rise of Voice Control

Voice control for the smart home skyrocketed after Amazon released its first-generation Echo smart speaker in 2014. Two years later, Google followed suit with its release of the Google Home smart speaker, as did Josh.ai with its (albeit higher-end) Josh Micro smart speaker. Of the biggest players in voice control, Apple trailed in last with its HomePod smart speaker in 2018.

Out of the gate, smart speakers could do a lot. Looking specifically at DIY smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, they could stream music, set alarms and reminders, answer trivial questions, and more. It didn’t take long for manufacturers to build solutions that would also enable these speakers to be used for sending voice commands to smart home devices.

Voice Control + Home Automation

Control4, a leader in home automation systems, noticed the rising popularity of using voice commands to control smart home devices and officially announced its integration with Amazon Alexa in 2016. Today, Control4 smart homes integrate with all the big players in voice assistant technology!

Something magical happens when you pair voice control with a home automation system like Control4. Not only can you control individual devices in your Park City, UT home, like a door lock or TV, but you can also control multiple devices at once using a single verbal command.

For example, when you get home from work, tell your smart speaker to activate your Evening scene. In seconds, the lights change, the shades lower, the temperature adjusts, and your favorite music plays overhead. Control4 paired with voice control lets you enjoy the power of automation—hands-free.

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Be the Master of Your Smart Home Domain with Control4


Whole-Home Audio

What do we mean by whole-home audio? With audio, it means being able to call up virtually any audio or music you want to enjoy in any room or area of your home with consummate ease and control. If you’re ever frustrated by multiple remote controls, inputs, and different audio settings across your house, you might like this concept. Whole-home audio gives you one consistent way to access all your music and sound sources. Pick a music streaming service and artist, album, radio station, or playlist, and pick the rooms you want to play it. Adjust the volume as desired in each area. Mute an area to take a call. Or have each part of your family enjoy what they want in different areas. Let the kids rock out in the game room while you enjoy Norah Jones in the living room.

How is all that magic done? It starts with a powerful Control4 controller like the EA-5 or CA-10. This is the brain that can control your smart home but also has built-in media distribution capabilities. It can route high-resolution music to all parts of your home and has native support for popular streaming services like Pandora, Tidal, and Spotify. If you have your own digital music library on a hard drive, you can access it through the built-in music server, too. Additional inputs let you listen to other sources like a CD player or turntable, or even sound from a TV. For control, you can use the excellent Neeo remote, a Control4 Touchscreen, a smartphone app, and even a wall-mounted keypad.

Smarter, Simpler Automation

Once upon a time, powerful whole-home automation systems had to be programmed for everything. If you wanted saved automation for watching TV, you might have a scene that lowered the shades, dimmed the lights, started the AV system, and set the temperature to a preferred setting. If you wanted to change that, you’d have to call an integrator like us! However, Control4's When >> Then personalization puts the power of sophisticated programming in your hands, with no technical skill needed. Want to kick off a sequence of things when your garage door opens as you arrive? Turn off the security alarm and cameras, turn on the hallway lights and kitchen lights, start a soothing music playlist, and have the garage door close automatically after 5 minutes. Need to fine-tune the sequence? Do it yourself on your laptop; it's that easy but oh so powerful.

SEE ALSO: Set the Lighting Scene for Any Occasion with Control4

Whole-Home Security

When you have one integrated control point for lights, window treatments, climate, AV, and security cameras, every smart asset in your home can participate in keeping it safe. For example, Control4 systems have a feature called Mockupancy, which simulates your activity within your house to give the illusion that your home is occupied while you’re away. Your Control4 system can manipulate lights, sound systems, TV, and motorized window treatments in a randomized yet natural pattern that will keep anyone casing your property guessing. If someone does intrude, your home can go into action. If a smart camera detects motion around one of your entries, all the lights can go on, you can sound a warning that the intruder is being recorded, and an ear-piercing alarm can go off. Your system can inform you too, and you can have the option of calling the authorities.

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What Can You Add to Your Control4 Smart Home Starter System?


Lighting Control

Lighting control is a great place to start! Smart lighting grants you convenient and intuitive control of your lights in various rooms through personalized keypads, the Control4 mobile app, or your universal remote. In return, you’ll simplify your routines, improve home security, and even reduce energy usage. No more making rounds to every switch to turn lights on and off throughout the day.

Whether you have Philips Hue bulbs, a Lutron Caséta lighting control system, or want to opt for Control4’s wireless lighting controls, you can integrate lights with your Control4 EA-1 controller and reap the benefits of lighting control and automation.

SEE MORE: Getting Started with Home Lighting Control and Automation

Climate Control

Along with lights, climate is another system you use every day. So, why not make it simpler to control? Add smart thermostats from ecobee, Nest, and more to your Control4 smart home starter system and easily manage the climate throughout your home from your smartphone or universal remote.

While it’s true that you can remotely access and manage smart thermostats from their own apps, the benefit of integrating them with Control4 is twofold: Everything is accessible through a single app (or universal remote), and you can connect your thermostats with other devices, like your lights! Create a smart home scene that adjusts lights and climate to your desired settings with a quick button tap.

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4 Innovative Ways to Use Lighting Automation Scenes for Your Home


Make Managing Lights a Snap with Automated Lighting Control

Lighting control is one of the most sought-after smart home features, and the benefits are easy to understand. Lighting control can save energy, add convenience, and increase your home's safety. Lighting control systems also add the flexibility to fine-tune one light or many in a variety of ways.

Perhaps the most powerful feature of smart lighting is the ability to create a scene. A scene is a way to program several light fixtures – or several rooms of them – to specific settings at the same time. You can then set the scene with the touch of a button, a tap on a smartphone app, or even using a voice command. Sounds simple, right? Let’s explore some innovative ways of using lighting automation in your Park City mountain home.

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Master Natural Light in Your Home with Motorized Shades


QMotion Automated Shades Manage Light, Beautifully

Your first thought about motorized shading might be about convenience. After all, what’s more convenient than pushing a button and having your window shade go up or down?  One of the beauties of adding automation to a straightforward function is what you can do with it in concert with other automation. That’s when you start reaping the benefits of smart home control.

Have you heard the term “daylight harvesting?” Just as it sounds, it's about making the most of natural light. Fortunately, in Salt Lake City and the Utah Wasatch mountains, sunshine is abundant. Motorized shades can help you make the most of natural light in any season, saving energy, increasing comfort, and enhancing your interiors. Keep reading to learn how to master natural light in your home.

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These Smart Lighting Innovations Can Transform Your Home


It’s Time to See Your Home in a Different Light

Do you pay much attention to your home's lighting? Most people don't, other than to have enough of it. Yet lighting can significantly affect our energy levels and mood, except you might not know it until you experience it. Like a thoughtfully lit restaurant can create the ambiance for a leisurely and romantic dinner, your home's lighting can set the stage for everything you do.

Fortunately, lighting has come a long way down the innovation path in the past few years. Two advances have led the way – LED and smart home automation. Combining this dynamic duo of technologies has enabled more creative approaches to smart lighting control in homes in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas.

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Three Ways Control4 OS 3 Improves Your Smart Home


Ease Your Smart Home Experience with a Control4 Installation

Smart homes should make things easier, not harder. Too often, technology solutions create complexity and frustration for users. The product holds great promise, but it takes too much effort to make everything work the way you want.

We have no doubt you can think of many technology products that are just too complicated. Whether it was a smart TV, a camera, or audio equipment, you might have been frustrated getting it to do what you wanted without going through so many steps or resetting something for the third time.

Control4 has been in the smart home control and automation market for nearly twenty years, and they have always been known for simple interfaces that make intuitive sense to non-technical users. In their latest system, OS 3, they took simplicity to the next level, streamlining navigation and rethinking the home control experience for true ease-of-use any member of the family can enjoy.

Keep reading to see why a Control4 installation should be at the top of your list to run your home in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas.

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How to Choose A Smart Home Company


Make Sure to Ask These Four Questions Before Embarking on Your Next Project

In many fields, it isn't easy to choose the right professionals. When you're looking for a doctor, you will often rely on the referrals of family, friends, and other doctors you may know. In some cases, you may have seen a professional's work – perhaps an exceptional landscape design – and decide that firm is a fit for you.

When looking at integrating smart home technology into your home in Park City, UT or the surrounding area, you may do much the same. A friend might make a recommendation based on a good experience, or you may admire what they've done at your friend's home. But it's equally likely that you may want to survey several technology integrators in the same way you might interview contractors for building your new home. You want to ensure that they understand your needs, what you want, and if they work with the technologies and solutions you are looking to get in your home.

Regardless of how you are introduced to a smart home company, there are some critical questions you should ask to help choose the right partner for your project.

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Four Reasons Motorized Shades Are a Smart Investment


It’s Not All About Convenience

You might remember a few things that weren't as easy as they are today if you are of a certain age. Automobiles are a great example. Did you learn to drive with a manual transmission? Do you remember the thrill of learning to launch the car on a hill with the clutch and try not to go backward? Or how about a car without power steering? No need for weight training if you learned to parallel park muscling a heavy steering wheel.

When we talk about motorized shades, your first thought might be, "why do they need motors?" In cars, we've gone far beyond those manual days toward machines that almost drive themselves. There are many good reasons why adding power to motorized shades goes beyond the convenience factor, although it's hard to deny the convenience.

In this blog, we'll continue to make the case why motorized shades are an excellent investment for your Bountiful, UT home. Keep reading, and don't be surprised when one day, manual windows shades will be as rare as manual steering is in cars today. 

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Is Your Home Network Keeping Pace with Today’s Demands?


With the Current Importance of Staying Connected at Home, Your Network is More Critical Than Ever

Our world is hyper-connected, and the current health crisis has demonstrated that acutely. We have come to depend on always-on connectivity, whether from smartphones, smart home devices, for audio and video entertainment, and much more.

In the current health crisis, many people are at home doing more than ever - work, school, staying in touch through video, and relying more on home-based entertainment options. With all that happening all day with multiple family members, many home networks are stretched to their limits.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to ensure your family has the connectivity it needs for all your activities. Show and Tell AV offers home network installation services in the Salt Lake City area and throughout Utah with professional-grade equipment and software tools to keep you connected through this period and well beyond. Keep reading to learn more.

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Can Automated Home Lighting Improve Your Wellbeing?


How Managing Light Improves Mood and Energy

We may not realize it, but light – and the absence of it – affects us in many ways. Instinctively, we may feel far more energetic on a bright sunny day than a rainy, dreary one. In fact, your mood and energy might swing dramatically when the sun comes out after an extensive cloudy period.

Fortunately, the Park City area and the Utah Wasatch Front are known for getting their fair share of sun and light. Yet there are still times in the mountains when daylight hours are short and days may be relatively dark. The good news is technology has solutions to keep your energy up no matter the weather or light.

In this blog, we’ll mention how two incredibly convenient smart solutions – home lighting automation and motorized shades – can help you make the most of natural and artificial light all day long.

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Get Peace of Mind with Smarter Home Security


Go Beyond the Alarm with Smart Home Technology

You likely remember traditional home security alarm systems – so many homes still have them. The system had a siren, window and door sensors, and wall panels to arm and disarm them with a code. Who doesn’t remember the times when the alarm went off because your hands were occupied and you didn’t disarm the system in time entering the house?

Those systems are still around, but we believe that today’s smart security systems can do much more for your Salt Lake City, UT home. Instead of just sounding an alarm when a sensor is tripped, you can get better information on what's happening at home through smart devices. Not only that, but you can take action when you need to, with just a smartphone and an internet connection.

Let’s take a closer look at a smarter approach to keeping your home safe.

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Beyond Convenience: How Motorized Blinds Help Save Energy


Go Green in Comfort and Style Year Round

Some years ago, power windows were a feature found only on luxury cars. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find any production automobile that has the old style manual windows. You might think that motorized shades are somewhat of a non-essential luxury, but once you think through all the practical aspects, you will see why the benefits of motorized shades go far beyond the convenience factor - and we think they’ll be as prevalent as power windows in cars someday.

Perhaps the most important benefit of motorized blinds and shades is the energy efficiency they can bring to your Salt Lake City, UT, home. Let’s explore some scenarios to see how that happens.

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Why A Control4 Installation Is The Best Choice For Your Project


Control4 offers a variety of features to enhance your smart home

Transitioning to a smart home can be overwhelming. There are many things to consider in a smart home installation. What technology should you include in your Park City, UT home? What would be the best way to control it all?

The one thing that shouldn’t be complicated is choosing your automation partner. Go with a Control4 installation for your project for the greatest reliability and customization. Learn what makes Control4 one of the world's leading home automation brands.

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