Control4, Panasonic Tap into Phones

Panasonic, which most of us find notable for its consumer electronics, took this rainy and windy Thursday in New York City to highlight its communication-branded products -- delivered and appropriately packaged as "enhanced communications solutions."  While many of the unveiled products were targeted at the small busi
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Panasonic, which most of us find notable for its consumer electronics, took this rainy and windy Thursday in New York City to highlight its communication-branded products -- delivered and appropriately packaged as "enhanced communications solutions." While many of the unveiled products were targeted at the small business market (fun fact: there are 25 million small businesses in the U.S. that, according to Panasonic, represent the world's third-largest economy), custom installation integrators might find one the company's latest offerings of interest.

Back in September Panasonic entered into a "strategic relationship" with Control4 to come up with a set of integration solutions for small business automation applications. Today at the Steelcase Worklife Center at Columbus Circle, the two companies raised the curtain on one of the results of their partnership that can be utilized in both commercial and residential settings. The IP-PBX phone system pairs with Control4's Digital Platform to control environmental settings including lighting, audio, video, and media. The solution is actually a logical pairing of innovations in that the end-user can access the C4 system via the Panasonic handset to control everything from the garage door to Panasonic network cameras.

In addition to that straightforward coupling, the installer can also add and remove devices that will automatically be available to the end user via the IP-PBX phone interface. According to Peter Consenza, director of integrator services for Control4, C4 customers will incur no added costs for the solution.

On the face of it, the IP-PBX phone system might seem like a marginal solution in our channel, but taken for what its worth, it is actually pretty clever. I know we are all attracted to sleek touchscreens and super high-end control offerings, but anecdotally speaking, many people also like pared down, multi-functional solutions that integrate with products that they are more than familiar with (i.e., a telephone).

On the integration side, Control4 is pitching the IP-PBX phone system as offering "installation opportunities to any Control4 installer, as opposed to only master installers previously."

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