Control4: Don’t Anybody Panic!

If you’re a Control4 dealer – as I am – you received an e-mail earlier this week from Glen Mella, company president and COO, titled ominously enough, “A Letter from the Control4 COO.” Not often is a missive sent to a manufacturer’s dealers from so far up the mountain, so I opened it and started reading.   And, I must
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If you’re a Control4 dealer – as I am – you received an e-mail earlier this week from Glen Mella, company president and COO, titled ominously enough, “A Letter from the Control4 COO.” Not often is a missive sent to a manufacturer’s dealers from so far up the mountain, so I opened it and started reading.

And, I must say after a few lines in, my first reaction was: Panic!

From the way that I read the letter, it appeared that every Control4 system that was running the company’s new OS 2.0 software was prone to having problems; specifically a “defect that caused systems to require a reboot every 10 to 14 days.”

This is not the kind of performance you want in your automation system that is controlling, say, your AV systems, lighting, HVAC, irrigation, IP cameras, security, etc. Now, granted, the 2.0 OS has been officially available only since June, but every system that has shipped since January 1 has been eligible for a 2.0 upgrade, so this is potentially EVERY Control4 system that our company has installed and many, MANY others.

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What Glen Mella’s e-mail was urging Control4 dealers to do was to update all of OS 2.0 systems to the latest software release to avoid the possibility of lock-ups.


What Mella’s e-mail was urging dealers to do was to update all of OS 2.0 systems to the latest software release to avoid the possibility of lock-ups. This is all well and good, but my fear was that no matter how great this update was, if I had to send someone in a van down to each and every client’s house, that was going to suck-diddly-uck.

Thus, the panic…

And when I panic, I look for answers. And when I look for answers, I call the highest up people I know, and in this case that “person” was Control4’s PR firm, Caster Communications. Within a matter of minutes I’d traded several e-mails with Caster, and they had arranged for a conference call with Mr. Mella himself.

Turns out that my interpretation of the letter was far more extremist than Mella had intended. True, there might be problems with some systems in the field; problems that didn’t become apparent in the initial beta testing. And much like a routine Microsoft update, the move to version 2.0.4 is intended to make the system more robust and reliable. And the e-mail was meant to be an informative and proactive step to keep dealers in the loop of a possible problem so they could get out ahead of any potential issues – and to ensure that installers are all working off the latest version.

Mella stressed that the letter was to reiterate that Control4 is “committed to continued improvements as well as to communicating to you quickly with updates. Control4 can only be as successful as our Dealers are.”

And as far as the actual update process goes, again: Don’t panic! This update can be performed 100 percent over the wire and will take about 15 minutes or less for most projects. “That’s the cool thing about the IP-enabled home,” Mella stressed, “to be able to push releases and updates over the wire without rolling a truck for an update.”

The homeowner should continue to be able to use the system during the update, but might notice that some LED lights on keypads will flash while the update is in progress.

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The company’s new InfinityEdge 7-inch touchscreens have been so overwhelmingly well received that they have been on backorder practically since they were announced.


Also of note in the letter was that the company’s new InfinityEdge 7-inch touchscreens have been so overwhelmingly well received that they have been on backorder practically since they were announced. If you’re a dealer that has been waiting on one of these sweet new panels, expect to be fulfilled within the next two weeks. Plus, all new 7-inch screens are shipping with WiFi and Ethernet capability, so bonus!

The moral of the story is that the sky isn’t always waiting to come crashing down on you. Sometimes an update is just an update. And, most importantly, don’t panic until you get all the info.

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