I recently sat down with Brad Hintze, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Control4 to talk about their new Certified Showroom Program.
Maureen Jenson: You recently announced the Control4 Certified Showroom Program. Can you please tell me a little bit about the program and the criteria for dealers?
Brad Hintze: On May 8th we were proud to announce the Control4 Certified Showroom program, and the opening of 140 showroom locations across 25 markets worldwide. The program is designed to connect homeowners, architects, and designers interested in smart technology with the local dealer near them so that they can experience all that Control4 has to offer.
All of our Certified Showroom Dealers are passionate about the Control4 Smart Home experience and delivering the best to homeowners; to become a Control4 Certified Showroom, each dealer must meet a series of elevated standards. With their new showrooms, these dealers can better convey the real-life benefits of living in a truly automated, personalized Control4 Smart Home through demonstrations, including: family room entertainment; multi-room audio and video; smart lighting; safety and security, “peace-of-mind”; comfort; voice control; intelligent home networking.
Photo courtesy of Malibu Wired
MJ: Over 140 locations in 25 markets worldwide is a major undertaking, why did you choose to pursue the Certified Showrooms Program on such a grand scale?
BH: Control4 believes in the “announce and ship” method. With the announcement of our Certified Showroom program we wanted anyone interested in smart home to be able to try the showroom experience at a location near them. We have a strong global dealer network, and many of them were eager to join the program. Since we’ve announced it, we expect the number of Certified Showrooms to continue growing, to give even more homeowners the opportunity to experience the smart home and create their own.
With so many Certified Showrooms worldwide, many homeowners can experience the difference between adding a few smart light bulbs to their home versus incorporating smart lighting scenes that set the mood with one tap of a button or turns off the entire house with a simple voice command. With Control4, homeowners have the ability to control their scenes and devices using their voice with Amazon Alexa, which has become a universal entry or selling point for the smart home. By visiting a showroom, homeowners will see how different scenes such as “Cooking”, “Welcome”, “Movie Night”, and “Good Night” would work with their lifestyle and experience the ease of issuing voice commands to control dozens of devices at once.
Aside from serving as a venue for dealers to showcase their expertise to new potential customers, Control4 Certified Showrooms also provide an opportunity to foster relationships among builders, architects, designers, and others involved in home design and improvement, with whom dealers can collaborate with on projects.
Tommy Bartnick and Vladimir Dzhuga of Malibu-Wired
MJ: The desire for a smarter home continues to grow and yet most home owners seem to only be aware of popular DIY products, rather than custom installed solutions such as the Control4 system. Why do you think that is?
BH: Homeowners take the time to get samples and see demonstrations of any purchase that is of a significant value; for example, kitchen cabinets, counter tops, large appliances, entertainment devices, carpeting, paint colors, counter tops, and of course vehicles. And yet, it is nearly impossible for consumers to experience a true smart home, and the possibilities available to them, before deciding to take the plunge.
This lack of hands-on experience is what we intend to resolve with the introduction of the Control4 Certified Showroom program, which revolutionizes how people shop for, learn about, and interact with smart home products. The showrooms mirror other home purchasing experiences by providing a nearby location where homeowners can engage with and select the smart home experiences they want in their homes.
Seeing and experiencing how easily a Control4 Smart Home can be integrated into the home and offer homeowners the control and automation over all of their personalized devices and scenes that are important to them first-hand is invaluable. It brings us a significant amount of pleasure to know that we are providing interested homeowners, architects, and designers local destinations around the world staffed with knowledgeable smart home evangelists that in turn will increase awareness of the custom-installed smart home.
Photo courtesy of Malibu Wired
MJ: What value does a custom installed smart home system such as Control4 provide over a DIY system?
BH: It’s true that many homeowners may think of the smart home as a few DIY devices, but really, a smart home is a living system and is quite challenging to set up. According to a study by iQuor, on average, consumers report spending two and a half hours between self-help and customer support. The study also shows that consumers speak with three different people on average just to resolve a DIY smart device issue; 22 percent give up and return the product for a refund.
On the contrary, Control4 has a return rate of only two percent, which shows the value that a custom installed smart system offers. Control4 also has an ecosystem of over 11,700 devices from hundreds of companies around the world, allowing us to provide orchestrated smart home experiences that work with almost any device from audio and entertainment, to security, comfort, and even the extraordinary like fireplaces, landscape speakers, hot tubs, and even dog doors.