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Chowmain’s Advanced Announcements Driver for Control4

Chowmain’s Advanced Announcements Driver
The Control4 Home Automation system has the ability to play audio announcements through the audio outputs on its controllers and speaker points. These announcements can play back any file encoded in a wav format. Traditionally these announcements have been used for doorbells and pre-recorded messages.

Chowmain’s Advanced Announcements driver expands the announcement agent by providing integration with web based text to speech engines. This gives you futuristic dynamically generated voice notifications over your Control4 system without any additional hardware.

Driver features:
  • Dynamic text to speech generation
  • Ability to speak the date & time
  • Ability to inject variables
  • Currently supports 3 text to speech engines with multiple languages, voices, speed and pitch (SpeechUtil.com, VoiceRSS.org, iSpeech.org)
  • Ability to record your voice via a web browser for playback through Control4.

Control4 OS 2.7 is now available!

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The Control4 Operating System serves as the foundation upon which Control4 home automation is brought to life. And Control4 is raising the bar in smart home technology with our latest software release, OS 2.7. A new level of functionality and elegance will enhance the way you keep your home comfortable, communicate with everyone in the home, listen to music, control your pool and spa, and provide a slew of new features for added comfort and peace of mind in the home
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Control4 Your Sprinkler System - Rachio Iro

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Rachio is an exciting NEW company that is focused on managing water within the residential and light commercial market. Their first product, the Iro, is a Wi-FI based controller for underground sprinkler control. According to the EPA over 50% of residential irrigation water is wasted based on poor watering practices / systems. We also know in major US markets water is in tight supply or going up in price. This is surely a space where your customer is feeling some pain with their monthly watering bill. The Iro is a natural addition to a Control4 system.
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Keeping Your Digital Home Safe and Smart

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With the rise of the “Internet of Things” dominating recent headlines, many consumers have rushed to invest in smart home systems that offer unprecedented options for connectivity. While the IoT opens up numerous possibilities for energy savings, home security and personal convenience, it also has the potential to impinge on the privacy of homes. Read on for tips to keep your data from falling into the wrong hands.

Secure Your Wifi - If you’re like many homeowners, you ignore your WiFi router after checking to ensure the Internet is up and running. This could later prove to be a fatal flaw in your home’s overall privacy. Start by checking to see what type of encryption your router is using. If your router doesn’t support WPA2 networks (a more robust security standard), consider investing in a new wireless router. As with other consumer electronics, WiFi routers have become more powerful and less expensive over time. Additionally, WiFi speeds continue to accelerate, so if you’ve purchased a newer computer recently, a new router may make the difference in your safety.

Keep Cameras Away From Prying Eyes - In many instances, products such as webcams and “nanny cams” come automatically configured with inadequate security safeguards. This leaves these devices vulnerable to hacks from almost anyone, even those with a very limited knowledge of technology. For many cameras, the best thing you can do is create a strong  password (‘12345’ and ‘password’ are off limits) that is unique and different from the default. Substituting numbers for words or letters is often a good strategy. If you don’t change your password from the default setting, you leave yourself (and your family) right in a stranger’s line of sight, as one babysitter in Houston found out the hard way.

Privacy Please - Companies hosting important personal and financial data, such as home security giants ADT and Nest, have a crucial responsibility to keep this information secure. But it’s also your responsibility not to recklessly over-share highly private information or leave your devices open for easy access. Never post your Social Security number, account numbers, address, phone numbers or even your full name in publicly accessible sites. Ensure that your smartphone — often the command center for security system and automated device control — is protected by a lock screen at the very minimum. It’s also wise to disable automatic login information or anything else that can be accessed while you’re away. Don’t share any information that could lead to compromising the security of your family and property.

If cyber criminals gain access to your interconnected home systems, they could potentially turn on thermostats or other appliances, increasing your utility bills. Then there’s the more dangerous risk of someone gaining access to your physical property, unlocking doors or breaking in to commit a robbery. And in the case of webcams and baby monitors, there’s the frightening possibility that someone could be gazing into your home without your awareness or consent. President Obama has proposed stronger anti-hacking legislation, which would make hacking-related crimes a felony carrying a minimum three year sentence. However, politicians and tech-experts alike are concerned that the law would do little to protect homeowners in the short term.

Ultimately, it is up to you to determine the security of your home and privacy. While automated home and security systems offer impressive new options for convenience and connectivity, it’s important to be safe and ask questions if you don’t understand how to install or maintain security features. Consider checking out this government website for further reading on the subject, and don’t forget to logout when you’re done!

By Guest Blogger Elizabeth Eckhart (Find her on twitter @elizeckhart)

Not every home on the block is a Smart Home... Yet!

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A survey done by the ERA Real Estate (ERARE) and HGTV is revealing the phenomenal potential of smart home technology--especially in terms of resale value.

Real estate has and will likely always be one of the best investment options for anyone that want to protect their wealth. With that in mind, the values of the properties themselves don’t grow without the proper add-ons as time passes by, and the recent survey done by ERARE and HGTV is proving just that.

Among some of the answers homeowners as well as potential buyers got from the surveys were:

  • What are new the new generations of home buyers looking for?
  • What type of additions and new technology should a property possess to make it more appealing to home buyers?
  • How has the Internet of Things changed people’s perspective on property management?
As the report shows, buyers are looking to purchase homes with smart technology pre-installed. This can only mean one thing: Sellers must meet the demand. The technology doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Rather, buyers are looking for some of the practical necessities that will help drive efficiency and comfort. Things such as automated climate control, energy management and remote monitoring should all be on the top of every homeowner’s priority list if they’re looking to put their homes on the market.

According to the survey, 7 in 10 millennials want homes that are equipped with technologies that will allow them to use their smartphones to remotely control various functions and features within the home.

Well, one would think that it’s only common sense to cater to millennials if they’re the ones that are in the market to buy homes, but the reality is everyone has a bit of techno-geek in them. Baby boomers, for instance, are looking to beef up their levels of security, which means sellers must add some sort of smart security system to the homes to make them appealing.

Smart home technology may have been considered just a trend in the past, but now--more so than ever--the trend has evolved into a demand that makes it a necessity for anyone who is buying or selling a home.

HouseLogix Access Control Solutions for Control4

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Now your Control4 system can be used for home and light commercial access control. Using RFID tags, these readers connect via RS232 or Wiegand to the Control4 system. Pairing these readers with our HouseLogix Access Control Database (HACD) driver gives you a robust way to manage up to 300 users.
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