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Custom Smart Home Buttons: Crestron, Control4 and Lutron

In the last newsletter,

we covered how shades and curtain controls have become more accessible and convenient, following an update of Control4s software called 2.9. If you need any help with this or could just do with some help with automated blinds and curtains in any other way, whether they’re on their own or part of a larger system, like a Lutron, Crestron or Control4, feel free to get in to get in touch.

Otherwise, we’re going to cover custom buttons here.

Buttons that you just need to get to. Quickly! And what happens behind the scenes of these buttons is up to you. My favourite custom button is the welcome home button. It’s easily accessible, by the front door and with one press, it just simply brings on the hallway lights and leads me into a brightly lit kitchen/family room, whilst my favourite radio station turns on to a nice volume and the heating is gently brought up to a cosy 22 degrees C.

These buttons have existed for many years on systems like Crestron. That’s been the beauty of them. However, with Control4 systems, it’s always been a lot more cumbersome and locked down to make this happen, which has been good and bad, but with the recent release, it now allows us to add these custom buttons a little easier. It also allows us to have a quick to get to a button for things like gas fireplaces, sprinklers, ceiling fans, fountains etc. The kind of buttons you would have searched around the interface for before.

And by making them that little more convenient, you tend to find that you actually use them! What’s more, they have a range of active and inactive icons now, like those below, so you know when they’re on or off. These can appear on the Control4 touchpanels but sadly aren’t available on iPad, iPhones etc at this time.

Other custom buttons I find useful are on the Control4 remote (pictured below).

If you’ve ever wondered what those hard buttons are, with 1 dot, 2 dots and 3 dots on, they can be programmed for whatever you want.

In my home, the 1 dot is the granny button (Don’t tell the mother-in-law). She presses the button and it brings the television onto her favourite channel, BBC1!

The two dots are for the kids and it brings the TV onto Netflix.

The three dots are used for something perhaps a little paranoid, and bring on the external lights and show the cameras on the television. Very rarely used, but nice to have should you hear something outside in the middle of the night. Typically a fox!

Other things I love are having keypads in key areas.

The ability to bring on your favourite radio station or playlist when you enter the bathroom means you’re far more likely to listen to the news or some music as you get ready for the morning. Being able to get to the volume quickly without fumbling with an iPhone in a wet area is great, not to mention dropping it to its doom on the hard surfaces or even down the toilet. Press a button as you exit and the lights turn off and the music comes to a halt.

The truth is, we’re slightly lazy as human beings. If it isn’t easy to use and you can’t get to it quickly, you probably won’t use it. If there’s anything you’d perhaps use a little more if it was easier to get to, its worth a thought. Should you get a button for it? I’ve had countless requests, but unfortunately, we’re still working on the volume off button for kids, but we’ll keep you posted.

Next time we’ll cover voice control and how it may, or may not, bring next-generation convenience into the space-age home.

As always, thanks for your time and feel free to get in touch.

Marvin, Simon and the MDFX team.

t. 01895 262600
e. info@mdfx.co.uk

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