What is Home Automation?

What is Home Automation? – Quick Breakdown from 4ward-design

What is Home Automation? As I am constantly being asked this question, I’d like to take this opportunity to give you a quick breakdown of what home automation actually involves.  Being involved in the Home Automation industry for more than 15 years, it is evident that it’s not a new industry but rather established with the technology ever-evolving into more simplified and cost effective solutions.  When we started with home automation we decided to use Crestron as our primary solution but now also offer Control4 as a secondary option.

Crestron has been in the control system market even before I started in the audio-visual industry and were primarily used for corporate applications where the customers were predominantly bluechip companies because of the high equipment cost.  The idea was to use the control system to replace all the remote controls usually required to control a complete boardroom.  With the powerful programming features we were able to create simplified macros that would allow the user to setup all the AV equipment and lights without being an expert through the simple touch of a button.

So how did we start the Home Automation side of our business? We took the basic principals of corporate control systems and started implementing them on a large scale into upmarket homes in Cape Town, it was an immediate hit.  It however took years to convince the top architects in South Africa to design their clients’ residences with home automation playing an integral role.  Today, most top architects in South Africa include home automation as a standard already catering for rooms dedicated to the automation equipment.

Home Automation Services

The great news is that we have now completed more than 100 Crestron Home Automation projects in South Africa since 1997 with demand continuing to grow.  With these projects ranging from R 300,000 to R 10,000,000 you can just imagine the homes we’ve worked in!  The even greater news is that 4ward has decided to start using Control4 for our more basic and cost effective home automation projects, to cater for those customers not requiring the level of automation offered by our Crestron solutions.

I will focus today on the basics of home automation and what a Control4 system can offer you.  Even though the Crestron system is more flexible and expandable, this overview will give you a greater understanding of what the Control4 Home Automation system can do for you.  However, please note that we only use Lutron Lighting Control System for lighting automation in all our home automation projects.  Lutron is the leader in lighting control and seamlessly interfaces with both the Crestron and Contro4 Home Automation systems.

Control4 Main Touch Panel

What are the benefits of an automated home?

An automated home coordinates security, temperatures, lighting, and audio/video automatically for safety, energy savings and convenience.

Automatically dimming lights and changing heating and cooling setpoints when away from home can reduce energy costs substantially. Remote access allows you to view security video on a laptop, web-enabled cell phone or tablet. The inclusion of home automation also increases the value of your home.

Control4 Interfaces

Is the system easy to understand and operate?

Yes. Touchscreen graphic displays can be customised to meet your unique tastes and requirements. The system is user-friendly allowing the children to also learn and understand how to use basic features of the system. Day-to-day events are controlled with one button, such as Day, Night, Vacation, or Away. More specific activities are menu driven to change temperature, lights, audio and more.

Can it be controlled over the Internet or telephone?

Yes. All our home automation solutions can be monitored and controlled over the internet or telephone, either inside or outside the home. Check and adjust lights, temperature, security, audio, and more. Perfect for a vacation home.

Internet – Our solutions offers video surveillance capabilities over the internet, allowing you to monitor your home via your web-enabled phone, tablet or PC. Receive e-mails or text messages to inform you of what is happening at home.

Telephone – Not only can you call to check on the status of your home, but your system can actually contact you! Be informed of an alarm or that children are safe as soon as they have returned home from their day at school.


Can the system expand easily if my needs change?

Yes. Add touchscreens, pool, spa, or irrigation controls, window treatments, remotes, multi-room audio systems, home theatre controls, access control, video surveillance, intercom and more. The team at 4ward always designs a new home with future upgrades in mind. However we cannot anticipate what will be available in the future, but adding features later that is available today will not be a problem.


Contact our sales team today if you require more information about our Home Automaton solutions and how we can assist you.


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