Home automation service provider Control4 has introduced a new feature called Intercom Anywhere, which allows users to video-chat with people at the door as if they’re physically at home even when they are on vacation.
The new features is an answer from Control4 to smart doorbells, which also let homeowners talk with the visitors via the camera in the doorbell, from their smartphones.
Control4’s video-chat app, however, highlights capabilities which smart doorbells can’t accomplish. During the call with visitors at the door, homeowners may execute automation actions for visitors, such as turning on lights, unlocking the door, disarming the alarm and opening the garage.
Smart doorbells only support two-way communication between homeowners and visitors. If homeowners want to unlock the door for visitors, they need to finish the call first, before opening another app to unlock. Control4 claims it allows homeowners to unlock during a call.
In addition, Intercom Anywhere can serve as a video-chat tool for family members. Via Control4 Touch Screens, family members can make calls directly at home to a family member’s mobile phone, or vice versa. For instance, if a babysitter doesn’t pick up a landline phone in the house, parents can dial directly to the Control4 Touch Screens for a video call. It’s like an intercom system sitting between Control4’s devices and across homes.
Control4’s new Intercom Anywhere app is already available in the App Store and the Google Play store. Homeowners having Control4’s solutions installed are also required to have the latest Control4 operating system and an active 4Sight subscription, an advanced feature package costing US$100 a year.
“Intercom Anywhere adds compelling everyday utility and capability to Control4 smart homes – elevating the ‘smart doorbell’ through a comprehensive in-the-home/away-from-the-home peace-of-mind solution that unifies access control, video surveillance, security, and interactive communication,” says Martin Plaehn, chairman and CEO of Control4, in a statement.