Smart Home

Software for your smart home: Crestron, Control4 and KNX compared

Software for your smart home - In this article we compare three advanced systems for automating, installing and controlling of Crestron, Control4 and KNX.

Software for your smart home: In March, we published an introductory article with all the basics in the field of software for your smart home . An essential for anyone who wants to know more about the possibilities of home automation in your home. We therefore followed it up with a triptych around ten brands and parties that can be of service to interested consumers. Today we compare three advanced systems for automating and controlling your smart home: Crestron, Control4 and KNX.

Crestron as Software for your smart home

A common definition of home automation is the ‘integration of technology and services for a better quality of living and life’. Crestron takes that description very seriously, and therefore brings thousands of different solutions to the market that individually or, of course, preferably together, should provide a smarter home. Designed to not only integrate with each other, but also to exchange information in order to serve the owner even better, and according to colleague Werner it is now an extensive total system that is unparalleled .

The nice thing about Crestron is the fact that the complete collection of home automation gadgets can be neatly housed in one application, which is of course good for overview and mutual communication. In addition, the total package is modular in design, so that you do not have to get the entire ratio plan in-house immediately, but can systematically expand it according to your wishes and needs.

A third plus is the fact that Crestron offers hardware and software. Efficient integration with components that actually communicate well with each other is often difficult in practice because you have to deal with different providers. The software you use for the operation is of a different brand than the manufacturer of the equipment. However, Crestron houses the entire system, which avoids that problem. Finally, the American brand was underrepresented in the mid-market segment, where improvements have been made in recent years. It’s so nice that you can also turn to this home automation giant for your smart home wishes in a category other than the serious business solutions.

A total solution from one of the world leaders in this field naturally comes with a price tag, which increases with every expanding step. You cannot imagine it that well or it can be custom implemented, with prices ranging up to 50,000 euros. Nowadays, Crestron is also accessible for the more accessible smarts with a friendlier budget. Find out in advance what you do and do not want to put into your home in terms of functionality and possibilities, and limit the investment.


The choice of the three brands in this piece was not made accidentally. The fast-growing Control4 is also one of the world market leaders in the field of smart living. And what makes it one of the more advanced batches is the fact that purchasing Control4 goodies automatically involves a piece of installation. No separate parts for the curious beginner, but immediately get started with a tailor-made solution.

The four segments that Control4 focuses on are entertainment, smart lighting, comfort & convenience and safety & security. Within these categories, the brand offers entry-level, expansion and total solutions that together can meet all possible needs. Again, you can make the ‘smarthomeisation’ of your house as crazy as you want. As simple as a smart thermostat or the full control of a home theater room, as complex as a full-fledged security module with lighting that switches on and off when you are not at home, a doorbell that – when pressed after a certain time – sounds like a couple watchdogs and a self-regulating security camera that switches on the right parties if necessary.

The advantage of a major player such as (also) Control4 is the specialization and further development. A brand that continues to look for smart additions and also pays the necessary attention to issues such as ease of use and daily functionality. The (integration) problems that budget systems often have to deal with, certainly in the longer term and after multiple expansions, are a lot more unlikely. Service and monitoring takes care of this with regular updates. In addition, the platform as a whole can be used more universally, because Control4 does not rely on recognized parties such as Apple or Windows, but uses Linux and offers apps for both iOS and Android from there.

The Control4 installation service follows from the philosophy that there is no one-size-fits-all package in the field of domotics and home control. In consultation with the intermediary and the installer, you choose one or more solutions that are not only suitable for the home, but also for your habits, lifestyle and daily needs. Advantage is real customization, disadvantage is a price tag that goes with it. Control sees a budget of around 1500 euros as an entry-level package for the living room or entertainment room, for example, while more than half of the customers purchase a more robust home control solution of more than three to four times this amount, including installation. The most advanced installations cost tens of thousands of euros.

KNX as Software for your smart home

KNX, or in full the KNX Association, is a collaboration of three organizations that develop systems for building automation. KNX is the only open standard for home and building system technology worldwide, and therefore, in its own words, the standard for home automation anyway. ‘Open standard’ means that you use KNX as a basis, but that extensions with other brands and parties are possible.

The main difference between KNX and the other brands in this comparison is the fact that you do not ‘just’ start with a KNX-enabled smart home, but that it forms the basis for serious – usually business – implementation. Think of controlling building functions such as lighting, sun blinds, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, security, personal alarms, water control, energy management and energy meters, telecommunications and consumer electronics. Although it must be said that KNX, especially with the new ETS Inside, also offers neat ‘entry-level’ solutions for modal homes and simple business premises. The KNX organization does not offer any products itself, but focuses on the control of building automation. A facilitator, rather than a manufacturer.

The KNX member list includes more than 370 companies worldwide that develop and sell KNX-compatible devices and software. Due to the enormous range of brands and possibilities under this ‘KNX umbrella’, this party is actually particularly interesting for the professional installer or advanced user. Just take a look at the online environment of the permanent showroom in Antwerp, the so-called KNX Experience, where you can get an impression of the possibilities. KNX can cost a lot of money, like this villa perhaps the smartest private home in the Netherlands. Certainly no less extensive than its competitors, but a bit more complex for the even more advanced user. The advantage is the enormous range that can be found under KNX, the disadvantage is the fact that the investment, due to the size of the purchase and installation, is in principle particularly interesting for professional and advanced users.

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