With it being a fairly slow news day, we wanted to use this opportunity to provide some color on Control4 (CTRL), which has been hitting new 3-year highs this week. Control4 is a provider of automation & control systems for the "connected home" that automate temperature, security, lighting, home entertainment systems, etc.
Its software enables cohesive interoperability with thousands of connected Control4 and third-party devices. As the "Internet of "Things" (IoT) forms the way we live and work, consumers are looking for affordable ways to enhance the interoperability of connected devices in their homes and businesses. CTRL sells and delivers its platform through a network of over 4,900 active direct dealers and 46 distributors with its products installed in 97 countries.
Within the last decade, the pace of innovation in the electronics industry has accelerated rapidly. Network-aware devices—such as televisions, smartphones, tablets, thermostats, audio systems, lighting, blinds, security systems, cameras, video doorbell stations and other appliances form the basis for the "connected controllable home." Home automation technology integrates all these devices in the connected home.
The Control4 platform, built around its advanced software, network management devices and cloud services, functions as the operating system of the home, integrating audio, video, lighting, temperature, security, communications etc. Its products unlock the potential of connected devices, making entertainment systems easier to use, homes more comfortable and energy efficient, and families more secure.
Its platform is designed to be simple and intuitive. Consumers can easily interact with their entire automated home without learning multiple interfaces or numerous remote controls. It has been designed so that anyone, from a young child to a grandparent, can pick up a Control4 device (including a smartphone or tablet with Control4's app), push a button and watch a movie. The Control4 platforms also integrates many third-party devices into the network. In fact, it's currently interoperable with over 10,100 third-party devices, and more are added all the time.
So what does all of this cost? With its Entertainment and Automation series of controllers, or the EA Series, CTRL has reduced the price point for entry-level consumers wanting to start with a single room multi-media automation experience to approximately $500 (excluding installation costs). Projects can then scale in sophistication and scope from a single room to a fully-integrated whole-home experience.
CTRL also has been growing its product offerings. In fact, in early September at the CEDIA Expo 2017 (a big annual home connected expo in San Diego), Control4 announced some important product enhancements. It announced the immediate availability of the Pakedge WR-1 with BakPak Lite, a high-performance integrated network router and wireless access point with built-in cloud-based network management. Pakedge provides robust networking capability for connected homes at an attractive price point of $300 MSRP. CTRL also announced a series of new capabilities with the release of its 4Sight service and the immediate availability of an extensive Triad-branded line of high-resolution audio products.
So what has been going on with the stock? It made its IPO debut in July 2013. After some initial excitement in early 2014 when it briefly traded above $30, the stock went into a steady decline to the mid single digits by early 2016. However, management turned things around in 2016-17, reporting a series of solid earnings results which has driven the stock back up to the $27 area currently. The number of Control4 dealers designing and installing Control4 lighting has also been on the rise, both in North America and in international regions. Overall, the company is performing much better.