NEEO joins the Control4 Family
I have the biggest news to share since inception. I wanted you to be among the very first to hear that NEEO just joined the Control4 family, the NASDAQ listed market leader in professionally installed smart home experiences.
My goal with this post is to generally inform you what that means for all of us and for the current product.
Let me share some insights with you
With the announcement of NEEO PRO we intended to enter the market of professionally installed systems and we got amazing responses to our product like never before.
We knew success in the professionally installed field would be crucial for us. What began as NEEO working intensely with the teams at Control4 in order to make the experience with the Control4 platform an exceptional one soon became more. The deeper we dug in together the clearer it became that we should be a unified team to achieve the awesome level of integration we feel is right for the dealers and end-customers.
That’s basically how it all began. When the acquisition talks started, we felt it would be a perfect match. We have received many other acquisition offers before but those ones were always money-focused so we were not interested. This time it was different. We were two companies that both have a deep passion to create the best smart home experiences for the customers - and ultimately we fell in love.
Preparing for this deal and today’s announcement required a quiet-period. You may have realized we were a bit more quiet than usual - that’s why. I’m so happy I can finally share this news with you. It’s such a huge chance for a startup like NEEO!
Is this the end?
Being a very active supporter of many startups, and dozens of Kickstarter campaigns myself, I’m always afraid of receiving a goodbye email from companies. Many ran out of funding and I have a pile of products at home that I cannot use anymore. This sucks but it reflects the general success/failure rate of startups and the risk-taking involved. We want this to be different for you
Things will change, even though NEEO and Control4 both want to make sure your NEEO stays active and usable for a period of at least 24 months from this announcement. That being said, I also want to make sure we communicate transparently so the expectations are set right. As of today, no more NEEO products will be shipped. All existing NEEO customers will continue to receive support though and all services will be up for another 24 months. We understand the importance of the IR database continuing to evolve, we have short term solutions in place and we are looking into options to make this possible in the future as well.
How about new firmware versions?
To celebrate today's announcement, we have just made release 0.53.8 available to everyone. This release brings a load of new features to your NEEO, including a new dark UI, unlimited Multi-Brain support, more customization, and some awesome Easter-eggs. Check out the detailed release notes here.
We are planning to maintain the infrastructure required to deploy critical updates for the next 24 months and you may continue to use the SDK so that everyone can continue to build great applications for the platform. That said, other than any critical updates this firmware is the last one that comes from the NEEO team. Control4 sells its products exclusively to certified dealers and not to end-customers, so it’s 100% clear there won’t be any direct-to-consumer products.
Why did we not stay independent?
We started NEEO with the idea of creating an amazing and easy to use universal interface for the smart home. Many large companies had tried this before and ultimately failed in one way or the other, but we had the drive and flexibility to make it happen. Overall the challenge of getting all protocols and devices supported is the biggest trick. We may have pushed the boundaries further than any other product out there but ultimately realized that the best smart home experience needs to be a curated one.
In my mind, Control4 is the clear winner in this category and by combining the great Control4 product line-up and the amazing dealer network with NEEO’s experience in the interaction devices category we feel will lead to the best experience possible. We will have the honor to continue the journey as part of this public company and work with awesome smart home gurus such as Charlie Kindel (Image) who joined Control4 from Amazon, where he previously led the Alexa efforts for the smart home.
As I anticipate my new role in the Control4 family, it is with a big smile but also a heavy heart I’m writing my last blog post here. I want to thank everyone who was part of the NEEO journey, especially all of you who were our biggest supporters and so crazy active here on the planet. Speaking about that - Planet NEEO will stay. You made it such a powerful knowledge base and fun place to hang out. You will notice that we change it a little bit to boost the features that matter and sunset those which are no longer needed. The team will remain available for you here.
I believe many of you understand this change, but I’m also convinced there is a bit of sadness involved for many of us. We totally understand that you don’t want your NEEO to stop working. Some of you may be interested in doing more – providing support or development work for current NEEO customers. We are open to discussions if you have an interest. We can’t promise anything, yet we are open for all discussions. You have ideas in that regard? You want to be part of that future? Let us know your thoughts over here!
The (last) One
I mentioned above that there won’t be any more NEEO’s available from today on. There is one small exception. One lucky winner will get the very last unit, signed by the team and with a certificate of authenticity. All you need to do in order to win is posting a comment anywhere on Planet NEEO during the next 48h.
You beautiful people and inhabitants of Planet NEEO are simply the best. I’m thankful and honored having been part of this journey with you.
Raphael I still expect you to deliver on what you sold in the initial Kickstarter campaign. Which is the hardware we have received and the software to back up the components in the remote.
As of right now at least one feature that I cannot see has been fulfilled is the hand recognition implementation that was a large selling point for a lot of people. Because without it - The NEEO remote would not really be that interesting over a Harmony.
Further more we are now talking 4 years after the initial estimated delivery (which then was delayed 2 years) - So 2 years after the actual delivery and you still havent fullfilled what you initially promised in the campaign, and you are now talking about shutting down services. Im sorry, but that is not good enough Raphael.
I would have hoped you would have come to your sences before agreeing to let Control4 aquire NEEO and keep your customers in mind and migrate the existing customerbase to a Control4 suite or similar with your "vastly overpowered hardware" that should not really be a problem should it? But still you keep kicking the backers, the ones that initially believed in you and your project. The ones that helped you make NEEO a reality more than a prototype to show off to potential investors. But you just keep on kicking, promising and deceiting. The only promise I really believe at this point you will keep is shutting down cloud backend services on the millisecond it hits 2 years.
To keep it plain;
1. I expect that NEEO WILL deliver Container images/documentation/repos under a licence that would let us host our own backend services non-commercially -- are expected to be shared with existing customers.
2. I expect NEEO to deliver the functionality they promised as per the initial campaign before signing off. You have had 6(!!) years to perfect this software. Release it or give us the possibility to finish what you started. e.g. code base, hardware specs etc.
This is ***king weak on your side Raphael.Reply
well, ordered my Logitech Harmony Elite which was one of the saddest purchases--not thrilled but at least I'll have something made by a company that will be around for a while. But damn that thing is ugly by comparison... haven't tried the software yet but I'm dreading it remembering the Harmony software of old. Screw you RaphaelReply
Sorry, Raphael, I didn't get it. NEEO set out creating an amazing and easy to use remote – and after largely attaining that ambitious goal – you've chose to abandon all of us, for a new owner who doesn't care about creating "direct-to-consumer products"?
Well, I share your happiness about the lucrative deal rewarding your hard work without the slightest grudge. But, "perfect match"? Though your post sounds jolly happy, is there anything we users could to cheer about?
It's not just a bit of "bit of sadness" or being afraid our NEEO may stop working. What dies here is our unsung hope NEEO would evolve.
I am left feeling deceived. Not because my remote may stop working. Not because you chose to accept a lucrative and well deserved reward for your hard work. I feel deceived because all this jolly talk stands in ignorance – if not denial – of the fact that we shared a vision. A vision that, ostensibly, NEEO has jettisoned, along with all of us early backers and users.
What's with this vision, then? Did I just imagine things?
Back to square one. Waiting for someone else to come up with a new remote for us mere mortals.Reply