NEEO joins the Control4 Family

Friends,

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.

 

Planet NEEO

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. 

 

THANK YOU!

Raphael 

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  • What can I say that hasn't already been said? This is extremely disappointing.  

    I had patience for round after round of disappointment only because of the strong commitment to quick, effective user feedback.  I had sympathy for all the nonsense the company had to withstand.  But in the end of the day, I paid $500 for a couple remotes that are painful for me to use. 
    I just finished watching Valley of the Boom (NatGeo), which highlights how the race to IPO had the effect of making very few people wealthy on the backs (as always) on individual investors.  I realize that's not what happened here, but it's the same kind of story. 

    Congratulations on your new jobs and your new bank balances.  We provided you with that, because we believed in you.  And at the end of the day, you must admit, we are left with very little in return.

    Reply Like 8
  • I agree - this is super sad news.
    Hopefully there is some way to keep it alive...e.g. by adding IR code teaching.

    Reply Like 1
  • Most customers would be much less hostile if they knew their expensive remotes would still operate after 24 months, albeit without further software/firmware updates.   Seems to me that NEEO's customer base was advanced DIYer's who couldn't make do with something as pedestrian as a Harmony remote but weren't willing to shell out thousands for a custom dealer solution where they upcharge all the hardware and invoice you $100 per button press.  I think it's the complete shift to a different customer base that has people the most irked.  If you're rich and don't know what you're doing you get a dealer - if you know what you're doing and don't have hundred dollar bills falling out of your velvet robe pockets you got a NEEO.  NEEO customers don't want to make a $200 call every time they need to change a button.  There is very little overlap.  NEEO has taken the idea of well integrated home control away from the 98% with this acquisition.

    Reply Like 8
  • Ok. Delivered  2.5 years to late. With nary a firmware update since then. Still version 0.5something something (is today's update the third one since they shipped late 2017?) With a so very basic interaction that you still need the apps or remotes for the devices you thought should be controlled by the NEEO remote or the BRAIN because you sometimes need to do more than turning something on or off.

    Well. The unboxing was nice. You really nailed that. Probably the only reason why I would like to win the last remote (and soon to be electronic waste). 

    You really want the servers to run for two more years (writing 24 months does not make it seem longer). Meh, considering I had to get a replacement remote after 10 months, I'm guessing the replacement unit will probably die before your servers. 

    No more kickstarting for me.

    Reply Like 2
      • Edward Zwart
      • Software Developer
      • Ezeedub
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Agreed, I think I'm done with KS. I feel like I need to go back to shopping at BestBuy ffs.

      Reply Like
    • Namey McNamey after the fiasco with Pebble selling out to Fitbit after raising $millions for their watches (I have 4!) and now this with NEEO, I am also done with KS.   too many great ideas end up either never appearing, or don't prove useful (anyone want a Beam projector?  please!), or just end up as landfill items when they sell out to big boys.

      Reply Like
  • And all thous talks at beginning that you won't sell off to big corporations... 

    Reply Like 8
      • Andris
      • Andris
      • 4 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Girts Burnauskis When cash runs out and not do not enough sales, because the product does not work as advertised, you gota do what u gota do! At least now Raphael can walk around and boast how he started a company and sold it! Otherwise he would be the guy who's start up failed.

      Reply Like 6
  • I wrote the following a year ago over here: https://planet.neeo.com/t/y7ft3l

     

    I don't want to start any doomsday theories, but my girlfriend asked me the other day "What if the Neeo company folded... how would you add new devices to your Neeo if they are not in the database".  She had a good point.   I do believe in the company and hope they are around for a long time, but I guess after thinking about this I'm starting to see the importance of a learning capability for the remote.

     

    Well I guess we'll find out in the next 2 years.

    Reply Like 4
  • doesn't Control 4 have a publicity department that should have helped you with drafting this ridiculous announcement? Maybe they might have had a better plan than "Hey great news... We're screwing all of our customers over!" Perhaps we should hear from your new overlords in this forum instead of you at this point... Do THEY have any thoughts about bringing along your customer base in a way that might add to their bottom line as well as their company's reputation? 

    Reply Like 7
  • boy, i even made a friend buy this. sorry bro...

    Reply Like 1
  • A little disappointing as I have been waiting patiently for NEEO to become available for Australia again. Luckily for me though, I've actually been looking into Control4 for a new house build. Can't deny the two would make an excellent combination.

    Reply Like
  • Looks like there will be an upgrade path 

    Reply Like
      • Steveeo
      • Steveeo
      • 4 mths ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      Jamie Moore An upgrade path... if you're willing to switch to an expensive solution from a custom installer. And pay that installer more every time you want to make a change to the remote's programming.

      Reply Like 7
    • Jamie Moore Interesting... hey Raphael  can we hear from Control 4 in this forum directly about this supposed upgrade path?

      Reply Like
      • Simon
      • Simon.4
      • 4 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Jamie Moore They just have a better press team to make things sound less like leaving customers in the dark. I don't trust the word "plan" anymore with the word neeo in the same sentence.

      Reply Like 5
    • Steveeo Just to clarify, Control4 does offer end-user *programming*, just not full installation.  ComposerHE (Homeowner's Edition) is available and allows for custom programming changes of systems without a dealer being involved.  It does *not* let you add your own devices and/or change the connections between devices, but other than those two limitations, it's the same programming software the installers use.  There's also a simpler programming option to homeowners, called 'When --> Then', which is a web-based programming setup.

      Reply Like
      • Steveeo
      • Steveeo
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ryan Erickson Thanks for the info. I wasn't aware of Control4's Homeowner's Edition. Although ComposerHE would be somewhat useful, I'm not seeking a remote control vendor that deliberately cripples what I can do myself.

      Reply Like 1
    • Steveeo You're welcome.  Although HE does allow for a lot of homeowner programming, it definitely doesn't allow for DIY-levels of installation.  Sorry.

      Reply Like 1
  • At least with the latest update you anticipated your customers. The background color precisely matches my mood... 

    Reply Like 4
  • I was very unhappy with the product I received after waiting more than two years. It looked the part but didn’t do much, and what it did do, it didn’t do well at all. 

    I couldn’t t see how things would improve to the extreme extent that was required so I sold it after a week. 

    I’m sorry I sold it to you, dear stranger, and I’m sorry I ever sponsored this piece of shit.

    Reply Like 5
  • Good exit for you and Neeo and your investors. Now we wait to see what the future holds.

    Reply Like 1
    • Martin Bett Except for the kickstarter backers - that also were the initial big investors. And we get the middle finger.

      Reply Like 3
    • Bart Meuris I was also an early Kickstarter backer (Feb 2015) and waited (impatiently) for years for my Neeo. As Kickstarter backers we were not equity investors in Neeo, but lived, painfully, their journey to a product. The hardware is generally pretty good (after some connection issues when setting up). The software, as far as it went, was pretty good too, but still lacks many (promised) features. And unfortunately, I do not see Neeo as a stand-alone business being able to deliver anything beyond that or even being viable to maintain and evolve Neeo in the future. I ran a Philips Pronto way past the date when Philips stopped supporting it and I would expect my Neeo to do the same. 

      At the moment I am not aware that the financial details of the Neeo acquisition have been released publicly and, anyway, what is more important for me as a customer is that Neeo and the ideas of the Neeo team (@raphael) are brought into a professional and sustainable home automation environment. I spoke personally with Rahpael on a number of occasions, mainly about the appalling quality and frequency of communication, and what comes through in spades is his passion to create a great home automation controller. He and his team have fallen short on many of the expectations that they have set, hence many unhappy customers, including me! But they have also made great progress in what is a very fast changing home automation environment.

      I maintain that this is a good deal for us as customers as there is now a much more certain future and the possibility that some of the ideas and passion of the Neeo team will be absorbed into the Control4 family of products and services offered by their dealer network. It will be great if my Neeo device and Brain can be a part of that future too, but I accept that my hardware my have to change at some point in the future ....

      It is yet another bump in the relationship between Neeo and its customers, many of whom were Kickstarter backers like me, but I believe that Control4 will bring much needed qualities to Neeo which will give it a brighter future than without.

      Reply Like 2
  • Congrats!

    Reply Like 1
  • it’s a bit of a shame really. I started my home automation journey with C4 quite a few years ago and became very frustrated with the fact that any small change needed required a pro installer to make the change at considerable expense to me. Now I can’t expand my NEEO ecosystem and it will be eventually thrown in the trash like my C4 system.

    Reply Like 1
  • Will Neeo still exist? Does control4 plan to further develop neeo to the same target demographic. 

    After two years will we be able to use the remote and app as normal?. They just don't update anymore? Will I have to buy a new one? Will there be a neeo for sale? Really don't want a plastic remote.

    Reply Like
    • Jimmy Revtorp no. 

      Reply Like
  • Voting now open........

    Reply Like 3
      • Edward Zwart
      • Software Developer
      • Ezeedub
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      This is a great example of the kind of thing that would wear me down into eventually selling out too.

      Reply Like
      • Maikel
      • Maikel
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jamie Moore I think this is why they have removed the voting area :S

      Reply Like
    • Jamie Moore I was also thinking about those options but the other question came to my mind is - how about the terms of kickstarter? Maybe someone here is more familiar than me about that...
      Means did they ever delivered the product they asked money/support for? Are the functionalities met today?

      Reply Like
    • Maikel as soon as I put that up they took it down, they will probably remove me too soon but im happy to file the motion for class action if there’s enough support. I feel for everyone in the community, we are left with a half baked product that we put our trust and patience into.

       

      Spoken to my solicitor and he’s looked at the company/planet NEEO and thinks there are grounds to investigate weather we can bring NEEO in front of the California court system.

      Reply Like 9
    • Jamie Moore you can also find me on Twitter @ jamiemoore1303 already posted the above on twitter

      Reply Like 3
      • Martin Rohner
      • The only easy day was yesterday...
      • Martin_Rohner
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Jamie Moore would this be only for the US are also outside, like Switzerland? I mean I could basically walk over there to their offices and yell at them, but that would only lighten a bit of my rage. But if we could basically look into something legal, that would certainly also help a lot others....

      Reply Like 1
    • Jamie Moore would be interested in this for UK as well... 

      Reply Like 2
    • Jamie Moore If they can't deliver what they have promised on Kickstarter, that options sounds like it could be successful!

      Reply Like
    • Elias Wagner good thing I saved the original videos and content from kickstarter. Let’s see what happens 

      Reply Like 2
      • Bernhard
      • Bernhard
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Jamie Moore I wish Class Action lawsuit cover Australia as well, since I will definitely join.

      My home automation is ruined because of NEEO Z-Wave never works properly.

      Reply Like 2
      • Fonzo
      • Fonzo
      • 4 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Bernhard  One thing promises that have never been kept. Another thing is if the product does not work with what you have been sold. You can insist that all errors are corrected and you get a stable environment, after all, there is a purchase contract. As the legal successor of NEEO, you can now claim the duty to remedy to Control4. They must now also support existing devices that have been sold. In so far, now control4 has the responsibility, in so far better than if NEEO would simply be insolvent, then you would get as a customer nothing more also you do not have support anymore.

      From my point of view, it is therefore more useful to make a list of the things that are proven not to work and to turn to control4, who have finally bought the unfinished stuff. And Control4 can not just dismiss yourself from the warranty obligation. If in doubt, then you have to complain against control4.

      Reply Like 4
  • This is a real disappointment !

    i searched for ages for a remote like NEEO that had style and was a nice clean interface, I could see by the packaging and product you had genuinely cared about developing a quality product and experience. I really am surprised at how elated you are in your email Raphael surely you can see that backers and people like me that bought a remote less than 1 month ago to support you wouldn’t be impressed ? To not have a path laid out already to support those who supported you seems incredible to me ? 

    Can I clarify the following too as it seems unclear still.

    1. In 2 years the remote will stop working all together ? Or at least work to support the devices you already have

    2. A new TV released tmrw or in 6 months will not be supported ?

    3. You have no plans to find a way of supporting those that supported you to date by developing a long term strategy

    4. You will offer no refunds for this now new but immediately redundant tech ?

    Jeff would appreciate any clarity possible too 

    thanks and sad news !

    as a founder of startups that have lasted 6 and 22 years respectively and still going in the software space myself I wish you had of stuck in there.

    Reply Like 3
      • Jeff
      • Head of Customer Experience
      • Jeff
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brad Hayden 

      Brad Hayden said:
      1. In 2 years the remote will stop working all together ? Or at least work to support the devices you already have
      As we said in the blog post we will support NEEO for the next 24 months. Can you click on the link and throw in some ideas on we can shapre the future of NEEO.
      https://planet.neeo.com/t/63wd35

      2. A new TV released tmrw or in 6 months will not be supported ?
      "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."

       
      4. You will offer no refunds for this now new but immediately redundant tech ?
      We offer a 30 day money back guarntee.
      Reply Like
      • Brad Hayden
      • Brad_Hayden.1
      • 4 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Jeff thank you for the responses

      wow reading all the comments in this post it clearly wasn’t what any of us wanted or expected, how do you feel about it ?

      Unfortunately I purchased my remote late Dec before Christmas so no refund I would much prefer to keep using it if I can as I think it is great so far.

      just for the sake of absolute clarity please.

      stopping support means the brain and remote won’t work at all as in you turn it on and it’s dead / useless ? Or it still allows you to use devices you have and add any already in the database and still create new recipes etc ?

      thanks

      Ideas:

      1. Find a partner to support it ongoing in its current form

      2. We pay a small licence fee to get updates for new devices if required

      3. Fun open source solutions to keep the database going

      4. Include software for users to get a new device and set up their own integration and submit for review by community and then approved ie community manages the database 

      5. I am sure others in these posts are better equipped to offer more technical solutions 

      6. Convince control4 to keep doing a consumer based remote like NEEO for those that can’t get a full custom install

      Reply Like 4
    • Brad Hayden like the idea of small license fee 

      Reply Like 1
      • hura
      • Huber_Raphael
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jay Choudhary 

      and give them even more money to just f*** you again?

      NEVER!

      Reply Like
      • Malcolm Cox
      • Neighborhood Home Theater Guru
      • Malcolm_Cox
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jeff you sound like a politician. Just tell us if the damn remote will continue to work after 2 years!

      Reply Like
  • I was happy with my Brain and Remote pair, even with the current functionality; and was looking to add a second pair for the bedrooom. But that's gone now. There's no way I'm going to invest hundreds of euros in devices that could become paperweights in 2 years' time. 

    I really hope I'm misunderstanding all this.

    I love the Neeo design and the convenience.. I don't want to lose the functionality and have the time spent getting this set up all wasted. It annoys the hell out of me if I'll have to do it all again with all-new devices. (Which WON'T be Control 4! Unless something dramatically changes!)

    Reply Like
  • This is really bad news for your supporters Raphael. It's hard to put into words the disappointment and shock that it's all over before it even really began.

    The very least you could have done is to let the new company (control4) deliver the features you promised on your Kickstarter campaign.

    Reply Like 1
  • Congratulations, I'm sorry to see development of this product come to an end as it has definitely been a winner for me. My main regret is that this product will never gain the new HomeKit integration that seems to be evolving - a natural complement to this product I have already been enjoying in it's limited implementation.

    Best wishes on your future ventures!

    Reply Like 1
  • This is exciting new, Congratulations on the acquisition!  As a Control4 user myself I'm excited to see where things go from here.

    Reply Like 1
    • Tom H
    • Tom_H
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    If we own a control 4 box and a Neeo, can they be supported by installers? Or do we need to buy new Neeos from installers to replace our current Neeo?

    Reply Like
      • Jeff
      • Head of Customer Experience
      • Jeff
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tom H We will continue to support your current NEEO for 24 months. Per Control4's website, there may be an upgrade program in the near future. 

      Reply Like
      • Tom H
      • Tom_H
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jeff I’m disappointed I’ll have to rebuy this stuff again. This will be the reason I leave Control4 for good once I sell my current house. New house, new control company that doesn’t do this to customers.

      Reply Like
      • Edward Zwart
      • Software Developer
      • Ezeedub
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tom H I've been getting acquainted with Control4 since I read this announcement, weighing the pros and cons of considering them for some larger home automation projects I have in mind versus going another route.  I'd be curious to hear if you have any alternatives in mind already?

      Reply Like
      • Tom H
      • Tom_H
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Edward Zwart Dealer installed and supported systems come from a lot of providers. I’ve liked Crestron and Savant. Any of these dealer maintained systems aren’t worth getting started unless you are prepared to pay for the privilege to keep them working. They are a true walled garden of equipment and service. Consider it carefully before getting started.

      Reply Like 1
  • Interesting discussion between Neeo and control4 

    https://planet.neeo.com/t/18fhyb/neeo-as-control4-remote

     

    looks like control4 has replaced NEEO. I am sad with no clear path and wasted $ money

    Reply Like
  • We’ll seeing what comes next... 

    Reply Like 1