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.
Dear Raphael and the rest of team NEEO. First of all congratulations with your marriage to Control4. It is without a doubt a great achievement from a business POV.
Unfortunately the community does not share this sentiment and it looks like a very big part of this community feels simply cheated by the fact that they were promised a product which does not meet the expectation and is far from finished. A lot of features were left out and the way it looks like - at this very moment - these features will never be added.
Personally I still feel like we all paid a very high price to “just” be BETA testers and be left on the side when the first listed company comes along
The only thing I would like to ask you is to finish the product by getting all the “promised” features in to truly make it the greatest remote ever.
Even if you do not give us the tools to continue the development and it just stops there - a finished products is the least that we all deserve.Reply
Very Disappointing. Don’t know what to think...at what point did their relationship begin with Control4? I recall when they announced a partnership with another company but couldn’t say who it was. But we’re told some of the following:
“It’s important to us that you know a couple of things: We don’t have any intensions to ever sell the company. We believe very much in what we are doing and we believe that large corporations are not the ideal environment to truly create and innovate. The plan for us is to stay independent and keep control over our company. At the same time of course we still work closely with partners that can boost NEEO and bring it to the next level.”
“The company that we decided to partner with is adding a lot more than money to NEEO. The company is a (amazing) manufacturer itself and let’s us utilise their operational power and experience. We know the owners and the executive team of that company very well as we have been working with them for quite a while. It’s really a dream that comes true for us. Among all investment offers we had this is the one we know will bing us the most value. We are very, very thankful that this happened! To make this very clear: This partnership will not delay shipments or shift our focus. It will speed up some tasks and we are all fully committed to deliver your units first!”
“the power of getting encouraging messages from you guys made a significant difference enabling us to overcome the many challenges along the way: There is nothing more powerful than knowing there are people out there believing in you. I am truly touched and grateful.”
How soon you forget those who helped you.
I do hope you reconsider and make this misstep right. HomeKit? Bluetooth? A version 1.0? Ability to actually buy another Brain? IR Learning. As of today dditional Brains can be added in new firmware update while on same day of firmware release and big announcement day you abruptly end sales of additional Brains. Really?
Not a well thought out exit plan Raphael
Make it right man.
I’d like to be excited for you guys but you make it very difficult if not impossible to feel anything but disdain for NEEO.
Your goal was to get this device into millions of homes with simple setup and and simple UI. That will not happen now; Control4 is not mainstream it’s a luxury as is Crestron while some can afford these systems the majority of households cannot. The business model of integrators of Control4 & Crestron to name a couple depend upon the return programming fees. I’ve had to pay minimum of $150/hr for Crestron reprogramming any time a new device was added. It’s a joke people don’t want that crap and the nickel and dime show. I pulled all my Crestron crap when I got my NEEO, finally I was able to create recipes and control all of my own stuff set my own scenes and I’m not paying an arrogant kid to come in and reprogram and then upsell me on new UI’s and other crap.
Just find it very disappointing and a bit of a punch in the gut that you sell it as so great and exciting after doing precisely what you said you would not..
I’m not sure if you were trying to sell your end users on the idea; or you are that naive to think your customers will cheer you on and say thanks for leaving us in the lurch.
I get business decisions but there is certainly better ways to handle your customers.
Well done Raphael, well done.
Build a company with money from bakers, make a grandiose promisis which mostly never came true and sold to control4, who don´t give a f on hobbyist like us. :)
my two remotes got worthless from today. who would buy a remote which is useless after two years from now..
I dont trust you that anything is "managed" within the next two years. I think the "2 years" are just product liability. This is less a goodie for the community, than more a obligatory by the law.
"Shape the NEEO future" is only a thread to comfort the community. Nothing more.
And, what a suprise! told it to your community on the frist date of ISE2019.
Yes. I feel cheated and i´am kinda angry.
Respect for what your team has reached within a few years ! I strongly hope that the whole team benefited from that deal and not just you because we will definitely not benefit from it.
If so great for you because at least you tried and got halfway through to a real product.
Disrespect for a way too promising communication from day one. For the future you should stop promising things you can’t deliver at all - being half a dazzler would have been way enough show.
If you donate half of the money for the sale to charity project and parts to your team you would get at least a part of respect back. If you were just bankrupt then good luck well done.
However sad to see another product dying before it even started.Reply
After weeks and months without communication, here is a verbose essay telling what can actually be said in a few words:
- we pull the plug
- the company is dead
- customers ? well, just help yourselves !
While the move is likely to make commercial sense from your point of view, your behaviour shows once again that much has been invested in marketing, promises and announcements for the product instead of customer orientation and sustainable development.
When this became apparent internally at NEEO, the responsible people went underground. All in all a huge disappointment.Reply
Raphael Just like a lot of your backers I'm really disappointed. I was after a product better than what Logitech offer, but especially not a system like Control 4 which requires you to pay an installer to make changes. Gut feeling is Control 4 purchased Neeo as they saw it a threat to their product lineup - which in a way it is.
Your kickstarter was ideal and the product from a hardware perspective is excellent, but most of us wanted something that would never require paying someone for changes to their system... it's a real shame and I hope at the least our remotes continue to work ("active and usable") with both current and newer devices (especially TVs) long after the 2 year period passes.Reply
After a long wait to have the product and after less than 10 firmware version with no too much progress & stability. we need to said goodbye....
Do you really think this deserve a celebration? you need to be more realistic and think in all us.
This was my las cross funding contribution.Reply
Lots of negative votes here, but they are eligible. IMHO this was an emergency exit for Raph, time/money/everythings runs out. The product is still in a deep beta level and no big progress can be seen. Control4 just buyed Neeo and all the rights. From a business point of view there will be no reason to open source the product or parts of it. They just want to make Money with it. After all, I do not want to be in Raph's skin, hard decisions, obviously, and the loss of an good reputation level. Finally, I have to say that Neeo was not a success story for the enduser, sadly.Reply
What's the most frustrating thing about this is that again, the market is without an advanced universal remote system that can be purchased/programmed by a consumer. The dealer business model is obsolete and only serves to fill the pockets of companies like C4, Crestron, etc. that can charge exorbitant training/certification fees to dealers which in turn pass this cost onto consumers. This acquihire was about C4 preserving this. I hope Crestron, Savant, RTI, etc. all send C4 a huge gift basket.Reply