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.
I'm pretty pissed here. We - as kickstarter backers - financed a large part of the development - and will now be left in the cold. I consider the 24month grace period to be bullshit since there's no clear plan forward after this point.
As the company has been sold, this probably includes all software IP - and I do not count on them being able to open-source this.
If the plan is indeed to sunset the platform after 24 months - which is pretty much what you're telling us here, the least Neeo should offer it's backers is this:
- A 'developer' firmware and/or way to build an image and side-load it for the brain which allows SSH access and includes all drivers to steer IR, bluetooth, HDMI CEC, and the direct connection driver, ... and basic documentation for this. This would allow the community to build something itself. If I look around, many backers have a technical background (including myself).
- A solution for being able to keep using the remote with a brain that has a 'custom' firmware. At least document the API's it uses to communicate with the brain, so they could be rebuilt by the community. Note that a closed-sourced library would not be enough.
I have little hope of actually being able to run things on the remote itself.
All in all - I'm very disappointed the way this is being handled. This was a very promising platform, but with this it's dead. I seriously doubt there currently is a big overlap between the Neeo backers and the Control4 customers...Reply
"The company has now acquired NEEO, a Switzerland-based maker of smart-home remotes, for $11 million in cash. Control4 is assuming $4.6 million of NEEO's debt as part of the deal and issued $1.5 million in equity to key NEEO employees. . "Reply
Aaron Ranson said:
All the positive comments are from accounts created yesterday
...and we know that at least one account from which honest but unfavourable commentary was posted has mysteriously vanished. Looks very much like an effort to control the narrative.Reply
Alright so now that I've come to grips with this... What's the best alternative once this great remote stops being useful... Logitech Harmony Elite? I HATED my old Logitech Harmony One... is the Elite any better? any other alternatives anyone else has researched (from companies that won't fold in 18 months preferably)? I don't see myself getting roped into a contract with Control 4 thanks very much.Reply
Wasn't sure whether to reply to this topic or not. Not sure it was worth spending the energy. Overall I'm disappointed in this business decision. Obviously none of us know the contractual details between Neeo and Ctrl4 (C4) but as others have said, I really suspect C4 bought them to get rid of the competition (regardless of what BS or number of $$ they fed Raphael). I believe this was the ultimate goal.
Neeo being 4.5mill in debt is nothing and not surprising. If a tech company isn't operating in debt there's something wrong. Look at Uber... Amazon probably spent the first decade or so, millions in debt. Not an issue.
However, the real problem I see here is Neeo jumped too early. They now have no opportunity to turn things around, become the market leaders (like they stated) and turn that negative equity into positive. Kind'a reminds me of the early days of Marques Brownlee. Even when he only a few hundred thousand Youtube subscribers, he was getting crazy job offers from well established companies.
At the time I thought he made a big mistake to turn them down... but he did. He kept his vision.
Look at him now... a few years later, nearly 8 million subscribers strong and is dominating his market. (Along with a few others).
Such a shame Neeo... Disappointing news.
I hope you're able to provide us with the resources so we can continue to support our devices when your verbal obligation ends. The sooner the better.Reply
Martin Rohner said:
I think that depends a lot on your setup.
absolutely true... I had looked over the Elite page on the Logitech site and it looks like it actually controls a lot of home automation devices now so I'm certainly curious what anyone actually uses it thinks once switching... or any other options of course!Reply
Raphael We may have pushed the boundaries further than any other product out there
When I read something like this I ask myself honestly if there is not a strong gap between external evaluation and self-assessment? How do you get yourself to such a conclusion if you do not even manage to the end to implement things to NEEO that many other systems, that are available in the market, have implemented years ago like ip control with status feedback for modern devices or Bluetooth control? Not even the simplest things like showing the current volume of an AV receiver in the display from the NEEO have been implemented let alone as trivial things as displaying the time in the display.Reply
All the words about NEEO were allways better than the product itself – since the beginning. Functions, images, times – many promises. And even more expectations. We believed these words. And now i know it was wrong.
To be honest: NEEO ist great. But now Raphael finally missed the chance to make NEEO even better. Raphael missed the chance to keep his promises. And he missed the chance to satisfy us. Now there's no way to make NEEO to the greatest thing we ever had. We all believed his promises, because they sounded great. And all of us have the right to be disappointed now.
The best thing about NEEO was the NEEO-heart – the great idea with all supporters. But the NEEO-heart died right now. I'm very disappointed – even if it works «at least» 24 months from this moment.
I hope Raphael gets enough money. Enough to not have to disappoint so many supporters again.Reply
Tim Roberts said:
I personally think they should have allowed alternative implementations from the start (on the brain) and concentrated on the remotes unique and killer feature - the screen
I absolutely agree to that...
they should have open the neeo brain to the comunity to run drivers on it.
maybe they still can do that???Reply
Let me explain EXACTLY what happened here. I’m around automation dealers regularly as well as their product offerings.
High end automation has authorized dealers who both sell AND service their product. This means that Lutron, Savant, C4 and Crestron lifeblood is through expensive installations mixed with very expensive hourly rates to fix any bugs or changes on a system.
NEEO was an awesome David vs Goliath type product that allowed end users to take a remote out of a box at a fraction of the cost to automate a home and program it themself. It even used cute terms like Recipes and the like to create firing sequences. It wasn’t perfect but they did a good job without entering into a professional automation installation which can easily top 10-100K or more.
The owner Raphael or whomever owned NEEO essentially caved in for a paycheck. My guess is C4 wanted to eliminate this option as quick as possible. By eliminating this growth, they are again forcing end users to shell out thousands not only for an installation but ALSO for the hours you need to pay someone every single time you change your system or have any issue whatsoever. This is a classic buy-out where one man gets paid and the whole customer base who was being taken care it gets screwed 100%.
By the way, Control 4 is the worst high end automation system one can install. It’s clunky, junky, and overall considered to be a last choice if someone is going to spend the money to automate their home. However they must command enough revenue to see it as advantageous to purchase the up and rising Star that is allowing their customer base to do their own automation for a $400 out of the box plug and play type product. The ownership and executives at NEEO should be ashamed for handing the keys of their solution to such a company. I hope the money helps them sleep at night.Reply
to everyone out there, Neeo is gone, dont kid yourselves. There will not be an opensource of this software, Control4 have acquired all IP.
Control4 will not sell to individuals, and the price of the Remote and Brain will only go up, not down. The firmware will be removed and replaced by Control4s software as used on there own remotes or modified to such an extent to be unused by any other system.
the 24 months period is enough time to escape any legal repercussions from users, as it gives them a large enough time period for a new purchase to offer support and services before an acceptable EOL cycle.
Basically we have 18months - 2 years to use the remote and find an alternative.
I propose this, THE ANDI ONE, an old remote that was produced years ago and never succeeded, it was before its time. But now would be a boon for the IOT market.
I think if we can all persuade the manufacturer Conspin to reproduce this in a more current version of android 7, we could do wonders with this remote.
http://conspins.com/contact/ Here is the contact details, lets flood them with requests!!Reply
I tried to give back my barely two months old Neeo through my dealer. Here the answer from Neeo:
Wir offerieren ein 30 Tage Rückgaberecht und können dies leider nicht verlängern. NEEO wird weiterhin Sicherheitsupdates erhalten und die Server werden für die nächsten 24 Monate weiterlaufen.
Da die 30 Tage bei dem Kunden bereits überschritten sind, können wir das Produkt leider nicht zurücknehmen.
Thank you "Friend" Raphael! Give me my money back!!!Reply
Dillon Moulder said:
I’ve just realised that some of my posts have gone missing from discussions yesterday and I can’t see any of the contributions made by James Long either; in fact, his account now seems to have been wiped entirely! This doesn’t feel right at all. Has anybody noticed any similar activity?
Fortunately, it seems as though the majority of legacy posts made by James Long have now been reinstated. However, while I could @ mention James earlier today here, it seems as though you cannot @ mention him again now. As it stands, James cannot access his account and the community cannot direct message or follow him. Patrick Jeff Why is this happening with specific accounts? I'm sure the entire community would be interested to know.Reply
honestly spoken, you said in one post you want to fight for us consumers, but i guess it was not at that time when you see €$£¥ in your eyes signing the contract. I am not a Kickstarter backer but bought neeo as soon as it was released. Anyway the post about Neeo Pro was strange. But ok. We could get have some benefits out of it. Months later you are coming out with post. You think you are anymore reliable to us? I guess you do the big next thing. You should never forget, which people make it possible that are the people who funded on Kickstarter. In germany we call it „Demut“. People should think about from where you are coming. Even if Neeo will be open source. All of us wouldn‘t get any hardware replacement. And if it is true that you care so much about the base that make Neeo possible, you should consider it already during negoiations. Even in Business you should have morals and integration. At this point you are are kicking morals‘ a*#.Reply
Critical post on Planet NEEO have always been welcome as long as there are no insults or bad language contained.
Come on, Patrick ! You know that’s not true. If you really stand by these words, in your capacity as Community Manager, please explain why you are allowing your administrators to cripple James Long’s account right now? He cannot access his account and we cannot direct message or follow him. This all happened after James implied he might make further criticisms on Planet NEEO. If this isn’t censorship, I don’t know what is.Reply
Daniel Jordi said:
this sounds scary
Daniel Jordi It’s just totally wrong and unjustified. These blatant attempts to control the narrative on Planet NEEO should not go unchecked by the community.Reply
Sorry Guys but what are you expecting? Raphael and Co. made good money and this is what capitalism is all about. Do you know that old 80s film with Danny DeVito? Other people's Money? It's all about MONEY. They own this web site so they can do with the comments and user accounts what they want. Is that ethical? No, but hey, they just made a couple of millions and they sold their soul and moral with Neeo as well. We have been screwed and they are sipping champagne and laughing.
In a month they will set up an automated answering system which will tell you that all is well with your Neeo and the problem is not in the Neeo Hardware but in you, Then in 24 Months they switch off this phone as well...
Put your Neeo on a prominent place to remind you not to fall for all those people who are showing you honeypots full of great new ideas. This is not an idealistic world where David wins against Goliath. It's capitalism and money talks...
This reminds me of another film: One, Two, Three from 1961. Quote: Capitalism is like a dead herring in the moonlight. It shines, but it stinks!Reply
Now that my Neeo is only a worthless piece of crap I was curious what is inside.
Here are two images...
(Opening is easy. Bottom two screws out then pry the cover up. Under the battery are two more screws.)
Beware tough, there seams to be a tamper switch as after disassembly it asks for a firmware reload. There is nothing special in this hardware (nothing what a smartphone doesn't have fo many years) so I wonder why it took so long to develop it...Reply