This was the first time we've had a chance to stay at the Las Vegas City Center, a shining megalopolis of accommodations, dining and shopping all presented in a faux Frank Gehry, modernist, city-of-the-future facade that would make for a perfect setting for a Logan's Run remake. We stayed at the Aria Hotel, one amongst the four resorts interconnected resorts spanning across the complex. And it was here we found ourselves falling in love with a Control4-based automation system which gave us control of nearly everything in our hotel room.
Control4 is a Utah company focused on smart home automation solutions to control lighting, entertainment, security, energy monitoring and just about any other automatic feature you'd like access to in your home via IP-based systems. Each of the Aria's rooms are equipped with Control4 Suite Systems, the easy to use graphical interface accessible via the flatscreen HDTV's remote or with a bedside touchscreen display. From either control we could change the temperature of our room, adjust the lighting settings, access the audio and video entertainment options (there was a notable lag while changing channels which proved to be one of the few negatives), and most importantly, control/program the window drapes system.
Yes, it was the automatic window drapes system which proved to us, we too needed a Control4 system in our apartment. After setting our alarm the night before hitting the hay, hours later, we were pleasantly awoken by the automatic drawing of the drapes, allowing the bright Vegas morning sun to naturally awake us from our slumber. Surrounding interior lights were illuminated brighter and brighter over a 120 second duration, and the option to turn on the Philips television and audio system was also available for those more apt to bury their heads in the pillow instead of waking up.
It was absolutely the most high-tech and soothing way to wake up we've experienced and now we're obsessed with mimicking the effect at home. Well, except upon some research, we discovered the system isn't within our budget quite yet (home automation like this remains an expensive prosumer luxury)…but the seed has been planted. It takes a hands-on experience of living with home automation like this to realize how the features can be used day-to-day in your life, since our prior experience was just typical PR demonstrations. Who would have guessed it would have been an automatic window shade alarm clock that would impress us the most?
Other tech amenities included a complete A/V/data connection port option (shown above) and an amusing snack/beverage system, which can determine if occupants have consumed one of the myriad of enticing snack bar items 30 seconds after being removed. My better half was enamored with this sensor system and investigated to discover the electronic monitoring behind the snack case; under the guise of "research", she consumed two $3 cans of Pringles. It was that kind of wild weekend for us at CES (note, the romance kit remained untouched).