The Control4 Excella

You might think you were pretty smart to buy an Airstream, a gateway to adventure and the open road. And you might think you’ve got a pretty smartly designed trailer, it being an Airstream and all. But it’s likely you can’t walk up to your trailer and say, “Airstream, lights on, music set at a middle volume, and cue up Netflix.” But if you tricked your trailer out with some Control4 technology, you could do that—and more. Control4 is a global provider of smart home solutions, and my goodness, their goods will put your Airstream’s brain on overdrive.

control4 airstream

Control4 took a 28-foot 1998 Excella that they bought in Baja and turned it into something NASA might envy. They wanted to demo that even in a limited space, their tech can seamlessly connect various devices and automate their use. “Control4’s platform works with more than 10,000 connected consumer electronics devices,” says Brad Hintze, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Control4. “This gives customers the ability to get started with Control4 using their existing products, and offers them the freedom to scale as their home does,” he says.

“Whether they wish to set up one room, a few rooms, or an entire home, customers can enjoy automated scenes like “Welcome Home” that will turn on lights, disarm the alarm, set the thermostat to their liking and activate their favorite streaming music playlist throughout the house or in certain rooms,” says Hintze.

control4 airstream

Before Control4 took over, the Excella was outfitted with a customized hydraulic door and high-end furnishings by 3D Exhibits in Las Vegas, so that the electronics would match the trailer’s trappings. Control4 added multi-room audio/video, a one-room entertainment solution system, automated QMotion blinds, indoor and outdoor speakers, portable and in-wall touch screens and handheld remote interfaces, an Amazon Echo for voice control, and customized keypads that allow for control of lighting, audio and entertainment. Whew!

The Airstream exhibited the technology at Boston Design Week, the NY Auto Show, Orlando’s AIA conference and is on its way to the Dwell on Design show in LA. The company emphasizes the convenience of easy device integration to enhance a homeowner’s—or trailer owner’s—life.

control4 airstream

“For example, on one of the keypads in the mock home theater room there is a button labeled ‘Movie Time.’ One touch dims the lights to 25%, background music is turned off, and the Blu-ray player on the TV turns on, creating the perfect environment for watching a movie,” says Hintze. The mobile nature of the Airstream makes it easy to set up at a lot of different shows in a short time frame, and draws a lot of foot traffic from curious show attendees because it is so unique,” he says.

Airstreams are unique on their own, but a Control4 Airstream is a step beyond. “Our plan is to continue to find new opportunities and events to bring the Control4 Airstream experience to,” says Hintze. “We thought that the Airstream trailer was perfect because of its portability and unique look. There’s a lot of initial interest that draws people in because of the nostalgia that the Airstream brings. Visitors to the trailer have been surprised at just how much technology is packed into so little space, and how accessible smart home technology really is.”

Plenty accessible, plenty smart.

—By Tom Bentley