Control4 had long been looking for a big way to transition from a smart-home company to one that could also provide that type of solution in commercial applications too.
Meanwhile, SAVI Controls was quietly building its reputation as a go-to provider of commercial control software solutions, but had been falling short on worldwide name recognition, something Control4 had among residential integrators but not on the commercial side.
The companies decided the best way for them to achieve their goals was to work together, and make sure the coming-out party was an eye-popping undertaking. Enter the new Topgolf facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, a combination driving range/restaurant/bar, with new locations opening across the country.
SAVI Controls built its new commercial control system, dubbed SAVI Server 2.5, on the Control4 API and unveiled the results at the Salt Lake City Topgolf in May. SAVI Server 2.5 is a web-based software platform in a 1U rackmount form factor that controls audio, video, lighting, and automation in commercial spaces.
SAVI and Control4 have had a relationship since the first version of the offering was released in the fall of 2011. SAVI “was born out of the desire to move from residential to commercial,” says president John Dorsey, and Topgolf came along at the right time to make that happen.
“What we’re excited about is we have an open platform,” says Control4 senior VP of marketing Susan Cashen. “It’s a perfect opportunity for savvy integrators to offer a simple solution. It adds a layer of competitiveness and differentiation.”
Integration with Control4 produces what both sides say is “an easy-to-operate and simple-to-configure commercial AV control system that scales from board rooms to large venues and everything in between.” Again, although Topgolf served as the springboard for this partnership, that by no means is its only application.
SAVI’s user interface has what officials call “a thoughtful design that is both intuitive and responsive for the user, with at-a-glance offerings and customization for either a full facility or a room-by-room view, specialized drivers for a wide range of project applications including an LED UI, an intelligent Control4 project converter, and custom features for DirecTV preview streaming, program guide and scheduler as well as video wall control.”
SAVI Controls “leverages the many strengths of Control4 by delivering untapped market potential for Control4 dealers and providing a comprehensive commercial control solution all with minimal specialized training,” according to the announcement.
SAVI is currently running more than 20 Topgolf locations nationwide, and the opening of the Utah facility, alongside the unveiling of SAVI Server 2.5, marked the company’s move from pre-release to market-ready.
SAVI is installed and operating more than 7,000 video endpoints and 500 audio zones in a variety of commercial facilities, ranging from popular restaurant chains to entertainment complexes.
The new Topgolf facility includes more than 100 highly personalized golf bays, live music, corporate conference rooms, sports bars, LED and DMX lighting and the integration of 260 TV displays and 99 speakers running from 27 sources.
Cashen knows many Control4 integrators have been using its products in commercial applications for years, but those uses required customization. That’s a thing of the past, she says.
“We didn’t have the bandwidth to provide what some of our dealers required,” she says. “SAVI provides that missing link.”
Control4’s recent acquisition of Pakedge “gives us a little more to communicate to commercial customers,” says Cashen. “We believe some dealers with a mostly commercial business will make the switch to Control4. SAVI is a bit of a missing piece.”
SAVI VP of sales Byron Baird says the company is talking to many “high-profile integrators” about working together on their projects now that Topgolf has proven to be so successful and the product itself is ready for widespread release.
Topgolf represents “the perfect place” to understand several different markets, says Dorsey, since it includes a night club, restaurant, conference rooms, meeting areas and more. He also sees applications for SAVI in hotels, museums, corporate offices and other vertical markets.
“We can compete pretty much anywhere,” says Dorsey. “We can train anyone to run any facility in five minutes.”
Here’s a look at how Topgolf combines several commercial markets into one and how Control4 and SAVI worked to make it great for everyone: