Crestron at CEDIA: NFC, Speakers, Shades, Whole Lot More
Near Field Communication (NFC) and motorized shades wowed the crowds at CEDIA 2012, but the real star was Crestron's new Core 3 UI ecosystem: 'Everything is completely changed.'
As we noted in our CE Pro Top 5 Home Technologies for 2012, Near Field Communication (NFC) could be the next big thing in home automation.
Crestron showed the most extensive NFC home automation demo to date at CEDIA Expo 2012 with its new AirConnect solution. At the show, an NFC-enabled smartphone unlocked a door and the music turned on to the user’s preferred channel.
In the AirConnect ecosystem, paper-thin NFC tags are embedded throughout the house – behind keypads, within light dimmers, atop door locks ….
The two-way technology can be used to read data from smartphones and other NFC devices (currently supported on many Android devices; Apple coming soon with iOS 6). Just tap to initiate commands. The tags know who you are and so much more.
RELATED: Crestron Introduces airConnect at CEDIA EXPO 2012 (Press Release)
The simple demo at the Crestron booth touched on the obvious, but the combo of Crestron and NFC can do so much more. Imagine a corporate boardroom – tap a tag on the door and the system knows it’s you, grabs data from your calendar and address book, and automatically cues up your teleconference.
[VIDEO] Crestron NFC demo at CEDIA Expo 2012
The home automation world got its first real glimpse of NFC in the home last year when Yale/Assa Abloy introduced us to an NFC-enabled door lock. AMX has deployed the technology in its Modero X touchpanels. But Crestron is the first to show whole-house integration centered around the technology.
We’ve seen similar demonstrations around Bluetooth – a system knows when you’re in the vicinity, and then plays your music or sets back the thermostat – but NFC makes more sense in this case, according to Josh Stene, director of technology management for Crestron.
“Bluetooth takes longer for pairing and adds more cost,” he says. “NFC tags are almost free, so you can put them everywhere in the house.”
It’s also a whiz-bang feature to add to existing Crestron systems.
“This is just an upgrade,” Stene says. “You can just walk into a house with $20 worth of NFC tags.”
What is especially cool about Crestron’s NFC implementation is that the tags are user programmable.
Simply scan a tag, press the START button on your mobile device, set the scene to your preferences, and then hit RECORD. Nice!
Behind the Crestron Curtains
The self-programming feature represents a huge philosophical shift for Crestron. Indeed, while NFC brings some nice bells and whistles to the Crestron ecosystem, the star of CEDIA Expo 2012 was the company’s new Core 3 UI platform, and an emphasis on simplicity for dealers and consumers alike.
“Over the past five years, we’ve re-architected everything,” says technology VP Fred Bargetzi. “Everything is completely changed.”
We have already reported on how Core 3 and the new Design Studio programming environment takes the pain out of programming: The graphical interface lets dealers drag-and-drop prewritten “SmartObjects” onto their interface designs, and resize them simply (and perfectly) thanks to “SmartScaling” vector-based graphics.
“The amount of time it cuts from programming, it’s crazy,” says Bargetzi.
At the same time, he says Crestron is inviting dealers to stray from crazy-customized GUIs of yore that are known to suck profit out of integration businesses.
Crestron has created a pretty standard interface and programming template that it hopes will keep Crestron dealers disciplined. As always, Crestron programmers can go nuts with their GUIs, but they may have to jump through a few more hoops to get there.
“My goal is to make integrators dangerous, to get them in and out,” Bargetzi explains. “We think this will create a better user experience.”
More Crestron CEDIA News
Is there any subsystem that Crestron doesn’t make itself? Speakers used to fall into that category, but not anymore.
The company debuted its first loudspeakers at CEDIA.
“We spent three years developing them,” says Bargetzi. “Everything is designed by us.”
He notes that Crestron shipped 300,000 speaker “endpoints” last year, “so why not have speakers that are matched to them?”
Naturally, Crestron’s own motorized shades were a big deal at this event. They’re launching in every style and, yes, they are indeed quiet.
[VIDEO] Crestron’s motorized shades at CEDIA 2012
And it wouldn’t be an Expo if Crestron didn’t launch some new touchscreens. There were a few of those, too. Blog Mobster David Haddad shows us in the video below.
Crestron CEDIA 2012 Press Releases
New Crestron Touch Screens Deliver Stunning Graphics and Beautiful Tablet-style Design
Crestron to Demonstrate Enhanced Apple Airplay Functionality with Sonnex at CEDIA EXPO 2012
Crestron Introduces airConnect at CEDIA EXPO 2012
Crestron Expands CEDIA EXPO Booth to Demonstrate New Line of Motorized Shades
New Crestron Studio - Home Designer Software Makes it Easier to Design and Program Crestron
Crestron Multimedia Gallery
Crestron is encouraging integrators to keep it simple, and providing the tools to do so.
[VIDEO] That’s just fun ... like, if you’re a geek.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at email@example.com
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