Q&A: Crestron CTO Fred Bargetzi Explains Pyng
Crestron Electronics Chief Technology Officer Fred Bargetzi discusses home automation system app Pyng, which was revealed during CEDIA Expo 2014.
September 10, 2014
Crestron revealed Pyng, its new iOS-app based Pyng system for home control and automation, on Wednesday at the 2014 CEDIA Expo. Fred Bargetzi, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Crestron Electronics, discussed the product in this Q&A.
Q. Can you explain how the new Pyng line of products will help installers, and what made the company decide to develop this product line?
A. After observing all of the interest in adding apps to home automation systems, we were inspired to develop an app that is the home automation system. Because Crestron Pyng enables complete setup and control in just a few easy steps, right from the iPad, installers can have an entire home up and running in minutes without ever opening a laptop.
Control manufacturers have made incremental steps over time to make programming a system easier. So if you ask most of our integrators what they expect us to do next, they’ll talk about a new, easier version of software. Pyng completely changes the paradigm, providing sophisticated home automation right from the app. So unlike all other systems today, including Crestron’s, where the app is an add-on after you have programmed the system, the Pyng App is the home automation system.
We took a holistic approach from the integrator’s perspective — today, with virtually all systems out there, you install the gear, program it from your laptop, load the system, then walk around and test the system. If there are issues, it’s back to the laptop, more programming, back to walking around and testing, rinse, repeat until you have completed the system. This process alone consumes large amounts of time. Even though some manufacturers’ PC software makes it easier than others, there is no getting away from this process. When we sat down to architect Pyng, we realized very quickly that we could do the configuration and checkout in one step if everything was done from your tablet. Pyng enables the integrator to bring devices like dimmers, switches, locks, shades, etc. into the system and test them live and in real-time in front of the device — you immediately verify and validate the system operation in real-time.
Q. Will the Pyng line remain exclusive to the authorized Crestron dealers?
A. Crestron Pyng is an app that anyone can download from the [Apple iTunes] App Store. Crestron Pyng accessories, like dimmers, shades, door locks, thermostats and security system interfaces, are sold and installed by Crestron Authorized Dealers. In fact, the accessories are part of the infiNET EX family, the same professional Crestron products our dealers are selling today.
Q. What is the goal of Pyng? Where does it fit into the market?
A. Our goal is to make it faster and easier for our dealers to set up home automation systems. Whether the project is a 20-load lighting project in a townhome, or hundreds of devices in a large home, it’s a huge advantage to be able to set up the home in minutes right from the iPad. Thanks to the connection to the cloud, dealers benefit from automatic configuration backup, the ability to provide remote support, and the monitoring of the status of each device.
In addition, homeowners are able to modify the system to meet their needs as it becomes an integral part of their lives. For example, customers can easily add their own scenes and scheduled events or set up new automated behaviors like having the lights turn on when the door is unlocked. Additionally, as features and updates are available for Pyng, the update can be applied right from the app so that the customer has the newest features. This keeps Pyng fresh without a dealer service call.
Q. Crestron states Pyng offers solutions in the lighting, shade, thermostat, door lock and security categories. Are there plans to launch A/V control and other solutions?
A. Once you’ve set up your home with Crestron Pyng, you can expand to any Crestron product, including A/V control. The programmer for the A/V system can add the Crestron Pyng Smart Object to any touchscreen and you have the same interface on the touchscreen you have on the iPad and iPhone. With Crestron Pyng, there are no boundaries — all of the components are the same Crestron components dealers sell today. Pyng also provides customers and integrators the ability to grow and expand the system as they become comfortable with the system and want more features.
Q. Is the network technology behind Pyng a proprietary Crestron infrastructure/wireless protocol or is the company using existing technologies such as Z-Wave and/or ZigBee?
A. The Crestron Pyng Hub communicates with wireless devices using Crestron’s existing infiNET EX wireless mesh network, which was specifically developed for the professional market. infiNET EX has 10 years of development behind it, with hundreds of thousands of devices installed today.
Q. Are there plans to grow the line to cover the Android market too?
A. Pyng’s platform is scalable across a wide variety of devices, including iOS, Android, OS X, Windows and more. The product will launch with support for iOS and additional platform support will be introduced in the near future.
Q. How does Crestron see the home control and automation market developing over the next year or so with all of the talk of companies like Apple, Google and others entering the industry?
A. We think that the talk and excitement around home automation from companies like Apple and Google is great. It will only heighten the awareness of the benefits of automation. Crestron is in an ideal position, with a mature, fully developed professional solution today. Pyng was developed over the past several years, drawing from over 20 years of experience in high-end home automation and hundreds of thousands of systems in the field. It will take home automation to an entirely new level and we are excited to bring it to market now.
Q. What will differentiate Crestron from those big Silicon Valley companies if and when they decide to commit to the home control and automation market?
A. Simple: Crestron innovation and support. Our innovation isn’t just about making a widget or writing a piece of software — it’s about understanding the entire ecosystem that a home automation system lives within, and architecting an end-to-end solution that’s appropriate for a luxury home.
We also support our integrators and customers all the way to the finish line to ensure their satisfaction. We stand behind the performance of our true professional-grade systems.
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