One year after Crestron hired former integrator John Clancy as VP Residential, the company has “restored faith” in its commitment to the home-automation channel, Clancy says in an interview with CE Pro.
New programs, products and software, he says, have made this commitment “really evident to the outside world.”
One of the most important developments for the residential sector is the complete refresh of Crestron Studio (v1.6), a platform that eliminates much of the pain associated with home automation programming.
Introduced in 2012, Studio isn't exactly new, but it is more resi-centric than ever, and built for the Pyng era. For its part, Pyng was Introduced in 2014 as the go-to environment for designing Crestron control systems through a simple app. While Pyng supports most environmental controls, including lights, thermostats, motorized shades, sensors, door locks and more, it doesn’t really extend to audio (except for Autonomic integration) or video (at all).
That’s where the new Crestron Studio comes in, allowing integrators to set up complex whole-house A/V (and automation) systems, “without having to write a single line of code.”
Anything created in Studio ports easily to Pyng, without any additional effort on the part of the integrator.
Integrators need not learn anything like SystemBuilder or SIMPL Windows, the advanced programming software previously required for almost all Crestron systems. At the same time, it’s not the old Wizard-based solutions that never quite fit the bill.
It’s so simple, in fact, that the greenest technologists can be ready to install systems after a three-day “Studio for Residential” course at Crestron HQ.
“A new dealer can be up and running in a few days,” Clancy says.
He adds that Studio v1.6 supports new residential products that the old software did not, such as Roku and other set-top boxes, as well as AV receivers.
Experienced Crestron Dealers React
Seeking feedback on the new software, Crestron ran it by several experienced dealers and “it was almost unanimous,” Clancy says. “They said, ‘This is great. It allows me and my colleagues to have entry-level programmers roll out everyday jobs, and I can work on the mega projects.’”
A key feature of Crestron Studio is that it generates GUIs for the dealer. While some dealers don’t like to be locked into a standard set of graphics, the paradigm itself has become pretty standard in the industry.
“We used to leave the UI to the dealer,” Clancy says. “Sometimes they turn out well; sometimes not so well. We have a UI that we think really works. If you don’t like it, you can change it with our theme generator.”
Meanwhile, Crestron now works with Sonos. Instead of simply implementing Sonos’s limited API, Crestron has elected (with Sonos’s blessing) to offer the complete Sonos app within the Crestron UI – an app within an app.
In general, ease of deployment is a key driver this year Crestron’s residential offerings. Behind the scenes, a new cloud-based framework ensures programmers are always working on the most current version of software; and a universal programming scheme ensures a smooth transition from one programmer to the next.
Clancy calls the new Studio software a “game changer” when coupled with Crestron’s other efforts to reduce the complexity of Crestron programming.
At the end of the day, he says, the “cost of ownership goes down” for clients, boosting the appeal of Crestron systems, even for modest projects.