Crestron has been a massive player in the home automation industry for many years. Crestron Home breaks the mold for intelligent home control with intuitive setup and use plus total scalability. We recently sat down with Michelle Guss, Director of Residential Business Development at Crestron, to learn more about this exciting new platform and what the company has in store for fall 2021.
Crestron’s offerings have seemingly changed a lot in the last five years, and the brand has an entirely new image on the residential side that seems more approachable. Tell us about this.
Crestron has been a leader in the home automation industry for decades. With the introduction of Crestron Home, we have delivered a simple and intuitive user interface that our clients, design-build partners, and integrators love. Crestron Home has addressed the misperception that Crestron is complicated and requires custom programming by allowing our systems to be configured for quick deployment that provides the end-user with features that they love and the ability to make changes and set preferences themselves. Crestron Home has made it possible for our technology solutions to easily scale and provide solutions for many applications and systems sizes. This has made the most significant impact on our new image. Of course, our custom solutions are still available and very popular for unique features a client might request. We are also active on social media, which allows our clients to get to know the new Crestron solutions.
To the design-build community that’s reading this, what do you want them to know about your latest and greatest offering, Crestron Home?
Whenever I meet with the design-build community, one concern they have with control systems is how simple they are to use. The greatest benefit that technology can bring is a simple solution, and that is what Crestron Home delivers. It is a beautiful user interface that we showcase in all of our showroom spaces, and we even provide the design-build community with a free demo app they can download from DEMO App. When we let them experience the system for themselves, let them make changes to lighting scenes, or adjust environmental conditions, they are blown away!
What specific design challenges does Crestron Home address?
Crestron Home really addresses the specific design challenge of scalability. Some projects require the need for just a single-room technology solution, while others may require technology in the entire home and outdoor space. Crestron Home can handle a wide variety of applications and can scale from small to large systems. It can also be used in remodels/renovations, as well as new construction. Part of that scalability is our ability to provide a full end-to-end technology solution from Crestron Home, all designed and engineered to work together seamlessly. This includes lighting control, motorized window coverings, audio, video, touchscreen devices, HVAC control, and so much more.
What is your focus for Fall 2021? Do you have any new products to show off?
Our focus for Fall continues to be the ongoing evolution of the Crestron Home solution, which for our design-build community is so important. The knowledge that the solution they deliver to clients today will be even better tomorrow is one key area where we stand out beyond any other solution. Some highlights for Fall include:
- Crestron Home makes Media Scenes even more powerful by enabling scenes to recall specific content. For example, you can recall a particular station, not just play whatever was last playing. In addition, Media Scenes can now create a group, which means not only can they start playing the specific content, but also those rooms will be grouped for the perfect party mode.
- Users can now run Crestron Home on new Mac® computers with the M1 chip. While homeowners can already use Crestron Home on their touchscreens, tablets, and phone, this update allows them to run it on their newest laptop, as well!
- Do you have clients in other regions of the world, or maybe those who speak a different language right here in the US? Well, their voice is heard loud and clear with Crestron Home. Crestron Home now supports Amazon Alexa voice assistance in additional languages, including Italian, French, and Spanish. Simply control Crestron lighting, shades, temperature, and more, all with your voice.
- Finally, Crestron Home now also seamlessly integrates with pretty much any IoT (Internet of Things) device not already native to Crestron Home and delivers the same user experience. Working with our specialized dealers to develop Crestron Home extensions, users have solutions that span wellness to digital artwork, coffee machines to sprinklers. This means virtually anything the homeowner wants is possible.
Homes and how people live, work, and play in them have changed significantly over the last decade. How has Crestron evolved to support this?
With the whole family working, attending school, and socializing from home, elevated communication solutions and innovative home automation from Crestron can make life better. Crestron already provides our clients with complete smart home solutions that can integrate and streamline all the tech in the home—lights, shades, thermostats, locks, alarms, entertainment, pool/spa, and much more. Now that we’re working, learning, and socializing from home, it was natural for Crestron to pivot and add Home Conferencing to our solutions. Leveraging our experience in Enterprise Unified Communications, we can bring professional-quality conferencing systems into the home.
In my role as Director of Residential Business Development at Crestron, I stay close to the design-build community and what our clients are asking for when they design a new build or remodeled home. Architects and builders are designing homes with the need for home-conferencing solutions in mind. Joel Sanders, founder and principal of Joel Sanders Architecture, shared in a recent article: “In regards to the home office, over the past decade, digital technology has already transformed homes into live/work spaces where, over the course of a day, people assume a variety of personal and professional roles. The pandemic now requires almost all of us to work from home, putting pressure on all of us to retrofit our homes with technology.” While many have gone back to in-person work and school, work and learn from home are now a permanent part of our culture. Balance and simplicity of home-conferencing solutions are key to giving your clients the best experience in their homes.
What specific design-friendly products do you want to share with the design-build community? Touchscreens? Thermostats, Audio Distribution? Keypads?
Sharing our design-friendly products is one of my favorite things about bridging the gap between technology and design. I’ll start with our beautiful motorized shade collection. At Crestron, we take pride in the quality of our motorized shade solutions. They not only come with a lifetime warranty, but we also offer a wide variety of fabrics. We have over 450 fabrics to choose from and also have a partnership with Hartman and Forbes, which provides bespoke, hand-woven, gorgeous fabric options. We offer samples of our shade fabrics free to the design-build community. In addition to our shade offerings, we have a full line of gorgeous keypad and dimmer styling options available.
Crestron is delivering a high-quality user experience with high-quality products that aren’t difficult to deploy. How did you accomplish this, and what does it mean to the end-user?
We take great pride in our work and our products. Crestron controls every aspect of product development, manufacturing, testing, and distribution to ensure unparalleled performance, reliability, and service. With Crestron, customers aren’t just buying state-of-the-art electronics; they are investing in a dynamic and evolving platform, gaining award-winning 24/7 global service and support, and supporting products that are engineered in America. This means an intuitive, simple, and easy-to-use experience with smart home technology.
We imagine that you’ve done extensive research to build your user experience. What specific design details should the design-build community look for in a smart home product in general?
Investing in home technology can be stressful. Rest assured that Crestron Home continuously evolves and gets smarter over time.
The control system you buy today will only be better tomorrow. New features and integration with new products are automatically updated from the cloud. And we won’t launch a new product until it passes our most rigorous testing. That includes making sure it seamlessly works with all our legacy products too.
Smart home technology done well should make life simple. Integration is critical, and controlling several different technology devices disparately does not make technology smart and can complicate lifestyle. Crestron products are designed to integrate and streamline control of a smart home. Done well, smart home technology is magical!
What are the benefits of working with a Crestron residential technology integrator? What’s that experience like for the designer, architect, or builder?
A Crestron Technology Professional (a.k.a. dealer, installer, or integrator) won’t tell you what our products can do. Instead, they will ask you what you want to do. You are not limited by our products—only by your imagination. An expert technology provider will specify, design, and deliver a complete system perfectly tailored to make your dreams come true.
What is the best way for designers to engage with your products before recommending them or a Crestron home technology integrator to their clientele?
Visit one of our showroom locations either in person or virtually. Our showrooms are demonstration spaces and allow designers to learn more about our products and solutions and interact with them firsthand. We also have a great program for design-build professionals that provides special pricing for their home, showroom, or office. Experiencing Crestron in their own spaces is the best way for them to engage with our products!