technology profile - control
At Home With Crestron
A conversation with Michelle Guss, Crestron's Director of Residential Business Development for North America.
By Douglas Weinstein
CRESTRON ELECTRONICS HAS BEEN A LEADING TECH¬NOLOGICAL INNOVATOR SINCE 1972. They create automation solutions that transform the way people live their lives, making their day-to-day tasks easier and improving efficiency and productivity. In the process they’ve also transformed the way those solutions are created. Providing cutting-edge technology and constantly offering faster, better solutions that address the needs of customers the world over, Crestron’s clients are investing in scalable solutions, gaining 24/7 global service and support and sponsoring products that are designed and manufactured in America.
Crestron is a global leader in workplace technologies, engineering and transforming corporate automation and unified communication (UC) solutions for enterprise organizations across Fortune 500 corporations, campuses, facilities and more, as well as a premium home automation provider who creates platforms, devices and systems across residential properties including homes, yachts, MDUs and hotels.
I sat down recently with Michelle Guss, Director of Residential Business Development for North America to talk about the latest iteration of the Crestron Home product line. Michelle works closely with design-build professionals, providing resources and education on Crestron technology solutions.
“Lighting control, motorized shades, security, audio, video, thermostats, pools, spas, wellness and everything else that is technology based can all be integrated seamlessly into Crestron Home.”Michelle Guss
Director of Residential Business Development
DOUG: Crestron Home is a fairly recent innovation for the company. Take us back and give us a run-down of the platform, where it sits in the Crestron hierarchy, and the latest advances you’ve made to the product line.
MICHELLE: Crestron Home is a smart platform from Crestron that has been around for about two years now, and it’s been pretty incredible to see how the platform has continued to expand and develop. Crestron Home was developed to address customer needs as far as simplicity in the home and an intuitive user experience.
The unique thing about Crestron Home is that the intelligent platform it is built on provides a simple and intuitive interface that is available to anyone that uses the solution. Unlike our traditional Crestron platform for enterprise-level businesses and large estate properties, which typically is programmed in a custom fashion with lots of coding due to the scale of the project, Crestron Home provides this beautiful User Interface (UI) that is easy to use and easy to control. And it’s all focused around simplicity.
One of the things that makes Crestron Home unique is that on the platform you can really handle every aspect of technology you find in the modern performance home – lighting control, motorized shades, security, audio, video, thermostats, pools, spas, wellness and everything else that is technology based can all be integrated seamlessly into Crestron Home.
While we offer Crestron solutions in all of the major technology categories for residential use, Crestron Home is also powerful and smart enough to interface with leading brands in various categories. For instance, while we offer our own line of lighting control solutions, you can also use Lutron solutions if you choose to. Perhaps you are upgrading your automation platform and already own Lutron control, you can simply tie into the Crestron Home platform without having to start over.
And another big asset is that the platform is scalable. So maybe you start with two rooms and then expand across your entire house. Or, for MDUs, developers are able to offer the basics – lighting, shades and climate – and allow owners to expand the system as they desire.
DOUG: The User Experience (UE) and User Interface (UI) for the entire eco-system seems to be one of seamless enjoyment. Nothing really to think about except to set your scene and enjoy your space. Talk to us about the design elements that went into how the homeowner controls their environment.
MICHELLE: It is very important to blend technology with design. When we developed the UI we based it on various colors and materials so it could blend into the room and into any décor. Whether you opt for one clean and beautiful touch screen or simple keypads, all of the technology is integrated so you don’t require additional wall switches. In other words, you can place your controls so you don’t get wall clutter.
And the UI can be found on different devices. The most common is your phone or tablet – Android or iOS. Crestron touch screens come in a variety of sizes, from five to 10 inches – tabletop accessible or mounted on the wall. And believe me, our touch screens are very design forward. As is our line of beautiful Horizon keypads. The aesthetic of Horizon can be used for panelized and wireless lighting designs, new builds and remodels.
"The unique thing about Crestron Home is that the intelligent platform it is built on provides a simple and intuitive interface that is available to anyone that uses the solution."
And again, let me talk about our partners, because as everyone knows, there are an infinite array of keypad designs to choose from. We have partnered with Basalte, Black Nova, Rhombus, Tiba and Vitrea, which represent an amazing assortment of wall plate finishes, from metal to wood to glass and beyond.
Basalte, for example, is handmade in Belgium. Their comprehensive control portfolio that has a uniform design language uses high-grade finishes such as aluminum, bronze, brass, glass and even leather. And Black Nova’s keypads and touch panels embody the fusion of exquisite Italian design, premium materials and innovative technology. Now Crestron Connected® devices, they offer seamless interoperability with Crestron smart home systems.
And before I forget, let me also mention that we offer voice compatibility with Josh.ai, Amazon and Google voice platforms.
So as far as a total UE, homeowners have the ability to touch and talk to their home in order to access any of their technologies. One of my favorite features is our Quick Actions feature. Let’s say you are coming home at night – you can simply touch the Arriving Home button on your phone and the lights will come on, the shades can go all the way down for privacy, the temperature will go to your desired setting and the music can come on – it’s really so simple because you can preset scenes and let the technology create the magic and ambiance of your space.
DOUG: I know you and your team are involved on a global basis as far as your outreach efforts to the design-build community and property developers. Talk about that and where consumers and professionals can experience Crestron Home.
MICHELLE: The biggest initiative we have is our Design-Build Outreach Program – we have over 1,000 partners nation-wide. We start with education. We offer CEU courses and we provide technology and design advice about Crestron and home automation in general. We become a resource in addition to their local technology design firm. We offer free design tools like our shade fabric finder for our new shade fabric collection we released in January.
We also offer special product pricing so architects, builders and interior designers can integrate Crestron Home into their own residence or office in order to get familiar with the product.
We are also involved and partner with NKBA, ASIA, AIA, ICAA and others where we participate with those groups and their individual chapters. We are featured in The New American Home that IBS 2022 attendees will be able to preview in Or¬lando. We will also be in the new Iconic House for 2022 in May, a net zero home that is pretty spectacular.
Additionally, we have experience centers in Houston and Fort Lauderdale and we will be opening our flagship experience center in New York City in late summer. And for the grand tour, you can visit our Rockleigh, New Jersey headquarters to see how the products are manufactured and our R&D facility – it is a truly immersive experience.
All told, we have representatives globally who are there to work with and educate our design-build colleagues.
Crestron is here to make integration easy. Our dedicated business development staff is here to support the community with resources. As technology becomes more popular in homes, so too can designers begin to specify Crestron Home without having to be technology savvy. And we are making a huge push towards wellness and healthy living. As you put together these healthy environments, Crestron Home is there to support the underlying technologies.