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Road to CEDIA: Crestron to Offer Complete Solutions at EXPO

“Planet Crestron,” as the New Jersey-based manufacturer’s massive CEDIA booth has come to be known, is returning to center stage of the EXPO exhibit floor in Denver this year with its “Integrated by Design” slogan, supporting a broad selection of complete solutions for dealers and focusing on integrating rather than just “interfacing.”

“Planet Crestron,” as the New Jersey-based manufacturer’s massive CEDIA booth has come to be known, is returning to center stage of the EXPO exhibit floor in Denver this year with its “Integrated by Design” slogan, supporting a broad selection of complete solutions for dealers and focusing on integrating rather than just “interfacing.”

While last year’s attendees witnessed the company’s first big push into the window shades category with almost an entirely separate booth dedicated to the new line up, this year that category will be present in the core of the large exhibit space, alongside lighting control essentials, said Delia Hansen, Crestron marketing solutions manager.

“The showcase tunnel at the beginning of our booth will focus on lighting and shades, where we highlight a very solid and assorted collection of products that cover all of the applications required for a home installation,” Hansen said. “We’ll show new accessories and new motors and power supplies, and we just rounded out the low-voltage and LED dimming offerings recently with a new product release.”

Introduced in June, the new line of Crestron dimmable LED drivers provides high-power LED lighting with deep dimming to below 1 percent. Available in 50W and 100W models with DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface, an international standard) or 0-10V control, GLD-LED drivers use a combination of duty-cycle and current dimming. All 50W models are available with two output channels while all 100W models are available with four output channels.

Crestron wants to showcase the wireless capabilities of its lighting control system because with homeowners staying in one residence longer, the company would like its dealers to focus on retrofit opportunities.

“Our feeling is that once you have Crestron in part of the home, it’s a lot easier to add things on in the future, especially if they’re already wireless,” Hansen said. “It makes it really easy to take on the whole house at one time or to take a part of it and grow with the clients as their needs grow.”

Crestron’s TSW-1050 10.1″ Touch Screen.

Moving on from there in the booth, Crestron plans to showcase more DigitalMedia (DM) solutions, including streaming to iPads, mobile devices, touchscreens, and video displays, pointing out that the DM chassis is 4K-ready.

“Our technology is advanced enough to be able to relay Ultra HD [4K] signals, and we have some extenders that will carry it long distances, so we’ll be showing a really nice 4K display,” Hansen said.

And what’s a Crestron exhibit without a focus on control systems? In years past the company has highlighted its MC3 and 3 Series systems, but now Crestron has a full complement of 3 Series processors from which to choose, and there are a couple of new features that will be promoted at the show. One of them is Crestron Control Subnet, which is available on the newer CP3N, AV3, and PRO3 control systems.

“We really want our dealers to take advantage of this,” Hansen said. “We’re reducing a lot of the IT education requirements on the networking side of installations by handling all of the IP address management within the control processor. Now, all that you have to do is plug it into your local area network, and your entire system is available through one IP address. We manage everything else on the backend.”

The idea is to make it really easy for a dealer that may not be well versed in IT, to go into a home and control all of the systems on the network.

In addition to the successful MC3 processor, the company is adding two other smaller processors. “They are the DIN rail-mounted units, the DIN AP3 and DIN AP3 MEX. These are small, cost-effective solutions designed for lighting and simple automation applications,” Hansen said. “Now we’ve got a nice luxury high-end option and strong entry point alternatives.”

Another big story at CEDIA for Crestron are its infiNET EX wireless control boxes, which offer control for harder to reach places in the home. The very compact wireless EX boxes are available in two flavors. One contains both IR and RS232 and is intended for applications like a master bedroom, where an integrator may not want to place an additional control processor or couldn’t run wires to it to get communication back to the system. The INET-IOEX-IRCOM box enables wireless IR control for a cable box or an AppleTV and RS232 control for a television.

“Now it’s an extender of the mesh network and part of the control sysetem. You just add a remote and you’re done,” Hansen said.

Crestron also released a similar box, the INET-IOEX-RYIO, that will include relays for motion detectors or garage door openers. “I’m really excited about that because any garage door opener, any HomeLink-enabled vehicle, can automatically trigger an action in your home without having to buy anything extra,” Hansen explained. “You just press the button, and the relay triggers a command.”

In the touchscreens section of the Crestron booth, the company will showcase its Smart Graphics apps for the IOS platform, which was launched earlier in the year. This technology enables programmers to save a touchscreen project as an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch project, and then upload it, reducing programming time. A dealer only has to design a GUI one time and then can deploy it anywhere. The apps also enable intercom right from an iOS device and release V1.02 feature rotation, which allows for dedicated landscape and portrait custom UIs. The company will also have a new wall and tabletop docking station for the iPad.

“We’re going to continue making dedicated devices,” said Hansen about the category. “We’ve found our sales have actually increased. People love their mobile devices, but [the devices] ‘run away,’—they get used for other things—so having a dedicated controller is important.”

Crestron will display a full line of touchscreens, from its 24-inch all the way down to a 5-inch model, as well as an assortment of handheld remotes. Newer products include the TST600 5.7-inch wireless handheld that came out in March, which features a high-contrast 5.7-inch capacitive touch screen, extended-range dual-mode RF/Wi-Fi wireless capability, Smart Graphics, Rava SIP intercom, long-life lithium ion battery, high-performance H.264 streaming video, and optional backlit pushbuttons. The TST-600 gives users the freedom to control entertainment, lighting, climate, shades, AV presentations and more throughout any space up to 200-feet away. TST-600 is fully compatible with older TPS docking stations, wireless gateways, and other accessories.

The TSW-1050 10.1-inch HD touchscreen offers an ultra-bright 10-inch high-definition touchscreen display and five soft-touch buttons in a tablet-sized design. It also offers built-in Smart Graphics, H.264 video, and Rava SIP intercom. Users can interact with animated and 3D-like GUI effects and gesture navigation to swipe, scroll, drag-and-drop through music/movie libraries, TV/radio stations, and home control apps.

The Crestron Air SR6.

Crestron will also showcase its assortment of speakers, including outdoor models, including a set of landscape speakers and in-ground subwoofers, as well as a full line of surface-mount speakers that offer up to 200-watt power handling and extended frequency response. A QuickBall mounting system enables fast mounting to any solid flat surface, with the ability to orient and aim the speaker in virtually any position.

Rounding it all out, Crestron will emphasize Crestron Connected, a program created to provide stability and consistent interoperability with devices from manufacturers of other commercial and home electronics products. Crestron control intelligence is now embedded into AV equipment such as projectors, flat-panel TVs, audio-video receivers, and a variety of other wired and wireless devices. At CEDIA, Crestron will be showing modules and Crestron Connected devices, including wirelessly controlled door locks, audio receivers, digital video recording set-top devices, and music servers.

Crestron’s Integrated Partner program is moving to a new level, as well, with the Crestron Application Market online store. Now you can search through control modules and UI designs from Crestron and the integration community alike. Partners include technology leaders in audio-video, lighting, HVAC, pool/spa, security, and other devices that may be connected to commercial or residential automation systems. Crestron has created this collection of modules so dealers can easily incorporate Integrated Partner products into a Crestron control solution. With the new Crestron Application Market, dealers and Crestron Service Providers can participate in the developer program and offer their work to others.