I’ve said it before and I'll say it again, “Change is Coming!” As humans we are innately afraid of change, but I prefer to embrace it. I have been getting a lot of texts, emails, tweets, and Facebook messages about Crestron’s decision to not exhibit at CEDIA later this year. Right now there is no clear message as to what drove their decision, and I am not one to speculate or participate in rumormongering. While I am close to Crestron and some executives there, I do not pretend to have insight into their decision-making process, but can only try to take what I know about business in general and public knowledge of Crestron and hopefully allay some fears.
Crestron's Jeff Singer at CEDIA 2015
Crestron has always been a trendsetter and is the preeminent presence in the home automation market. The company paved the way for companies like Control4, ELAN, Savant, and others. They have a vested interest in the success of the residential market and their business there. They have invested a lot of capital, R&D, and time into products like DM and Pyng and the ecosystems around these technologies. I can’t imagine them just looking at that as a sunk cost and walking away, basically trashing all of the time and energy put in and loyalty built up over the years.
Crestron executives do not make decisions lightly; they have a solid business plan and strategic vision. Those things don’t get revised overnight for a business segment worth hundreds of millions of dollars. They have fought long and hard to establish themselves as the leader in the luxury home automation market. Why would they just walk away from that and waste all of the money they have invested over the years? That is not how you run a successful business. Yes, companies do need to divest from unprofitable or less-profitable businesses (think Wal-mart Express), but resi is a large and profitable part of the Crestron portfolio.
They will continue to keep pushing the residential market, especially at the luxury end of the spectrum, which is core to their business and strategy. Other brands have come on strong in the past several years, and Crestron has fought back, sometimes with home runs like Pyng and sometimes with singles like the NSP-1, but they always fight back. Sonos hasn’t scared them. Nest hasn’t scared them. Harmony hasn’t scared them. SmartThings hasn’t scare them. These are DIY products that have a place in the market, but are not going to win the luxury business where customization and integration are essential. They aren’t going to fight their way to the bottom, but instead are going to stick to their strategic vision and remain the go-to luxury automation control company.
Crestron has boasted resi home runs like Pyng.
While they have lost some great people over the years, like Delia Hansen, they have brought in some incredible talented people as well—Ami Wright from One Firefly and Nick Harris from Benjamin Moore. Talk about two people well versed in the residential market. Why bring in resi talent if resi isn’t core to your strategy?
There is a lot of new and amazing residential product coming, and you will hear about some of it coming out of ISE 2016 next year and more by the end of the year. I get an inside look at Crestron as a beta tester, and there are a lot of resi-focused products in the pipeline. Have no fear. While things continue to change, things also stay the same, and Crestron is not abandoning the residential integration channel.