The first morning of CEDIA EXPO 2014 has been a whirlwind. But one thing is starting to take shape in the control and automation market: the high-end providers are offering more accessible product, and the entry level guys are trying to expand their footprint and capabilities into larger systems.
My first stop of the day was at Crestron, where the big (huge) news was Pyng. Pyng is an automation platform that can provide very easy to install home automation for lighting, shading, climate, and security, bringing the Crestron brand and product line to the middle market customer. Pyng uses existing InfiNET-EX product and a small "hub." All configuration and programming is done through the Pyng app (no computer is required). Once all hardware (i.e., switches, dimmers, shades, and door locks) are physically installed it takes less than an hour or two to fully configure the system. Pyng can handle up to 200 devices and can be integrated into a larger scale Crestron installation. However, without adding a Crestron processor, Pyng does not yet integrate with AV systems.
On a similar note, Lutron has introduced the Caseta line. Caseta consists of a Smartbridge which connects to a home’s network backbone with an Ethernet wire, and then communicates with Caseta light switches and dimmers, a Honeywell wi-fi thermostat, and most Lutron shading products. Caseta brings home automation to the masses with a very low cost of entry. The Smartbridge has an MSRP of $200; a dimmer and Pico remote combination is $80. Additionally, Caseta integrates with several control systems, including Control4, URC, RTI, ProControl, and others, allowing full integration with an AV system. Caseta is limited to fifty devices and one Smartbridge, with a 30-60 foot range, so it is great for smaller homes and apartments, or localized control in larger homes.
RTI and their sister company ProControl both introduced Z-wave bridge products. While both already integrate with third party Z-Wave bridges, the new products will be native to the brands and programming environments, greatly simplifying programming and set-up. These brands (particularly ProControl) will be able to expand their reach into more areas of the home, allowing for larger installs with a greater breadth of control, all under the same room.
That's it for day one. Stay tuned for more thoughts on the show.
+Todd Anthony Pumais president of The Source Home Theater Installation, Powered by Fregosa Design, in New York City.