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CEDIA 2015: Control Systems Observations

Crestron's key message at CEDIA 2015 in Dallas was, “the luxury home made easier,” with a focus on its new Home Elements toolkit, which was developed in conjunction with Pyng technology to allow dealers to deliver the performance, scalability, and reliability of the Crestron home. But control pioneer Crestron is just one of an increasing number of manufacturers at the show looking to streamline the way smart home control systems are designed and operated.

Crestron’s Jeff Singer, “We have added 300 new products to Pyng.” 

Crestron’s key message at CEDIA 2015 in Dallas was, “the luxury home made easier,” with a focus on its new Home Elements toolkit, which was developed in conjunction with Pyng technology to allow dealers to deliver the performance, scalability, and reliability of the Crestron home. But control pioneer Crestron is just one of an increasing number of manufacturers at the show looking to streamline the way smart home control systems are designed and operated.

According to Crestron’s Jeff Singer, 300 products can now be programmed by Pyng, and that is “just going to keep growing and growing. Now, in addition to lights, shades, audio distribution, touchscreens, and many other devices, you can use the iPad to quickly set up ONVIF cameras, additional security systems, RGB lighting controls, and wireless fan controls.”

Now, Pyng is simply another module in the Home Elements toolkit—a new set of object-oriented tools for programmers of high-end home automation systems. The Home Elements toolkit streamlines setup of video distribution and customized controls that work across Crestron Pyng and 3-Series control platforms. It provides a template of pre-tested modules that form the building blocks of core functionality for most systems, according to the company. The toolkit is meant to make it faster and easier for Crestron dealers to deliver a consistent and completely personalized luxury automation experience in every room, and on every interface.

Control4’s Brad Hintze, “Our Security Experience is big news.” 

The big news at Control4 was the company’s all-new security experience. The operating system, OS 2.8, offers a redesigned user interface that is streamlined for easier and more comprehensive control, as well as new management tools for monitoring and personalizing a homeowner’s access. OS 2.8 also includes Mockupancy, which is a new capability that “automatically mimics a household’s normal routines and behaviors with a smart home security experience that easily integrates with today’s leading security systems, smart locks, and cameras,” said director of product marketing Brad Hintze. It also offers native streaming of music services from Pandora, Deezer, and TIDAL. Additionally, OS 2.8 delivers a number of other dealer tools, most notably the ability to back up and retrieve Control4 project configurations to and from the cloud.

On Controls is a leader in cloud-enabled smart home and commercial control solutions for professional installers. According to VP of sales Adam Gold, it is the only control solution in the market that does not have a centralized processor. “Our brain is your handheld device,” he said. The company also added Honeywell to its Partners in Control cooperative program. The program has been created to achieve complete compatibility between the On Controls platform and a vast array of connected device manufacturers from related residential market applications such as audio, video, HVAC, security, lighting control, and others.

On Controls’ Adam Gold 

Savant’s new Savant Remote takes the elevated universal remote entertainment experience to a more affordable level. Demos at the booth showed that for both integrators and consumers, app-based setup was easy and the remote itself was simple to use. It will give end users control of both their home and their entertainment—Savant hopes it will be the only remote they’ll ever need. The high-resolution touchscreen controls devices like Apple TV, cable, Sonos, and even lights. Plus, the touchscreen elevates additional controls like keypads or search only when the user needs them—eliminating the need for extra buttons. Savant’s Tim McInerney demonstrated the remote’s new voice control feature, noting that with “natural language, homeowners can say things like “FOOD NETWORK,” “LIGHTS ON,” or “MOVIE NIGHT,” letting them direct their homes from their favorite seats. And, the Savant Remote “works with more than 380,000 entertainment devices, making it an ideal match for anyone’s living room,” McInerney said.

Savant’s Tim McInerney

Russound’s XTS Touchscreen is a stylish in-wall touchscreen that runs an embedded version of the MyRussound App. XTS works exclusively with Russound MCA-Series/C-Series controllers and XStream systems, connecting to the network rather than the controller, making placement flexible.

“It’s a great touchscreen!” said Colin Clark, director of product development. “We are also very excited about the new TVA2.1 digital amplifier. The TVA2.1 is an easy upgrade to any television that bypasses onboard speakers and transforms dull flat panel TV audio. It’s gorgeous, simple to install, there are no long wire runs, and a unique feature of the TVA2.1 is its elegant, yet simple, IR remote function. The unit can be operated with any existing system remote once it has ‘learned’ three basic commands—volume up, volume down, and mute.”

TiOConnect is the key to integration of outside systems into the TiO ecosystem. Consisting of only five products, TiO has demystified third-party system integration. Choose a TiOConnect interface, choose from one of three adapter cables, and choose serial control. For security panels, TiO has made serial integration even easier by providing the TiOConnect security keypad emulator—a true plug-and-play solution for security system control. Once installed, the TiOConnect Elements automatically appear in the TiO Pro app. The connected device is now controlled from the TiO Home app and any TiOConnect device can be included in TiO Moods and Experiences.

According to TiO business development manager, Aparna Sproelich, “With TioConnect, the entire ecosystem of home control possibilities come together. I specifically joined the company because I believe in TiOConnect so much! It’s easy to use (for example, it is easy to save lighting designs, schedule playlists, thermostat control, and so much more), affordable, completely configurable, and there is no delay. It is point-to-point and really fast!”

URC’s Cat Toomey The biggest news for URC is the TRC-820, which is the newest Total Control feature-packed handheld remote that provides instant monitoring, access, and full control of everything in the house.

“We’ve packed 25 years of URC control experience into a newly designed remote control we are so proud of,” said URC’s Cat Toomey.

Key features include new ergonomic design, 2-inch color high-resolution LCD screen, the ability to customize buttons and functions, live video on the remote’s screen for video surveillance, and more. All can be tailored by the pro integrator to suit every homeowner.

“With the TRCC-820, homeowners can enjoy fast access to cable TV, Blu-ray, music, temperature adjustments, lighting, security, and more—all of this for just $399 MSRP,” Toomey noted. “It includes rechargeable battery and works with Total Control controllers. When coupled with the new MRX-8 Compact Controller, you get full home automation, unlimited mobiles apps for iOS and Android, plus the featured-rich TRC-820—all for under $1,000 MSRP.”

ClareControls unveiled new tools and resources, including the new ClareHome app, customer portal, and dedicated customer support. These new services enable users to easily interact with their Clare Controls systems.

Clare Control’s Jeff Zemanek 

“The Clare Home portal provides the end user with their own control,” VP of sales, Jeff Zemanek said. “We are finding people are enjoying a more pro/DIY hybrid approach, and our new apps are more Apple-like, so consumers are already familiar and have a level of comfort with those.”

With new features in the ClareHome app, homeowners using Android and iOS devices can set schedules, create automation scenes, conduct multi-step actions, and create notifications with DIY-like ease, according to Zemanek. At the same time, integrators have complete visibility of these changes and can remotely view, add, delete, reconfigure, and recover previous versions.

RTI’s Z-Wave wireless lighting controls are big news for the company. They feature intuitive control from an in-wall smart switch, RTI user interface, smartphone, tablet, or PC. The device performs as an extension of the RTI control system and can easily adjust lighting throughout a home with one touch, according to the company. The new lighting is said to be ideal for new construction and retrofit installations.

“This is great for us to be able to bring native Z-Wave lighting to the RTI ecosystem,” director of product integration, Jason Lindvall said. “This is going to be great cost-effective lighting for the dealers.”

RTI’s Jason Lindvall