Crestron will display the latest best-in-class solutions for the digital workplace, the automated home, and the integrated hotel at this year’s show in Barcelona
For all its lockdowns and strife, the pandemic held one silver lining for the events team at Crestron. It allowed for something of a reset — the ability to step back and really think about what might make the trade show experience better when restrictions began to ease.
After a stretch of “all-virtual” trade shows, Crestron began experimenting with smaller-scale solutions when the ability to meet face to face returned. The Crestron NEXT Road Trip shows in North America and Europe allowed for in-person interactions — and in turn, led to a new understanding of what trade shows could be. The smaller scale of these events drove home the idea that attendees were more interested in experiences than black boxes.
That understanding started a thought process that took hold in both the commercial and residential segments of Crestron’s business. For example: When he was preparing for Crestron’s return to CEDIA® Expo in 2022, EVP of Residential John Clancy and his colleagues decided to turn the Crestron booth into a space both driven by and demonstrative of the Crestron Home® platform — an immersive stand. “I really wanted a conscious effort around a new style, a new look, and then secondarily, a new way to present it,” said Clancy immediately after the event. “I wanted to display solutions and show how our products are threaded into those solutions.”
It's a philosophy that will again be readily apparent at this year’s Integrated Systems Europe® tradeshow in Barcelona.
The Sightline Experience: More than Room-Based Video Conferencing
The Crestron booth you’ll see at the ISE® 2023 trade show is massive: its footprint spans 1,500 square meters (that’s more than 16,000 square feet for our U.S. readers). The team assembling the commercial portion of the space — which occupies roughly three-quarters of the total — has adopted the following mission statement:
ISE is focused on immersing our customers in the experience of a “day in the life.” We want our partners, integrators, and end users to have these applications resonate with them and give them the familiarity of spaces they see every day and help them envision how Crestron can help enhance their experience.
One such immersive part of the booth is the room that features what’s been dubbed “The Sightline Experience.” It’s a way to bring the concepts of “meeting equity” to large rooms. The technology that ensures everyone involved in a hybrid meeting has an “equal seat at the digital table” has evolved nicely in solutions integrated into small and medium rooms, but bigger spaces have been a challenge. In the Sightline room on display at ISE, seven displays placed throughout the space ensure everyone can face a screen as multiple cameras driven by 1 Beyond Automate VX™ technology key in on individual meeting participants as they speak. This intelligent video solution makes for an experience as natural as an “all in-person” meeting: Every nonverbal cue is visible to all, and no one is greeted by the “view down a bowling alley” perspective so common in videoconferencing solutions in large meeting rooms.
“What really sets the Sightline solution apart is the use of optical instead of digital zoom technology,” says Sam Kennedy, Crestron’s senior director of product marketing. A “digital zoom” is akin to taking a portion of an existing photograph and “blowing it up” or enlarging that area, while an optical zoom occurs in the lens before the picture is made. “The image a digital zoom delivers usually has much less pixel density than an optical solution,” he adds. As pixel density decreases, details can disappear from an image — including critical non-verbal cues from meeting participants. With multiple cameras keying in on different speakers, the overall effect of using optical zoom technology is much more engaging — and equitable.
“That’s great for remote participants, but Crestron’s Sightline experience also improves meeting equity for those who are physically in the meeting space as well,” says Kennedy. “We’ve discovered that the use of multiple monitors around the room creates the most natural effect.” Having every participant in every other attendee’s line of sight as various collaborators speak — with no one relegated to anyone else’s peripheral vision — actually makes the hybrid experience better than an all in-person event.
Fostering Community Through In-Office Collaboration Technologies
One’s employment life extends beyond the traditional meeting room, of course, and there are technologies that enhance the larger workday experience on display, too. The booth will feature solutions for small spaces, such as pods and huddle rooms, but there are more purely social applications in the mix. Community spaces — similar to other mixed-use areas — are a critical part of the modern hybrid workplace. These spaces are an acknowledgment of the way people really interact: they collaborate, they converse, they socialize, they ideate. These spaces are ideal for ad hoc get-togethers, whether they’re for work or leisure. (Often, the two blend into one another.) The idea behind creating these rooms (and their attendant amenities) is informed by a mantra Crestron has adopted: “Make the commute worth it.” But these rooms need to be practical for both in-person and remote workers: Since every space can be a hybrid meeting space, these areas need the same connectivity and intuitive interfaces found in more “formal” meeting rooms.
Another example of the concept of “connectivity everywhere” is the larger demo space designed for mixed uses. With the technology now available from Crestron, there’s no need to reconfigure a room to achieve the results delivered by the Sightline experience. Multi-camera intelligent video solutions can turn a cafeteria into a meeting space without moving a single table or chair. Divisible rooms can become one (or separate) with the touch of a button. The speaker tracking solutions that will be on display can handle everything from single-presenter “lecture” situations to meetings in which multiple attendees are sharing info, all without the need for reconfiguring the foundational technology.
The software and platforms that drive these experiences will be integral to the booth, too: Microsoft Teams® technology, integrations with Zoom Rooms™ software, and areas dedicated to Crestron DM NVX® AV-over-IP solutions are just some examples of what’s on display.
From Scheduling Technology to Command and Control
Imagine a multi-use space immediately adaptable to the nature of a specific fitness class. As the Crestron events team outlines for us:
The wellness center offers multiple classes, such as a spin class. With the touch of a button, we can bring in a remote instructor to teach a class. The environment changes to the needs of the class: The temperature of the room decreases, the lights change, and the music gets more upbeat and louder.
This show will also feature a “look behind the curtain:” Crestron will give ISE attendees a view of the back end of the gear controlling the booth itself. It’s a great example of the potential of Crestron’s various devices and software products integrated into a functional, real-time command and control experience.
Each of the solutions presented has one key aspect in common: An unmatched ease of use. “No matter what experience the technology delivers, we’re going to show that the user only needs to understand a very simple command,” says Kennedy. Take the Sightline solution, for example: As long as a collaborator knows how to click the “Join” button on a given platform, everything else is completely automated. “From occupancy sensors to lighting and shading that adjusts for any meeting or presentation, we’re displaying systems at ISE that can be operated with no training at all on the part of the end user,” he notes.
Solutions for the Modern Smart Home
ISE, of course, features both commercial and residential tech. The residential portion of the booth leans into the Crestron Home® platform as a complete, elegant ecosystem that can drive every aspect of the smart home. After three years of development, featuring thousands of added products and hundreds of feature updates, the system creates an unparalleled experience that controls and automates each device in a connected residence in harmony.
But the platform is much more than a collection of devices. “A Crestron smart home system is designed to be easily installed and supported by our best-in-class, fully trained, certified, professional dealers. Their knowledge of the platform makes a connected home solution easy to install, configure, customize, manage, and service, and this year we’ll be showcasing a number of ways that we have made this even easier, from multiprocessor support to the introduction of a brand-new processor,” says Michael Short, Crestron’s senior director of residential and hospitality marketing. (The big reveal on that new processor will be part of Crestron’s presence at the show — stay tuned.) Short further notes that the Crestron Home platform is an open ecosystem, one that allows for the constant addition of custom drivers (referred to as “extensions”) to expand the functionality of the OS. Several of those extensions will have their own space in the booth, illustrating the range and depth of the platform’s capabilities, including some unique ways to bring custom Crestron into the Crestron Home OS.
The features that have been added to the platform are driven partly by dealer feedback and in part by Crestron’s continuing commitment to offer the latest advances — all while saving an integrator time. A great example of the latter: Crestron’s Certified Audio Profiles, a package of baseline DSP settings to help optimize calibration for the new Reference and Ultimate lines of speakers, as well as a growing number of speakers and microphones from Crestron’s partners. "Audio has a big part to play this year at ISE, with launches of both speakers and Crestron DM NAX products on display — it’s a growing category for our dealers, so we’ve expanded our commitment to this space,” Short adds.
Technology that helps wellness solutions is also represented in this year’s ISE display. “We are showing everything in one huge demo, from human-centric lighting to thermal comfort, air quality control, and audio,” says Short. “The Crestron Home OS can create a personal oasis in the home, and we’re going to be showing dealers just how easy it is to create the oasis in every home.”
Another first-timer at the show this year will be Crestron solutions for the MDU channel. “With more multi-dwelling units being built than ever before, we know developers are looking for ways to differentiate their solutions from others, and smart home tech is a key way to accomplish that,” says Short. “Crestron has a unique solution here, namely, our ability to deploy and scale with ease,” he adds. “Pair that with property management technology, and it’s a powerful story to tell our dealers.”
The Debut of Crestron Hospitality Solutions
This year’s ISE marks the introduction of dedicated hospitality solutions — a complete hotel experience driven by Crestron. “We’re displaying an immersive guest room solution that will take you all the way from a check-in through the perfect stay,” says Short. The experience will illustrate how lighting, curtains, audio, and climate can automatically adjust to pre-determined settings once guests arrive, instantly presenting the perfect room ambiance. It includes Crestron touch screens and third-party products such as the keypads and door entry solutions that are built for an environment designed to create a restful space for the traveler, all controlled in the most intuitive manner possible.
“We’ll also be demonstrating our integration with guest room management systems and our simplified approach to integrating with your property management systems, giving you seamless oversight of every room,” says Short. “We’ve included everything from energy-saving solutions such as Crestron occupancy sensors and climate controls to simplified service requests.”
“Many of our offerings from other market segments adapt easily into hospitality applications,” he notes. “The commercial side of the Crestron booth includes solutions for in-hotel meeting rooms, ballrooms, amenity spaces, and more. This year we showcase the true potential of Crestron solutions when integrated into the modern hotel.”
Find Crestron at the ISE trade show in booth 3H100.