By now, you’ve experienced it all—students who can’t get to school due to virtual classroom tech issues, coworkers looking less than their best on Zoom and holidays spent with family across the miles as opposed to across the dinner table.
Millions of people who had never ventured onto a teleconferencing/online meeting solution were suddenly thrown into the arms of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Uber Conference and Google Hangouts…a whole new world. Let alone, our television anchors and reporters were broadcasting from their basements with dogs, children and who knows what in the background.
I intuitively knew there had to be a better way, and then one of our clients launched an elevated solution just in time to bring sophistication back to work, family gatherings and the newly adopted virtual happy hour.
We talked with Jeff Singer, executive director global residential marketing at Crestron to learn more about the new way to communicate from home and other advances in home automation designed to make life easier.
ICONIC LIFE: Home automation was an important part of ICONIC HAUS. What trends are you seeing?
JEFF SINGER: Some of the trends we’ve seen in recent years pre-COVID still remain. The most popular home technologies center around cameras, home security and home access, lighting and shading control, and home audio solutions for whole-house audio and music streaming.
Everyone is looking for dedicated spaces, that are comfortable and productive, but evolve to a more permanent professional experience, that is a more private and conducive experience working from home.
The new, unique trend we’ve seen is the concept of working from home. When everyone went into lockdown, we didn’t have time to prepare. You may have had multiple adults working from home or multiple kids learning from home.
Everyone was gathered around the kitchen table and that worked for a week or so, but long-term it’s not cutting it anymore. Everyone is looking for dedicated spaces, that are comfortable and productive, but evolve to a more permanent professional experience, that is a more private and conducive experience working from home.
ICONIC LIFE: What has Crestron home automation brought to the table, literally?
JEFF SINGER: This whole idea of collaboration and remote working is not new to us, so we were able to lean in and leverage some of relationships we already had with companies like Logitech and Zoom to create CrestronHomeTime. So, we streamlined what we were doing in the commercial enterprise space and brought it into the home.
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ICONIC LIFE: What is possible?
JEFF SINGER: In some homes, there’s a dedicated home office with a desktop solution that is an all-in-one device that sits on the desk with a seven-inch touchscreen for control, professional microphone with 360-degree voice pick-up and high fidelity, professionally tuned speakers specifically tuned for speech audio; a fantastic natural audio experience. And it works for people who like to walk around and pace and still have really good audio quality.
ICONIC LIFE: How does this home automation communication work?
JEFF SINGER: We have this universal web-conferencing solution that works with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Spark, WebEx and Go To Meeting. Normally, the hardware and software are linked, so whatever platform you use it works only with that software. In our case, it just works…with everything, plus bluetooth makes seamless pairing from your device to your phone.
JEFF SINGER: If you are in a space like a living room, where you want all your equipment hidden, we have a work-from-home solution where everything goes behind the television and no wires can be seen.
ICONIC LIFE: What’s your favorite for remote social gatherings?
JEFF SINGER: We have Crestron HomeTime for remote social gatherings, holidays and birthdays, where we can’t get together anymore. Instead of having the entire family huddling around a single laptop, everyone can sit comfortably on the sofa in front of a large-screen television and all be seen in the camera shot. Plus, you can control HomeTime all from a simple handheld remote, that can also raise and lower shades, adjust lights and control the temperature for the full experience. With the professional camera, microphone and speakers, it’s just like being there.
ICONIC LIFE: We’re talking about technology, but it’s really about connection.
JEFF SINGER: Even more, it’s about human connection, and what is more important than that? We may have taken it for granted for a long time, and now we realize the real value of it, and we crave it. Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Conventional wisdom says what this experience has done for all of us is that our society was adapting to remote technologies like Zoom and Microsoft. Teams anyway. The pandemic has spread up the process. Now zoom is not just the name of a company, it’s a verb.
Companies are saying they won’t have 100 percent of their employees back 100 percent of the time. The way people are working and interacting is fundamentally going to change. We want to provide the home automation solutions that make the experience better.
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ICONIC LIFE: We tried it, and the product is intuitive to use.
JEFF SINGER: If we have to give you a manual, we’ve failed. Crestron, a leader in smart home technology, is also working in the area of the total home automation experience that works from your phone, tablet, keypads, touch screens and remotes that all work together, where you can control everything from one app.
Crestron Home makes everything work together in a really simple way. You can control your lights, shades, thermostats, door locks, alarms and gates, home audio and video. There is nothing you can’t control from a simple coffee maker to an irrigation system. Everything is brought into the Crestron Home ecosystem. It’s easy for a homeowner to do with common commands like good morning or good night with one touch.
The magic of home automation is that it makes technology disappear and complex systems easy to use.
Crestron is a sponsor of ICONIC HAUS 2020, where we showcased Crestron Home Time and Crestron Home whole house automation. Our DESIGN LAB series highlights the brands and products that made ICONIC HAUS the best of the best.