The latest update to the Crestron Home platform (with an expected release date of March 27) may be the most broad-ranging ever.
Crestron Home 3.19
March 23, 2023 - While every update to the Crestron Home® platform offers a broad range of new features and third-party integration options, version 3.19 is especially robust. This release includes:
Support for the PC4-R Processor
One of the big features of this particular update is all about meeting specific challenges: namely, as dealers found themselves in need of more options in a constantly shifting supply chain landscape, Crestron introduced the PC4-R processor, a powerful Dell® microcomputer with the Crestron Home OS already installed. The PC4-R can handle the largest Crestron residential integrations matching the power of the CP4-R control processor, and with no back order, this solution is perfect for those time-sensitive projects. (Find all the relevant stats here.)
Jason Oster, Crestron’s director of product management for residential solutions, says, "Bottom line: This update is the first version that will support the PC4-R processor, and then all versions of Crestron Home software going forward as we add new features and new devices." The introduction of the PC4-R processor is a huge help for those facing deadlines, says Oster: "It’s a great solution for large, time-sensitive projects, and it includes the same simple configuration as all of the other Crestron Home processors."
Support for Crestron’s Next-Generation Horizon Keypads and Arkadia Keypads
As is often the case with Crestron Home OS updates, this version strives to give dealers as many elegant hardware options as possible. The 3.19 update includes support for both the Crestron Next-Generation Horizon keypads and dimmers and Arkadia keypads.
Oster shares details on the latter: "Specifically, the Prolight V2 version of the Arkadia keypad is now completely supported in the Crestron Home OS." The Prolight keypad is one of the company’s most versatile, as the device can handle home, marine, or hospitality applications. "One of the good things about Arkadia’s offerings is that they include waterproof models, which means they’re suitable not just for yachts but even outdoor use for traditional homes," Oster adds. "Outdoor entertaining spaces for homes are common, so we get many requests for outdoor keypads for control of music, lights, and more."
There’s also support for Crestron’s own newly released next-generation Horizon keypads and dimmers. The new keypads are packed with features, but Oster has his favorites. "One of many cool aspects of these keypads is the direct feedback color on the buttons." Oster gives an example: "Maybe the keypad includes a button to lock and unlock a door — with this feature, it can turn red when it’s unlocked." Adding this functionality is incredibly simple, according to Oster. "In the past, you had to change the colors through a carefully written sequence. Now there’s just literally a dropdown command for the feedback color."
"Hot-Swapping" Crestron Extensions
Prior to this update, upgrading extensions was not as quick and easy as it could have been. "We’d see extension developers add new features, and dealers would then want to upgrade that extension in existing systems," Oster explains. "If one wanted to swap version 1.0 to 2.0, it was more painful in the past." For example, suppose the driver brought a specific feature to every keypad in a home. As soon as the original version of the extension was deleted to make room for the 2.0 upgrade, all of the configurations, quick actions — name it — would disappear from every keypad. "With 'hot-swappable’ drivers, a dealer can replace that extension without losing any of the programming," says Oster. "All the quick connections, all the sequences, all still connected — which can save a dealer hours of labor."
Another positive of the "hot-swap:" There’s no reboot required. Oster explains, "In the past if driver developers just changed one line of code to fix a bug or to test something, they would have to send their file again, reboot the processor, wait for a few minutes, and then finally test their line of code." The update eliminates all those inefficient steps.
NETGEAR® Network Switch Device Driver Support
"We've made integrating NETGEAR switches with the Crestron Home platform essentially seamless in this update," says Oster. "It works with all four managed switches that Crestron offers, and this integrates directly into the Crestron Device Health Dashboard." This update allows dealers to power cycle individual POE devices — each device now appears directly on the dashboard.
There’s another benefit here beyond NETGEAR integration, according to Oster. "As we add these new device types, new devices, and new extensions, the platform becomes more open for expansion," he says. "Our Crestron Solutions Provider (CSP) community has added thousands of drivers. This is yet another example — more and more brands can live in and on the platform."
Updating Firmware Without Opening Ports
Switch integration with individual device power cycling is just one of the expanded management features version 3.19 brings. Easier processor firmware updates are another. "In previous versions of the Crestron Home OS setup app, you had to open ports or a connection to the toolbox — or even go back to the client’s home — to execute processor firmware updates. Now with the change to the myCrestron Residential Monitoring Service, dealers will be able to update their Crestron Home OS processor through the myCrestron portal."
Oster notes that it’s important to have the 3.18 version loaded as the starting point — this update builds on previous cloud access infrastructure added to that version. "Then, going forward, you can use this cloud tool to update to any future version of the Crestron Home platform," he adds.
New Languages for International Applications
This update features two big improvements for the end user. First, new icons are available for use in the Quick Actions Icon Editor. "We’re always adding new icons based on feedback — we’re constantly trying to make those one-touch functions more intuitive," says Oster.