Crestron displayed a solutions-driven booth with tech designed for everything from hybrid work to hospitality
June 23, 2023 - There's been a through-line when it comes to Crestron's presence at trade shows over the last few years:
It's the experience.
There's been a distinct, intentional effort to shift the Crestron booth from a collection of "black boxes" to a presentation of integrated solutions. It's all about humanizing technology. As Crestron's CSO John Clancy (then EVP) noted last year just after one such show, "I really wanted a conscious effort around a new style, a new look, and then secondarily, a new way to present it. I wanted to display solutions and show how our products are threaded into those solutions."
The approach — which has been incredibly well-received by dealers and other trade show attendees — grows out of the need for social reconnection. The pandemic forced many of us into remote work, and as restrictions eased and organizations embraced the hybrid model, it was up to companies like Crestron to enable that connection. That's no mean feat when any number of workers are collaborating virtually on any given day.
This "experiential" concept led directly to the layout of Crestron's exhibit at the InfoComm® 2023 trade show. Each area of the larger booth was solutions-driven, with showcases such as "Camera solutions for all spaces," "Management and control tools," "Active learning" — the list goes on.
Those solutions included not only the integration (and refinement) of existing Crestron offerings, but new devices, too — devices that, in fact, represented entirely new lines of products that were developed based on real-world feedback and research. Several of these were unveiled at the Crestron Modern Work Summit in May, but this event offered attendees a chance to experience the devices in person.
And that in-person experience required a very thoughtful layout from the Crestron exhibits team. "I kept hearing that the booth had the best flow of any display that Crestron's ever had," says Sam Kennedy, Crestron's senior director of product marketing. "We really took customers on a journey." That journey began with Crestron's new desk scheduling solutions — where an employee would logically start their morning — and wound through the rest of the technology they'd touch over the course of their workday.
If attendees were interested in one or two items, they could certainly cover those presentations in just a few minutes. However, Kennedy says that the dealers, distributors, end-users, and consultants who made their way through the booth were interested in the bigger picture — the entire Crestron ecosystem. That had an interesting side effect, he notes: "Even though we were one of the largest booths on the show floor, it still felt relatively intimate — that's difficult to pull off at a massive show like this.
The New Solutions
Those new solutions include:
Crestron Flex Pods: This hub-and-spoke audio solution centers around the Crestron Flex Pods Hub, a wireless receiver connected to a UC device, and communicates wirelessly with up to four Crestron Flex Pods that can be placed throughout the room. Every pod features a best-in-class microphone and speaker system with features like echo canceling, automatic gain compensation, and noise reduction. It's a scalable, flexible solution for a variety of applications: rooms that do multiple duties, spaces where cable can't be run, and so on.
Crestron Videobar 70: It's not a soundbar or a video bar but a true collaboration bar with four AI-driven cameras working together to frame a speaking collaborator at up to 30 feet. Couple that with easy plug-and-play deployment, and this Android™ OS device is perfect for easy setup in medium and large conference rooms.
Crestron Desk Q and Crestron Desk Touch: As more organizations adopt hybrid work schedules, it follows that they'll move to a footprint-reducing desk-sharing model. That model, of course, comes with scheduling needs. Crestron's cooked up not one but two solutions: the Desk Touch, which is ideal for semi-private offices, cubicles, and even stand-up spaces, and the compact Desk Q with QR-code-based reservations for large-scale enterprise-wide deployments. "Interest in these particular solutions was nearly universal," says Kennedy. "Everyone wanted to know more about these products, which speaks to the realization that hybrid work is becoming a fixture."
Of course, updates on existing products — and the chance to see some new additions to those lines — were part of the booth experience, too. One example: The Crestron AirMedia® Connect Adaptor, a device that plugs into a laptop via a USB-C® port and allows the user to collaborate wirelessly with a single touch, with no apps to download or software to update. There's even a version of the AirMedia Connect Adaptor built specifically for Microsoft Teams® Rooms software — a signal that even the biggest names in this space are interested in providing BYOD-friendly solutions.
Into the Hotel Space
A new addition to the Crestron booth this year: An area dedicated to hospitality tech — simply put, solutions for the hotel biz. "We displayed an immersive premium guest room that allowed visitors to experience the perfect stay in a room powered by Crestron technology," says Crestron's Michelle Guss, vice-president of hospitality. As a "guest" entered the room with their keycard, lighting, curtains, audio, and climate all automatically adjusted to pre-determined settings, creating a welcoming and restful ambiance. Crestron touch screens and keypads simplified the control of the space and enhanced the experience with direct access to room service, restaurant bookings, or even calling the valet directly from the in-room touch screen. Door entry solutions (some created in conjunction with our partners) rounded out the luxury experience.
These hospitality solutions aren't just beneficial for the end-user, though — these systems also do wonders for hotel operators. "We outlined our integration with guest room management systems and our simplified approach to integrating with property management systems, giving you seamless oversight of every room," says Guss. "We included everything from energy-saving solutions such as Crestron occupancy sensors and climate controls to simplified service requests."
Ultimately, the tech needs to be responsible for everything from lighting in a guest room to AV solutions in a ballroom or meeting space. Hospitality tech demands a blend of residential and commercial integration solutions, and Crestron has decades of experience with both.
News and Notes — and Trophies, Too
Of course, trade shows such as InfoComm are often a time when awards are handed out. Commercial Integrator, for example, announced its winners at the start of the show, and Crestron notched honors in their "Audio/Video: Collaboration" category with the AirMedia® Connect Adaptor. (See a demo of the device in action here — working brilliantly with another winning device from our friends at Jabra.) The AV Network family of publications also gave Crestron two AVTechnology "Best of Show" awards for Crestron Flex Pods and the new Desk Scheduling solutions.