Pre-configuring and managing the platform has never been easier
July 10, 2023 - While every update to the Crestron Home® OS improves the user experience in some way, there are occasions when these advancements are immediately obvious to the end user. That's the case with most of what's happening in the 3.21 update — but its impacts will profoundly affect your ability to meet your clients' wants and needs faster than ever before.
And that's a positive that's downright profound.
The myCrestron Portal
The biggest item in this update includes improvements to the myCrestron portal. For the uninitiated, that's a cloud-based system that has two major components. Jason Oster, Crestron's director of product management for residential solutions, explains: "One aspect of this system allows a dealer to execute pre-configuration. Before the processor shows up, before the hardware, before you even go on site, the dealer can sit down with their laptop and this cloud tool and add all their rooms and devices and get all their work done ahead of time so they're not under pressure on the job site."
The second major component is management. Once the system's been installed, it can be monitored, and a variety of remote functions can be performed without the need to roll a truck. "Now that Crestron Home has been out so long and there are thousands of these systems out there, the dealers need a way of managing those existing Crestron homes easily," says Oster.
The Need for Speed
First things first: The portal has an improved URL. "The new address is crestronhome.io," says Scott Wooster, Crestron's senior product owner of residential solutions. "A small change, maybe, but vastly easier to remember — and it saves time during login."
Dealers will immediately notice significant upgrades to both components of the portal in this latest version of the Crestron Home OS. "We've made it faster for our dealers to do all their data entry," says Oster. "There's now a responsive search bar that auto-fills with a variety of options when a dealer is adding a device," adds Wooster. "In the past, users would have to switch between multiple tabs and risk losing their place — and you needed to know specific item numbers instead of general terms such as 'Horizon keypad.'"
The update also allows multiple device additions quickly. "You can place, say, four of the same shades for a specific room and add them with a single click. Adding dimmers, or keypads, to multiple rooms? It's the same concept," Oster explains.
Firmware Updates? No Problem
This update also expands a dealer's ability to manage firmware updates across entire systems — and even across an integrator's entire "fleet" of Crestron Home OS powered homes. "All your keypads, the gateways, and virtually all of the Crestron devices can now be managed and updated through the cloud, without rolling a truck or opening ports in the firewall to get access to all those devices — you can now do it through this cloud tool," says Oster. A dealer can quickly gauge the firmware versions of every device with a graphical interface that provides a clean picture of the entire system.
The functionality of the portal is expanding, says Wooster. "We'll soon be adding climate control to the portal in addition to the lighting and shading options in there right now. We're currently working on adding sensor support to the product: temperature, motion, and occupancy sensors. There'll be climate scenes that will be added, and they'll be able to take advantage of initiating light scenes or shade scenes based on occupancy or motion detection."
A Solution for Subnetworks
Another feature of the Crestron Home update is the ability to quickly add Ethernet devices across subnetworks. "One of the Crestron Home OS platform's superpowers is that it's very easy to add devices — you just click discover, and it finds everything on the network," Oster explains. "However, there are cases where you don't just have a 'flat' network like in really big homes — they're almost like a commercial building where they could have subnets, multiple networks. A standard discovery does not work across subnets."
With the update, a dealer can reach across subnets no matter where they're working in the larger network. "For example: Suppose I need to find a lighting device, like an Ethernet to Cresnet Bridge — even though my laptop is currently on the AV subnet in that system, this update allows me to discover those devices across those subnets."
New Keypad and Dimmers and a New Touch Screen, Too
The Crestron Home 3.21 OS update also includes functionality for a new line of keypads and a very advanced touch screen. The next-generation Horizon® keypads and dimmers are now ready for prime time, and they're loaded with cool features. "The aspect of these devices I really love is being able to set the color temperature of the keypad's backlights to match the color temperature of your room," says Oster. "If a room's lighting is changing based on the circadian color temperature of the sun, the backlight of the keypads will match as well. In the morning, it's a nice warm light, and then throughout the day, it gets cooler and cooler, and then it gets warm again in the evening." It's subtle touches like these, notes Oster, that truly express the elegance of a Crestron Home system.
There's also a new touch screen — the TST-1080 — that arrives complete with a native Crestron Home OS app. The device boasts a 10.1-inch backlit, high-contrast color LCD, and it comes with its own charging dock. Oster notes that "Unlike a third-party tablet that's just thrown on the couch or used for gaming by the kids, this is a dedicated unit for controlling your Crestron home. It's not like the iPad that may have walked away with the kids, or an iPad that tends to be on a different app (or locked) — the TST-1080 is a purpose-driven device, and the Crestron Home app is always loaded and ready the moment I pick up the TST-1080." And although Oster left the device out of its charging station for hours during the testing phase, it barely drew down the battery at all.
As we've mentioned before, the testing program for the Crestron Home OS isn't limited to employees like Oster. If you'd like to be part of our beta-testing program for the platform, drop us a line at email@example.com.