Our Insights from Crestron Masters 2017

Several of our Control Concepts team members came back from the recent Crestron Masters 2017 event ready to share what they learned about technologies and products in the AV pipeline.

Here are some of their insights.

Our Senior System Engineer Brad Case believes the influx of new devices delivering video streaming and voice recognition will have a major impact making training even more vital as they become popular and add to the number of devices utilizing an existing corporate LAN. As such, highly trained engineers will need the skill sets to design, manage, and troubleshoot complex networks.

“Today, most devices in AV systems are already communicating with each other over the network,” he points out. “Soon networks will have to be engineered or re-engineered around video streaming.”

Case expects voice recognition control such as Alexa and Google Home will become key.

“It’s still a little clunky when trying to merge Alexa with a system that would have been interfaced using input from a keypad or touch panel,” Case explains.  “Like any new technology with lots of potential, barriers will quickly erode, and not embracing voice recognition control while it is still young would be a mistake.”

New types of workspaces are on the horizon, according to Mark Weinberger, senior systems engineer.

“Crestron sees a big opportunity in the smaller meeting spaces or huddle rooms that do not require complex control systems,” he says. “The new Mercury product line is consistent with their move to come out with more plug-and-play devices and creating an opportunity for device drivers needed for peripherals like TVs and projectors to become plug-and-play.”

Device drivers drew the attention of Software Developer and Senior Programmer Dave Glassman.

“The future looks to be heading into the plug-and-play/configurable sphere versus custom programming,” he says. “In that environment, drivers become absolutely essential and someone has to make them.”

For Software Developer and Senior Systems Engineer Natalie Jackman, Mercury products can be a game changer.

“Mercury will quite possibly take over the small AV system integration role,” she predicts. “It appears to be much more functional than the Extron keypad.”

Weinberger sees the current push to incorporate more web industry technologies like HTML5 and C# programming into Crestron’s products on the back end, growing for future integration with IoT (Internet of Things) technologies.

Programmer Trevor Payne anticipates a shift toward standard-based protocols and a reinvestment in FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) tools.

“The move to Linux for control processors and Mono for the S# environment will be significant and hopefully open up the sandbox to allow more usage of FOSS development tools for the platform, he says. “This could lead to lowering the barrier of entry for programmers.”

From Jackman’s perspective, Crestron’s programming systems are at a crossroads with SIMPL format transitioning.

“The trend devices being released, such as Crestron DSP, Crestron Pyng and the media player widget are using less programming in the SIMPL format,” she explains. “New devices like the DMPS3-4K product line aren’t supporting the DM tool and have a less robust web-based configuration tool. SIMPL doesn’t expose everything for control but it’s no mistake SIMPL# has access to more of its fine controls and knowing it will be critical to staying in the custom game.”

Glassman anticipates HTML5/web technologies may soon replace Flash-based Smart Graphics.

“What’s not known is whether Crestron will be providing a drag-and-drop style GUI editor for touch panels like we have with VT-Pro,” Glassman says. “If this ends up being the case, time and cost for programming may go up dramatically as UI design becomes a much more manual and time-intensive process.”