The marriage license won’t be signed until Q2, 2022, but by all accounts, the widely successful and innovative camera and intelligent video technology company 1 Beyond is about to get hitched to Crestron. The "save the date" acquisition news was announced on March 23, 2022.
And for those of us who have followed the rise of 1 Beyond since its early days of demoing camera tracking technology in the far back corner of the InfoComm show floor, this is exciting news.
1 Beyond has been in business for 20 years, but the past seven have seen exceptional growth, and the past two have been off the charts with global deployments of its solutions. “We're growing so quickly—we decided we needed to look for a partner to continue what we were doing,” said Rony Sebok, 1 Beyond co-founder and CTO. “The industry is consolidating, and we wanted to ride with a winner, and we picked Crestron.”
As 1 Beyond grew, its clients were asking if they could support large global enterprises. “We were being asked, ‘Can you scale, and what's your distribution strategy for around the world?’ And that takes a while to build,” Sebok said. By joining Crestron, “1 Beyond technology will now be available from a company with global reach, distribution centers, sales, support, and training facilities around the world,” she added.
[ Breaking News: Crestron to Acquire Innovative Camera and Intelligent Video Technology from 1 Beyond ]
Crestron’s Investment in Hybrid
Crestron has made a significant investment in collaboration and conferencing technologies, starting with the introduction of the Mercury room solution in 2017 and soundbars in 2018. Clearly innovating but keeping within its wheelhouse of expertise, Crestron developed its line of Crestron Flex solutions, which integrate video conferencing, wireless presentation, and smart room control. Crestron announced partnerships with Huddly in 2017, and with Shure, and Jabra in 2021.
Until now, acquisitions have not been part of Crestron’s modus operandi for growth. “Crestron, for a long time, has invested in building core competencies from the ground up—whether AV over IP, control, and then of course getting into the collaboration space,” said Brad Hintze, executive vice president of Global Marketing at Crestron. But the need for advanced video conferencing technologies has come to a fever pitch. “This moment requires speed, and it requires really well-built and well-designed technologies, and 1 Beyond brings that to the table,” he added. “What we found with 1 Beyond, Rony, and the teams, specifically—they would help us bring in that domain expertise really quickly.”
Evolving to the Room of the Future
Crestron believes that whether the environment is a university, government, or enterprise, keeping meeting participants engaged is critical to productivity and employee retention. “Intelligent video is an essential element to enabling collaboration for employees, anywhere,” Hintze explained. “There are three elements of modern work going forward: there's of course, hybrid collaboration, or the ability to connect remote attendees with room attendees and give them the very best experience; in person collaboration, because when people do come into the office, we want them to be able to collaborate productively; and then of course, they need to be able to deliver that scalably.
The recent challenge is that the use of meeting spaces is changing, and nearly every space, whether a conference room, multi-purpose room, or personal offices—each will need similar collaboration technologies. “But each room type needs them packaged in a different way to deliver the very best experience,” Hintze said. This is where 1 Beyond comes in.
1 Beyond gained a great deal of traction in the university market with the first auto-tracking camera that used motion and face, and smoothly tracked a presenter. “We’ve built on that and developed what I believe is the broadest range of automated, intelligent camera tracking solutions that exist in the market today,” Sebok said.
The new solutions address different use cases. “We have the Presenter Tracking solution that follows the presenter throughout the room. The Group Framing solution is where there's a bunch of people in a room, and it figures out how many people there are, and focus-in on just those people,” Sebok explained. Taking it to the next level of immersive collaboration, “the Multi-camera Voice Tracking solutions track based on voice and audio location to zoom in on the person of interest in the room.
The shift in how people are working and want to collaborate is not going away. “Half the people are in the office, and half the people are at home, and we want to give people an immersive experience where the people in the room can talk to one another and include remote people in a very natural way,” Sebok added. “And that's what people had not thought about before, and rooms haven't entirely been designed for that.”
Moving In Together
Some might think there could be growing pains, coming from a small company in Boston to joining a global company, but this courtship has been in the works for several months. “The more and more I've met the people at Crestron, experienced the culture—add to that the fact that Crestron, like 1 Beyond, is very engineering-driven, and it’s a great fit,” added Sebok.
“When we saw that the cultures were a great fit, and that 1 Beyond brings a lot of value into the Crestron ecosystem, we knew this was the right move,” concluded Hintze.