Crestron held a one-hour keynote session with guests from Microsoft and Comcast on Tuesday, May 23, from the Modern Work Summit in Madrid, highlighting new solutions ahead of InfoComm 2023. The solutions take Crestron scheduling beyond the boardroom, add new flexibility to the Crestron Flex portfolio, and answer the demand for BYOD capabilities and more.
Brad Hintze, executive vice president marketing, Crestron, got the event rolling. Hintze pointed out what most of us in the Pro AV world are slowing finding out: Hybrid meetings are a mainstay of modern work, and many employees are frustrated with the technologies behind making it all come together (SCN's Mark J. Pescatore just took a look at that himself).
Crestron is aiming to simplify the workplace for both the employee and IT professionals, while meeting the technology and budget needs of corporate executives. Simply put, devices and technology just need to work.
Hintze highlighted three key pillars of the modern work experience which directly tie into these issues. "First is vastly improving the employee experience through intelligent and audio solutions," Hintze explained. "Second, in-person collaboration in any workspace that emphasizes the value of being together. And third, scaled deployments for simplified management, along with analytics that bring value back to every workspace."
Sam Kennedy, senior director product marketing, Crestron, showcased many of the new solutions Crestron is introducing for these improvements.
First, he spoke of new Crestron desk scheduling solutions. The new Crestron Desk Q is an entry-level device ideal for workstations and hotdesking. Users can easily schedule a spot and pre-book a space from their phone using the QR code. There is also the new Desk Touch, a premium experience with a touchscreen that can makes scheduling right there easy with a single touch click.
Paired with the Crestron XiO Cloud—which has a new update to not only give real-time but historicial data as well—management of Crestron and third-party devices is now easier for IT professionals. Crestron is working with partners like Tango, Appspace, and Calven to facilitate desk scheduling even further with features like wayfinding to help find desks, reconfiguring seating layouts for optimal experiences, and providing an overview of the floor.
There was also the debut of the Crestron Flex Pod. The tabletop Flex Pod, paired wirelessly to the Flex Pod Hub, is a compact device that provides 360-degree, consistent audio quality in any room. It is an easy-to-deploy, plug-and-pair device that ensures capture of every word clearly and securely. Due to its compact size, it provides flexibility to adapt and change as meetings change, bringing audio to the meeting the way they need it. The pod itself has a microphone, speakers, and audio controls built right in to blanket a room with high-quality audio.
With so many meetings requiring both in-person and remote participants, Crestron introduced its new Videobar 70. The all-in-one collaboration solution is designed for medium and large rooms, and was crafted with plug-and-play simplicity to adapt to many settings and preferences. Equipped with stereo speakers, 24 beamforming mics, and four high-resolution cameras, it was features Qualcomm processors to provide plenty of horsepower to keep up with updates from Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other conferencing platforms.
While Hintze brought out partners from Microsoft and Comcast to discuss Crestron's solutions in action, Alex Peras, senior director, UC and corporate development partnerships, discussed what the future held for meeting equity. As one may expect, his attention turned to using AI to improve the hybrid experience, especially in the 1 Beyond Automate VX experience. Peras hopes to utilize facial positioning for the best view of a participants face no matter where it goes on the screen with Crestron Intelligent Video AI.
“We aim to be the ultimate partner for organizations seeking complete room solutions, company-wide workplace platforms, or both,” said Hintze. “Our goal is to provide a seamless and consistent experience across every room in the workplace, regardless of its size or function. We strive to be the driving force behind workplace technology solutions that make a tangible difference in how people work. The new products in the Crestron portfolio make this happen.”