Crestron R&D Reflects Convergence - AvNetwork.com

Crestron R&D Reflects Convergence

Author:
Publish date:

When people talk about the impending convergence of AV and IT, they're forgetting one thing. "We're the 'I' in 'IT' -- we're the audio and video. We're the information," emphasized David Silberstein, national product sales specialist, at Crestron's Rockleigh, NJ headquarters last week.

If Crestron's expanding DigitalMedia family of products and trends in commercial and residential installation are any indication, audio and video information already exists in the digital realm. The only question now is how to manage it. Difficult questions about formats and copyright protection schemes, and the hardware solutions that make them play nicely together, are answered for designers and integrators in Crestron's DigitalMedia Design Guide and through the manufacturer's ongoing educational efforts in 40 dedicated training locations among its 59 total offices worldwide.

DigitalMedia, just like AV/IT, is an all-encompassing term that seems to cover every aspect of the new era of audiovisual integration. Those looking for a single piece of hardware to affix this brand name onto will find a "solution" instead. DigitalMedia is more than switchers; it's also input and output cards, transmitters, repeaters, room controllers, and wiring and cable offerings.

"We didn't want to make a digital switcher," Silberstein explained. "We wanted to make a solution that reflects everything going on in the market."

Such an endeavor is an ongoing effort, and Silberstein noted that right now there are five years of product releases in the queue at Crestron. Furthermore, the manufacturers touchpanel product lines must all be made ready for the new digital path. Of course, analog is still a part of many (if not the majority) of installations, which is why DigitalMedia in fact also supports legacy equipment.

Last week I joined my NewBay editorial colleagues Jeremy Glowacki of Residential Systems and Mark Mayfield of AV Technology on a tour of Crestron's training, R&D, tech support, manufacturing, and distribution operations in its multiple buildings in northern New Jersey.

Crestron founder and CEO George Feldstein pours 40 percent of the profits from his privately owned company back into hardware and software R&D, and as Silberstein pointed out, "there's tons of research before development." The DigitalMedia line alone benefitted from the work of 46 engineers over a span of six years before the first DM products were launched. Ongoing partnerships with Microsoft, Cisco, and Texas Instruments also feature prominently in the R&D process.

As such, the purpose-built R&D facility is Feldstein's playground. His office is located there, rather than in the nearby corporate headquarters, and his handiwork can be spotted throughout the various cutting-edge prototyping and experimental research areas.

The diverse array of products in development at the company reveal how the company has grown from a manufacturer of wireless slide projector controllers 40 years ago to today's varied product mix. Today, Crestron's core products, control systems, represent 30 percent of the business, while Media Manager and Lighting products each stand at 20 percent; Audio Distribution/Amplification reflects 10 percent, the Video Distribution, Processing, and Switching category is also 10 percent, and HVAC fills in the rest at 5 percent.

Overall, it looks like the convergence of AV and IT comes down to bandwidth, both in terms of gigahertz and product mix.

Check out a slide show of photos from our visit at our sister site Residential Systems at www.resmagonline.com/SlideDetails.aspx?CatID=20108&ID=33032.

Related

AVAD Dealer Event Reflects Commercial AV Moves

I traveled to Fort Lauderdale, Florida last week to check out AVAD 's "Vend-o-Palooza" training and product showcase event on November 12. It's been a whirlwind year for the Vend-o-Palooza traveling road show of vendor exhibits and training sessions, which were held at 20 of AVAD's 28 branch locations nationwide and

A Firsthand Look at Crestron's West Coast Experience Center

by Steve Harvey Crestron celebrated the opening of the company’s latest Experience Center--its first on the West Coast--at its office in Cypress, just south of Los Angeles, on March 1. More than 400 guests had an opportunity to tour the offices and support center and attend afternoon sessions in the classrooms

A Tour of Crestron's Experience Center

On October 20, I was invited to tour Extron’s facility, along with the state-of-the-art Crestron Experience Center as the centerpiece of the day. Before the festivities for the grand opening of the Experience Center, our small group was given an intimate tour of the Crestron campus in Rockleigh, NJ. A portion of the

Reflections and Predictions for InfoComm '12 by Christopher Maione

I’ve enjoyed writing for AV Technology Magazine for nearly two years and I would like to thank them and particularly the editor, Margot Douaihy, for providing me the opportunity to contribute. It has been a wonderful platform to share my thoughts, opinions, and technical expertise on a variety of topics.  It has also

Listen Technologies Makes Bold Product Moves

by Kirsten Nelson Sales meetings are many things, but they're not often convocations of superheroes. Except if you're a rep for Listen Technologies , which hosted its Spring Fest sales meeting last week in Salt Lake City and divided guests into two groups: X-Men and Justice League. The superhero theme was woven th

Stealth Acoustics Enters The Boardroom

by Kirsten Nelson I thought I knew quite a bit about Stealth Acoustics . I've known its co-founder and vice president, Steve Olszewski, for almost 13 years because he has been a SCN contributor and columnist since nearly the first moment the magazine was launched. Not only is he a great source of information (and

More Than HDMI Over CAT5e

by Fred Bargetzi The seeds of Crestron DigitalMedia were planted several years ago. That's when Crestron engineers began building on their ambitious vision to create a solution to transmit uncompressed, content protected, HD digital video long-distance over a single wire that could be run through walls and condu

The Sextant Group Is Cautiously Aggressive

The phrase "cautiously optimistic" has been bandied about quite a bit lately. For some, it masks turmoil, but for many, it is a modest way of saying "we're doing really well in a terrible time". It was with a measured precision and a hesitance to employ a cliché that Mark Valenti, president and CEO of The Sextant Grou