Crestron has introduced Pyng OS2, a major update of its platform which “brings together the full universe of Crestron products” to deliver a complete whole smart home solution for lighting control, shades, audio, climate control, and now video, including Crestron DigitalMedia products.

With cloud-based back-up and access, it allows smart-home integrators to configure, control, and support your home system remotely, making changes far easier. But more than that - as Crestron Australia’s Head of Residential Trevor Rooney told us during Integrate in Sydney, it allows the owners far more freedom to make their own changes and create their own scenes, while also bringing Crestron solutions out of the ‘high-end’ of smart homes, now able to scale from the simplest systems to the most complex.   

Crestron Australia's Trevor Rooney, surrounded by the possibilities of Pyng.

SOUND+IMAGE: So Pyng OS2, so this is a new Crestron operating system?

TREVOR ROONEY: Absolutely — it's an operating system. let's call it a platform, our newest platform, a newest version of what we do.

The goal was to remove what I guess you could call ‘barriers to entry’ to what Crestron do. Traditionally Crestron has been very much line-for-line code, whereas Pyng is simply a platform where a number of things are predetermined already — it knows you're going to do lights, it knows you're potentially going to do blinds, it knows you're going to control various things in the house. So we've pre-populated a lot. It doesn't have the same customisation feel as a traditional Crestron system — that's not a negative, it's a little bit more basic on the touch panels and whatever else, but it actually does everything, so you can run a complete home with Pyng OS2 quite nicely. If you want to customise anything a little bit more you just add it to one of our other processors and off you go. So it's completely scalable and everything is seamless in the back-end.

The goal now for us is to create something that is end-to-end. You get your platform — look at our lights, look at our control, look at our blinds... everything comes together then as one, nice and simple.

So really now it allows anyone on the planet, whatever price-point you want to get into, you can actually embrace Crestron. That for me is a big big win. A lot of the trade still have that misconception that Crestron is a price-point way above what they can actually sell, and that is the perception that we've been breaking down over the last nine months. Now that we officially have OS 2 here we can say, you know what, that's not true. We're not more expensive, yet we have a massive selection of what we do. Whether you want control with voice, hand control, touch, whatever it is, Crestron can do it.

S+I: So if it's an OS, a platform, why did Pyng 1 not have video and Pyng 2 does?

TR: Good question. Initially they saw it as an environmental controller — i.e. lighting, blinds, HVAC. That's all it was, and they didn't see really where they would go with video. Then when it was so successful and the integrators over in the U.S. really embraced it, they said well it's a natural progression now to bring in things like Sonos and other things — voice control with Amazon or whatever. So let's create a true Pyng household, that was their idea. And that's what they've done.

S+I: And for the end user, what does it change?

TR: The best thing for the end user? Well you think, 20 years ago, even 10 years ago you'd sell a system, you'd install it, Mom and Dad would live with it and they'd ring up a week later saying 'We love it but hey the light in the study is a bit bright, can you change it?' I would say yes, I’ll come back to you. Then I ring Mr. Programmer — can you come and do that? Three weeks, no problem at all. Call back the owner — it's going to be three weeks and three hundred dollars. Fantastic. A week after that, Mom and Dad call again, it's great, but now the light’s too low. And the customer is always right, so it's hey Mr. Programmer... what a nightmare.

So now what we've done is we've brought some autonomy back to the client. They can go to their touchscreens and they can create their own scenes. So this morning, say, I created a reading scene for the bedroom — I decided I would have the light at 50 percent and I would have it ramp up over ten seconds — and I did that myself. I'm no programmer, and I didn't need one, there's nothing programmed on that at all. It's great. I've always loved the idea of being able to do this but the thought of having to get somebody to come into my house to do that for me, it was ‘no I don't want automation in my home because I don't want to rely on somebody else’.

At the integrator level, it's been like 'Well hey we have to employ a third-party guy who owns the IP... does he own the program? Do I own it? What happens if he disappears?’ So now we're still going to embrace the high-end, everything's going to be there and nurtured, this is just another way of getting into our brand. Why silo ourselves for the high-end? Why not just open the doors to everyone? And that's what we've done.

S+I: Alexa has a Crestron 'skill set' now - is that part of Pyng 2 or a different thing?

TR: Yes, part of Pyng 2, absolutely. So OS 1 didn't do Alexa, OS 2 has embraced Alexa. Alexa is insane. The concept of being able to talk to Alexa and tell it, 'Alexa it's time for bed' or 'Alexa, good morning' and have a number of things happen —  lights all up, blinds up, or halfway, whatever you want. And it's not only for the average mom and dad to be able to do that, we had a lovely 80-year-old gentleman here earlier who thought that was amazing. Think about aged care, people who can't get to a keypad that easily. And again it doesn't need an integrator to do that. You set it all up, then hand the cellphone to the consumer. They have their Alexa app in there. They can then go and say ‘Well Trevor actually said Alexa good morning, I'd actually say “Alexa it's morning!” or whatever I'd like to say. And then I could have blinds, lighting, HVAC, 2GB coming on.’ Whatever you want to do. All of that happens. It's insane.

More info on Crestron: www.crestron.com