Pyng about change
A new system from Crestron is set to fundamentally change the way integrators integrate. Paul Skelton reports.
For years, home automation apps have been add-ons to control systems that are programmed using computers. Now, thanks to the introduction of Pyng by Crestron, integrators can create lifestyle scenes for each room, schedule events and much more right from an iPad.
In fact, an entire house can be ready in minutes without ever opening a laptop.
“End users are developing right in front of our eyes,” Crestron Electronics president and CEO Randy Klein says.
“They are becoming more engaged and educated about technology than ever before.
“Unfortunately, in the past we have never done a very good job of communicating with users; up to this point in time, we didn’t have the infrastructure or the resources to market, or to talk, to the end user.
“This changes with Pyng.”
Randy stresses that Pyng is not just another product; rather, it is a completely new platform that integrators can build on.
“Pyng is a platform. It’s a framework for what all of our products should become part of,” he says.
“The significance of this is just like when we launched DigitalMedia. It’s a game changer and not just another ‘better mousetrap’.”
Any Crestron technology can be easily added to a Pyng system, including DigitalMedia, distributed audio and more. Seamless compatibility with the rest of the Crestron product line enables the Pyng app to run right on a TSW touch screen, and for events in the AV system to trigger environmental scenes within Pyng.
A compact hub connects accessories with the app, runs scenes and events even without the presence of an iPad, and continuously backs up all home settings to the cloud – so making changes is easy and secure.
Once the initial setup is complete, anyone can easily modify settings or create new scenes right from the app. Adding a new iPhone or iPad is effortless. Simply open the app while connected to the home’s WiFi network and the controls appear instantly.
“At Crestron, we supply leading edge, usable, practical and needed technology,” Randy says.
“Pyng has generated a lot of interest because it’s so different from everything else out there. With that comes a huge responsibility and challenge in trying to educate people on what it is and what it isn’t.
“Pyng is home automation built from the app up. With Pyng, you are not adding an app to your automation system. The app is your automation system.”
Pyng is built on the company’s Infiniti EX technology, which has been shipping for the past four years. This means there is a existing installed base of over 600,000 dimmers, switches and key pads that can be leverages by the new platform.
Frank Bargetzi is the chief technology officer of Crestron.
“We built Pyng to be compatible with the products that we are selling today,” he says.
“This is not like Prodigy, which we completely screwed up. This is a new framework that’s designed to hold all of our products together.
“Our main priority in developing this system was finding a way to make the installation process easier.
“With today’s systems, you have to setup the hardware and do some configuration. You have to get out your computer, push a lot of buttons and test everything. Then you have to make the list of all the things that are wrong and go back and fix them, then repeat the process over and over again until everything is right.
“Using Pyng means that when I walk up to a key pad and add it into the app, it’s live and it’s in real time. I can then test it while I’m standing in front of it – there is no checklist, it’s live, it’s working, it’s real and I can do it all in real time.”
In its current form, Frank explains that Pyng is just the beginning of what the new platform can offer.
“Today it’s lights, shades (US only), keypads and security. Very quickly in the next few months you’re going to see audio distribution, video distribution and network camera control.
“Now, some of you might be thinking: “Crap, you’re going to put me out of business.” But, we see this platform as a way for you to get into smaller and simpler installations. We see this as a really big opportunity for you to get in and out a lot quicker, while still providing a lot of functionality to the end user.”
More than anything else, Crestron Pyng is about empowering home owners to make changes to scenes and settings themselves with the confidence that their integrator can restore to an automatic cloud backup if they wish to undo any adjustments.
“You may think this sounds like a recipe for disaster: “I’ll hand control over to the end user and they will completely screw it up.” Well, once you’ve set it up and configured it, you can actually store what you call a ‘golden image’.
“Pyng will store this golden image in the cloud. The end user can then mess around with it and make changes. If they screw it up, they get 25 cloud undos. After 25, if they have really messed the whole thing up, you can immediately bring back the golden image and it will be restored.”
Randy likens the introduction of Pyng to the introduction of the iPad.
“Some installers are embracing it and some are fighting it. Some are afraid of it and some are looking at it as a new opportunity and a new possibility,” he says.
“When the iPad was launched, we didn’t go out of business on our touch panels. It raised awareness, it helped build and educate the marketplace and our touch panel business still continues very nicely.
“Pyng will be the same for control systems.”
Franks adds: “We didn’t build this product line to decimate all that you guys have built, but to be more productive and more profitable and then to springboard into larger more complex systems.
“I know a lot of you, especially the programmers, will think that we’re trying to put them out of business. But I genuinely believe that this will lead to opportunities that you wouldn’t have had before.”