March 14, 2022 - Every six weeks or so, the Crestron Home® platform gets an update, including everything from minor fixes to major upgrades and functionality for both Crestron and third-party devices.
Which might prompt the question: How exactly does one determine what goes into an update?
Crestron's Director of Product Management (Residential Solutions) Jason Oster says that the process is really very scientific. "We have a priority list of all possible features and all the devices that we need to support," he says. "As you can imagine, some things are massive. It could be an eight-month project and we have other things that only take a few weeks."
An example of the former? Secure remote access. "That was probably longer than a year in the making," Oster notes. That update, released in December 2021, meant that dealers no longer had to open ports and it was easier for homeowners to add new mobile devices themselves. "The processor reaches out to the cloud, and we have a secure connection between mobile devices and the Crestron Home," he explains. "To get it right, to make it secure, to make it extremely fast, and to make it as resilient as possible — it took a while. I think the quality of the work shows because we haven't had any outages since it was released, with thousands of people using it."
As far as the variety of features in a new update, Oster says that balance is everything. "A good update, from our perspective, is a mix of large and small improvements, as well as third-party integration."
What's in the Mix This Time
And that balance is once again on display — Crestron Home OS 3.12 includes the following:
Amazon® connected speaker support for the Crestron DM NAX™ product line — This update lets you control your music in any DM NAX zone from Amazon® Alexa® voice control. "What makes this an even better user experience," Oster explains, "is that if you set up grouping via the Amazon Alexa app, Amazon knows which Alexa mic you are talking to — you don't even need to specify the room. You can simply say things like 'Alexa, play Radiohead,' and if you are in the kitchen, it knows that — and will immediately start playing that content in the overhead kitchen speakers being driven by DM NAX."
Support for the DM-NAX-4ZSP — This update gives the user complete control of the 4-zone Crestron DM NAX™ streaming preamplifier with the latest in next generation Audio-over-IP technology.
Device Health Dashboard – While the device health dashboard was just released in January to support the Crestron PC-350V-18/12s, it's already seeing features added to help further monitor the system. Oster notes, "This is a good example of how we keep making things better at a rapid pace: In just a few weeks we took the device dashboard that showed if devices were online or offline, and let dealers or end users reboot failing devices. Now, as of this month, it can also show the battery status of remotes like the HR-310, and we added filtering capabilities to the dashboard, too."
Support for the DIN Rail Heating & Cooling Fan-Coil Thermostat — It's now extraordinarily simple to add this full-featured DN-TSTAT-FCU fan coil unit controller with Cresnet® interface for integration with the Crestron Home® platform.
Device support for International Battery Shades — These shades feature an easy-to-hide battery pack (perfect for situations where hard-wiring isn't an option) that provides power to the shade motor while the SG radio transceiver handles control and status for the shade.
Support for the "Room Group" feature in the Crestron Home configurator — Oster explains, "The Crestron home configurator right now deals with pre-configuring lighting — you can create your lighting scenes so you're not in somebody's house doing all that work on-site, you can do it ahead of time." This update extends that notion to the creation of various room groups (or areas or zones, depending on your preferred nomenclature). "Based on popular demand we have also added an option to the Crestron Home Setup app so dealers can quickly hide 'Equipment Room,' 'Utility Closets' and other 'techy' rooms that hold devices — all spaces end-users don't need to see in their app," says Oster.