Future innovation

Hot on the heels of the last ISE show to be held in Amsterdam, we were able to sit down with Ranjan Singh (RS), Executive VP, Product and Technology at Crestron, to get his view of how ISE 2020 went for the proAV manufacturer, but also to find out what the company has planned for the future.

How was ISE 2020 for Crestron in terms of visitors and feedback?

RS: Overall the show was brilliant. We were able to have a lot of conversations around the Future Innovation area we showed for the first time, our customers could see that Crestron wanted to talk about the future, its roadmap and products. One of the things that stood out for me at ISE was how engaged the customers were, it’s not a walkthrough, they're generally interested in the products, and in trying to understand what they can do for them. We look forward to any even better experience in Barcelona next year.

What was the inspiration behind the Future Innovation Hub?

RS: Our CEO Randy Klein sat down with us before ISE and asked; “We've been doing this trade show for 17 years, what can we do differently this time?” We began talking about the theme of a concept car initially and then you have this battle in your head, ‘will we show too much?’ A lot of companies try and talk about the future under an NDA or embargo. We really wanted to present Crestron as an open company. We are happy to share what we’re thinking because that's the best way to get feedback from the audience.  We want to show our customers the investments we are making today, and the investments we are likely to make in the future. We were able to put together a great mix of products on the booth, some we are likely to launch later this year, some in two years and some things which may never materialise.

crestron AV over IP Bridge

What three products should people have seen at ISE 2020 and why?

RS: One is the NVX D80 platform, on the booth we showcased a partnership with display providers who can now natively have a NVX receiver built-in with OPS standard. Another must see was a product (tentatively called DM NVX E760) which showed how customers can bridge the world of DigitalMedia with the world of AV over IP. We don't want customers to have to forklift technology, we don’t want them to have to shift overnight from DigitalMedia to AV over IP. They have made massive investments in DigitalMedia, HDBaseT and other standards.  AV over IP is getting adoption and is solving certain problems much better, so we came up with this product to help customers bridge the two worlds and migrate at their own pace, on their own investment cycle. The third product was the XiO Cloud, at ISE 2020 we were able to show we can integrate third party products by showing a third-party gateway interface that will allow our customers to not only manage, deploy and operate Crestron products, but also third-party products. Finally, there was also the big announcement of our partnership Logitech. We believe we have the solutions for every space that a customer would ever want to deploy unified communications solutions or room solutions.

What products or innovations are you most proud of?

RS: The product to bridge DigitalMedia and the AV over IP world is something that the team is very, very proud, why? Because it gives our customers choices and options. It doesn't make their investments in DigitalMedia redundant they can continue to expand. The other products we’re really proud of in terms of where we are headed is our Flex unified communications platform. We believe it is revolutionising the industry, in combination with Microsoft Teams and Zoom and other providers we are able to bring the room experience that our customers expect. We're really looking forward to evolving that platform with more software-based products with more value-added software. One interesting concept we showed was NDX decoder as a software. We showed that AV Over IP is not just hardware, but also software. Imagine the possibilities of rolling out an NVX decoder or an AV over IP decoder as software, you can deploy it on a computer, you can deploy it behind a display which has some computing built-in.  Overnight you have plethora of devices, similar to IoT, with NVX receivers that are populated out there and now customers can really route all of their traffic, whether it's audio or video to these endpoints, that can be distributed all over the campus or corporate environment.

crestron ise 2020

What is Crestron going to focus on moving forward?

RS: We have a few themes, the first is user experience. When you go into a meeting room you want a one-touch-to-join experience, that that historically has been the domain of executive rooms/board rooms, we will bring those experiences to the masses. The second theme is enterprise operations and scale. When we are selling products and services, when medium or large enterprises buy them they have to think about the scale of operations, it can't be that you have to go to every device and type your user credentials, you ought to be able to manage them remotely. We are very focused on delivering efficiency and scale of operations, what does that mean? It means that you can deploy a product, connect it to the network and you walk away from that point onwards, because you can manage it and upgrade it remotely.  The third theme is automation, why should humans have to do everything? Why should we have to sit in front of a web page or a configuration screen and configure everything? We can automate all of the deployment and configuration processes. In order to achieve that we need API's that our customers can script and build into their IT processes. Automation is the key to drive efficiency, look at your operations team, they have a backlog of 300 items, things they're never able to get to, if we enabled them to automate those tasks so they don't have to do these things manually imagine the value they can deliver to their customer base, because you can now get to that backlog of items they were hoping to accomplish.

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