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Crestron Electronics, Inc.

Crestron offers the only complete end-to-end solution with a complete line of hardware and software. Crestron not only connects and controls devices; we integrate and automate all the building systems to provide a connected experience. We deliver integrated solutions for audio, video, IP, lighting and climate control making wiring and installations easier and promoting system integrity.

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The Crestron Smart Home in 2024: Top Design-Build Trends
Posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2024
The Crestron Smart Home in 2024: Top Design-Build Trends

Three experts look at the trends that will impact integrators and the design-build community as they collaborate on projects in 2024

Jan. 9, 2024 - The concept of a "smart home" is no longer a novelty — in fact, as internet connectivity has become as important as plumbing and electricity in the home, smart solutions are now essential. Home buyers and remodelers expect solutions such as lighting, shading, entertainment, HVAC, and other residential systems to have a level of automation and advanced control.

With those expectations comes a need for technology integrators and the design-build community to work more closely than ever before. With planning and forethought, the team can create solutions that provide clients with intuitive tech solutions that blend into — and even enhance — a home's aesthetic.

With that in mind, here's a chance to look at some of the big trends ahead in the connected home for 2024 – "forewarned is forearmed," as the saying goes. There are business trends afoot as well as technological advances, and we turned to three experts for a comprehensive look at all of them: Carol Campbell, publisher (and partner) of Technology Designer and TechnologyDesigner.com; Tony Monteleone, publisher of Connected Design; and Crestron's own Director of Business Development, JoAnn Arcenal.

Lighting and Shading

As far as growth segments in 2024, lighting is the first thing that comes to mind from everyone on the panel: "It's at the top of the list," says Monteleone, and Campbell agrees.

"This is something that Crestron obviously is at the forefront of, but when you think about it, lighting wasn't a thing until we could manage the fixture component because everything that touches the network is part of an integrator's purview," says Campbell. It further provides the entry point for a true meeting of the minds between the tech specialist and the design-build team. "It's as simple as this: Does your client have a multi-million-dollar Picasso on the wall? How does it look? Does it look just as good at different times of day? Tuning lighting to illuminate a masterpiece properly establishes the need for the right tech in the right place."

"We had lighting control covered for years, but introducing our own fixtures into the market really brought us to another level," says JoAnn Arcenal, Crestron's director of business development. In addition to the quality and reliability Crestron is known for, the introduction of fixtures with a variety of trim options ensures that the technology and its surrounding aesthetics are a match. "Couple that with Crestron Home OS 4, and the homeowner can create scenes using the controls in the platform, like sliding bars and color wheels on their touch screens," she adds. "It's really powerful and very intuitive."

There's more to it than a great look, of course: There's a growing body of research finding that tunable lighting that follows the rhythms of the sun may be extremely beneficial — and setting the right light for everything from tasks like cooking to setting the mood for eating that wonderful meal is clearly a plus in any home. Shading's a part of those solutions, too: "Harvesting natural sunlight with automated shading should really be a factor in an effective lighting scheme," says Campbell, and companies like Crestron are constantly developing ways to make those solutions as elegant as they are useful. "The right lighting scheme is never just about potential health benefits — it's also aesthetics," adds Monteleone.

The power of sensors is something Monteleone wants to bring into the discussion. "I was at an interior design function, and a number of interior designers were with me," he recalls. "They walked by a small fixture on a motion-sensor switch — the simplest thing, really — and there was a profound moment of realization." Light bulbs were going off — literally and figuratively. "These are smart people, and it didn't take much for them to make the leap and apply that kind of automation technology to a wide variety of 'living-in-place' solutions."

The Home as Refuge

Those "living-in-place" solutions that Monteleone hints at are part of a broader philosophy, something Campbell has taken to calling "the performance home." Yes, there are solutions for those who are aging or have certain physical challenges — and they're constantly evolving, both aesthetically and practically — but the right solutions can provide benefits for anyone, at any age and with any level of ability.

"There are technologies that can help ensure that your home has clean air and water," says Campbell. "You can have landscape design that is integrated with lighting design, and it can create a truly peaceful environment," she adds. Monteleone has seen this trend firsthand: "There's a desire among the design-build community — and it's based on client feedback, I'm sure — to 'bring the outside in,' and vice-versa." Bringing lighting, music, and more to outdoor spaces, along with shading solutions that balance both privacy, energy management, and preservation of a home's unique views, all contribute to the notion of the home as a place of refuge and rejuvenation.

The power of tech to create that vibe is something that Arcenal finds exceptional. "Being able to completely change the look, the feel, really the energy of the space through technology is something special," she says. "Lights come up slowly; perhaps there's a TV embedded in the bathroom mirror that's on as you're getting ready for the day. Maybe there's a specific playlist you've selected for the bed and bath zones of your home." The overall feel of the scene is one of "ramping up" to meet the day.

"And then, at the end of the day, we're winding down," Arcenal says. "It's a totally different vibe now: We can dim the lights and adjust the color temperature to replicate candlelight. Perhaps you've put natural sounds or relaxing music on your audio system as you draw a bath that fills at the perfect temperature." There's potential for all of these integrated technologies to adjust every aspect of the space to create the desired atmosphere.

"The furniture is the same, the fixtures are the same — nothing has changed except for the way that you're presenting that room to yourself," she says. "You've transformed the space through technology."

But the "home as healthful refuge" has another layer to it, according to Carol Campbell. "There's something that appeals to the human conscience in this," she notes. "This is something that you're doing to provide a healthy environment for your family. People live there. Your kids sleep there. What does that mean to you?"

There's another aspect of this that Campbell sees as "conscience-driven" for the modern smart-home client: energy management. "There's a growing movement toward clean energy, and more and more homeowners are prioritizing better energy solutions — even in places where it's not dictated by law," she says.

The Impact of AI

Another trend having a moment is the rapid growth of AI — the term and the tech are everywhere, and they're not going away. Tony Monteleone is extremely familiar with the opportunities — and challenges — presented by the sudden advances of artificial intelligence. "I've seen what it can do with text, and that's as exciting as it is frightening," he says, "But the technology is going to have a broad impact beyond generating editorial content."

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