Seen @ Macworld is Appletell’s column highlighting our experiences at the recent Macworld/iWorld Expo. Appletell stopped by several booths that featured interesting products; some were longtime pillars of Macworld with updates to established products, many were new companies showing innovative and exciting product for the first time, and a few featured accessories, apps, and products we didn’t even know we needed before we hit the Moscone West show floor. Here we feature buzz from the show floor and details of our conversations with the makers, inventors, and companies whose products were on display. Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld/iWorld 2013.
Crestron was back for this year’s Macworld expo, and they presented their Mobile Pro control app front and center. Rather than requiring an expensive, custom-built device or a bucket full of dedicated remote controls, the Crestron Mobile Pro app is a remote control platform that lets you take control of different systems in your house—from entertainment to HVAC to lighting. At a press conference during the expo, Crestron’s reps demonstrated the features available within the Mobile Pro app, showing off the powerful integration of home automation with ubiquitous smartphone/tablet platforms. The app’s flexibility and power are designed to keep you out of the “Multiple App Trap,” Crestron’s description of the digital equivalent of collecting remotes with each new system you buy.
Crestron’s motto for the Mobile Pro app is Control Everything, and they mean it. The universal iPhone/iPad app offers a unified and customizable control interface for virtually everything, like home security systems (including cameras), heating/AC, lighting, shades/curtains, and home theater gear including DVR, television, and stereo controls. Best of all, the app lets you create a unified dashboard, so if you like to lower the shades, dim the lights, and dial down the temperature for movie night, you can bundle those settings and activate them with a single tap. This saves you the hassle of making all those changes individually, and it’s made possible by the fact that all these systems are controlled from within the same app—it would be impossible to activate features in multiple apps with a single tap.
The Crestron app works directly with your devices, rather than being a cloud-based service, so you can always stay in control. When you’re at home, the app connects directly over you local network. But if you’re away from the house, the app will still connect over an available Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. If you don’t want your living room to heat up with the afternoon sun, you can easily close the shades from your office on the other side of town with a few simple taps. Going to have a bunch of friends over later for a BBQ? Crank up the AC early to compensate for your guests ducking in and out of the house, even if you’re miles away from your thermostat.
It’s a Trap!!!
The focus of both the Crestron press event and the company’s booth in the Appalooza area of the Expo was avoiding the aforementioned “Multiple App Trap.” Even Apple provides its own app dedicated to controlling your AppleTV, ruining the simplicity of your living room. This means lots of app switching if you want to dim the lights, control your Apple TV, and change the temperature, while Crestron’s app lets you control all these systems from within the same app, without all the switching back and forth. This is not only convenient, but offers both power and simplicity in controlling your home’s systems.
Crestron demonstrated their Scenes feature, and it is easily one of the coolest parts of the app. You can program specific settings tied to a single button that control a variety of systems, e.g. the “Home Button” can set the right volume level for the speakers in multiple rooms, begin playing your favorite jazz playlist, activate the right color blend and brightness for your LED lightbulbs, and roll the shades up to give a perfect view on the city skyline from your dining room windows when return from a hard day at the office. Ready to go to bed? Tap the “Goodnight” button from the comfort of your bed to power down everything in your home, including lights and home theater/audio, and set the the thermostat to just the right temperature.
Check out all the details on Crestron’s Mobile Pro app at their product information page, or download the app on the App Store.
Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld / iWorld 2013.