Simplifying Programming for Crestron Systems
Crestron – Powerful Home Automation
We’ve discussed different issues around software development for home automation systems on these pages. This month we want to circle back and review what ADAPT is, and more importantly, what it can do for your Crestron business.
We all know that Crestron home automation systems have incredible power and flexibility. Does your client want a custom UI? Sure, that’s possible. Do they need their system to control a radial atomizing spritzer? Sure, we’ll create a driver for that. No, a radial atomizing spritzer is not a thing – at least not that we know of, but you get the idea. The level of customization possible with Creston – more so than with any other home automation system - is a boon to empower us to always say “yes” to the customer.
The User Interface Can Make or Break a Client’s Experience
UI vs. UX
User interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are oft-used buzzwords these days. We spend so much of our time in front of screens now that we are using a variety of interfaces all day long. We probably don’t think about the interfaces too much, unless they repeatedly annoy us. There’s always an app that doesn’t respond to input quickly enough, or a feature of an application you use all the time but is not intuitive, taking an extra step to unearth.
UI is more about the actual interface presented to a user to do a task or set of tasks. UX is about the overall experience, which is influenced by more than just the UI. UX can encompass a whole variety of things, which can include the discoverability of functionality, speed of accomplishing tasks, and the efficacy and accuracy of what gets done.
This Old Grid
We take electric power for granted. Our modern world would simply not run without a stable supply of electricity. But our energy infrastructure is aging, and it is not the most efficient at generating power to meet demand peaks.
Nowhere has the age of the grid been as visible as in Puerto Rico. Last year Hurricane Maria wiped out large portions of the power infrastructure, and billions of dollars of investment are needed to modernize it. The issues with restoring power everywhere on the island have been well documented and it’s an ongoing story.
The rise in the use of renewable energy, like wind and solar, are putting increased pressure on power distribution. For example, electric power generated from solar panel deployments can return their excess power to utility companies, returning it to the grid. Since 2010, more than 45,000 businesses and 600,000 homes have across the U.S. have started using photovoltaic (PV) panels to produce their own energy.
Home Automation Software is not Immune from Security and Privacy Issues
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent testimony in Congress shone a bright light on data privacy issues. In reality, the issues have been there for a long time, and while Facebook is a major player with an enormous amount of personal data, unfortunately, there’s more to worry about.
In this age of the Internet of Things (IoT), there are billions of devices connected to the Internet. Whether we realize it or not, most of them are collecting personal information and activity that ends up in the cloud. The trend to mobile apps as an interface of choice for home automation control brings our industry into this world.
Should we be worried? From a security standpoint, yes – but there are steps to take to mitigate risk. From a privacy standpoint, awareness of where your data is going and how it’s being used is an important consideration.
Let’s consider some security and privacy issues that may or may not be top of mind for you in the crush of the daily business – but that deserve your attention.
Thoughts on Software for Crestron and Other Home Automation Brands
Over a decade ago, an executive from one of the top home automation brands asked to meet with me at CEDIA. Meetings like this were fairly common, as PanTech Design would handle a lot of out-of-the-box programming projects. But that wasn’t why the executive had called the meeting. No, he had the express purpose of telling me to “brush up my resume because they were going to put me out of a job.”
I looked him dead in the eye and said “you’re absolutely wrong. The only way to get rid of programming is through a lot of programming. But good luck trying!”