The recent launch of Crestron C 277V wireless wall box dimmer and switches, wireless GLPP room controller, and wireless sensors has compelled them to look back at the history of their wireless control solutions.
When Crestron initiated infiNET EX product line of wireless wall box dimmers, switches, and thermostats seven years ago, they were intended to be retrofit residential products. They never even considered a completely wireless commercial building, at that time. Even considering the obvious benefits – reduced costs of wiring and labor, simplified growth strategy, flexibility, and “retrofitability” – most commercial lighting professionals feel that wired systems are best for complex facilities because wireless just isn’t as reliable. But is that true still?
Over the last few years Crestron has gained a great deal of knowledge about wireless networks and how to get them to perform consistently – and with the same reliable operation and performance that customers expect from wired systems. They used their experience to build a better protocol so that we could control the performance of our network. This protocol, infiNET EX, is a mesh-based, 2.4 GHz network that automatically reconfigures to optimize performance. It actually becomes more reliable as more devices are added to the network.
But there were still challenges to overcome. With advances in technology and good old engineering, Crestron has solved them. For example, on some wireless (and wired) systems, you can have an issue with multiple-light installations where each fixture’s response can be subject to lags. As a result, they don’t all respond simultaneously (with the same light level) when commanded to do so. This “popcorning” is the unintended consequence of a network that has failed to be managed for performance.
Another challenge was how to get acceptable lifetime from battery-powered devices. This has been improved with advances in technology, along with semiconductors that boast higher efficiency. Crestron has taken it further with excellent power management schemes and with support of different levels of battery powered and “sleepy” devices. We can now get up to 10 years of life for a battery occupancy sensor.
Taking wireless even further, they have shared their technology with specific third-party partners to build and supply devices on our wireless network. Crestron Connected™ products, such as door locks, mini bars, and MUR/DND panels now natively communicate on Crestron infiNET EX.
All of these advances have fostered a much more open-minded reception to wireless solutions in commercial spaces. Facility managers are starting to not only take notice, but install completely wireless solutions in their buildings. In fact, Crestron customers have completed installations with literally tens of thousands of devices in one building.
So, is the world ready for a completely wireless lighting control system? The answer, with Crestron, is yes. They bring a rich set of wireless devices that are engineered to work together and perform better than any other set of products on the market. The portfolio includes wireless lighting controls, shade controls, climate controls, sensors, and human interface devices.