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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.

Model: DIN-KXI

The DIN-KXI is an IP-based KNX interface that allows a 4-SeriesĀ® control system to communicate with a KNX system. It is capable of addressing and controlling up to 1,000 datapoints and receives power
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Striving for Health and Wellness in the Smart Home
Posted on Friday, September 1, 2023
 
Striving for Health and Wellness in the Smart Home

A quick primer for our design-build partners

Sept. 1, 2023 - The notion of "health and wellness" in the home was one of the many trends that had been gaining traction prior to the pandemic — and like several others (notably, the rise of "work from home"), rose to the top of the conversation when lockdowns began.

People who had to stay inside became acutely aware of their environment. And it's only logical that they became acutely aware of what worked — and what didn't.

Aesthetics — and the physical functionality of residential spaces — became incredibly important, as anyone in the design-build community knows. As people spent more time at home, having a pleasing place to both work and live became priority one.

But there are other technological elements that can help complete the picture of "home" as a refuge of wellness.

Defining Wellness

The problem with the concept of "wellness" is that the definition is extremely ambiguous. The remote work revolution required, in varying degrees, a fairly specific set of technologies for a home office to succeed. Sure, some people needed better sound isolation or security measures depending on the job, but the basics were fairly easy to nail down: a good camera, the right seating, a great internet connection, and so on.

The answer for "wellness," then? "The customer is always right," to coin a cliché.

Crestron's Residential Business Development Manager, Sonia Hernandez, has a more elegant turn of the phrase. "I think it's genuinely becoming interested in the client's lifestyle and understanding their needs," she says. "Is it security and comfort? Or something else?" she adds. "Imagine, say, it's a high-level executive at a Fortune 500 company who handles some portion of his business at home. For that individual, the right cybersecurity measures would go a long way toward his peace of mind, and that might be considered a 'wellness' factor for that client."

The "Invisible" Aspects of Wellness

One big takeaway from this discovery process with a client: A homeowner's interpretation of "wellness" is going to extend beyond the visible. And that's one aspect where a design-build professional can lean on a technology integration expert to create a truly holistic solution.

Another less-than-visible example: air quality. It's a concern that became paramount during the pandemic — and remains top-of-mind for many customers. Meeting that need is a great illustration of the way in which Crestron works with other firms that provide wellness solutions. As Hernandez notes, "This is where our partnership with Delos comes in — they're our preferred partner for air and water quality monitoring."

Bassel Hashem, product leader at Delos® wellness technology, explained just how this partnership works in a previous entry on the Crestron blog:

"The setup we put into a home, for example, is a hub and a number of  Delos Air Quality Sensors. It's all integrated with the Crestron Home system — including, for example, the Horizon thermostat since that will control the air handling units. A user can see what's happening, room-by-room, in real-time. When a sensor picks up a pollutant — over the threshold that we've researched and defined — that will communicate with the Crestron Home thermostat to turn on the air handling units and specific ways to remediate and clean the air."

The Big Four

When it comes to visible solutions in the smart home, however, there are "wellness" aspects that align with the segments that generate the most general interest from both homeowners and the design-build community that Hernandez interacts with. "The systems that really drive the most conversations are lighting, shading, audio-video distribution, and security," she says.

Lighting

Beyond the architectural and design advancements that LED bulbs provide — from color options to LEDs' seemingly infinite potential form factors — there's a growing understanding of the impacts of the "right light at the right time" for human beings. "Various researchers are learning more as to the manner in which lighting may complement your health in general, and specifically in areas such as improved sleep patterns," says Hernandez.

As we noted here in an earlier post on the subject:

Researchers at the Light and Health Research Center from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (NYC) studied 20 apartment dwellers. In order to immerse the subjects in circadian light, they utilized electrochromic glass windows for one week, then compared that data to a week spent with traditional windows and blinds. When the subjects were bathed in light that mimicked the patterns of outdoor light, they fell asleep faster in the evening, slept more regularly, and experienced greater vitality — a feeling of being well-rested — when they woke. (The research was conducted at the height of the pandemic, so the participants were already spending the bulk of their time indoors.)

Shading

While it's treated as a separate product line, shading is a critical component of any overall lighting solution. Blackout shades can block the light that might interfere with sleep while allowing natural light into a space reduces the need for an artificial mimic. But there's another part of a shading solution that might not be readily apparent, as Crestron's VP of Hospitality Michelle Guss told us in a previous post:

"If a client does have a beautiful view of nature outside their home, having a set of motorized shades that open automatically lets the client see the view effortlessly. When everything's manual, operating those shades daily, opening them and closing them — a client isn't likely to do that every day, especially in a large luxury residence. The look of nature is just as important as the look of the fabrics we're discussing."

And in the same way that Crestron's luminaires are aesthetically minded in addition to being functional, shading offerings are as elegant as they are practical. "We have a full catalog of patterns and textures — something for any environment. That's really important for our design community," adds Hernandez.

Audio-Video Distribution

As people were stuck inside during the pandemic, the "home as refuge" took on more and more importance. The notion that a whole-home audio system could do more than just provide music for entertaining began to take hold — could it contribute to a restful space with the right music at the end (or beginning) of the day or even send the sounds of a natural environment flowing through the home? And what about visual displays? Could a TV screen do double duty as an artful, digital canvas? (The answer is, of course, yes.)

The kicker: All of these systems can be automated. Hernandez has seen the "wow factor" at work, as both design-build pros and their clients walk into a Crestron experience center and see an entire package of content triggered by a single button — or even automatically triggered by a sensor or an astronomical clock. "Even using voice control and just letting Alexa or Siri set the scene for an occupant with a single command — that's an incredible way to start someone's daily 'decompression' process," she says.

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