Crestron or Savant? Should one or the other matter when choosing a home integrator? And Osbee's answer is…

It seems like every other day I get this question: “OK, Dave, so which automation platform do you use? Crestron or Savant?”

And my answer is always the same: “Uhm...it depends.”

Both companies make great systems. But an Osbee Home is not about systems. It’s about solutions.

In short, I don’t have a preference as long as the technology creates the solution that’s right for the client.

Some companies only use one automation platform – and that was true of Osbee until recently. We’re always watching new technologies as they emerge and after rigorously testing Savant we added their technology to our integration toolbox last year. We did this for one reason: to give our clients – and our system designers – the widest range of options from reliable, cutting-edge companies.

So how do we choose what integration platform to use on any given project?

We love Savant for its plug-and-play capabilities.

Savant is a great out-of-the-box solution, with plenty of built-in features that provide convenient control of the most common home systems such as lighting, HVAC, audio, and video. Savant’s control app works on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, and is designed to make it easy for the homeowner to save scenes and settings for lighting, audio, and other systems on the fly within the set parameters of the app.

Many clients we’ve worked with find the Savant app sleek and sexy, and are delighted with the contextual and easy-to-use controls.

Yet...to be honest, there are others who find Savant’s app a little confusing. Since the real value of an integrated home ultimately rests on how easy it is to control, this is a big consideration for us when specifying a system.

With its intentional and carefully thought-out plug-and-play engineering and few customization options, whether you’re trying out the system at Savant’s luxury showroom or in your newly integrated home the experience will be very similar. And for many homeowners, that’s exactly what they want.

Yet...there are others who want or need more features or scalability that Savant cannot provide. This is where Crestron comes in.

We love Cestron for its flexibility and scalability.

Where Savant is essentially pre-designed to meet most typical needs with little room for variation, Crestron is like a blank canvas that can be infinitely tailored to each client’s needs.

Crestron has several control options including smartphones and tablets – plus wireless and hard-wired touchscreens that provide certain functionality that mobile devices can’t. Crestron’s open architecture also gives us the ability to custom-design the control app for each project – from icons that match your light fixtures and backgrounds that match your wallpaper to navigation controls overlaid onto your floorpans so you can walk your fingers through your house to get to whatever room you want.

Crestron’s capabilities can also have unexpected and profound benefits even we could have never anticipated. For example, one Osbee client wished for a control interface their special-needs child could use. As we designed the custom graphical user interface (GUI) for their touchscreens and iPads, it evolved into a picture-based system so every member of their family – including their child – would be able to control every aspect of their home.

With more than 40 years in the industry, Crestron is very reliable and also known for responding rapidly to changing technologies. At the moment, Crestron’s ability to handle 4K technology was a deciding factor for our clients looking for the latest in video technology. And Crestron is infinitely scalable – something to consider when we engineer larger homes and estates.

Yet...some clients are overwhelmed by all these possibilities. With so many options, even a visit to their Experience Center is just the tip of the customization iceberg that is Crestron. Homeowners may also be concerned that “customization” is really a euphemism for “cool, but something I don’t really need” or “too expensive”.

Which brings me to a common misconception in considering what integration platform to use.

Savant tends to have the perception of being a less expensive solution.

Yet...apples to apples that usually isn’t true. The most expensive part of any home automation project are the things that don’t have anything to do with the automation platform. Any system must be designed and engineered; all the fixtures, components, and hardware must be purchased; all the wiring, dimmers, wall switches, speakers, TVs, shades, thermostats, and cabinetry must be installed.

Anyone who knows me knows I love cars. So put it like this: Imagine you were going away for a weekend in the country. Would you take a BMW or a Mercedes? Both options would get you there in top-of-the-line luxury. Your preference is what makes all the difference. Similarly, whether you choose Crestron or Savant you will still get to your destination of total home control.

What if a client just can’t decide which way to go?

Back to what I said at the top of this blog, system control is 99% of an integrated home. When a client just can’t decide, I place two iPads on the table at our specially engineered showroom, one running Crestron, the other running Savant. Once clients test-drive them both side by side, the decision is usually instantaneous. 

And sometimes it’s Savant. And sometimes it’s Crestron. We can deliver the system of your dreams using either.

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