There’s been a constant drumbeat from offices across the globe as the modern workplace settles into its “new normal” — a mix of spaces that all need to be digitally outfitted — a consistent control experience needs to be deployed across your enterprise. Control enabling everything from unified communications to lighting and scheduling must be available at the user’s fingertips, from the smallest huddle room (or even alcove) to the enormous auditorium. As those spaces shift, as a company grows, expanded control of them can rapidly become an overwhelming concern for IT departments. The issues are obvious: How much will this cost? Do I need new infrastructure? How do we manage the management system? What happens to all the “black boxes” we already have?
One solution is virtual control — a software-based product that can scale up quickly, with the smarts to handle everything from AV to HVAC and automation capabilities to boot. Of course, another concern from any IT department will be immediate (and valid): Will we need to learn how to program this thing correctly? It’s a legitimate worry — the modern, hybrid digital workplace can bring fresh sets of Help Desk tickets for any business, from interoperability to security to device management issues, and carving out time to learn the ins and outs of yet another platform can seem daunting.
Crestron’s Mike DiBella, director of commercial product marketing, has the answer: “Crestron’s products are highly customizable — which, like any powerful tool, requires some training. However, for standardized spaces designed to be simpler, configuring rooms is intuitive with VC-4, enabling anyone with any skill level to configure a room.”
The Power of Choice
“It’s never been more apparent that corporate IT departments need the power of choice when it comes to these deployments,” DiBella adds. “If you’re sticking with hardware, we’ve got solutions. If you are migrating over towards a software-based architecture, then we also have something for you.”
That something, says DiBella, is Crestron’s VC-4 Virtual Control, “a software-based system representing a more easily scalable alternative to Crestron’s industry-leading appliance-based solutions,” according to a recent press announcement. “With VC-4, you sacrifice no functionality — and you get all the software’s downstream benefits,” DiBella explains.
“VC-4 is built for a convergent architecture, whatever blend of room functionality or complexity you need to achieve,” says DiBella. “It’s very IT-centric, provides redundancy, fault tolerance, and easy to manage — it carries all the benefits of a software solution.” Those benefits include the capability of VC-4 to manage (and receive updates for) up to 500 rooms from a single centralized server.
Less Cost, Easy Implementation
Like any software package, deployment of VC-4 lowers the overall cost of ownership, especially at scale. DiBella gives this illustration: “Let’s suppose you have, say, 300 spaces today that are up and running, but now you want to roll out another 100. That’s a lot of ‘black boxes.’ Many organizations are not properly equipped from a workforce or budgetary standpoint to buy, configure, and install all these boxes, so the VC-4 software solution is designed to help those kinds of firms find a solution.”
What’s more, the VC-4 software is easy to deploy, whether you’re using it for an entirely new set of spaces or adding to an existing build. “It works on power up,” says DiBella. “From there, it’s pretty simple to modify and tweak it just with a web-based configurator.”
“Now, if you want something that is highly customized, you can still do that with standard programming languages, including C# for IT and SIMPL for AV professionals,” DiBella notes — and, he adds, utilizing custom code for VC-4 is straightforward. “Over the past five decades, Crestron has trained over 20,000 programmers. With VC-4, every one of those programmers can immediately leverage all their existing projects — all that custom code that they’ve programmed for hardware-based control systems — that same code can be dropped into VC-4 without having to write anything new.
“The transition is seamless.”
And, of course, there’s another benefit to a virtual control system that can handle all the functions an enterprise needs: “There’s a supply chain issue; there’s a labor shortage,” notes DiBella. “A virtual solution that’s easy to deploy meets both challenges simultaneously.” If you’d like to learn more about all that Crestron’s VC-4 Virtual Control can do, here’s where to start
Contact Creation Networks for your AV control system programming.