Home automation, whereby you can adjust everything from your curtains to music and mood lighting using control pads, is for me a somewhat enervating prospect. I can’t imagine being bothered and, if I could, I’d worry that I was channelling my inner sloth.
But if you do possess such zest for automation, Crestron, which sounds like a toothpaste but is, in fact, a $1bn New Jersey company, is likely to be your preferred automator. Crestron has been working in this arena since 1968, but until now its products have always entailed a building project, buried wiring and touch panels in your walls. No longer: its new Pyng system means that from an iPad app you can control lighting, curtains and blinds (“shading solutions” in Crestron speak), door locks, security systems, thermostats and more. An “integrator” has to install the gadgets the iPad talks to, but you can then continue customising the set-up yourself. “It’s an addiction, a lifestyle, a commitment, a marriage,” enthused one such integrator, showing me round a Crestron-ified Upper East Side Manhattan home. He told a great story, though, to rein in men who overdo it. One client, he said, requested a button on his Pyng to ask his wife to bring him a drink. “I told him fine, we can do it. And it’ll work. Once.”
Our grand wizard of gadgetology road tests more tablet-controlled technology for the home in the Smart App-artment from Cornflake.