Crestron Partners Using IoT To Drive Office Design Decisions

AVI Systems noticed something special about a conference room at one of the audiovisual integrator's customers: Employees were swarming to it.

Thanks to a new breed of Internet of Things solutions entering the AV space, AVI found the reasons for the room's high status. And no, it wasn't because of all the cool gizmos and gadgets installed for conferencing.

"Turns out, it was seeing high use because it was next to the cappuccino machine and there were some good chairs," said Brad Sousa, CTO of the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based AV integrator.

[Related: Siemens To Buy Mendix For $730M To Make IoT Development Easier]

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Using the data AVI collected from these IoT systems, the company helped the customer make design decisions about how to best utilize its conference rooms and other spaces in the future. Whereas the company may have just focused on technology improvements in the past, the new IoT data made the company realize lower-tech amenities could be just as important. It's an IoT twist on the trend of data-driven decision-making that guides many companies today.

"If you look at analytics and metrics, it's new to the AV space, but it's not new to IT," Sousa said.

Crestron, a nearly 50-year-old smart building vendor based in Rockleigh, N.J., has found that channel partners like AVI are increasingly using its IoT offerings to create feedback loops for workplace design. This year, the company was named Microsoft's global IoT partner of the year for Crestron XiO Cloud, an IoT provisioning and management solution that provides actionable data on usage trends.

As an example, one Crestron customer is collecting usage data from sensors and devices in a commercial facility it's leasing for three years to determine what kind of characteristics to incorporate into a new building, according to Ted Colton, vice president of unified communications strategies at Crestron.

"This becomes a digital transformation story instead of just a hardware installation," Colton said, where companies are elevating decisions about AV systems from facilities managers to the C-suite.

Colton said this is happening because executives are facing increasing pressure to engage employees and differentiate from other companies vying for the same talent.

Sousa agreed. He said AVI has evolved over the decades from a simple AV reseller to a technology integrator that engages companies on digital transformation matters. In other words, it's no longer just about specifications and products. The new bottom lines are use cases and consumption.

"Today our focus is really around the use of the technology and how that drives forward business outcomes," Sousa said.