Posted Aug 18, 2010 in Tech | 1 Comment

Make My Home Smarter 3

Savant interface

The most difficult part of any technology project is almost always the making of choices in the planning phase. Once these critical choices are made the rest becomes fairly simple since we’re limited in terms of compatibility of versions, integration and provider platforms. In our smart home project, the main piece of the puzzle is the control system for the home automation, the brain of the entire operation.  As soon as  the search for this most important pice started, the different reps were eager to offer their varied suggestions, and here are some of the examples:

“Don’t buy anything but Crestron!”

“Yes there are different providers, however I aways suggest to go with Crestron.”

“Crestron is the only way to go, that is if you want your system to work.”

“We only deal with Crestron!”

“Don’t believe what the guys from across the street tell you, Crestron is the best pice of tech you’ll every buy.

and across the street we were told

“There are some incompetent home automation integrators out there so be careful who’s advice you follow, so just save yourself the headache and only buy Crestron products.”

Creston

If there is one thing that is worst then having to many choices it’s having no choice at all. There had to be other choices besides Crestron and we went all the way to Toronto to find someone that suggests anything different. And the challenger is Savant an up and coming automation company that bases the system on Apple CPUs. Savant has had a rapid growth in the industry and for the last year has been eating at in to Crestron’s market share.

The difference between the two companies is mainly ideological, Crestron is focused on hardware integration while Savant is pushing the software integration of the different components. However, if you’ve ever had to deal with tech projects you’ll always have a bitter taste left behind by integration nightmares that were initially supposed to connect seamlessly through simple interfaces. This is one of the reasons why, initially our scepticism towards the Savant platform was quite pronunced.

We tested the demos of both companies and in all honesty they both performed flawlessly within their own advertised parameters. As soon as you start the setup the difference in ideologies leaps off the screen; the Creston Pro2 is made for professionals and not at all friendly towards amateurs. To setup the Savant ROSIE in the identical test environment took only 20 minutes while for the Pro2 it took us over 2 hours and some heavy internet searching. The Savant is clearly our favourite when it comes to user friendliness; it’s web interface is easy to navigate and the flow within the menus  is very logical.

The Creston modules connect instantly and are recognized right away by the Pro2 once you get used to the system. We’ve had no difficulty integrating the audio and video modules or any of the other peripherals. On the Savant side things didn’t go as smoothly, the hoe security was not recognized at first however after a quick call to their support line we got the problem resolved. You do get the feeling that Creston is a more robust product and you can definitely see why they’re number one in home automation. We’ve heard of some modules that we made in the 1980s and that are still running in some homes. As far as integration goes, the hands down winner is Creston and their excellent affiliate program.

Creston

There are two factors have made us chose the Savant product line over the Creston and the choice was not an easy one. The first is the price; when you take into consideration all the modules that we needed to purchase for our smart home, the in home support and cost of upgrades in the future, the Savant is quite some ways cheaper. We cannot give you the total price right now since out specialist is still working on the our quote for final pricing. We’ll disclose the total amount in the next month’s assembly and installation article.

The second factor that pushed us toward Savant is future scalability. Creston has already announced their next generation control system however, no date for market release was given. The fact that we want to finish our project this year doesn’t allow us to wait for the next controller and to buy their product just before a new one s released is like buying the PS2 just before the PS3 launch; not much growth potential. Also, Savant is very similar to an Apple computer and the base for future development is well tested, so it’s because of this hope for future ease of growth that we chose it and dispute our initial scepticism.

If the new Creson control system had been out or at least had a release date, we would have probably gone with the market leader. As things stand right now, we’ve very keen on purchasing and receiving our new toys. Until next time and if you keep looking through our kloset, we’ll keep on adding new gadgets to it.

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  1. Hey Guys,

    I don’t think the 2 reasons that you chose Savant over Crestron are very accurate. First of all the cost difference is minimal especially when you consider that Savant doesn’t have the same types of products as Crestron and therefore you can’t for example get a Digital Media system from Savant, or an ADMS server from Savant so by going with Savant you are stuck relying on some other manufacture to make a product like Crestron and then hope that Savant can control it cause as you said they are a software not hardware company.

    In regards to the new processor from Crestron it really is not something that you have to wait for. Crestron’s current processors are so far ahead of the competition that they already do so much more than what the Savant does that it would still make sense to go with their old stuff then Savant’s new stuff. The new processors are going to take things to a whole other level, but again Savant can’t do what the new Crestron stuff can so you chose a lesser over all product line even though their current stuff is better then Savant, but because their even better stuff is not out yet. That’s like saying that you bought the Corvette because the Buggati that you wanted for it being the fastest car on the street was coming out with a new one so instead of buying the current Buggati you bought the Corvette because it doesn’t have a new model coming out.

    I hope that you have time to reconsider and do some more home work. I would call Crestron and get some more information before you go down the wrong path. You make the statement that Savant is like Apple so it’s future development is well tested, however Apple is one of the largest consumer electronics companies and Savant is a small company that is brand new and trying to use a Mac as the brains for their product. There is no proven and no similarities between companies. As you mentioned before Crestron has a better partner program so they clearly have the software thing figured out. As you mentioned they are more hardware based so they clearly have that figured out. I think you should reevaluate your decision. How can so many people that you asked be wrong along with the majority of the industry that would agree that Crestron is the best. May not be the cheapest all the time, but still is the best.

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