Pyng lighting

I'm going to be 100% honest here. I never really understood what Crestron Pyng was for a long time; the message was very muddled and not at all clear what Pyng could offer homeowners and installers.

Still I don't think the message is very clear - Crestron has some great microsites for some of their product ranges, but whilst getting better, this is what they have currently.

It's never been clear where it sits alongside 'traditional' Crestron solutions and what it's use cases are.

I've now dealt with Pyng on 4 or 5 projects, with one caveat on the focus of this article.  Pyng can do limited, but quite successful, control of climate, security and audio systems. I do not have any experience with these elements on Pyng (as part of the point of them is that they do not need the involvement of a CSP like me).  So, this article is purely focused on the lighting control element of Pyng (blinds are now here, but I haven't yet worked with those and Pyng (though have done some integration via a full-fat Crestron processor and Lutron QS blinds)).

So, Pyng lighting? What can it do for installers, what can it do for homeowners and what can experienced CSPs like myself make it do?

Pyng lighting for installers

Roughly speaking, the system consists of the PYNG-HUB which can have 200 devices hooked up to it (via CresNET cabling, Ethernet or InfiNET wireless (additional wireless gateways may be needed in larger systems)). 

The system is configured via a web-browser or (even easier) via the dedicated iPad App.

The huge advantage for installers is speed and ease of deployment. Honestly, having programmed lighting systems since 1997, I am blown away by just how fast and easy it is to confgiure.

Whilst most of my interactions with Pyng are covered below in terms of integration elements, I have commissioned a fairly large system for a client (primarily as their own engineering resources were spread thin; I subsequently taught a couple of their engineers how to configure Pyng (takes about 10 minutes to get the gist!) and they have now deployed other systems successfully).  It was deploying that system that urged me to write this article. The system was a large townhouse in St James Park area with around 150 circuits, 55 keypads and a dozen occupancy sensors.  I had a substantially complete system with keypads doing 4 scenes and off inside of a day.  A day! I know how long that would take me in other systems, and it would be substantially more time-consuming than that!

Commissioning is a dream.  It's going to become even easier going forwards.  Currently, Pyng can only be configured on-site live. However, there are already efforts to produce wiring documentation for electricians (this is an area where Pyng is currently weak) and have that ready to deploy the configuration at the push of a button (this will all happen via the mycrestron portal - it is getting there, but currently misses out DIN rail modules etc. we use a lot over here).

Commissioning is also all live - you create a scene live in the room and assign a button to recall that scene. Boom - no compiling, no uploading, that scene is on the button already - it's like magic.  I'll cover some of the scene-setting etc. below, but it is just astonishing when you've spent probably months of your life (and I don't think I am exaggerating) waiting for software to compile and upload to systems.

Can anyone configure a Pyng lighting system? No is my honest answer. You still need a logical, methodical approach to these successfully commission a system and these are things that can not easily be taught.   However, certainly once commissioned, virtually anyone is more than capable of modifying scenes and creating the mood that is desired.

I can not rave more about what a joy the system is to commission.  It will completely change your approach to lighting control and make it a very profitable area of business.

Are there limitations? Yes (and not simply the limit on number of devices).  Currently, Pyng lighting can not handle DALI loads.  DALI has become increasingly prevelant on projects (I probably see it on around 50% of large residential projects these days).  DMX control (though less common) is also a bit of a challenge within Pyng.

Whether you are using it as part of a larger Crestron system or a standalone lighting system, I think it is currently one of the most interesting options on the market and I look forward to seeing it develop further.

Pyng lighting for homeowners

So what does Pyng offer your clients?  First and foremost, control! 

Not every client is going to want to sit there tweaking scenes themselves, but quite a high proportion will.  Even if you as the installer make the changes for them, the fact that you do not need a 'programmer' to come and change the level of circuit XYX from 70% to 60% (and the associated cost for that) is a massive benefit.

The homeowner can edit and create scenes in a number of ways - either through the dedicated Pyng App, the web interface or from any in-wall/desktop Crestron touchscreen (that can run Smart Graphics objects (i.e. anything installed in the last 4 years or so)).

You don't need to worry about them messing things up beyond belief.  You can store your 'gold' image on your cloud account and push that back down to the system at any time.

The homeowner can add or edit scheduled events as they wish and a whole raft of other options available to them.

Of course, you do not have to expose these options to the homeowner and there are plenty of homeowners who will have no interest in this element.  They just want a lighting system that works. Pyng does that as well as any other system out there but with vastly reduced commissioning time.

Pyng also has some considerable data recording options that can work on a room-by-room basis and allow you, the homeowner, or their staff to see which rooms have had lighting turned on for how long that week/month etc.  This can help spot any rooms that might benefit from occupancy sensing and other energy saving measures.

Where does Pyng sit in larger Crestron systems?

As described earlier, many Pyng systems are not going to involve anything outside of the Pyng eco-system. It will be entirely possible for installers to create and commission some quite capable systems entirely from the Pyng app and have no involvement from a CSP or other Crestron programmer.

Does that worry me? No, not really. I have never been involved in the smaller 'cookie-cutter' type projects and it actually pleases me that Crestron have created a proper solution to deliver high quality home control that does not need a programmer to commission it. My own business is always focused on the highly customised solutions for larger properties and whilst I expect to see more Pyng lighting in those, overall, these systems will continue to be predominantly full-fat Crestron at the front end.

However, I do expect to see more and more Pyng lighting on projects and this is a good thing. It's easy from my perspective to offer homeowners an incredibly rich user experience that puts them in total control of their lighting. Without any additional coding, we are able to offer elements such as scene editing and individual load controls that would previously have added considerable cost and complexity onto a project budget.

I am also seeing a considerable number of projects where updating old D3-based systems with Pyng is being considered. I've already dealt with one project where this has happened and the end-user (a well-known TV presenter) was beyond delighted with not having to call the integrator in to make simple lighting changes.

Pyng integrates beautifully with full Crestron systems (and other systems via the REST API that will be released from beta soon) and we can create functionality way beyond the capabilities of Pyng as a standalone system.  

Anything that can be done from the full Crestron system can be offered as a trigger from the Pyng system.  So whether that is something simple like offering control of a third party blind system from a Pyng keypad (we've done this with Lutron QS blinds on several projects already) or something much more complex, then it can be done.  We have stacked Pyng keypad buttons with lighting actions and external actions such as turning audio off in the room.

It works the other way around just as easily and a Crestron system can recall a scene from Pyng easily. Typically global lighting scenes such as 'house off' need to be actioned when leaving the house and this can be triggered from a Crestron system along with turning the audio-visual systems off and putting the BMS into an away mode. That can be triggered from a Crestron touchscreen, an App, VUI from Alexa or a million and one other possibilities.

Summary

Pyng is the real deal and Crestron have made a world-beating lighting control system that offers huge benefits to both homeowners and installers. It is hugely powerful and enables any installer to deploy quite large systems in a matter of hours rather than days.

Whilst a programmer arguing for a system that doesn't require a programmer could be seen as a turkey voting for Christmas, I see the bigger picture for the industry, Crestron and myself.  The quality of deployment in smaller systems should be consistently high and will help Crestron develop a stronger reputation in that sector.  I do believe that homeowners will love the flexibility that Pyng offers and will reduce frustrations in the long term life-cycle of the systems.

Yes, I lose a reasonable chunk of turnover that was generated by programming lighting systems, but it allows me to focus on other areas and create even better solutions for my clients and their end-clients. 

I urge you to talk to your rep if you have Crestron lighting based on D3 either in existing projects or on forthcoming projects (in my opinion, unless there are restrictions due to size or the use of DALI, then it is completely the wrong path to use D3 on systems going forwards).

I am always available to talk through systems and work with you to see how we can help you deploy Pyng systems and integrate those with larger Crestron systems. Please contact us via the details here.