CRESTRON HOME VS. SAVANT HOME VS. JOSH.AI: WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
If you’re in the market for your first home automation system, or if you are considering upgrading your current system, you probably have questions that are best answered by a professional AV integrator.
AV Enthusiast is a dealer for Crestron Home, Savant Home, and Josh.ai. But what are the differences between these products and the more popular off-the-shelf DIY automation products such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home? Well, it’s pretty simple, really: quality, reliability, privacy, security, and cost. Professionally-installed systems make a huge difference in all of these areas. And truly, the only downside to the systems we install is the cost – and you will find that these systems are well worth padding your budget to accommodate them.
So, what are the differences between Crestron Home, Savant Home, and Josh.ai? All three of them are home automation systems, with Crestron being the “forefather” of the industry. So let’s talk about Crestron Home first.
CRESTRON AS THE GRANDDADDY OF AV AUTOMATION
Founded in 1972 by George Feldstein, Crestron has been the leader in commercial room automation from the beginning. Mr. Feldstein began with the automation of slide projectors and blinds in conference rooms, advancing by 1990 to the production of a two-way RF touchscreen for room control. From there, Crestron evolved as the industry leader in conference room and large-venue automation, while shrewdly stepping into the home automation arena as it grew throughout the latter decades of the 20th century and into the new millennium. Until recently, Crestron smart homes were completely programmed “from scratch,” using complex computer code that required very skilled programmers to set up the many possible functions that can be performed. With the successful launch of its premier smart home operating system, Crestron Home, in September 2019, the company cemented its leadership in the field.
The major advantage of using Crestron Home is that it can still be programmed manually, giving it almost endless capabilities for customization according to the desires of the homeowner (requiring a skilled programmer and additional programming time, of course). This also makes it well-suited to the automation of a mansion-sized home or a one-room solution like a home theater.
Its rather significant upside is that Crestron manufactures most of its own products in the USA, aside from devices such as TV’s, source equipment and surround receivers. If you select as many Crestron products as possible from their vast array of home automation products, you’ll be assured from the onset that every component has been engineered to work together cohesively, rather than attempting to make multiple products from multiple manufacturers with opposing design philosophies work together.
Another important feature of Crestron Home is that it is very secure, as Crestron’s heritage comes from being one of the few companies that is certified to be used in highly classified government facilities.
So what is the downside? Some competitors may try to make you believe that Crestron Home does not work with 3rd party companies. That is simply not true. However, much like Apple, Crestron does hold very high standards that must be met in order for a driver to be allowed into the Crestron system. This keeps “rotten fruit” from ruining the entire system and user experience.
SAVANT FOCUSES ON RESIDENTIAL AUTOMATION
While Crestron lagged in the adoption of an operating system for home automation well into the millennium, Savant was nipping at its heels, so to speak. Founded in 2005 by a team of telecom engineers and business leaders, it was born into a vastly different technological environment than Crestron was. The world was just two years away from the introduction of the first iPhone in June 2007, and the launch of its App Store in July 2008. Those two innovations alone changed the world forever and integrated extremely well into the home automation market. So it was intuitive for Savant to build its home automation software technology on the Apple® technology platform, basing its system on a dedicated operating system and the use of an app for the iPhone. They also chose to focus solely on home automation technology, leaving automation solutions for businesses in the faithful hands of Crestron.
Savant offers the same basic home automation capabilities as Crestron but has distinguished itself in several areas.
First, it offers a unique home capture feature that no other brand has. With the press of a few buttons, the homeowner can capture every “live” system setting, as if taking a photo. Those settings can then be saved, to be recalled and used at any time.
Second, it has stepped boldly into the field of smart home power management. The company became an industry superstar several years ago when it introduced its game-changing power management system. This eco-friendly, scalable system allows the homeowner to easily monitor every aspect of power production and usage trends via the Savant App, in addition to controlling circuits in the breaker box and managing solar, battery, or generator backup sources. In fact, on June 21, 2023, Savant took another step up in this field when they launched their new ESS (energy storage system), simply dubbed Savant Power Storage. It can operate as a stand-alone unit or as part of an end-to-end Savant Power System.
JOSH.AI OFFERS UNPRECEDENTED VOICE CONTROL
Josh.ai, on the other hand, is the “newest kid on the block,” so to speak, of these three companies. Having been founded in 2015, it is actually quite a “different animal” than Crestron Home or Savant Home, nonetheless being installed in conjunction with either of those two systems in many cases. However, it was originally engineered to be a stand-alone, voice-controlled home automation system that can integrate with nearly all third-party DIY smart devices that may be installed in your home.
The company grew out of the owners’ own frustrations during renovations of their personal residences. As medium.com states, “Their vision was to build an innovative and elegantly designed home AI that eliminated the antiquated hurdles that had hindered smart home adoption to date.”
Alex Capecelatro and Tim Gill decided to collaborate in the development of a residentially-focused artificial-intelligence-driven, voice-controlled platform with a well-trained responder that would be intelligent, responsive, and able to learn its owners’ commands. Going even further, they wanted conversations with that responder to feel very friendly, as if speaking with a trusted companion – thus their decision to develop their system using natural language processing (NLP), and to name the company after Tim’s beloved family dog, Josh.
As is also the case with Savant Home, Josh.ai was built on the Apple® platform, with its first iteration (released in 2016) being a software-only experience loaded onto a Mac Mini server accompanied by an iPad. Its first hardware product, the Josh Micro, was released in 2017, and is a location-aware far-field microphone array, allowing it to hear you from across the room while simultaneously recognizing what room you are in.
Today, Josh.ai consists of Josh Core, the “brains” of the system, in conjunction with the optimum number of décor-friendly, small-aperture microphone arrays that are placed on the walls or tabletop locations throughout your home. While Josh Micro is about the size of the palm of your hand and comes in both a wall-mount and a tabletop version with touch capabilities, the Josh Nano is slightly larger than a quarter, has a single-tap touch feature, and has a paintable cover which allows it to disappear into your room décor.
Josh.ai will integrate itself with your existing whole-home smart speakers, but you may need to add additional speakers in order to communicate with Josh from anywhere in your home.
While both Crestron Home and Savant Home have voice-control capabilities using a hand-held remote, that pales in comparison to the hands-free conversational voice control capabilities of Josh.ai.
Essentially, if your home is already outfitted with either Crestron Home or Savant Home, Josh.ai can very easily be integrated into it for greatly enhanced and intuitive voice control. You can even change the name of your voice assistant from Josh to whatever name you prefer!
AV ENTHUSIAST CAN HELP YOU MAKE THE BEST DECISION FOR YOUR SITUATION
As you can tell, there are many things to consider when choosing the best professionally-installed home automation system for your situation. In this article, we have simply touched on a few of them. It’s very important to consult with an experienced AV integration professional before you “take a deep dive” into the pool of home automation. At AV Enthusiast, we can prevent you from drowning in information overload on this subject.
A PERFECT WAY TO MAINTAIN YOUR SMART HOME
For the last year, we’ve been testing our new touchless support service, called AVE Care. This service takes system maintenance to a whole new level of support in that your AV technology will be securely monitored 24/7, allowing our support specialists to detect and fix system issues before you even know there is a problem. It will also include automatic software and firmware updates for your system.
As part of this new service, you will be able to choose the level of support (called a service tier) that is best for you, which can include periodic on-site visits that go beyond touchless support, such as cleaning and inspecting all hardware.
AVE Care is the perfect choice to keep your smart home happily humming along day in and day out.
For more information about Crestron Home, Savant Home, Josh.ai, or AVE Care, please contact our office at 256.882.5081 to schedule a consultation with our Lead AV Integrator, Steven Douglas.
Or simply drop by our office at 514 Madison Street, Huntsville, AL. Our office hours are Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM.
We look forward to meeting you!
- Tags: Automated Window Treatments | Automation | AV Enthusiast | AV Integrator | AVE Care | Creston Home | Josh Core | Josh Micro | Josh Nano | Josh_ai | Natural Language Processing | NLP | Savant Home | Savant Power Storage | Savant Power System | smart home | Smart Home Automation | Touch Panel