In Superyacht Technology Digital Magazine, we feature ETO X: the anonymous voice of ETOs. In this edition, we feature Versatile software: Doing more with Crestron.

James Ward from Electric String gave his response.

“The purchase and implementation of an automation system such as Crestron can sometimes be daunting for an ETO. It is often a major part of their budget, has an impact on many other systems on board, and can be difficult to present to an owner. There are also often a number of horror stories which can taint opinions and lead to a reluctance to allocate a lot of time or budget to it too.

The problem is often one of approach; a Crestron system is not an off the shelf item and so the process need to be a partnership arrangement as opposed to a typical buyer/seller relationship. Not giving enough time or effort is usually a false economy and one of the main reasons why automation systems can sometimes not reach their full potential. However, if it is tackled properly then the benefits for an ETO can be almost limitless, bound only by the imagination of what the system is required to achieve.

What we have found at Electric String is that the key aspect of a system – regardless of whether it is for multimedia, automation, monitoring or a combination of these – is the dialogue between integrator and ETO.  In the first instance, this is not just a case of picking hardware but fully understanding the requirements of the operation of the system for the yacht.

The main strength of Crestron is also potentially its biggest weakness; it is completely adaptable and as such, it is like a blank piece of paper.  Because of this, there is the danger of creating a system which is not fit for purpose, not because the system itself is no good, but because it doesn’t do what the ETO requires.

A well designed, fully thought out system not only ensures that the features required are presented in an intuitive, well-managed interface, but also that the system has a built-in capacity to grow and adapt as the requirements of the yacht and ETO do too.

An automation system is not a fit-and-forget operation; it is imperative that the dialogue between integrator and ETO continues post-install and a scheduled maintenance plan is in place to adapt as technology changes and progresses.

Support needs to be a mix of planned scheduled maintenance, reactive assistance, education for crew and regular updates to software and firmware. This can all be achieved by a good ETO/integrator relationship and ensures that the system which is installed is not only installed correctly in the first place but continues to meet and exceed requirements as they change and evolve.”

With special thanks to Electric String