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Crestron Electronics is a manufacturer and distributor of audiovisual automation and integration equipment based in Rockleigh, New Jersey. The company designs, manufactures, and distributes equipment used to control technology in commercial audiovisual environments such as meeting spaces, conference rooms, classrooms and auditoriums; Crestron equipment is also used for high-end residential audiovisual installations.
Crestron is deeply involved with the Mercedes Petronas-AMG F1 Team, designing and implementing its communications infrastructure that spans continents. It plays a central role in transmitting data between the cars, paddock, and race headquarters during Grand Prix races around the world.
How did the relationship between Crestron and Mercedes Petronas-AMG F1 Team come about?
They have been a Crestron customer previously, so this project was more an expansion of a partnership rather than a new one. The team had an issue getting everyone on the team to be able to collaborate in real-time with real-time data and AV content, so they did due diligence to find a solution à arrived at Crestron
What were Crestron’s priorities when setting up what amounts to the Mercedes F1 operation’s nervous system?
The more important item here is Mercedes’ priorities, not Crestron’s. Their focus was on high-quality, lossless audio and video content, consistency of experience across distance, reliability from any location, integration into existing collaboration systems (Msft Teams).
How does the Mercedes project differ from other ones the company has been involved with?
Not really at all – that’s the value. What Crestron has solved for with Mercedes, they have solved for with all their customers in enterprise, higher education, sports, etc. Mercedes takes collaboration needs to the extreme in terms of lossless content, real-time collaboration, but these are pretty universal needs in any organization. That’s kind of the core of the story here – the challenges an F1 team faces in terms of visual collaboration and data-sharing are universal, and Crestron solves for them anywhere.
What are some of the challenges involved in setting up the IT infrastructure for a top Formula 1 team?
The AV & Collaboration industry, Crestron included, has moved towards more IT-centric set ups than before. This allows customers like a Formula 1 team to leverage their existing IT infrastructures to deploy, use, and manage their AV & collaboration tools.
From a collaboration perspective, Crestron’s alignment with Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which Mercedes uses, allows a consistency of management, user experience, and scale.
Different points/people in the network probably have different needs. For example, engineers in Brackley vs the various race engineers in the paddock and attached to each driver. Can you discuss that?
What Crestron enables is the right people having the right information, right when they need it. It’s not so much about what exactly that information is, and more about the quality of that information, how quickly and accurately it can be communicated, and how it can inform real-time decision-making.
How would you define Crestron’s role in Mercedes F1?
Crestron is part of the backbone that helps the team compete before, during, and after races by facilitating real-time, lossless collaboration and data-sharing across distances of any length, whether its an office down the hall or a racetrack across the world.
Bigger picture. What was the ultimate goal when setting up Mercedes’ infrastructure, beyond simply the installation of hardware?
Crestron hardware and software are ultimately a means to an end for Mercedes, with the goal of getting the right people the right information, right when they need it. This is the same goal Crestron aims for with every customer.
IMAGE CREDIT: NASA.