How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?
You mean to say how I got involved with Crestron? I was involved in the audio visual industry from a very young age. My father represented various American audio visual manufacturers and helped them set up their business in Europe by setting up distributors. One of those manufacturers was Crestron and after finishing university, I worked in the European Union for 5 years. When having a lot of experience dealing with the many different cultures and growing within that organisation, my father asked me if I would join him and start Crestron in the UK. Such a challenge and opportunity I couldn’t turn down. And as the saying goes, the rest is history!
If you are referring to Crestron and smart buildings, Crestron started as a specialist audio visual control system manufacturer. As our experience grew, and the importance to connect to other devices within the room. Gradually it become more and more important to tie in other disciplines like lighting and environmental controls which led on to developing hardware and software for Smart buildings.
What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?
There are endless opportunities in so many vertical markets. From private homes and hotels, to government buildings, and corporates. The importance to manage and control their facilities and keep an eye on the environmental impact is on top of the agenda. This gives us so many opportunities.
Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?
I cannot comment. We have a very strict R&D roadmap which we keep under wraps. We do always keep an eye on technological trends, but our company was founded on the principle of setting the trends.
What services does Crestron offer?
We offer a full range of hardware to manage, control and distribute audio, video, and computer networks, lighting control, HV/AC control. This is tied together with our own developed management software called Fusion. Fusion is the platform software which allows all the devices to be managed and monitored.
What are the benefits of a smart building?
There are endless benefits, but the hot topic is efficiency. Efficiency in use of the technology, energy and people’s time. Our systems are easy to operate, have minimal down time due to the smart monitoring provided by Fusion.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
There are not just one person who has been influential during the course of my career. My father gave me the opportunity to start off with and was there to support and advise me in the first 10 years in the business. Today I get a lot of support and advice from the company CEO, Randy Klein. We always joke about how long we’ve known each other, and he always says: “I’ve known Robin since the days he was wearing nappies.” That always makes a good start to any meeting we have together when meeting a customer!
What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?
Where do you get your energy from?
What are the best/worst things about your job?
The best thing in my job is that it is so varied. You never know what the day will bring. The worst thing is that the days pass so quickly and there is never enough time.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Always give it 110%. Build long term trusting relationships with your customers. Follow up on your promises. Never give up.
What living person do you admire and why?
Richard Branson. I love what he stands for, his philanthropic approach to business, his intellect, his modesty, always seeking adventure. Never standing still and always evolving, moving forward.
Where would you most like to live?
So many different places. I love the tropics, Maldives, Caribbean, Florida. But I love London and New York too. I could live in a combination of any of these.
What is your favourite book?
Oh so many. I love all the Freakonomics books. Truly inspiring. Currently I am reading: “What got you here won’t get you there” by Marshall Goldsmith. Very interesting and inspiring.
How do you relax?
Sports. I love my morning workout. Love going out for a nice meal, and cooking for the family. Must always be accompanied with a nice glass of wine.
What sports team do you support?
Love Formula 1 and a big fan of the Ferrari team and support Lewis Hamilton because he is the best driver of the current generation.
What is your desert island disk?
Jack Johnson, In Between Dreams.
What is your ideal holiday?
Being with my family and enjoy and active holiday: Skiing; water sports: like surfing, swimming, sailing, snorkelling, diving all coupled with nice food and good wine.