Project Name: The Gryphon
Project Location: 1337 Connecticut Ave DC, United States
Award: Integration Awards 2013 Honorable Mention
Five years ago, Washington, D.C.-based integrator Casaplex designed a Crestron-centric control solution for a new bar in that city’s trendy Dupont Circle neighborhood. Fast-forward to last fall when those same bar owners were looking to open another haunt in the same area, and they returned to Casaplex to integrate the new establishment’s A/V system.
Much like they did previously, Casaplex designed a solution utilizing a Crestron DigitalMedia HD video switching system and a customized interface to facilitate control of the 31 different TVs throughout the new Gryphon Lounge’s space under a unified system. The switcher allows bar managers to select which of 18 different sources is shown on each television, and a Crestron V15 panel enables staff to select the channels for each display, and the system can also be controlled by iPad. A three-zone audio system was also installed, featuring JBL Pro speakers, Crown amplifiers and BSS sound processing, all of which fall under the same control system.
The customized interface that Casaplex designed for The Gryphon was an evolution of the system they designed for that previous job, Public Bar. It works so well, Casaplex has named it Autom8 and is developing a brand around it, targeting it at the service industry.
“Takes about 15 minutes to teach them,” says Derek Goldstein, principal and CEO of Casaplex. “It’s pretty incredible. We’ve also created some videos on how it works, so that helps as well.”
They have tweaked the Autom8 system over the years and have continued to expand and deepen its capabilities. It’s designed to be operated by restaurant hosts and managers, and its intuitive touch panel interface works similarly to the highly visual format of Open Table, the online system that restaurants use to accept reservations and to manage seating.
Intelligent Backend Management
Casaplex built their system on a Crestron backbone for one reason: “The flexibility of control. We knew that we could design anything we wanted,” Goldstein says. “We knew we were going to be controlling many different subsystems, not just the A/V… [and a] sports bar is definitely not the type of place you want the control system to go down in the middle of a game,” he says.
The Crestron DM is also a critical component of Autom8, and Goldstein says they settled on it after experimenting with cheaper systems that ended up being more expensive in the long run with troubleshooting and service calls. Goldstein says the DM relies on redundant power supplies and notifies a technician when one of those supplies is interrupted, just part of a larger back-end management system that automatically opens up tickets when the equipment realizes there is a problem.
“Just having that ability to monitor everything from the temperature to certain devices not connecting to the control system, we have all that intelligence reporting back to our support ticketing system,” Goldstein says.