Sept. 22, 2022 - A device like a power distribution unit (PDU) isn't something a client will likely talk much about — it's not the sexiest thing in the system. Even the most avid smart-home enthusiasts likely don't ponder the features and specs of the PDU quietly humming away in their racks. It's a piece of gear that's, well, fundamentally invisible and doing its magic behind the scenes; not top-of-mind at all. But it is one of the most effective and important devices to run your smart home installation more safely: It protects your high-quality AV devices and solves problems in seconds.
Crestron has traditionally taken great pains to ensure that every piece of gear — and its components — sets the standard for reliability. That goes for PDUs — but until recently, the focus had been on solutions for the U.S. market. Enter GUDE and its line of switched and metered, German-made PDUs. "GUDE has very robust power controllers built for the AV market," says Jason Oster, one of Crestron's product managers for residential solutions.
According to Oster, Crestron and GUDE have a key shared value: "Both companies have an unwavering commitment to quality. Both Crestron and GUDE have their own high-performing engineering arms that design robust hardware and test that hardware in the most extreme conditions imaginable."
There's something else at work here, too, according to Philipp Gude, chief sales officer for the company that shares his name. "Crestron Home is one of the fastest growing brands in the smart home industry. GUDE is the fastest-growing brand in the PDU industry for AV. Therefore it's a perfect match."
GUDE has been a manufacturer of reliable power and monitoring solutions for over 30 years. It's a family-owned company that takes pride in creating quality products that optimize and expand infrastructures such as those found in networks, servers, and media racks. "Our product portfolio includes smart power distribution units (PDUs), LAN sensors, and time servers," says Philipp Gude. "Our solutions are designed and manufactured in Germany to meet customers' quality requirements for AV and IT infrastructure performance," he adds. The company philosophy is built into its mission statement, according to Philipp Gude: "Our guiding principle: To delight customers and save time integrating products for AV and IT professionals. We build products that benefit AV and IT experts with less downtime, fast and easy integration, and increased operational reliability."
There are plenty of safety features in these products, too: "Thanks to integrated surge protection, connected consumers are protected from overvoltages due to lightning strikes and other power supply irregularities," says Philipp Gude. Moreover, sensor monitoring ensures the detection of possible overheating before AV devices are harmed. Just by adding a hybrid temperature and humidity sensor to the PDU, users get an alarm before critical overheating occurs."
TYPES OF PDUs
What is a metered and switched PDU?
The GUDE PDUs that are compatible with the Crestron Home® platform are metered and switched PDUs. These active PDUs are intelligent, which means that they feature useful functions in addition to power distribution, such as remote power-cycling, programmable switching routines, sensor monitoring, alarm functionality, and detailed power monitoring of up to nine electrical quantities such as voltage (V), current (A), active power (W), power consumption (kWh), and more.
What is the difference between a metered and switched PDU and an outlet-metered and switched PDU?
Switched and metered PDUs are active power solutions that switch each individual output and measure power in detail on the input side, while outlet-metered and switched PDUs are power solutions that switch each outlet and meter all nine electrical quantities in detail per outlet. By contrast, a passive PDU only distributes the power.
Ease of Integration
Integrating a GUDE PDU is a process familiar to anyone with experience using the Crestron Home platform, according to Oster. "A Crestron dealer can commission a GUDE Power Controller through the Crestron Home Setup app simply by typing in the GUDE IP address," he says. "Then Crestron Home takes it from there by allowing the dealer to easily assign devices in their system to each power outlet, just as if it were a Crestron Power Controller." That concept aligns with another one of GUDE's doctrines: "We try to ensure that an integrator can set up every device in less than five minutes," says Philipp Gude. From there, the installer will have one unified Device Health Dashboard page that offers device power cycling for both integrators and end-users.
Of course, power cycling is just one feature. "We recently added the ability to reboot most Crestron IP devices, and in the next update to the Home platform, that will extend to the Crestron touch screens," says Oster. "That's another upside of this partnership with GUDE: All of the maintenance-related activities can happen in one screen, no matter if it's all Crestron gear or a mixture of Crestron and GUDE power controllers. In the future, we'll add more features, such as displays that report on live power consumption, for example."
Philipp Gude adds: "GUDE‘s IP power strips with switchable power outlets can be smoothly integrated into Crestron Home as well as custom programmed Crestron systems with available free drivers in the Crestron application market, integrators and end users can benefit from quick setup and easy integration."
"As far as a unified solution for our dealers — and their clients — we wanted to have the same great user experience in the app, no matter if they're controlling Crestron or GUDE devices," says Oster. "That's the beauty of this: It's all there in one dashboard location — no need to navigate to a separate PDU extension page for certain maintenance functions.
"'Simple and unified' is what the Crestron Home team is always striving to bring to our dealers."