AVTE has a brief encounter with Robin van Meeuwen to discuss his career at Crestron, how AV has evolved and what he likes to do when not working for a billion dollar company
Hi Robin. When did you first become involved with Crestron?
A long, long time ago! It was some 27 years ago when I first got introduced to Crestron, through my father who brought home these interesting touchpanels and control systems from the USA. Seven years later I joined the company.
How has the company evolved since this time?
When I joined 20 years ago, we were with some 50 people in the US and four people in Europe working from a home office. Today we are with more than 4,000 people globally, with 376 people and 18 offices now in EMEA.
More specifically, how has your portfolio evolved?
Evolving from the touchpanel and control system business, we gradually started offering the complete end-to-end solution. It was borne out of the fact that we needed to guarantee the end user a fully functional reliable system. The front end was our technology, but often the backbone wasn’t. When the system didn’t work correctly, our engineers would be called out to fix other manufacturers problems because we had our name on the system. The vision was always to broaden our product portfolio and offer the complete end-to-end solution.
What products are proving the most popular at Crestron today?
Digital Media grew to become the most successful product range ever made and represents 60 per cent of revenue. This most significant product still remains extremely popular.
Why is that?
When it was launched it bridged the analog world to the digital world. It was so unique and no one in the industry had what we had. You could combine analog devices with digital, and we managed to solve tricky HDMI issues. It was like magic and Digital Media is still key to our business.
What advice would you give to businesses investing in AV?
Make sure you choose a complete end to end solution, rather than one made of different boxes plugged in. Avoid this ‘mix and match solution’. On paper it might save money, but in reality it compromises user friendliness and crucially, reliability.
Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?
Because I travel a lot, I love spending time with my family. I do a lot of exercise, go to the gym, run, and occasionally play golf. I love to cook, and am happy take on this duty at the weekends when I’m not travelling and have more time.
Finally, tell us something about yourself, which might surprise people?
I studied to be a pilot 12 years ago. It gives me an enormous sense of joy and freedom, which is a welcoming feeling to destress in today’s busy life. It means I am never late for my business meetings too.