Technology Integrator Top Talent Under 40: Crystal Watts, Control4
In a brief survey, we asked our Technology Integrator Top Talent Under 40 honoree to answer a few questions about themselves and about the industry. To see the full list of winners, click here.
Part 1: Profile Questions
Name: Crystal Watts
Title and company:
- Manager, Marketing Communications, Control4
- Editor, Home Smart Home Magazine
Brief description of your role there: I live in a world filled with copy and creativity. As a magazine editor, I get to tell stories about how home automation is transforming lives by covering amazing homes around the world, as well as the things we can do with automation, like control fireplaces, pool speakers, dog doors, wine racks, and more. When I’m not telling those stories, I manage a team of exceptional writers who do it for me. As a marketing communications leader to my incredibly talented peers, I oversee our social media strategy, play an integral part in campaign development, manage the brand voice, and create compelling copy for all marketing collateral, day-in and day-out.
Years in industry: 6
Where you grew up: West Jordan, Utah
Where you live now: Riverton, Utah
College: University of Utah
Accomplishments and why those are important to you or your company:
- Being a mom to two very intelligent, sprightly young people will forever be my greatest accomplishment. As a working mother, I have learned to push myself harder to succeed in all facets of my life.
- My internship at KSL Television taught me how to interview and be interviewed. In fact, the most challenging interview of my entire life was going against dozens of others vying for this internship.
- I worked for International Sports Broadcasting (ISB) during the Olympic Winter Games; this short jaunt immersed me in new cultures, as I worked directly with diverse people from all over the globe.
- I’ve previously written for five national magazines, Luxury Living, Luxury Golf & Travel, MillionAir, and Player & Nicklaus, which gave me the tools and the experience needed to later succeed as an editor.
- Industry awards:
2014 CE Pro Quest for Quality: Social Media (Gold)
2015 CE Pro Quest for Quality: Social Media (Silver)
2016 CE Pro Quest for Quality: Social Media (Gold)
2017 CE Pro Quest for Quality: Social Media (Gold)
2018 CE Pro Quest for Quality: Social Media (Silver)
Part 2: Fun Questions
What I like best about my job: Outside of what I do day-to-day (which is generally a ton of fun), I also get to give back to my community. I am a member of our internal, non-profit, company-governed program called 4Thought. Our small group participates in service work (such as delivering Meals on Wheels, gardening for domestic violence shelters, gathering clothing and essentials for refugees, etc.), hosts fundraising events, and provides contributions to better the lives of individuals and families during times of need.
What I like least about my job: Sometimes our team gets so heads-down in their own work that we begin to silo ourselves. It’s something we are always working to improve upon. With our most recent launch (#C4Yourself Day and the Control4 Certified Showroom program), we were really forced to work in unison — and we did so successfully, functioning like a well-oiled machine. It’s always great to reflect on the work we do as a collective whole.
Favorite pastime/hobby: Traveling: I’m a sucker for seeing new places and experiencing different parts of the world, both near and far. My family and I are attempting to instill that passion into our children as well — we do a family vacation every year before Christmas instead of buying gifts, and last year we were even brave enough to take them to Italy. Navigating a stroller over many of the 400 bridges in Venice proved challenging, but we nailed it. My motto is: “Experiences over things.” I suppose it’s that mentality that also makes me so passionate about Control4, where we focus on smart home experiences vs. disparate devices.
Last book I read: I have the attention span of a gnat. It’s likely because I’m constantly reading marketing collateral, so books are not my thing right now. I think the last “book” I read was one I had to edit for work purposes.
Favorite movie: Night at the Roxbury and Schindler’s List. Wow, talk about two ends of a genre continuum.
Best concert ever seen: Eric Clapton. Hands down.
Who’s my hero, and why: My mother is my hero. Simply put, she kicks ass. By day, she was an animal in the workforce and by night, our biggest cheerleader.
Favorite new tech: My Amazon Echo is my favorite new tech: I love telling Alexa to put my house to sleep, and my kids love telling her to fart or beatbox. It’s a win-win.
If you could be anyplace else right now, where would it be and what would you be doing?: I can’t wait to travel to Aruba with my family and our close friends, it’s our next vacation and it can’t come soon enough.
Part 3: More Serious Questions
What do you think is the major problem with the industry today, and what needs to be done to fix it?
For a long time, it was a challenge to convey to homeowners what we can actually do in their homes. There hasn’t been a great way to demonstrate multi-room audio, lighting scenes, voice control, etc. But, with our newly-announced Control4 Certified Showroom program with over 140 showrooms worldwide, almost any homeowner can now experience how a smart home works—and not just one-off DIY smart devices, but a truly orchestrated smart home environment. They need to understand how Control4 helps to streamline mundane tasks, while adding more peace of mind, comfort, and enjoyment into the home. Without a live demonstration, homeowners tend to be skeptical of an automated home, having only really been acquainted with DIY devices displayed in stores. These showrooms help dealers make the connection with homeowners that life is truly better when everything works together; a tagline we’ve used for years and stand behind.
What makes you believe the CI industry will get healthier and thrive during the next five years? (Or maybe you think it won’t.) Why? (Please give examples and be specific.)
Industry reports and market trends forecast an ever-increasing demand for smart home technology. Integrating smart technology into new homes is becoming more of an expected feature these days, rather than the desired upgrade, and interest in voice control and on-demand remote accessibility is continuously on the upswing. While I believe we’ll see constant growth, there is always a need to educate homeowners that custom installation is a refined skill, of which our industry (and Control4) takes very seriously. People need to see CI through the same glasses they do when they hire a plumber, electrician, or any other professional service in the home.