Brands That Communicate Win

To combat this onslaught of mediocrity, we all need to remind our customers how much enjoyment quality AV gear can provide.

Video Consistency: Entertainment Flexibility … Viewing Becomes Personal

The good thing is, every network/station is getting their shows up to 4K as quickly as possible to capture even more eyeballs (ad dollars), so when you get your UHD TV set, you'll have plenty of content.

Installing Central Vacuum Systems

For both the consumer and builder, the central vacuum system adds value to the home, which means a builder has a high margin upgrade that he can build into the price of a home. The builder also has a competitive advantage over other builders who don't install central vacs.

Piper packs security cam, home automation hub into one slick package

Webcams were one of the forerunners of the current Internet of Things boom, allowing smartphone-toting geeks to keep an eye on the office or homestead while out and about. Piper (starting at US$239), powered by iControl Networks, is targeted at the homeowner who wants a solution that provides both visually- and physically-based security by combining a security camera, Z-Wave home automation hub, and an iOS app into one nice-looking package. Let's take a look. Design Highlights My first thought when I pulled the Piper out of the box was that it should come in yellow so it could look like one of the minions in  Despicable Me . There's a big "eye" on the upper front of the unit, which has a curvaceous eye-shaped cross section as well. The unit is about 6.25 inches (15.88 cm) tall, about 2 inches (5.08 cm) thick and about 3.5 inches (8.89 cm) wide. It comes in either white or black, with a perforated gray plastic piece on top. Full Review:

ISC West Largest Security Trade Show of the Year

SC West 2014, produced by ISC Events and sponsored by the Security Industry Association (SIA), attracted record attendance this year with more than 26,000 industry professionals attending the three-day exposition, which was held at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas April 2-4.  Attendees enjoyed direct access to tens of thousands of products from more than 1,000 exhibiting companies and brands while maintaining its intimate, friendly approach with small industry and association gatherings, receptions and a show floor designed to group products and technologies together. A strong sense of community prevailed within the 2014 edition of ISC West, which was the largest since 2007 and the second largest in the history of the show.  "Exhibitors and attendees alike told us that ISC West 2014 was the best show they have seen in many years," said Ed Several, senior vice president at ISC Events. "ISC Events witnessed record attendance, even more show floor area and, most importantly, a valuable view of all that the industry offers. Our exhibitors indicated their appreciation with higher renewals for next year. This year's event was a great balance between seeing all the latest technologies and products in one place while being able to network at all of the many industry and association events. As always, we thank the security industry for showing such confidence in ISC West, and we thank the Security Industry Association for their hard work and support." 

Prodea Systems Enters Home-Automation Fray

 Family-owned Prodea Systems has developed a white-label mass-market home-automation system that, unlike competing systems, integrates control of home systems, networked A/V content, and third-party streaming and download services in one hub. The systems, content and services are controlled from a single app running on iOS and Android devices or from a computer. The company’s Residential Operating System (ROS) “protocol-agnostic” platform also connects to home health-care devices and telemedicine services, and it offers low-cost home VoIP phone service. In the U.S., the Richardson, Texas-based company is targeting what it called “emerging” service providers and retailers, which could market their own private-label systems with recurring subscription revenues shared with Prodea. “Recurring services are an extremely high-margin business,” said Andrew Tauhert, marketing and business development executive VP.

CEA Reports Continued Growth in Wireless, Multi-Room Audio System Sales

Nearly one in five (16 percent) consumers owns a portable wireless speaker, according to research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The study, Consumer Perspectives on Wireless Multi-Room and Portable Audio Solutions, explores the satisfaction levels among current owners of wireless multi-room audio (MRA) and portable audio solutions; which features are most important to consumers; and the future purchase intent for non-owners.  Currently, one in ten consumers own a wireless MRA product, but nearly half of non-owners (44 percent) indicate interest in owning one. Portable wireless speakers, such as Bluetooth speakers, are also poised for growth, as 28 percent of consumers plan to purchase a related product in the next two years.  Overall, nearly all owners of both wireless MRA products and portable wireless speakers report that they are happy with their products. Additionally, 91 percent of wireless MRA product owners and 85 percent of portable wireless speaker owners would recommend their products to someone else. 

ISC West 2014 Tradeshow Report

ISC West is the security industry's premier launching pad for new products, solutions and technologies. 26,000 security professionals attend the show to view the 10,000+ products featured on its show floor and attend business critical education sessions on the newest technologies in security.

ISC West News Report

News and product announcements from ISC West 2014

ISC West 2014 Underway in Las Vegas, NV.

Taking place April 2nd - 4th in Las Vegas, Nevada ISC West is the largest physical security show in North America featuring over 1,000 exhibitors in one place over a 3 day period.  ISC West is the security industry’s premier launching pad for new products, solutions and technologies.  26,000 security professionals attend the show to view the 10,000+ products featured on its show floor and attend business critical education sessions on the newest technologies in security.  As a media partner for ISC West 2014 HomeToys.com will be bringing all the industry news and exciting new products to our eMagazine to help our readers make sense of the massive event. Click here for our Special ISC West 2014 Newspage. Check out our ISC West tradeshow report here.

Launched On Kickstarter, Musaic Promises Hi-Fi Music And Home Automation

Compact wireless HiFi systems are pretty common these days, but what is less common is startups thinking more deeply about how the same systems could move into home automation and the Internet of Things. That’s the implication behind a new system launched by device startup Musaic, recently launched on Kickstarter.   It now plans to go up against much bigger audio-based companies, such as Bose. It’s speakers system is, to some extend, a Trojan Horse for it’s IoT platform.   Musaic is a new kind of HiFi system made up of wireless speakers, which also cleverly extends into home automation, and is able to deliver high quality 24 Bit content over not just Bluetooth but also Wifi.   But it’s the IoT realm that Musaic has its eyes on, with its system able to be associated with connect e lighting systems and other home automation devices. It’s already joined the industry association called the AllSeen Alliance, run by the Linux Foundation, alongside others such as Qualcomm, HTC, AT&T and many others. It can already control dimmers, bulbs and switches from the lighting brand LightwaveRF. And it’s working closely with LIFX and WigWag (both Kickstarter successes) on integrating their products. The company was started in May 2013 by a team comprising of experienced audio industry people draw from the Cambridge UK high tech cluster.  

Why Nest's valuation is higher than Opower's: Hardware, consumers, the home

Opower and Nest might not be direct competitors, but over the years they have quietly competed in key areas, namely building software for connected energy-efficient thermostats and focusing on energy data and algorithms. Opower even lists Nest as a “key competitor” in its latest filing. But now that Opower is going public and Nest has been bought by Google, it’s interesting to see the two companies’ disparate valuations. Nest was sold to Google for $3.2 billion. According to Opower’s latest filing, at the midpoint of Opower’s price range at $18 per share, the company has a market value of $854 million. Earlier in the month (before pricing their range) they had an enterprise valuation of $775.8 million. So, roughly speaking, Nest was valued at over three times (and almost four times) what Opower will be worth when it starts trading.   Full Article:

ExtremeUSB®: An overview of this patented USB extension technology.

As versatile as USB may be, it is restricted to an operational distance limitation of 5 meters for USB 1.1/2.0 and approximately 3 meters for USB 3.0. This persistent drawback to USB functionality was resolved by the introduction of ExtremeUSB®.

Professional Installer's Guide to IP Networking, Part 4

While this is a far from comprehensive list, hopefully it provides a good overview of how to go about selecting which wireless technologies are best for your various client applications.

Pairing Access Control and Video

In a commercial setting, users need to keep track of who's coming, who's going, and where they go.

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Featured Product

PureLink - HCE III TX/RX: 4K HDR over HDBaseT Extension System w/ Control and Bi-Directional PoE

PureLink - HCE III TX/RX: 4K HDR over HDBaseT Extension System w/ Control and Bi-Directional PoE

The HCE III Tx/Rx HDBaseT™ extension system offers full HDMI 2.0 compliance supporting HDR (High Dynamic Range) and 4K@60Hz with 4:4:4 chroma sampling. Featuring PureLink's proprietary Pr©cis codec, a light compression technology, the HCE III can transport Ultra HD/4K, multi-channel audio, and High Dynamic Range (10 bits support) content over a single CATx cable. The HCE III provides HDMI extension up to 130 feet (40 meters) at Ultra HD/4K and up to 230 ft. (70 meters) at 1080p over category cable with embedded multi-channel audio, CEC pass-through, bi-directional RS-232 and IR control, and PoE - all with zero loss and zero noise. The HCE III Tx/Rx also supports Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD Master Audio plus LCPM (up to 192 kHz). Additionally, the low profile "slim box" enclosure design make the HCE III ideal for limited space installation environments, such as behind flat panel displays and video walls.