New subscription-based home automation offerings are rapidly transforming the way consumers will monitor, secure, and control their homes. Long the preserve of more expensive, custom-installed technology, home automation is moving into the mainstream, with companies such as ADT, Comcast, Verizon, Lowe's, and many others all adding home automation to their customer services.
A number of factors are driving the new entrants into the market. Connectivity is one key factor. Not only are there currently high home broadband penetration rates, as well as the potential for embedded cellular connections to connect systems, but also smartphone applications allow consumers to control and check their homes from wherever they are. As connectivity options make the home automation systems more useful, market changes are also making home automation more affordable. A traditional large up-front installation and equipment purchase is increasingly being replaced by monthly subscription offerings - often bundled alongside already existing services.
Tech giant Harris Corp. recently announced its decision to divest itself of its Broadcast Communications division, which includes is digital signage business, but a company spokesman insists the division is continuing "business as usual."
Harris is perhaps best known within the digital signage space for its InfoCaster suite of digital signage products and its 10-year digital out-of-home network deal with 7-Eleven, but the company is perhaps better known outside of the sector as a multibillion dollar communications company specializing in government, defense and commercial contracts.
According to a May 1 Harris announcement, after the close of this quarter, the company has approved the plan to drop Broadcast Communications. "As a result, current and prior period financial results for Broadcast Communications will be reported as discontinued operations beginning with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012," the announcement said.
Even as deployments of smart grid infrastructure have accelerated in recent years, the home energy management (HEM) market has struggled to gain traction. Numerous trials have led to only a few cases of industry deployments and to anemic rates of consumer adoption. According to Pike Research, that is starting to change, and over the remainder of the decade momentum will build in this nascent market. In its new report, Pike Research predicts that the global annual shipments of standalone HEM systems will grow from a quarter million in 2011 to nearly 4.7 million in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.3%.
Combined revenue for all HEM segments will grow from a base of $93 million in 2011 to more than $2 billion in 2020, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts.
The ThruVuâ„˘ Cooler Display System is comprised of (3) major components: 1) the transparent LCD; 2) the LED lighting system and 3) the BoldVu® Video Server.
Manufacturing Resources International (MRI) has introduced the first full-size transparent (seethru) Digital LCD Door for the Convenience and Grocery stores. This "high-performance" Digital LCD Display replaces the entire conventional door glass with a transparent display assembly that allows for normal customer viewing of the product through the glass, but with the ability to run full-motion videos / advertisements / promotions in a "see-through" manner.
According to Peter Kaszycki, VP of Business Development for MRI, "By introducing this new, eye-catching product, advertisers within C-Store now have a creative way to advertise and promote their products at the all important "point of purchase" stage, just as the customer is making their final beverage or product selection from the cooler. In addition, it is real estate that already exists in the crowded C-Store space but is not being effective utilized."
Dolby Announces World's First Implementation of Dolby TrueHD 5.1 in Online Music Distribution Service
Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) announced today that e-onkyo music, the high-quality music distribution service managed by Onkyo Entertainment Technology Corporation, a subsidiary of Onkyo Corporation, will be the first online music distribution service to feature Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound. Expected to launch on May 30, 2012, in Japan and in fall 2012 elsewhere in the world, this service will enable users to download music from 100 album titles (about 1,000 tracks) in Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound. The new Onkyo® A/V receivers (AVR) TX-NR818 and TX-NR717 will support the service.
The e-onkyo music service began in August 2005, with DRM-free music (music without digital copyright protection technology) and DSD format music distribution added in 2010, and featured a high-quality distribution of music by the rock group Queen in 2011. Now, with lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound, the music service will provide consumers with high-quality audio at reduced download times and file sizes.
Nest Labs, Inc. (nest.com) announced today that the Nest® Learning Thermostat™ is now available in more than 500 Lowe's Companies, Inc., (NYSE: LOW) stores across the country, as well as on lowes.com. Lowe's - the second-largest home-improvement retailer in the world - will feature Nest in its new Innovation merchandising displays in-store, which bring the best new products in home improvement to life with interactive end caps. To purchase or check local availability, visit lowes.com.
"There's a natural affinity between Lowe's and Nest," said Erik Charlton, Nest vice president of sales and marketing. "Both companies are committed to supporting DIY-minded customers seeking quality products. Most Nest owners choose to install the Nest Learning Thermostat themselves - and complete installation within 30 minutes - so it makes sense for them to buy from Lowe's, a great retailer that supports its customers' ingenuity and pride in their homes."
Many attendees of this weekend's Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting saw something they'd never seen before: a complete retail store in just 2 sq. ft. of floor space. In contrast to the usual large booths selling products made by Berkshire-owned brands. Richline Group, a Berkshire Hathaway-owned jewelry manufacturer, employed the Vigix vending kiosk to sell commemorative, gold and silver coins, pendants, and money clips. Sales were strong throughout the meeting, achieving an annualized sales per square foot of more than $1,125,000.
The Vigix kiosk, with a footprint of just 2 sq. ft., delivered a convenient retail experience for shoppers, including the ability to browse product information on the kiosk's large touch screen, accept payment for items purchased, and dispense the purchases on the spot. In the words of one happy customer, "It was more convenient than shopping on the web because I got my product immediately. It's the best of both worlds!"
AT&T Inc (T.N) is making a big investment in a nationwide wireless home monitoring service that could potentially add $1 billion to its annual revenue as part of the No. 2 U.S. mobile operator's ongoing effort to expand beyond cell phones.
It is planning a service called "Digital Life" to monitor homes for everything from water damage to burglaries and to let customers remotely do things like adjust temperature or unlock doors, using an Internet connection.
The service, of which AT&T will start trials this year, involves sensors and cameras linked to a central home system that connects wirelessly to AT&T monitoring centers, said Glenn Lurie, the AT&T executive spearheading the project.
Travel Plaza TV, LLC has launched the first nationwide 3D digital signage network accessible to more than 23 million travel plaza customers every month, according to company officials.
"This 3D experience, without glasses, is revolutionary. Customers will be amazed at what they are seeing and advertisers will reap the benefits. 3D is the future, and of course our system will display 2D content as well," said Bill Botte, senior executive vice-president of Travel Plaza TV. Deployment of the specialized 3D screens at over 400 travel plazas across the U.S. will be completed by the end of June.
According to international research firm Parks Associates, 59% of U.S. broadband households want access to on-demand YouTube content through their pay-TV service, with the growing number of smart TVs and connected devices driving interest in online video options. Parks Associates will present new smart TV and connected consumer electronics research, with new content strategies to capture consumer interest and new revenues, at CONNECTIONS™ at TIA 2012, June 5-7 in Dallas, Texas.
Parks Associates reports over 80% of viewers interested in YouTube opt for a free, advertising-based offering, leaving few willing to pay to view YouTube content. However, the research firm notes, YouTube is investing in more original and professional content, with a growing lineup of channels and new functions such as Channel Search. By creating a more TV-like experience, YouTube enhances its value proposition to viewers, advertisers, and pay-TV providers.
HomeOS aims to be a “PC-like abstraction,” where connecting a new light or ceiling fan to the system is as simple as plugging a new mouse into your computer. Users would have an app store for device controls and for finding new devices compatible with their set-ups.
Microsoft Research isn’t the first group to focus on a centralized system for home controls. Standards groups such as Z-Wave and Zigbee Alliance already offer common systems for controlling lights, thermostats, security alarms and other devices. But as Microsoft argues, these systems still don’t allow enough communication between devices, so for instance, you might have a conflict where an energy management system wants to open your windows, while a security system wants to close them. The alternative is to buy a line of products from one company that are designed to work together, but then you’re locked into that company’s devices.
STRATACACHE, a provider of scalable, high-performance digital signage, content distribution and enterprise video acceleration technologies, today debuted its new translucent digital signage product — PrimaSee Vending.
Making its first debut into the vending manufacturer marketplace at the National Automatic Merchandising Association's OneShow 2012, PrimaSee is a translucent digital display that showcases high-definition, dynamic video advertisements embedded within the glass panel of a vending machine. These see-through promotional videos correspond with products visible in the backdrop.
The new offerings will provide electronic systems contractors (ESCs) with access to the information they need to remain relevant in the rapidly diversifying industry, with a strong focus on both business and technical education.
CEDIA has added more opportunities for peer-to-peer business discussion with the introduction of two roundtable series. One roundtable series will be broken out into small and mid-size business owner discussions. These moderated sessions will give ESCs an opportunity to discuss common concerns in a non-competitive environment. The second roundtable series will offer six different topics that ESCs identified as "hot topics" such as HDMI, hiring sales staff, and retrofit technologies. Additional information about the roundtables can be found here.
CEDIA has also expanded technical education offerings centered around IP and networking. Three new advanced IP and Networking courses have been added to the roster: EST353 Advanced Wireless Networking, EST423 Remote System Access; Methods, Security, and Best Practices, and EST443 Tailoring Network Performance with VLANS and QoS. Lab space has been expanded and a total of eight half-day courses will be available, each of which will be offered twice in addition to a full-day workshop.
Building your own billboard has never been easier or more affordable, thanks to an
innovative new digital product from Lamar Advertising Company (Nasdaq: LAMR). Postr™ is a billboard with a digital component that allows consumers and businesses to post their message in minutes for $25 per day.
Customers can post their message on a Postr™ billboard in Little Rock in three steps: first, visit lamar.com/postr; next, upload an image; finally, enter a message up to 60 characters. Each spot will be in a rotation and will play over 1,000 times per day. Users have the option to change their message up to two times per day, and they can reserve one of six Postr™ billboard locations up to two weeks in advance.
In a record-breaking year for entries, which saw over 100 projects from more than ten countries battling out for the top prizes, this year's Award winners included a series of remarkable installations across all Media Room, Home Cinema, Integrated Home, Marine and Property Developer categories. These stunning projects represent the crème de la crème of smart home installations from across CEDIA Region 1 which covers the UK and Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, India and Pakistan.
In Media Rooms the winners were London-based Olive AV for delivering an impressively modern twist on an 18th century period property renovation and Spanish installer, Smart Business for a stunning and multi-functional media room paradise, appropriately entitled All-in-One.
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