Crestron Studio Available For Download

Crestron announced this week that its Crestron Studio software is now available for download. The software sports Crestron's SmartObject technology. “Custom programming projects that used to require multiple tools can now be done in one unified environment that lets the programmer move quickly from one task to the next,” Fred Bargetzi, Crestron's VP of Technology, said as part of the announcement. “Once-complex programming and GUI design tasks are now much easier and faster, enabling integrators and CAIPs to deliver a beautiful interactive Crestron user experience.” See this link for more information about downloading the product.

Atlona(R) to Host AtlonaAcademy Webinar "HDMI Troubleshooting: Exploring Critical Elements of Digital Connectivity

Atlona(R) today announced that the company will be hosting the AtlonaAcademy webinar "HDMI Troubleshooting: Exploring Critical Elements of Digital Connectivity" on Dec. 4 at 6 a.m. PST and 10 a.m. PST. The one-hour sessions will explore the root causes of HDMI(R) connectivity problems, and the latest technologies and tools being used to combat these issues. "HDMI Troubleshooting: Exploring Critical Elements of Digital Connectivity" will focus on the fundamentals of diagnosing basic A/V system installations, time-saving solutions for everyday tasks, and much more. In addition, attendees will receive problem-solving solutions for modern digital applications.  Register Here.

Mobile Devices and Tablets as Home Controllers

A single tablet can be the remote control for your TV, the CCTV monitor for your video surveillance equipment, and the hub of all your other sub-systems like access control, wireless security sensors, thermostats, lights, irrigation, audio/video, etc.

Smartphone Purchasing … It's for More than Just Coffee

Everyone is so sure that you're going to abandon your billfold/purse and eliminate the need for dirty, evil money that they're standing in line waiting for you.

A Shower TV? Hey, Why Not...It's What the Cool People Do

At first a shower TV seems like a needless luxury...but then the more you think about it, it starts to makes sense, doesn't it? We all lead busy lives and spare time is at a premium. Unless you are like my father who brags about taking 3-minute showers, you probably like to linger in the shower as the hot water relaxes you.

Microsoft Research bets on a 'no-touch' future of wearable devices

Microsoft's Research team in Cambridge opened its doors last week to offer a sneak peek at the future. Microsoft has spent nearly $30 billion on research and development over the past three years, and this particular lab — consisting of over 100 researchers mainly from Europe — has contributed to Bing, Xbox Kinect, and the functional programming language F#. Microsoft is now looking well ahead into the future of computing and how user interfaces and the way we interact with machines will change. During an open house, the software maker demonstrated a variety of ways that the company is looking to improve its Kinect sensor and use it for an augmented reality future. From Kinect Fusion, that creates an interactive real-time 3D model of the environment, to Kinect-infused augmented projectors, where projection-based devices are "aware" of their environment — Microsoft is focused on a world of sensors and cameras. "In the future we will see more and more, we believe, of no-touch computing," says Andrew Blake, a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist and the Laboratory Director of Microsoft Research Cambridge. "There is something rather compelling about such a free style of interaction, breaking free from the desktop and being much more expressive." This type of interaction was originally applied to Microsoft's Kinect camera for gaming, a popular accessory that took the idea of controller-free gaming to the masses. It's now crossing over to additional devices that might serve to assist Kinect in mapping out the real world for a computer. 

BOSE Goes for Digital Signage Audience Measurement

BOSE, world renowned for selling premium home entertainment and sound systems, are the new owners of a Signbox digital signage system. BOSE Singapore dealer, Atlas, have also purchased the signEye digital signage package that captures key audience measurement data and provides new analytical capabilities to better understand and communicate with their valued customers. The signEye digital signage audience measurement system uses a digital camera in conjunction with the latest in facial recognition technology, to identify audience metrics that occur in the field of vision. The digital camera is embedded in the screen frame and will normally be located above or below a digital signage screen, so the recorded metrics are directly related to the content being shown on the digital signage screen in real time

1.5 Million Home Automation Systems Installed in the US This Year, Says ABI Research

The global market for home automation services saw strong growth during 2012, driven by a wave of new entrants and offerings in the North American market. The US in particular leads in deployments and new shipments - acting as a bellwether for markets around the world. Even with the low growth US economy and the stuttering housing market, home automation systems installed in the US this year almost doubled over 2011 shipments, according to the latest market study from ABI Research. In 2017, more than 8 million systems will ship, showing a CAGR rate of 45.2% between 2011 and 2017. In the US over the past 12 months, Verizon has rolled out its service offering, cable companies including Comcast and Time Warner have expanded their footprints and security vendors including ADT and Vivint continued to see strong demand for their solutions. "Home automation adoption is moving into the mainstream as a combination of home connectivity, standardization, and a range of new sensors and devices bring an ever expanding number of players into the market," says Jonathan Collins, principal analyst, ABI Research. "Meanwhile existing players are adapting their offerings and a host of technologies and connectivity options are battling to become de facto standards."

Best Buy Black Friday Shoppers In Line One Week Before Thanksgiving

It seems these Best Buy loyalists have not been deterred by the recent wave of bad news for the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer. Best Buy has been struggling to keep up with steep competition from rivals, such as Amazon, Walmart and Target. This summer, the chain announced a 90 percent loss in net income and cut thousands of jobs. And we're not quite sure the hot deals shoppers are anticipating will be worth the time spend in line. A recent study found that Black Friday sale prices at Walmart, Target and Best Buy increased from 2011 to 2012. At Best Buy, the average Black Friday sale item costs $35.00 this year, up from $29.99 in 2011. Unlike many other brick-and-mortar retailers like Target and Walmart, Best Buy won't be kicking off its Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day. Doors will open at midnight on Friday.

LEGRAND ACQUIRES NUVO TECHNOLOGIES

Legrand, North America today announced that it has acquired NuVo Technologies, LLC (NuVo), a company based in Hebron, Kentucky and a recognized leader in whole home audio solutions. NuVo will continue to operate as an independent business within Legrand's Home Systems division and focus on home audio markets under the NuVo brand name. The acquisition is consistent with Legrand's proactive strategy and business objective to acquire market leading companies that complement its product line portfolio. The addition of NuVo's high quality multi-room audio systems strengthens Legrand's significant audio offering across all of its professional channels. "The acquisition of NuVo is of strategic importance as it provides us with a leading position in the whole home audio market. We are now able to overtake other industry players and rapidly bring affordable, easy-to-integrate audio solutions to market," said John Selldorff, president and CEO of Legrand North America. "These include systems that are intuitive, plug 'n play and user friendly. NuVo also strengthens our product lineup with its wireless audio distribution technology. This means we can provide consumers with better integrated home audio systems and wider choices of both wired and wireless products. NuVo Technologies places Legrand's home systems offering in a different league. We now bring together the best in all core subsystems."

The Quest for a Better Remote

I've used Logitech Harmony remotes on my Home Theater and in the Master Bedroom for a few years and for the most part, they worked OK. The "Help" button painlessly solved many hiccups. With a move to a new house, all AV gear was hidden away (most of it in the basement). A second Blu-ray player and Apple TV complicated things, so it was time to look for a new solution that would dispense with the hiccups. My quest has ended (for now) with URC.

Blowing Hot and Cold with Z-wave and Wi-Fi Thermostats

Last winter I installed a Z-wave thermostat. Integration was good, but usability was dreadful. The Wife Acceptance Factor plummeted; my own with it. Waking up to a chilly house about a month ago reminded me that it was time to turn on the heating, and replace the thermostat. I was torn between a better Z-wave model and a Wi-Fi unit. Whatever I chose had to integrate with my Home Automation system, and that was the challenge.

Laser Phosphor Display Screens

LPD walls are larger than the largest LCD screens, far brighter than projection screens, and far more detailed than LED displays. LPD displays have no bezels, allowing the image to extend to the edge of the glass, resulting in displays that can be lined up in stacks or rows to form a single image, as large as desired.

Device Design - The Art of Compromise

It is important to know the requirements of your target customer base. For a general purpose product this can be quite difficult. Some users will only be interested in monitoring inputs, be they digital or analogue. Others may be interested only in controlling outputs. Others again may have requirements for both input monitoring and output control.

Eldercare Robots

Games, sensors and robots are among the tools beginning to come to market to help aging people live in their homes as long as possible.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!