CEDIA Will Be Here Before You Know It

CEDIA EXPO 2014 where you can see change. You will be able to touch, and be transformed by the products and trends driving the residential market. There will be a wealth of new ideas and products, and you should be there.

Apple, Inc. Just Gained Another Competitor in the Smart Home Space

Companies are starting to pick sides in the home automation race, and Sony just made its choice. The company announced at the IFA conference in Berlin this week that it is joining Qualcomm 's AllSeen Alliance, a coalition of tech and consumer companies utilizing Qualcomm's open-source AllJoyn home automation platform. Sony's move means there's yet another company pushing an alternative home automation platform to  Apple  's forthcoming HomeKit.   Qualcomm has collected an impressive group of peers for its home automation platform, including  Microsoft  , LG,  Panasonic  , Haier,  Sharp  , and about 60 other companies. And while Sony's move won't  derail Apple's HomeKit plans , the growing number of companies joining the AllJoyn proves just how heated this competition is becoming. AllJoyn -- like many other open-source home automation platforms -- enables third-party devices to easily connect to each other, communicate with other devices, and pair together for combined automation.

Savant gets $90M from KKR

Want proof that the smart home is big? Check out the whopper private equity investment that KKR has made in Savant. Savant said it has raised $90 million from its founder Robert Madonna and affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR). The round will help Savant navigate a space where it has played for years but is suddenly seeing an influx of competitors at both the low and high end.   Savant is a bit unusual in that it’s designed for luxury homes and professional installers. The company uses Apple hardware and has built software that models itself on Apple’s ease of use and attractiveness. Touches such as taking a picture of your living room and then programming that picture to act as the touch screen for your home controls are an example of how friendly the Savant experience is.   You just touch the lamp in your picture and it turns on. It’s fun. In the last year Savant has taken its high-end ethos and moved closer to the DIY market with a cheaper product called the Savant Smart Series. Instead of running on a Mac Mini it uses a Linux server stored in a closet or cabinet somewhere. That cheaper product will still run you around $1,600 for the basic set up.

Why do I Need a Subwoofer? Part Three

How Subwoofers Work

What are the Latest Home Theater Seating Trends?

As time goes on and the entertainment room is being used for more than just a movie viewing area, the furnishings and layouts have become more diversified to accommodate a more casual and interactive environment.

CEDIA 2014 - Some Perspectives - Part 1

We interviewed several companies about CEDIA to find out what the show means for them and how they take advantage of the opportunities it provides. Here is what Russound, OSD Audio and Muxlab had to say.

CEDIA 2014 - Some Perspectives - Part 2

We interviewed several companies about CEDIA to find out what the show means for them and how they take advantage of the opportunities it provides. Here is what ChannelVision, Elk Products and Monitor Audio had to say.

HDMI Re-Defined for Professional Use

Exclusive features include ProGrip® Connector Technology which keeps the connector from slipping out, SureLength® Indicators which simply but usefully indicate the length of the cable right on the connector head which is invaluable for integrators.

Elgato to launch HomeKit with full iOS 8 integration

Elgato will be an exhibitor at IFA Berlin this year, but the company has already announced the introduction of its new HomeKit to the market, with supposed full iOS 8 integration. The HomeKit will be fully compatible with Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform once iOS 8 launches. Elgato’s HomeKit will feature the Eve product line which comprises of various smart home sensors such as light bulbs, door and window locks, thermometers for air and water temperature monitoring, smoke detectors and smart plugs. With this in mind, Elgato plans to become the competition for Samsung’s Smart Home system that will also launch at IFA in a couple of days.   The Eve brand in the HomeKit features Bluetooth accessories which will monitor almost everything in your house, from smoke, to air, water, humidity, air pressure, energy and water consumption. All the information these sensors gather will be automatically fed into iOS 8′s HomeKit application so that you can monitor everything from your iPhone. HomeKit will also provide users with tips and tricks on how to improve their environment.  

Icontrol Networks Powers SmartHome Ventures' PEQ Home Automation System

Icontrol Networks, a leader in connected home technology and innovation, today announced that SmartHome Ventures has chosen Icontrol to power the newly-launched PEQ (pronounced "peek") home automation system, available now at www.mypeq.com, and at select Best Buy store locations and on BestBuy.com beginning August 31st. With this announcement, the best-in-class Icontrol smart home platform is now available for consumers to purchase and use right out of the box.  "Our goal is to give consumers as many options as possible, whether they prefer a professionally-installed and monitored solution, a self-installed package they can purchase and build upon, or an all-in-one device," said Jim Johnson, executive vice president and general manager at Icontrol. "We are excited to provide another option for consumers who want to take advantage of the ease and convenience of a connected home."  All PEQ-compatible devices have been certified through the Icontrol OpenHome™ Developer Program, the first community for application and device makers to partner on a common platform. This means PEQ customers will have access to a growing number of connected home devices, and developers can market their innovations to an even larger market of connected home customers. Icontrol software currently manages more than 22 million sensors and devices, representing the most widely used connected home platform in the industry. 

Demand For Wireless High Resolution Home Theater Audio Sparks Growth in Wireless Speaker and Audio Association

The Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA®) Association, an industry group dedicated to bringing, high resolution, wireless, multi-channel audio products to the home theater market, continues its fast growth with the addition of six new members.   According to Raiyska Iyer, Market Research Analyst for Futuresource Consulting, home audio represents an enormous opportunity for manufacturers and retailers with wireless speakers and soundbars growing at 181% and 81% annually. To date, wireless audio solutions have been limited to only a stereo experience, the key advantage of WiSA-compliant components is that it is the first solution to offer high-resolution audio from 2.0 to 7.4 channels. And, WiSA-compliant systems are fully interoperable, allowing the consumer the convenience and freedom-of-choice to mix and match components from different manufacturers.    "The surge in membership and the adoption of WiSA-compliant products is a reflection of the Association's category leading wireless audio solution," said Tom Lee, president of the WiSA Association. "WiSA members are able to deliver what consumers want, a full multi-channel, wireless home theater experience. The interference-free, wireless high-resolution audio products are easy to set up and interoperate with other compliant CE devices like HDTVs, set-top-boxes, gaming devices and more." 

Microsoft invests in these 10 smart-home startups

Microsoft is betting on the future of the smart home, and it's hoping to discover that future within its own ranks.   Earlier this summer, the company announced plans to launch a start-up accelerator focused specifically on home automation and the Internet of Things. It was a move made partly in an attempt to compete with Apple and Google, both of which have made significant strides in home automation. It's also a simple acknowledgement of a market that's expected to double in size over the next five years.   This past week, Microsoft announced the 10 start-ups that will participate in the accelerator program, which will run from September to December of this year on Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., campus. The chosen outfits were selected from a pool of more than 400 candidates.   "The goal of this Accelerator is simple: to help a new generation of companies create smarter and safer homes," said Steven Guggenheimer, chief evangelist at Microsoft Developer Experience, in a statement.   "We share the belief that over time the home automation trend will fundamentally change how we interact with and manage our homes — making them more efficient, communicative and ultimately safer."   Full List:

ADT refines its 'recipes' on smart home automation

For most of its brief existence, the modern smart home has offered a frustratingly fragmented user experience. A maze of competing, proprietary ecosystems has forced consumers to pick a "side" (be it Staples Connect, Lowes Iris, Quirky Wink, or Belkin WeMo) and sacrifice otherwise attractive products on the altar of compatibility.   Some see a potential solution in IFTTT (If This Then That), a free service that gives websites, apps, and devices a simple way to interact with one another.   Major brands—including Philips, Nest, and even Belkin and Quirky—have already made their products compatible with IFTTT. This week home security giant ADT announced that it's developing an IFTTT "channel" for its Pulse home automation system.   At its most basic, IFTTT lets you create "recipes" with the tech you use every day as the ingredients. The recipes follow a simple template in which "triggers" set off associated "actions."

Best Buy Jumps Into Home Automation With Startup Peq

Electronics retailer Best Buy is entering the crowded home automation market through a deal with startup Smart Home Ventures, which designed its offering around ease of use. Called Peq (pronounced “peak”), the service costs $9.99 a month for an unlimited number of gadgets connected to a wireless hub, which are sold in kits ranging in cost from about $120 to $490. Best Buy will start selling the products at 250 stores at the end of the month. Peq will also be available online and through a telecom company that is yet to be announced, according to a company representative. As with most smart home offerings, the makers of Peq assume the primary draw for consumers is home security. Over time, the company expects consumers to add other connected devices, such as lamp modules and thermostats. The monthly service charge covers the ability to watch live video on a smartphone and record twenty video clips and 40 images a day. It also sends text or email alerts in response to certain occurrences, such as when a door or window sensor is tripped at an unexpected time.

Broadband Access

Broadband allows for learning opportunities by making available educational materials and course instruction, which previously could only be delivered in a classroom setting.

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D-Tools System Integration Software

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