FCC Docs Detail New Verizon Home Automation Platform

Verizon hasn’t been out of the home automation business for long, but it looks like the telco giant is already preparing to jump back in. According to FCC documents uncovered by Steve Donahue of  FierceCable , Verizon appears to be preparing to launch a new FiOS gateway with an associated Zigbee home automation module. The FiOS Quantum Gateway goes by model number FiOS-G1100 and supports the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard along with the Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols. The module, meanwhile, is produced by GreenWave Reality, a California-based company that most recently made noise back at CES. GreenWave’s platform includes applications for energy management, connected lighting, and home monitoring, but CMO Nate Williams told me in January that it can support far more. Williams has a history with Verizon, as he was previously CMO and head of business development for 4Home, the company that was acquired by Motorola, and that provided the technology basis for Verizon’s now-defunct Verizon Home Monitoring and Control service. 

Safe and Sound - Lessons from the March 2014 InfoComm Economic Snapshot

The latest InfoComm International Economic Snapshot Survey indicates that the marketplace for both AV providers and end users is sound and stable. While the InfoComm Performance and Demand Indices are not showing significant expansion, no additional ground is being lost. More importantly, there are no significant drop-offs expected. While some segments are performing better than others, such as education, even the softest segments appear to be on generally solid ground. The InfoComm Performance Index is a measurement of how survey respondents feel about their business prospects, both now and in the future. The current six-month InfoComm Performance Index is at 70.5, solidly in the good range. The IPI is expected to hit 75.5 in the next six months. This reflects the highest IPI, both achieved and forecast, in the history of this survey. This continues the upward momentum reflected in the past two surveys. The March 2014 results reveal a continual up-tick in North America performance. But let’s be clear — North American business has not reached the levels seen in burgeoning regions such as Latin America or the Middle East/Africa. In fact, North America’s economic confidence level was rated as good, but is lower than every region, other than Europe. But given the size and importance of the North American market, we’re hopeful this is an early sign of more positive things to come.. (Cont'd)  

Demand for smart home technology to skyrocket

According to a new report from ABI Research, demand for smart home technology is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. In 2013, the research firm said that sales of wireless embedded smart home monitoring devices, such as contact and motion sensors, smart thermostats and smart plugs, grew to 17.23 million, almost double the amount of shipments in 2012. By 2018, it is expected that more than half-a-billion wireless smart home monitoring devices will be deployed in homes around the world. ABI said that growth will develop as new users move to use smart home systems and as users extend their existing systems. Additionally, companies like Honeywell, GE, Nest (recently acquired by Google), Kwikset, UTC, as well as many others are increasingly adding wireless connectivity to their home devices, bringing network connectivity and remote management to their offerings in order to appeal to growing numbers of smart home consumers. According to ABI, contact sensors for detecting whether windows and doors are closed were the most popular smart home monitoring device shipped last year while motion sensors were in second place. Both devices support smart home monitoring functionality but can also be used for additional applications such as energy management. “Combined, over 84 million contact and motion sensors will ship annually by 2018; however, it is smart plugs, smart door locks and connected smoke and CO detectors that will see the greatest shipment growth,” ABI Research Senior Analyst Adarsh Krishnan said in a statement.

Understanding MPEG-DASH

MPEG-DASH works on any HTTP server and most mainstream media servers, which means that service providers are not required to invest in specialized MPEG-DASH-specific infrastructure.

Professional Installer's Guide to IP Networking, Part 3

In this segment we will focus on Ethernet Switches-the backbone of your local network. When selecting a switch or a combination of switches for your network, there are several issues to consider.

The Importance of Cabling for A/V Installations

HDMI can be transmitted using senders and receivers over a single cat 5e/6 data cable. With the introduction of HDBaseT transmitters and senders power and control was incorporated into the single 5E/6 cable solution.

HDMI vs. optical: Which digital-audio connection to use?

When it comes time to connect your shiny new sound bar or AV receiver, your two main choices are HDMI or optical digital audio. The simplest advice is to go with HDMI when you can. But if you can't it's not the end of the world. Here are the pros and cons of each. The basics Both HDMI and optical pass digital audio from one device to another. Both are better than analog (the red and white cables). Both can pass multi-channel audio, like Dolby Digital. Both cables can be had pretty cheap. The biggest difference is that HDMI can pass higher-resolution audio, including the formats found on Blu-ray: Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio. These formats can't get transmitted across optical. In terms of simplicity, HDMI also passes video signals. So if you want just a single cable between two devices, HDMI is your pick. Cont'd..

Sonos Says Sales Doubled in '13 as Home Sound-System Market Grew

Sonos Inc., the maker of multiroom speaker systems, said revenue almost doubled to $535 million in 2013 as consumers increasingly used wireless technology with music services like Pandora in the home. The closely held maker of high-fidelity speakers and streaming software is disclosing its revenue for the first time. Sonos is attempting to expand from its base of music enthusiasts to grab a bigger share of the $10 billion home-audio market, said Tom Cullen, a company co-founder, in an interview. The Santa Barbara, California-based company, which raised $40 million in 2012, is operating at break-even, he said. “We’ve set ourselves up as the best-kept secret in electronics, but the scale of everything we’re trying to achieve really requires us to do things differently,” Cullen said. Nine years after the company pioneered the whole-home wireless stereo market, it faces competition as bigger consumer electronics makers build products for the fastest-growing category in home audio. Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), based in Suwon, South Korea, in October introduced the Shape music system, while closely held Bose Corp. developed its SoundTouch speakers. Bang & Olufsen A/S (BO) has released new wireless systems developed under an audio standard known as WiSA, in which Sharp Corp. (6753) and Pioneer Electronics Co. also are members.

Best Buy Still Leads Retail Market Share; Apple Store Gaining

Best Buy's share of the U.S. specialty electronics market remains around one third, but Apple has gained into double digits for the first time. That's according to data from Euromonitor International,  as cited by MarketWatch.  The top five- Best Buy, Apple, RadioShack, hhgregg and Micro Electronics- remains intact from 2009 and 2011, but Best Buy's share has slipped from 33.5 percent to 31.3 percent, with Apple jumping from 5.9 percent in 2009 to 10.8 percent in 2011 to 15 percent in 2013. RadioShack's share has dropped from 5.5 in '09 to 4.5 percent four years later. 

Home Energy Management Systems Will Reach $2.8 Billion in Annual Revenue by 2020, Forecasts Navigant Research

Until 2012, home energy management (HEM) systems, which help residential customers monitor and adjust their energy use, struggled to gain market traction. More recently, however, non-utility stakeholders have moved into this segment, increasing awareness of new tools and helping to drive steady growth. Click to tweet: According to a recent report from Navigant Research, worldwide revenue from home energy management systems will grow from $512 million in 2013 to $2.8 billion in 2020.  The market is expected to decline significantly after that, to $1.8 billion in 2022, the report finds.  "Companies like Comcast, ADT, Verizon, and AT&T in the United States have added energy management as an option that can be bundled with home security, automation, or internet access," says Neil Strother, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. "The uptake of home energy management by consumers is still relatively low, but these service providers are seeding a market that has reasonable potential over the next several years."  The primary driver for HEM systems is consumers' desire to reduce their electricity bills. At the same time, the advent of smart thermostats - which include two-way communications capabilities that can take advantage of demand response signals - is creating new appeal among consumers and utilities alike. The acquisition of smart thermostat maker Nest Labs by Google, for a reported $3.2 billion, is seen by many industry observers as a potential watershed moment for the overall HEM market.  Cont'd

HomeSeer Unveils World's First Android Tabletop Touchscreen for use with Home Automation

HomeSeer announces the release of the world's first and only Android tabletop touchscreen for home automation! The new WFTT07 performs like a tablet but is free standing, has impressive sound quality and boots automatically to the company's HSTouch home automation app.  The tabletop form factor is unique in the industry and makes the WFTT07 ideal for use on night stands, coffee tables, counter tops and work benches. Additional Android apps may also be installed onto the unit to transform it into a streaming music and video player, recipe manager or social media portal.  Setup is quick and easy. Simply connect the included power adapter, configure the WiFi and HSTouch server settings and you're done! A rechargeable lithium ion battery enables the unit for portable use, if desired.  WFTT07 Touchscreens are in stock and ready for purchase now through HomeSeer and its worldwide network of dealers and distributors.  HomeSeer automation systems are designed to work seamlessly with industry standards and products from leading Z-Wave manufactures such as Cooper, Schlage, Kwikset, Baldwin, Yale, GE, Honeywell, Leviton, Linear, Everspring, Evolve, Fibaro, FortrezZ, Aeon Labs, RCS, and many more. 

SAVANT® SYSTEMS INTRODUCES ALL NEW SMART SERIES LINE

Savant Systems introduced the Smart Series control and automation product line. Smart Series products utilize the brand's award-winning technology to bring the Savant experience to a broader audience. Complete packages start at $1,599 MSRP and include the new Smart Host ($799 MSRP), remote and controller. Deployed over multiple rooms within the home, this brings the cost of a Savant solution as low as $1K per room. The new Smart Series product line will be offered through Savant's network of over 1,500 authorized integrators spanning 35 countries.  Savant's technology is the center of the smart home, enabling management of home theater, music, security, thermostat, lights, energy management, automated shades and more, all from a single intuitive app. The company provides homeowners seamless, simple and reliable management of "the internet of things," all easily controlled via leading portable devices including iOS and Android™. 

Three Reasons Ruggedness Matters

You can no longer walk through a shopping mall, airport or museum without seeing video screens and digital signage technology on display. It is no surprise that industry analysts continue to predict double-digit growth in the digital signage market, and that industry events are attracting widespread attention. We require so much more of public displays than we do of our televisions. Commercial-grade digital signage displays must stand up to the demands of a 24×7 environment. They must have sophisticated mechanical designs and connectivity to allow for the management of signage networks. And they must also be rugged. Here are three reasons why ruggedness matters as well as how to evaluate digital signage solutions for this important characteristic:   Cont'd

Professional Installer's Guide to IP Networking, Part 2

In this article we will focus on Routers, a key element that can make or break your installation.

36 million homes in Europe and North America will be smart by 2017

Berg Insight's definition of a smart home system requires that it has a smartphone app or a web portal as a user interface.

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