Just last week, the CEDIA Expo was held in San Diego, California. CEDIA, which stands for Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association, is an international trade association.
Representing over 3,700 technology-market member companies, the CEDIA website states that they provide “development pathways that move [members] to the next level by providing education, community, resources and vision”. Year by year, the CEDIA Expo has become a meeting point for every big player and savvy startup in the home integration industry.
SoundMachine was in attendance this year to get a grasp of all the new advances in this exciting field. There were numerous speakers, plenty of home theater-related products, and several overall trends that are worth mentioning: the connections between automation and voice recognition.
Keys to Home Automation
Home automation is no longer about automation itself, but about the relationship between the parts of the system. At SoundMachine, we have almost entirely conquered that milestone of making things work on their own.
While automation can be improved in individual objects, this improvement does not leave adequate margin, nor does it improve the quality of life for users as much as voice recognition can.
It seems that integration must be achieved in the purest sense of the word: as a way of making individual components work together rather than separately. That is why, once again, the ever-present Crestron was in the spotlight as a control panel joining all the pieces of the home integration puzzle. The smart home of the future will be controlled by one central system for a more accessible use.
Voice recognition is the next step in the process of integrating communication with machines. Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Assistant have spearheaded this bridge-building between humans and home tech, going one step further and creating accessible control of multiple for smart home features.
Installing the Tech
Leaving pure tech aside and focusing on configuration, a main debate at CEDIA was regarding the level of involvement of installers.
While some companies count on the need for integrators to install tech, other companies are providing options that allows consumers to install things themselves. These choices will always be more dependent on what kind of customer each company is targeting, as well as the size of the installation. Regardless of any up-and-coming trends, it’s always important to keep this knowledge in mind.
This year’s CEDIA Expo gave ample evidence that the main winner of home integration is usually a middle point: where the integrator creates a smart home with maximum flexibility. This allows the customer to customize features without constantly needing to call the integrator.
A Trend Towards Commercial Environments
It is increasingly common for businesses to appropriate these trends and implement them at their own locations. The quality of these technological devices designed for homes has increased so much in recent years that they are more than suited for the demands of the commercial sector.
Accessibility has improved, and whereas in the past each change was made on location, users can now adjust volume and other settings from central systems – all thanks to recent improvements in wireless connectivity. This allows business owners to ensure a controlled environment where employee errors cannot interfere with setup.
What’s probably more important than CEDIA itself is the effect the event may have in the following months: the foundational concepts of where the industry is headed, and all the potential collaborations between companies connected in CEDIA’s optimal environment.
As the focus of this expo has been integrating different components of the smart home, the behind-the-scenes integration and partnership between different companies will be crucial to the evolution of this industry.