CEDIA Previews Future Tech for CE Week

7/6/2012 7:26:00 PM
Last week, CEDIA paid a visit to New York City for its first appearance at the annual CE Week event. Although, the trade association did not exhibit at the show, it hosted a press event previewing the Future Technology Pavilion that showcases some of the trends and prospective technologies that the industry is developing. 
 
Hosted by Savant at its sprawling Experience Center showroom in SoHo, the event was a great social opportunity for the AV press and some of the CEDIA folks, but more importantly, for mainstream press to be introduced to the capabilities that merging consumer gadgets into the connected home presents. Once a subject that mainstream technology publications wouldn’t take much time with, as we all know, the technology has begun to sink into broader use with the advent of mobile devices, home energy monitoring, and cloud computing. Check out the video from digital culture, social media, and technology news site Mashable in its coverage of the event here.
 
Dave Pedigo, CEDIA’s senior director of technology, gave what should have been a pretty brief presentation, but was stretched out due to so many questions lobbed at him—a sure sign that the media were both paying attention and interested.
Pedigo spoke of the “incredible amount of detail” that goes into these advanced systems to make them convenient for homeowners. He then launched into a Top 10 Emerging Trends and Technology, reminiscent to the popular Letterman schtick—albeit without the satire and celebrity jabs. Most of the technology was pretty familiar to me, especially from CEDIA’s ESC of 2016 Whitepaper, released earlier this year, but I found Pedigo’s discussion of the technologies more insightful, and he even injected a few personal predictions to consider. 
 
Digital home health was one of the trends Pedigo predicts will take a few years to fully take off, but it “will be pretty extensive,” he said. Pedigo also mentioned the way IP-enabled chips could potentially be embedded in everything in the home, referencing the industry’s newest “catchphrase,” the “internet of things.” Pedigo also pointed out that from an ROI perspective on home technology, healthcare products are much better than other consumer products.
 
He also said, “I honestly think home health is the solution to the largest U.S. crisis,” referring of course to the state of the healthcare industry. It’s also worth noting this point seemed all the more relevant as the event took place the same day the Supreme Court announced its landmark ruling upholding most of the Affordable Care Act. 
 
Energy monitoring was a pretty straightforward trend to mention, but it’s worth noting that Pedigo sees this as “ultimately tied into the smart grid,” and that’s something that’s unfortunately further down the road. 
 
He basically made one direct point about voice and gesture recognition: “It’s coming.” Enough said.
 
In regards to 4K video as “the next HD,” Pedigo perhaps made the most bold prediction of the evening, calling for the much-anticipated Apple TV to be in the super high definition format—a term coined by Tony Grimani—possibly along with a high frame rate. I was surprised by his tenacity here, saying there was “no doubt in my mind,” an Apple TV would be in 4K.
 
In terms of audio, the trend is for it to be everywhere, either via Bluetooth or wireless audio networks. In five years, Pedigo predicted there would be no routers or switchers. I hope those hardware manufacturers aren’t getting nervous—something tells me they aren’t. He also noted the “unsustainable” strain that streaming content presents on networks.
 
Tablet computing and mobile devices were naturally on this Top 10 list. Pedigo refers to them as the “first personalized remote control,” and noted that “they are here to stay.” He also discussed the effect that mobile devices have had on gaming systems. 
Cloud to consumer, or C2C, technology was near the top of the list, with Pedigo calling it “the most disruptive technology.” Moving beyond the PC, and how PCs are not for everyday use anymore, is inherent here.
 
Number one on the list was the intuitive home, which refers to our homes essentially making decisions for us. This was pretty self-explanatory, but notable for its place at the top of the list.
 
He wrapped up the presentation with a plug for CEDIA EXPO in Indianapolis, encouraging attendees to come and see much more about the technology mentioned. He then finished with an entertaining clip from Back to the Future Part II, reminding us how space age-ey technology we’re capable of today seemed 23 years ago. 

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