Some years it’s easy to spot the game-changing stories that emerge from the CEDIA show floor. Perhaps a new product makes a splashy entrance and gets everyone talking. In other years it may not be a specific product or service, but rather a broad trend that makes an unmistakable impression on the attendees at large.
This year, showstoppers seemed a little more difficult to spot. I was both a participant in, and an eavesdropper on, many conversations in which attendees were struggling to pin down that “one big story” of CEDIA 2016, even though there was no shortage of cool new products to see.
Then, as my time in Dallas was running short, it dawned on me. The biggest story to emerge from CEDIA this year wasn’t a singular new product or service. Rather it was the year that marked the formal arrival of a distinct category in the CEDIA space.
This category is so new in fact that there isn’t yet an agreed-upon name for it. I’ve heard it referred to as managed services, remote monitoring, cloud supervision, cloud management, remote tech support, remote monitoring, and technology management just to name a few. For simplicity’s sake I’ve started calling it remote systems management, or “RSM.” But whatever term we finally standardize on for this nascent category, one thing is clear: we are no longer talking about a series of isolated products and services, but rather a mature category with a vital role to play in the future of our industry.
Members of the OneVision Resources team fields service calls
Most prominent in the list of exhibitors touting various RSM solutions was Ihiji, the pioneer in this space. Their new offerings included lower pricing, a mobile app for the Invision platform, loads of new product integrations, and various enhancements to the Service Manager platform. OneVision Resources, with its unique white label tech-support service, also had a strong showing. OneVision’s founder, Joseph Kolchinsky gave talks at both the HTSA member meeting, and the “Blueprint for Success” panel. I was in attendance for both and was left with the strong impression that integrators were genuinely interested in learning more.
Many other companies were exhibiting RSM solutions of their own. Domotz, relative newcomers to the scene, drew a consistent crowd with its beautiful interface and very aggressive pricing model. Krika is taking an interesting approach, including a uniquely social offering they’re calling WHEOSE. Another newcomer called Digital Butler was exhibiting in Innovation Alley. They’re touting an approach they consider to be more holistic than the competition, focusing on everything from quick onboarding of your entire existing customer base, to providing call center support services. SnapAV released OVRC Pro, which, among other compelling features, offers a client-facing app called OVRC Home. And Control4 prominently featured Bakpak 4.0, which offers some nice upgrades to the platform originally developed by Pakedge before they were acquired by the company. Access Networks also introduced of a live monitoring solution to support professional integrators and their clients. Access Networks Live Monitoring is built upon a channel-exclusive partnership with Cenersys, whose founders have deep roots in enterprise-grade monitoring.
I wrote a piece heading into CEDIA in which I cited RSM as a trend I expected to play a prominent role at the show. I was not disappointed. I suspect that in time we’ll look back on CEDIA 2016 as the year that marked the formal arrival of this category. I believe strongly in the critical role these solutions have to play in the future of our industry, and was happy to see RSM emerge in such a prominent way at CEDIA 2016.