Well, that was fast. Or at least it felt that way. It seemed like we were just grousing about the mess that 2020 was and now 2021 is nearing its end. With business being so busy, it can tough to keep track of what’s gone on this past year, but it is valuable information that can help plan for a successful 2022.
That said, here is our annual look back at the year so we can look forward to the next one.
Abode: The adoption of smart home devices is on the rise as devices become more intelligent than ever before. Manufacturers like Abode are relying on AI and context aware technology that will make for more seamless and personalized customer experiences. The Abode Cam 2 is a standalone security camera that relies on AI features to support Smart Detect, which notifies users if/when a person is detected and adds a short video clip to user timelines. As technology updates allow for new features that bring protection and convenience to customers, Abode looks forward to adding new features that enable protection and convenience in DIY security products to its customer base.
Access Networks: Home networking gained significant steam during 2021, and Access Networks offered several game-changing products and service introductions. The first to market with enterprise-grade Wi-Fi 6 access points, the addition of a cloud-based wireless LAN controller, and the launch of additional Site Survey products and in-person consultation services solidified Access Networks’ position as a provider of best-in-class networking solutions. Now, as a member of the Snap One family, Access Networks reaches an even broader cross-section of custom integrators with networking solutions and services designed to drive business and installation success.
Acoustic Designs Inc.: Acoustic Designs began its “Wellness Loft” journey two years ago. Its research led to Delos Living and it created the loft with Darwin Intelligence powered by Delos; filtered air, purified water, circadian lighting, and enhanced sleep. Homeowners can view in real time the levels of different pollutants in each room and observe as Delos filtration purifies the air. Water filtration is customized to the regional water quality challenges (in this case, Scottsdale) and specific chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and parasites are removed from the home. The benefits of circadian lighting are well known; however, Acoustic Designs has gone a step further with comfort blackout shades and an active green wall, because humans have an innate need to connect with nature.
Amber Solutions: 2021 was a significant year for Amber Solutions, a developer of patented solid-state technologies for the digital control of electricity. Most notably, Amber announced its alliance with semiconductor leader Infineon Technologies on a range of silicon opportunities anchored around Amber’s digital control of electricity with embedded intelligence. Now, due in part to Infineon’s MOSFET technology, Amber’s solutions have the capability of adding features together in universal form-factors that were once thought impossible. Amber also secured four new patents to extend coverage of the company’s IP more deeply over its breakthrough technologies.
Arlington: It’s no secret that American manufacturers of construction products experienced challenges with labor, raw materials, and transportation this year. But because Arlington makes more than 85 percent of its products in its Scranton plant, it was less affected by long supply chains and less dependent on products coming from Asia. Arlington also continued developing time-saving electrical and low-voltage products that meet code requirements and enhance safety — including the adjustable steel SliderBar, for mounting boxes between studs with non-standard spacing, and hole cover kits that ensure OSHA compliance on multi-story building sites.
AtlasIED: Amidst a global supply chain shortage, AtlasIED maintains a fully stocked inventory and timely delivery from its worldwide distribution centers. It’s a positive sign for AV integrators, designers, consultants, and other professionals who need enterprise-grade audio and communications products now for projects underway or in the pipeline. Packed with features to help integrators conquer resimercial projects are solutions like AtlasIED’s stocked-and-shipping Atmosphere digital audio system. Scalable and versatile, the system, which can be configured for the smallest cocktail lounge to the largest banquet facility, employs touchless control, automation, and artificial intelligence to process, manage, and distribute audio.
Atlona: Atlona’s products sit in the sweet spot of two growing trends in the custom install industry — home office and resimercial. With the appointment of Navatech Marketing to its network of residential AV manufacturer’s representatives this past fall, the company is pushing a “one integrator for home and small business” concept.
Audinate: Audinate’s Dante is increasingly moving into the residential space. One example announced during CEDIA in 2021: a partnership with StreamUnlimited. StreamUnlimited added Dante Embedded Platform (DEP) into the StreamSDK feature portfolio. StreamSDK is a flexible, multi-dimensional software solution, portable to various classes of silicon, which enables the application of streaming audio functionality to consumer electronics devices. With the software solution of Dante, StreamUnlimited customers are able to build Dante-enabled products without the need for any additional hardware for compatibility with thousands of existing Dante-enabled products, and provides integrators with a flexible, extensible, cost-effective audio system.
AudioControl: AudioControl made a splash at CEDIA Expo this year with its CM Series amps. These Made-in-USA solutions deliver 70-volt compatibility plus the critical features residential and commercial integrators must have to satisfy nearly every application, including audiophile-grade performance and high build quality.
Azione Unlimited: Azione Unlimited was, like the dealers it represents, busy throughout all of 2021, welcoming new vendor partners such as Rosewater and Bryston and launching two key initiatives that hit two of the biggest pain points for its members — hiring staff and getting in front of architects and interior designers. AU is one to watch in 2022 as we see the results from its recent merger with Nationwide Marketing Group.
BenQ: 2021 has been a great year for BenQ, as the provider of visual display and collaboration solutions turned its focus to the red-hot golf simulator market. Just launched, the LK936ST golf sim laser projector delivers 4K resolution with superb color, contrast, and brightness, an exclusive golf mode, and maintenance-free operation — all at a price of under $6K. The first 4K laser projector designed for simulation, its no-compromises performance makes it ideal for building a multipurpose “SimTheater” with immersive home theater and gaming as well.
Blackdove: Blackdove is a category-defining solution that leverages the potential of digital art and NFTs to unite technology and interior design. Customers are bringing larger and larger displays into the home, but these screens are often at odds with the aesthetic of a luxury space. By delivering a curated selection of high-quality art to any screen, Blackdove enables the CI channel to amplify the value of high-end displays while also providing clients with a vibrant digital art experience. The management platform makes it easy to add new artwork and instantly change what’s on display.
Blustream: In partnership with RTI, 2021 marked the introduction of Blustream video distribution solutions to the U.S. market. Already, the brand has introduced multiple new solutions including HDBaseT 8×8 and 6×6 matrixes; an extender with ARC control; and a four-way HDMI switch with HDBaseT. New Video-over-IP solutions now available include the Contractor Series IP50HD and the IP250UHD 4K multicast platform featuring Dante integration, while new HDMI products are led by the HEX18G-KIT and HEX18GARC-KIT uncompressed, unconverted 18Gbps HDMI over HDBaseT extender sets. Finally, the company introduced the ultimate BYOD solution for wireless presentations: the AMF41W. Look for Blustream to continue its expansion into the U.S. market in 2022.
Bowers & Wilkins: Acquired by Sound United near the end of 2020, Bowers & Wilkins had a busy 2021, with several updates to its well-known products including the Zeppelin, which was originally introduced for use with iPods but has now been updated for the streaming age. While notable, that update was dwarfed by the latest versions of the 800 Series Diamond speaker range. Every new model in the range combines hundreds of detail improvements plus several entirely new technologies to create what B&W calls, “the most transparent, detailed, and natural-sounding series of loudspeakers Bowers & Wilkins has ever produced.”
Head Back to the Past with Companies to Watch from 2021, 2020, and 2019.
Catalyst AV: 2021 has been a great year for Catalyst AV members and their dealers. Welcoming three new member distributors: LM Electronics, covering TX, OK, AR, and the LA markets; Profit Line Distributing, servicing N. CA, N. NV and Hawaii; and CyberSmart, covering the fast-growing Phoenix and Tucson, AZ, metro areas.
Chief: In 2021, Chief had the home office covered with the introduction of its flexible, cost-effective Koncƒ´s Series Monitor Arm Mounts. Available in single- and dual-monitor configurations, the desktop mounts combine sleek aesthetics with advanced functionality. Offering a choice of silver or black finishes, the Koncƒ´s Series is designed to complement any environment, while its premium gas springs deliver smooth, dynamic height adjustment. For effortless monitor tilting, the monitor arms feature patented Centris Extreme Tilt technology with +65 degrees to –10 degrees of fingertip tilt adjustment. In addition, a 180-dregree Arm Rotation Stop protects walls and furniture panels from over-rotation.
ClearOne: Recognizing early that hybrid and remote work is here to stay, ClearOne re-examined its entire product portfolio and created a new, curated line of audio, video, and audio-video collaboration tools that significantly increase professional home office productivity. ClearOne’s Aura portfolio is designed for home offices, meeting the growing need for easy to purchase and install commercial-quality solutions that deliver high-quality audio and true-to-life video technology. The portfolio features a variety of professional audio and video collaboration solutions with choices of microphone and camera components that optimize home office acoustic and aesthetic aspirations. The Aura solutions are natively optimized to work with one another, and come with a free personal subscription to the company’s COLLABORATE Space video conferencing app.
Crestron: Over the last year, Crestron Home has been continuously evolving to be a platform that supports dealer growth, offering a control solution that is easy to deploy, manage, and update. In addition to the numerous updates to the Crestron Home platform, Crestron has also released several new products, including the battery-free Horizon Thermostat, the long-anticipated DM-NAX Audio-over-IP distributor, and a new line of architectural speakers created in collaboration with Origin Acoustics. Dealers can expect to see continued innovations that deliver the solutions they need to continue to exceed client expectations.
D-Tools: There’s nothing simple about designing and executing a home technology project. Several steps are involved, from generating proposals, winning the bid, collaborating with designers, and managing your workforce and workflow to stay on schedule and deliver exceptional systems. The D-Tools Cloud platform proved its worth to systems integration firm ESS, streamlining what could have been a difficult residential retrofit project to pull off. The future looks bright for ESS and other systems integrators, thanks to D-Tools’ continual push to perfect its product portfolio. With each new refinement and addition, its software solutions become increasingly powerful tools for continued business growth.
Da-Lite: For retrofit installations requiring a flexible alternative to hardwiring, this year Da-Lite introduced the Agility Battery Motor for its Tensioned Designer Contour Electrol and Designer Contour Electrol ceiling- or wall-mounted electric screens. Available in diagonals up to 110 inches in 16:9 HDTV format and 113 inches in 16:10 wide format, this screen option features a lithium-ion battery that lasts over 200 cycles on a single charge via its micro USB port, while a PoE 5V micro USB adapter accessory is available to keep it charged between uses, or leave connected for maintenance-free operation. The battery option allows for wireless handheld remote operation and is available with screen surfaces up to 16K-ready. A Wi-Fi Bridge accessory enables connection to a mobile app that provides a battery life indicator and screen control.
DISH Custom Integration: When DISH Custom Integration started in 2016, it held only 3 percent consumer mindshare, compared to DTV. This year, DISH won the CEPro Brand Leader award in satellite. Custom integrators have discovered that DISH’s equipment, program, and service and bar none — just ask Frank DeFilippis, the general sales manager and “founder” of this small business within DISH.
DMF Lighting: The DID series is exclusively engineered for the custom integrator and has received several industry awards in 2021, including a Residential Systems Picks Award for CES 2021. Many DID product enhancements were announced in 2021, including completely redesigned housings for easier installs, all-new installation options, including Remodel, Chicago Plenum, and Flangeless Trim optimized for wood ceiling applications, increased light output for higher ceiling layouts, and additional standard Trim finishes to match more design aesthetics. DMF continues to invest into the CI space with the DMF Promise, which guarantees compatibility with all lighting controls, access to advanced technical support, and an industry-leading 10-year warranty. The company also launched a new website and e-commerce portal specifically designed for integrators.
Draper: Draper came on strong in the shade category this year, introducing the Motorized Exterior FlexShade, an economical outdoor shading system that provides a comfortable outdoor space and reduces interior heat gain and glare. At CEDIA Expo, the company introduced a new shade sales kit and a new CE course, “Shade Fabric Selection — A Performance Based Approach,” which earns .5 credits for CEDIA Certification and is available via in-person or virtual presentation. Not forgetting home theaters, the company also introduced the Acumen Recharge at CEDIA, which adds battery-powered motorization to any Draper screen.
Elite Screens: Have a need for invisible AV? In October 2020, Elite Screens introduced the Kestrel Tab-Tension 3, which is an electric floor-rising projection screen that is an attractive centerpiece for home theater or high-level conference rooms. Its tab-tension design maintains a flat and taut front projection surface to provide a ripple-free image suitable for ultra-short throw projectors.
Enclave Audio: In an increasingly wireless world, consumers are looking for devices that can be easily integrated with their existing living area and home entertainment setups. Audio options, including headphones, gaming headsets, and home theater systems, are cutting the cord to bring consumers the quality and convenience they are looking for to complement their at home entertainment areas. Companies like Enclave Audio will continue to make innovative products that allow consumers to cut the cord and bring high-quality immersive audio to the home theater environment. In 2022, Enclave looks forward to technology and product updates that will enhance the wireless audio market.
Exertis: Exertis, like all distributors, had an interesting year thanks to the global supply shortages, but the company was still able to service its dealers. “Covid made the supply chain much more volatile and unpredictable, and so we moved quickly to increase our inventory of all major product categories before factories were forced to close,” says John Dunne, managing director, Exertis North America. “The good news now is that end-user vertical markets are recovering, and we are working with our manufacturers to identify weakness in the supply chain and take steps to increase inventory to mitigate the impact on our customers.”
Grimani Systems: If Anthony Grimani is behind it, you know it will be good, and this year his company added two more speakers to its Rixos line, the Rixos-H, which is a speaker with horizontal form factor that incorporates the proprietary wide dispersion CSA waveguide, and the Rixos-L, the new flagship in the ultra-shallow line.
HARMAN Luxury Audio: HARMAN Luxury Audio’s JBL Synthesis announced a number of new products and initiatives this year designed to enhance the performance and dealer focus of the brand. These announcements included HDMI upgrades for the brand’s existing surround processor and AVR in order to support 8K video, a forthcoming surround processor, an AVR with integrated 8K HDMI capabilities, and a new lower-priced, dedicated subwoofer amplifier. On the heels of these announcements, two new models, the SDP-58 surround processor and SDR-38 AVR, will become available in the first quarter of 2022, they will include the HDMI 2.1 video board as a factory-installed component.
Home Technology Association: The HTA has invested a lot of effort in creating association-to-association relationships with design and build industry associations, seeking to build a bridge between the best integration firms and their architect, builder, and interior designer members. In 2021 the HTA has formed partnerships with ASID (American Society of Interior Designers), IDS (Interior Design Society), and NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry). The HTA is also proud to welcome two new Board of Advisors members: Gretchen Gilbertson of Séura and Tom Doherty of the HTSA buying group. The HTA looks to furthering mutually beneficial relationships with more design and build association, to the mutual benefit of all members.
Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA): HTSA’s greatest success in 2021 has been its expanded lighting program. The group was the first in the residential integration industry to conceive of a lighting program that went well beyond lighting control to include upgraded fixtures, design services, and other related services. Announced at its 2017 Fall Conference, HTSA entered this category knowing that it would take significant training to achieve success, so it built one of the industry’s finest education teams that brought the kind of lighting expertise that would elevate all HTSA members’ success with the category. In 2021, group members experienced tremendous sales with lighting.
Hunter Douglas: Leading window treatment manufacturer Hunter Douglas continues to develop its PowerView automated shade portfolio heading into 2022, leaning into key connected home demands, including wellness, energy efficiency, convenience, and more. With over 20 shade styles customizable by fabric, size, opacity, and shape, Hunter Douglas shades can be automated with a tap of a finger or voice command, leveraging the latest power options, including the Rechargeable Battery Wand and PowerView+. In the new year, Hunter Douglas plans to continue expanding its PowerView portfolio to support dealers in taking on the smart shading category with more power options, styles, and dealer resources.
Integration Controls: The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is a set of concepts and tools used by 100,000-plus companies to clarify, simplify, and achieve their vision. Integration Controls began implementing this business mindset after the pandemic hit in 2020. “EOS helps you set goals, check in with yourself, and hold yourself and your team accountable,” says Jamie Briesemeister, co-owner. “The pandemic caused the world to take pause, but we knew we needed to make the commitment to ourselves and our staff. We were offered an EOS pilot program through OneVision Partners, which was exactly what we needed to align and set goals during a time of uncertainty.”
iRoom IO: In 2021, iRoom IO launched its U.S. sales network, partnered with D-Tools, made drivers for Crestron Home and ELAN, and introduced new touchDocks that fit the latest models iPads. Expect more updates in 2022.
Jetbuilt: The supply shortages left many integrators scrambling, and Jetbuilt decided to help manage the process with the release of Stock, an inventory and warehouse tracking tool for AV integrators. Listening to the needs of their users, Stock was designed to work seamlessly with Jetbuilt to efficiently organize and follow equipment through the stages of design, purchasing, receiving, warehousing, transporting, installation, and service — solving a notable point of frustration felt by many in the industry.
Josh.ai: The launch of Josh Nano, the world’s smallest far-field microphone, coupled with the launch of Josh Core and the integrated Lutron keypad was a huge success for the industry this year.
Juke Audio: Juke Audio found great success in 2021 with the continued user adoption of its multi-room audio streaming amplifier. This expansion came through a number of different sales channels and yielded over a three times revenue multiple from 2020. This growth was derived from a heightened marketing effort for direct-to0consumer sales, strategic partnerships with over four dozen AV installation firms, and a national distribution deal with Crutchfield Corporation. The cost-effectiveness and simplicity of the Juke product has proven to resonate with the product, and all signs point to further growth in 2022.
Just Add Power: The biggest thing to watch for at the beginning of 2022 is the MaxColor 4K60 Series. Supporting 4K60 4:4:4 from source to screen, the transmitters and receivers make it simple for integrators to create AV-over-IP video systems that optimize the latest 4K sources, displays, and formats without having to upgrade existing network infrastructure in a home. MaxColor supports instant seamless switching, 4K up- and downscaling, all lossless audio formats, seamless HDR management, HDMI 2.0b and HDCP 2.2, deep color up to 12-bit, and Dolby Vision. The Series works with existing Just Add Power drivers and supported control systems, allowing integrators to select the Just Add Power solution that best fits the job, providing an evolutionary, scalable, systems approach to 4K video signal distribution.
Kaleidescape Inc. : With a new CEO at the helm, Kaleidescape recently announced a number of new products. This includes the Kaleidescape compact Terra 12 and 18TB and the Kaleidescape Terra 72TB, delivering a vast range of storage sizes to meet a wide range of customer needs. These new product announcements followed significant partnership announcements that caught the industry’s attention and imagination with Meyer Sound (speakers) and Trinnov (surround processors), as well as direct integration with Lutron (shading and lighting) and Josh.ai (voice automation).
KEF: In celebration of its 60th anniversary, KEF has promised to “launch the most advanced products it has ever created” in the coming months. And when you look at its recently updated Music Lounge, including its new THX Certified home theater, that is a powerful boast.
LEA Professional : As the resimercial space gained considerable momentum in 2021, LEA Professional, manufacturer of high-quality, pro-audio amplifiers with cloud- and IoT-based technologies, recognized the opportunity that this sector represented, and its technologies helped integrators navigate this new space. LEA Professional has created a Cloud Platform that allows secure remote monitoring and control capabilities. This provides systems integrators with powerful, reliable, and secure remote monitoring and control capabilities. LEA Professional’s slim design 1RU amplifiers take up very little space, ensuring integrators are provided with a lightweight, seamless installation experience.
Legrand | AV: Throughout 2021, Legrand | AV’s industry-leading brands introduced numerous solutions designed to transform the connected home. Structured wiring solutions included On-Q’s AC1060 Shelf Mounting Bracket, In-Wall Power and Cable Management Kit, and Dual-Purpose In-Wall Enclosures, which conveniently house cable boxes, streaming players, and more. Da-Lite released its Agility Battery Motor as an alternative to hardwiring electric projector screens, while SANUS rolled out its VLT7 Advanced Tilt 4D TV wall mount, as well as a suite of accessories designed for Sonos. For the home office, Chief released its new Koncƒ´s Series Monitor Arm Mounts, while Luxul had networking covered with new L2/L3 Gigabit switches.
Legrand Building Control Systems : Legrand’s Building Control Systems (BCS) division had a significant release in 2021 and is poised to continue making waves in 2022. Recently, the company introduced Vantage LHUMAN, a dynamic HCL solution for the residential market. LHUMAN incorporates Vantage lighting controls, QMotion motorized window shades, and color-tunable lighting fixtures from leading alliance partners to put the natural lighting cycle in the control of homeowners. By integrating QMotion shading with Vantage lighting control, end users can maximize natural light in a space by raising their shades, or mimic natural light artificially all from the same touchscreens and keypads.
Leon Speakers: Leon Speakers has built a solid reputation and successful business as a manufacturer that pushes the envelope in speaker design, turning audio technology into legitimate works of art through partnerships with several professional artists. This commitment to providing customers the best of both worlds — speakers with style — remains steadfast in 2022, symbolized by Leon’s collaboration with up-and-coming contemporary artist Mike Han. The newly commissioned artwork turns Leon’s Ente Soundtiles into decorative statement pieces.
LG: Year after year, LG pushes the boundaries of what televisions can offer, including its OLED line. Along with TVs, it also pushed ahead with its projector and soundbar lines, but it was its late-year introduction of the Direct View LED (DVLED) display series that really turned heads. LG DVLED Extreme Home Cinema uses 2 million to 33 million individual diodes (depending on resolution) to deliver high performance with exceptional brightness, years of residential lifespan, wide viewing angles, and a very high color gamut — even in rooms with lots of windows and high ambient light.
Lutron: Lutron had a very busy 2021, expanding its lighting portfolio and partnering with Josh.ai and Kaleidescape, but it closed the year on an even higher note with introduction of the highly anticipated Palladiom Wire‐Free Shading System and the release of RadioRA 3, which features the first-ever line of wall controls with both light bar design and IoT connectivity, a new all-in-one processor powered by PoE, and new simpler PC programming software and app-based editing features.
Luxul: In 2021, Luxul’s Epic Mesh wireless mesh solution added ProWatch+ to its list of features and continued to serve as a key networking component in work-from-home environments, while the company’s ProWatch cloud management solution gained traction with integrators for remote monitoring and management. New solutions introduced this year included three additions to Luxul’s portfolio of managed L2/L3 Gigabit switches: the 48 PoE+ port SW-510-48P-F; 24 PoE+ port SW-610-24P-R; and 48 PoE+ port SW-610-48P-F. Designed for large residential and commercial networks, the units are packed with features for simple network expansion and management, while offering high performance with fast switching capacities of 104 Gbps, 128 Gbps, and 176 Gbps, respectively.
McIntosh Group : McIntosh Group has ventured into the automotive sector with Jeep/ Wagoneer and Maserati, continuing to explore brand-aligned opportunities to bring high-end audio to a broader consumer base. McIntosh Labs and Sonus faber have innovated their expertise in home audio to create automotive audio system integrations for the Jeep Grand Cherokee L and Grand Wagoneer vehicles, as well as the Maserati MC20 Super Sports Car.
Modus VR: Modus VR is changing the design game for the industry with virtual reality and a suite of immersive 3D tools that empower AV Integrators to create and optimize rooms in real time with AV technology and other objects. In 2021 Modus VR expanded its offerings beyond residential into resimercial and enterprise markets, adding products and partnering with leading commercial brands such as Crestron, Bose, Logitech, Salamander Designs, Barco, and more. With Modus VR, dealers save time, increase efficiency, and show clients and partners their actual room and technology — long before construction begins.
MSE Audio: The demand for speakers in quality theater and multi-use rooms is high, and MSE Audio has been working throughout 2021 to develop tools to help integrators simplify the theater development process while simultaneously updating many products in its lineup to work better and/or install easier. The goal is to create perfect sound, regardless of the room’s acoustics, while helping integrators be competitive with high-quality solutions. Many more MSE Audio products will be built in the U.S. in 2022 to minimize supply chain issues.
Nationwide: This past October, Nationwide Marketing Group and Azione Unlimited merged to form a results-driven whole-home platform. Together, Nationwide and Azione serve a diverse network of more than 450 custom integrators, and Azione brings into the mix over 60 additional vendor partners, making the combined group one of the largest and most diverse offerings in the industry. And this merger will allow both Nationwide and Azione Unlimited to offer smart home integrators and the vendors that serve them an end-to-end suite of tools and programs that focus on improving efficiency and profitability — at no additional cost.
Nice North America: Nice will enter 2022 following a thrilling end to 2021 as the company’s recent acquisition of Nortek Control and its multitude of brands now doubles the company’s R&D capacity, grants entry into strategic new markets, and substantially strengthens its presence in North America. Dealer/integrator partners of Nice and Nortek Control will experience an enhancement of their current relationships through a larger organization with an even stronger commitment to the channel. This acquisition solidifies Nice as a global company with a diverse regional presence ready, willing, and well prepared to serve markets and partners all over the world.
Nortek Control: Fueled by a focus on technology and integrator needs, Nortek Control released over 20 new products in 2021. The company unveiled the 2GIG EDGE Security and Automation Panel packed with industry firsts and the 2GIG New Home Program Powered by Alarm.com. With emphasis on audio solutions, the company leveraged its Sunfire designs to deliver all-new SpeakerCraft and Proficient subwoofers and brought 18 speakers to market in four months. A new ELAN 4-Channel Onboard NVR was released to expand mid-market offerings for integrators, builders, and homeowners. With these successes, Nice acquired Nortek Security & Control, LLC in October.
On-Q: On-Q released several structured wiring solutions throughout 2021, including the AC1060 Shelf Mounting Bracket. The AC1060 provides a vented, stable surface to rest and secure third-party devices inside the company’s structured wiring enclosures and is suited for heavy or tall devices requiring additional support, such as modem routers and connected hubs. In addition, On-Q’s In-Wall Power and Cable Management Kits provide installers with everything they need to safely extend power to wall-mounted displays and accompanying devices, while neatly concealing power and AV cables inside the wall.
OneVision Resources: OneVision has introduced ProVision, a software solution that acts as a central hub for service operations. ProVision brings together everything integrators need to manage client-service relationships, providing tools designed to educate clients about service, market and sell premium recurring memberships, drive internal accountability, promote repeatable processes, and drive consistent execution. Part of OneVision’s ongoing efforts to bring innovative solutions to service, ProVision complements the company’s support and RMR generation platform. The software has been rolled out to OneVision Partners at no additional cost.
Origin Acoustics: Origin Acoustics had the anchor booth at this year’s reduced CEDIA Expo, and, sure, it commanded attention with a floor-shaking demo of its new Acoustic Landscape 3-channel AS51 System, AS51SYS, but it also received attention for two big announcements — its acquisition of Ambisonic Systems and becoming the co-distributor of Amina Technologies in the U.S.
Orro: Orro is making great progress in the professional installation industry. After setting the strategy and making some go-to-market changes, in the last few months, it has started working with its first distributors in the U.S. and is seeing early success. Dealers of all sorts are showing interest in Orro given its flexibility to play any role in just about any job. It can be the control system for a job, a part of another control system like Control4, it can provide the unique, human-centric lighting system for a job or be a piece of the lighting, and work with Lutron Caséta, for example. Orro is listening to the feedback and ideas they are getting from the channel, which is resulting new integrations, like with Control4, and new tools, such as Orro Pulse, its remote monitoring and management platform.
Parasol: Labor issues continue to plague the industry, so Parasol has launched what It calls “the custom installation industry’s first Uber-style platform,” Parasol Anywhere. Parasol Anywhere enables its dealer community to leverage excess labor capacity to solve customer issues across the United States and around the world.
Planar: This year’s release of Planar Lifestyle Displays introduced a combination of large-scale displays and installation services that enrich luxury environments. Planar Lifestyle Displays includes Planar Luxe MicroLED, Planar Luxe, and Planar Luxe UltraRes X 100, offering customers a selection of LED, including models with MicroLED technology, and LCD display solutions that support large indoor spaces, deliver outstanding video performance, and integrate with architectural elements and complement interior decor. With the new Planar Elite Technical Services and Planar Elite Installation and Commissioning, Planar Lifestyle Displays are fine tuned to ensure imagery looks its best in each unique environment
Portal.io: Once again, Portal.io teamed with Residential Systems to provide a snapshot of how business is doing in the annual State of the Industry report. The company had steady growth over 2021, and has been providing valuable research to its vendor partners in order to help them navigate the current supply climate.
PowerHouse Alliance: After a year of challenges coupled with tremendous industry growth, the PowerHouse Alliance members continue to succeed. Several PowerHouse members moved to larger locations, and several other members opened additional locations in their regions, increasing access and pick-up options for dealers and integrators across the country with more growth opportunities expected in 2022. The PowerHouse Alliance also continues to expand its vendor lineup, offering access to products from popular categories including newly released products from the house A2V brand. Next year, the PowerHouse distributor members will expand training options for integrators as each member location will offer in-person CEDIA education trainings.
Pro Audio Technology: 2021 was Pro Audio Technology’s best year in the company’s 17-year history. Homeowners continue to be more willing than ever to invest in ways to entertain and to be entertained within their homes — including investing in custom home cinemas that outperform their local commercial theaters. PRO’s group of elite integrators thrived in 2021, installing PRO surround sound systems that re-create the sheer size, scale, and quality of audio only experienced in a movie theater within the personalized comfort of their clients’ homes. With many more projects lined up into 2022, PRO looks forward to making 2022 its best year ever.
ProSource: ProSource opened it new Lighting Technology Learning Center at the Dallas Market Center this year. The space is home to the exclusive ProSource Lighting Technology Certification Level 2 training. The ProSource LTLC permanent showroom features interior and landscape solutions in a fully built smart space with lighting and controls. The Level 2 Certification curriculum takes the program to the next level with hands-on live experiential training.
PTZOptics and HuddleCamHD: More than 80 percent of employees say they don’t want to return to the office full time. PTZOptics and HuddlecamHD offer affordable, high-quality cameras that allow remote workers to create engaging video communications from home. Their ultra-high-definition webcams, with dual output and electronic zoom capabilities, combine everything a user needs to capture high-quality, multi-shot videos, ranging from sales demonstrations to lectures to gaming livestreams, in a single compact device that can be mounted anywhere. Livestreaming for business and as a career will continue to surge; PTZOptics and HuddleCamHD will make it possible to create livestream content as a one-person operation.
RoseWater Energy Group: RoseWater Energy is looking toward a bright 2022. With power issues becoming more prevalent throughout the country, integrators are looking to solidify power reliability for their clients while eliminating service callbacks. RoseWater will release a new energy management and storage Hub in 2022 that will allow more flexibility in installation spaces and larger inverter capacities. Not only does RoseWater provide pure 120V/240V power, it also provides large-scale battery backup, non-sacrificial protection against lightning, and renewable integration.
RTI: RTI kicked off 2021 with the introduction of a new line of HDMI 2.0 full-bandwidth video matrixes built on the latest HDBaseT 18 Gbps standard, followed by the release of its Video over IP (VIP) platform, which allows integrators to distribute 4K UHD video over a 1 GB network switch. Next RTI turned on a new dealer website for updated access to software, firmware, drivers, and training. During CEDIA, the company launched RTI Music and the MS-3 Music Streamer, delivering an exceptional streaming experience for users with native control through any RTI control system. RTI will continue elevating its resimercial solutions in 2022, starting with version 11 of the CEDIA Hall of Fame Integration Designer programming software.
Salamander Designs: Salamander Designs expanded its solutions, design options and footprint in 2021, supporting integrators in residential and commercial markets worldwide. Addressing the most popular requests, Salamander has become the “go-to” for Fortune 100 companies, who have standardized on Salamander Designs for videoconferencing meeting room and AV technology deployments. With Ultra Short Throw Projectors now spanning home theaters to boardrooms, Salamander partnered with leading UST manufacturers to bring optimized solutions to both sectors. The company delivered a new online residential Seating Design Configurator, and enterprise products became certified with the Architecture Institute of American (AIA).
Savant: With the introduction of Savant Power, the result of the acquisition of Racepoint Energy, Savant now addresses every pillar of the connected home — climate, lighting, entertainment, security, and energy. Savant Power brings a scalable software platform to manage distributed energy resources such as solar, storage, and flexible load management. By reimagining the concept of smart energy through an advanced automated platform, Savant Power brings to market the key components needed to achieve a smart living experience as well as a modernized energy infrastructure.
Samsung: Samsung’s Neo QLED QN90A 4K TV combines Samsung’s advancements in MiniLED picture technology with the Neo Quantum Processor 4K to deliver 4K clarity and picture. The QN90A has been a runaway success in 2021 — so much so that Samsung has unveiled three new models to meet end-user demand for more sizes/price points at both ends of the spectrum. Now 43-inch, 50-inch, and 98-inch sizes join the existing portfolio (55, 65, 75, and 85 inches).
SANUS: In 2021, SANUS released its line of Pro-Install accessories that include in-wall device storage, in-wall cable management, power, and surge protection to add the finishing touches to any space. Additionally, SANUS accessories designed for Sonos, like the Extendable Soundbar Wall Mount for the Sonos Arc, give users the ultimate home theater experience.
Screen Innovations: When home systems integrators talk, Screen Innovations listens — and with serious intent. To get the conversation started, SI launched an open dealer forum on Facebook, called “Tribe.” Within a few months, integrators were sharing stories about projects, finding solutions to challenges, and exchanging ideas via this engaging peer-to-peer platform. It has provided SI with valuable insights into what its dealer customers need and want, resulting in introductions of several technologies and products.
Severtson Screens: This year was Severtson Screens’ 35th anniversary, and it celebrated with the release of a number of new products, including SAT-4K and TAT-4K projection screens, the Cable Drop Series of electric motorized projection screens, and the Deluxe In-Ceiling Series (DSE) and Deluxe In-Ceiling Tab Tension Series (DST) screens.
Snap One: 2021 was a pivotal year for Snap One. In May, it acquired Access Networks to expand Partner options for network solutions. In June, what was once SnapAV became Snap One — a new brand to reflect the company’s goal to be the best provider of solutions, services, and platforms for custom installation integrators whose businesses have grown well beyond AV products. And in July, Snap One successfully filed for a public offering. 2021 was undoubtedly a transformative year that led to more product and solution offerings, an increased local and online retail footprint, and more.
Sonos: Despite some supply issues, Sonos was able to introduce several new products this year, including the Roam portable speaker and the Binary B-260-ARC Audio Return Extender for the Sonos Amp, which was made especially for integrators. In the fall, the company introduced the next-generation Beam soundbar, which now includes Dolby Atmos. The company also plans to support Amazon Music’s Ultra High Deﬁnition audio and Dolby Atmos Music.
Sony: Sony had so many new televisions, soundbars, and projectors this year that it is tough to focus on just one — but we will. The A90J is Sony’s flagship 4K OLED TV and it is available in 83-, 65-, and 55-inch classes. Sony’s new Cognitive Processor XR understands how humans see and hear, and delivers intense contrast with pure blacks, high peak brightness, and natural colors. XR OLED Contrast Pro provides an immersive depth and realism with ultimate blacks and Sony’s brightest-ever OLED picture.
Sound United: Denon and Marantz introduced new AV receivers capable of working with 8K this year, and the company hosted its first virtual event, with inside looks at all its brands in early November.
SurgeX: Heading into 2022, SurgeX continues to disrupt and protect the AV industry with solutions designed to monitor, clean, and mitigate risks in any power environment. The latest offerings from SurgeX, Squid and the UPS + Isolation Transformer, have enjoyed continuous software improvements and found their way into the most in-demand use cases for integrators. From the return to the office to the rise of the home theater and connected home, SurgeX’s product lineup will continue to keep companies, homeowners, and integrators covered with advanced power management, surge elimination, monitoring, battery backup, and PDU solutions.
Theory Audio Design: In 2021, Theory gained major momentum by defining a new category of audio components for residential installed sound. Finishing the year off strong with the introduction of its highly anticipated in-ceiling speakers, Theory’s ic4 (4-inch) and ic6 (6-inch) are the first of many products that will take Theory beyond the walls of the media room with premium and discreet architectural solutions for surround sound, distributed audio, outdoor, and commercial installations in 2022.
Torus Power: During the summer of 2021, Torus Power realized the next phase of its business growth by acquiring the machinery and equipment from manufacturing partner Plitron Manufacturing and opening a new manufacturing facility dedicated exclusively to producing Torus Power products. The move sets Torus Power up to achieve improved efficiencies in its manufacturing process, reduced lead times for new customer orders, and greater business agility for ongoing product development and building stronger partnerships within the CI channel. This transition promises to be a springboard for future company growth.
Trinnov Audio: Trinnov made dealers very happy back in September with a software update that added two major features integrators were looking for: The Altitude16 and Altitude32 are now upgradable to four additional channels and are certified to render IMAX Enhanced content playback.
URC: URC’s proprietary supply chain ensures availability for its dealer community. URC’s Total Control provides fully scalable systems for whole home to large commercial spaces, while the Complete Control portfolio includes solutions for entry-level residential systems. 2022 promises to be a breakthrough year, building on URC’s voice control foundation, continuing success of its HDA (high-definition audio) portfolio, expanding URC Lighting powered by Z-Wave product line, developing new hardware products, and crafting new integrations with popular brands.
Vanco International: In 2021, Vanco International introduced more than 20 products across its Vanco, Evolution, Beale Street Audio, and PulseAudio lines. In addition, Vanco was named the preferred partner for Procell Professional Batteries, adding an additional 15 SKUs. Other new products include the first certified HDMI 2.1 Ultra-High-Speed cables, the Evolution 4K HBaseT matrix switch/receivers, a lossless 70m 4K HDMI extender, and a timely expansion to the PulseAudio line. Expect this pace of product development to continue in 2022. Dealers can join Vanco’s new Brand Enthusiast program to get a sneak peek at new devices; participants unlock benefits, including beta testing opportunities from Vanco’s prolific R&D department.
Wall-Smart: Trade shows post-pandemic put many companies into a tailspin, but not Wall-Smart. Rather than take its exhibit across the globe to the trade show floor, it decided to take attendees to its headquarters — virtually. In 2021 Wall-Smart set up a booth and launched online tours for integrators, architects, designers, builders, and manufacturer partners. Customized to suit the specific interests of the guest, the tour happens in real time guided by a Wall-Smart executive who answers questions, shares details about products, and entertains opportunities for collaboration. Highly successful, the tours have generated new business for Wall-Smart and provided a nearly authentic trade show experience.
WhyReboot: Celebrations continued in 2021 for WhyReboot. With a new rep network in place, it is seeing tremendous growth and working with many new integrators in both the residential and commercial sectors. With the expansion in business, WhyReboot outgrew its offices and moved to a larger location this summer. It foresees another great year in 2022 as the work from home trend continues and adoption of Wi-Fi 6 Certified grows. WhyReboot supports the custom installation industry with partnerships with HTSA, D-Tools, Jetbuilt, Portal.io, and BlueDog Group.
Wilson Electronics: Wilson Electronics’ latest cellular signal booster product, weBoost Installed Home Complete, features professional installation through OnTech by DISH. weBoost Installed Home Complete delivers the strongest indoor cellular signal for all cell phones, tablets, hotspots, and cellular-connected devices on all U.S. carrier networks. weBoost is committed to the 5G movement, ensuring all its products work with 5G and support the latest in 5G technology.
Z-Wave Alliance : As conversations around interoperability and the future of IoT continue to heat up, the Z-Wave Alliance is looking forward to working with new entrants to the smart home protocol space in 2022 and beyond in an effort to enable robust product ecosystems that work together within the home for consumers. As champions of interoperability for over two decades, Z-Wave’s legacy as one of the original smart home communication technologies continues to expand with new and evolving technical capabilities as well as an expanding membership base comprised of smart home industry leaders. In 2022, the Z-Wave Alliance expects to make even more progress with Z-Wave Long Range, as members will have the ability to adopt the technology and create devices that support greater range, coverage, scalability, and battery life, which will enable connected device applications beyond the walls of the home.
Zappiti: Zappiti introduced the Zappiti Neo, Zappiti Reference, and Zappiti Signature — three new 4K HDR media players featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10+ powered by the latest Realtek RTD1619DR chipset. The new media players are also media servers capable of streaming content to other Zappiti devices in a network through the exclusive Zappiti Share advanced streaming protocol.
CEDIA Watch: Association and Expo
CEDIA: In 2022, integrators will be seeing their industry association everywhere. CEDIA’s new CEO, Daryl Friedman, will be embarking on a listening tour with industry stakeholders as he and the board prepare to draft a new three-year strategic plan. Local CEDIA trainings will take place across North America, as CEDIA-certified instructors at Powerhouse Alliance locations begin offering in-person education. A growing class of CEDIA-certified professionals will emerge as more integrators achieve CIT certification and the IST certification moves out of its beta phase. All the while, the association has a full calendar of thought leadership, recommended practices, and market intelligence slated to emerge in the first half of the year.
CEDIA Expo: While it is too early to reveal plans for the 2022 CEDIA Expo, Emerald Expositions, the producer of the event, is continuing to analyze the 2021 Expo. At CEDIA Expo 2021, residential technology integrators, designers, and trade professionals came together in-person for the first time in two years to connect and discuss topics within the industry. Though not the show that was originally planned, it was still able to provide integrators with hands-on experience with exhibitors, and provided many programming firsts, including welcoming strategic partner IMCCA to speak to the emerging and growing work-from-home technology segment. CEDIA Expo 2022 will take place in Dallas, TX, from September 29 through October 1, 2022.