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Buckle Up!

With lots of new product introductions and collaboration between major players, it is a good time to be in the custom installation business.

So CEDIA Expo has come and gone, and although it we didn’t see the torrent of new product introductions and company news that it normally provides due to decreased participation from exhibitors and attendees alike, there was still some good intel that flowed from it. (Origin Acoustics and Draper both took the prize for most announcements from a single company at the show!)

However, even while I was at the Expo I was getting virtual press conference invites and loads of new product introductions for the following week. And, indeed, in the two weeks following we saw product introductions from some of the biggest names in the biz, including Sony, LG, Samsung, Sonos, and more. (I really would like to get in front of one of LG’s new DVLED Extreme Home Cinema Displays.)

And it’s not just new products! News of collaboration between CI product and service providers has been flowing. Kaleidescape — in addition to launching its new Terra 12 server — announced partnerships with fellow luxury brands Meyer Sound, Trinnov, and And announced its own collaboration with One Firefly and built the hotel room of the future with IHG Hotels & Resorts, which is more commonly known for hospitality brand names like InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, and Hotel Indigo.

Acquisition fever continues its push through our community as well, with Origin Acoustics making same-day announcements that it acquired Ambisonic Systems and that it will co-distribute Amina Technologies in the U.S. Onkyo finally found a home after it was acquired by Premium Audio Company and Sharp Electronics. Vital Management changed hands and was rebranded as VITAL by new owners Matt Bernath and Jeremy Burkhardt.

Mergers aren’t just for manufacturers, as shown by the acquisition of Dallas Sight and Sound of Dallas Texas (DSSI), a founding member of CEDIA, by Echo Systems, based in Omaha and Kansas City.

Whew. Everything I’ve listed so far has happened only within the last month or so. That is a lot of positive activity, and it points toward a healthy industry.

Next month is our annual “State of the Industry” issue, so we will be taking a deeper dive into the product trends that have occurred over the past year, as well as the amount of business being done. I don’t think it is a spoiler to guess that the results will show an industry that continues to rise, despite the obstacles — including chip shortages and shipping delays — it faces.

In that same issue, I will collect all the recent product introductions I can to present a clear picture of what new gear you should be able to start installing later this fall or shortly thereafter.

It’s an exciting time to be in custom installation.