Beyond the Crestron and Sony booth, lurking in the back of the convention center are companies and products that could change the way we look at our business model. While they may be small today, they could shift the way we do business tomorrow.
Automated locks: We have no shortage of keypad locks, but there are a few improvements and upgrades worth mentioning.
RemoteLock announced a commercial version of its Wi-Fi lock called remotelock6i. No processor needed (as in, no ‘system’ needed), just install and connect. The 6i is more robust, weatherproof, and allows for multiple users (Think office building or rental property) You can access history and receive alerts in real time. Don't worry if your Wi-Fi is down—info is internally stored.
New approaches to automation: White-Rabbit Electronics is a hub; a Universal Remote of the DIY control systems out there. Although only in beta, White-rabbit may be the catchall of competing technologies. They are compatible with Z-wave, ZigBee, Elk two-way wireless, GE, Honeywell, and others. From the smartphone app or website, you will be able to build macros (sounds a bit like Harmony) and launch commands. The app has some visual work to do, but the concept of the product is pretty neat. They want to “connect security and the smart home to your lifestyle.” Their approach is from a monitored security standpoint, a different approach to the industry. They are planning a launch in the first quarter of 2016.
Lucis is also approaching home control from a different perspective. Its “enlightened solutions” include the NuBryte. What we would call a touchscreen, Lucis calls an all-in-one smart home solution. The approach is from the lighting side, with scenes like morning light (which gets brighter as you wake) and night-light. These are certainly not macros we can't build in our current systems, but we don't approach the build of the system this way. This approach is what makes Lucis a bit different.
Nest is back with its camera, thermostat, and smoke detector. Calling themselves Nest Pro, they now integrate with multiple control systems as promised by CEO Tony Fadell at the CEDIA keynote two years ago.
Wireless audio has some competition: Sonos may have 90 percent of the market share, yet there is (finally) some new game in town. Paradigm is demonstrating Play-Fi, an open format wireless audio system with the app built by DTS. The in-booth experience had the new PWAMP connected to Prestige tower speakers, and it just rocked.
Bose is also displaying a new wireless system, and Denon’s Heo’s is back at the show as well. While Yamaha is not at the show, you can still find some of the MusicCast around the show floor. One thing is for certain, wireless audio's time is now.
And other fun things: CEDIA’s show floor isn’t complete without some wild and crazy things. Stampede has a drone pavilion with demonstrations every half hour. Check out the video. Why? Because they can.
More than ever before, smaller companies are popping up with new takes on home automation and new paths to get there. New approaches have worked before; just look at how Sonos changed the whole house music format. While there may not be groundbreaking technology released at this year's show, there is certainly an undercurrent of change. Classes are full, and companies are growing. Even in this age of DIY and smartphones, the need for the technologist is here.