ISE can be a bit of paradox for home technology professionals, especially those based in the U.S. Many of the stories we see surface out of Amsterdam are retreads of those that come to light during CEDIA’s stateside show. Additionally, the large presence of commercial vendors exhibiting at the show can make the significant home tech stories that much more difficult to spot. But, as I write this post on my flight overseas to cover the show for my first time, it is plain to see that there is plenty for home tech pros to be excited about at ISE 2017. Here are the top five stories I’m excited to explore at the show.
RSM Continuing to Mature as a Category
One of the most prevalent themes to emerge from CEDIA 2016, the birth of RSM as a distinct category is a trend I expect to continue at ISE.
Krika has recently launched several new integrations, including a new partnership with the networking company Niveo, which will now integrate the company’s RSM capabilities into its Niveo Smartlink portal. Ihiji recently unveiled its new VIP programs, as well as new suite of monitoring protocols, both aimed at furthering the role of manufacturers in this important space. Control4 has announced the inclusion of the BakPak platform, now included natively inside of Pakedge RK-1 routers. And Domotz recently announced new distribution arrangements alongside a new partnership with D-Tools that will allow users of the design and engineering software to automatically import system information into the RSM platform.
Clearly, the momentum of RSM as an emerging category will continue to develop on the show floor in Amsterdam.
Removing the Stateside Blinders
It’s all too easy for us stateside integrators to forget that the home technology business is a worldwide endeavor. One of the biggest draws of ISE for me personally is a chance to look at specific trends that are taking hold in the home technology landscape “across the pond.”
I have an appointment to meet with Iain Gordon, president of KNX U.K., at which I hope to learn more about what makes this standard, which has little to no presence in the states, so popular in Europe and the U.K. HDL Automation is another large European automation player I look forward to learning more about. I’m also told that numerous Chinese OEM manufacturers (that don’t come to CEDIA) exhibit at ISE, displaying cutting-edge technologies that may not have made their way into the public eye yet. And as a bit of a physical control geek, I look forward to getting a taste for the European aesthetic when it comes to in-wall control devices such as lighting keypads.
ISE offers a unique opportunity for us stateside home tech pros to learn from trends that are taking hold all over the world.
The “Big Three” of Home Automation
There have been numerous developments with the established players of home automation that should make for an interesting show in Amsterdam. This will be Savant’s first large tradeshow event since the return of Bob Madonna, and the company’s subsequent pledge to rededicate itself to high-end custom. It will be interesting to see how much emphasis Crestron puts on residential, given its controversial decision to pull out of CEDIA in 2016. And Control4, which I believe has remained the most focused of the “big three” in the last couple of years, will surely have a good showing given the large amount of business they do in the worldwide home technology market.
For all of the hype that consumer-focused smart home companies have been getting lately, one of the most important trends to watch at these large tradeshows is how the luxury market is developing. From high-end home theater, to high-performance audio, and the latest in display technology, ISE offers plenty to get excited about.
I’m planning to check out the latest in projection technology, including 4K projectors, as well as the latest in screen technology from companies like Stewart and Screen Innovations.
I also plan to spend some time looking at high-performance audio companies such as Meyer Sound, Steinway Lyngdorf, and Meridian. A new online theater design tool called TCD is launching, and is thus far getting high praise from companies like Trinnov Audio, B&W, and Datasat. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Sony will be showing its recently announced OLED flat panels.
CEDIA’s Sharpened Focus
Lastly, I look forward to chatting with the folks from CEDIA about their recent decision to sell off the rights to the annual tradeshow to a company called Emerald Expositions. Their decision to do so was ostensibly aimed at freeing up internal resources at the organization to focus on issues more directly relevant to the future of our industry. While this makes sense on the surface, the choice to sell is coming under further scrutiny given the that Emerald Expositions is itself now rumored to be on the selling block—a story that surfaced only days after CEDIA’s sale was announced. I look forward to the chance to meet with Vin Bruno and the team to discuss what this all means for the future of our most beloved stateside tradeshow.
Those are the top trends I am excited for at ISE 2017. Did I miss anything that you’re looking forward to seeing? Let me know in the comments section below. I’ll be on the show floor all week and would love to hear from you…