CEDIA has rolled around again, and in addition to the change in climate this year, we’re seeing a change in emphasis. For many years, CEDIA was the place to see the latest and best in home theater and high-end audio solutions. It still is, of course, but another significant part of the business is taking a larger part of the thunder these days, and that’s IP technologies and home automation (in some cases both in the same product).
As our feature story on IP in A/V in this issue points out, Internet communication is quickly becoming an accepted conduit for sending A/V data and commands around a house. Some manufacturers are approaching this trend with caution, releasing a product here and there to test the waters, while others have embraced if fully, betting their whole future on the evolution of IP. We’re finding that dealers, too, are about as mixed in their acceptance. There’s a whole new language and set of skills involved in transitioning to an IP A/V culture. The Expo’s education lineup is full of programs to help installers get acquainted with the trends and figure out how not to be left out.
Automation, like IP, is also a growing (and often related) trend. There are many levels at which a traditional CE dealer can enter the automation market, from simple universal remotes, to lighting and window control and whole-house automation. Some of the most successful custom installers have based a large part of their business not on home theater, but on home automation, with home theater as a part of the complete package. The sky’s the limit for the homeowners who can afford it. They just need the right dealer willing to help them along.