Beyond the audio and video products that flood the show floor at CEDIA 2015, there are a number of interesting products that aim to enhance and simplify the automation world for both integrators and their end users. Here are a few items that caught our eye.
Wilson Pro 70 Plus Cellular Signal Booster
When setting up connectivity in a large commercial space - or even a large residential home - integrators often face issues relating to dead zones, or areas where wireless network service isn't reliable. This is where a signl booster comes into play. Wilson's Pro 70 is more powerful than its predecessor, and able to boost the cellular signal in spaces as large as 5,000 square feet. It offers up to 70 dB of gain, and boasts a built-in graphical signal meter. It's available strictly to integrators for US$1,800. The Pro 70 remains at US$1,400. It's available in Canada through Evolution Home Entertainment.
Nexus 21 Speakeasy Poker Table With Automated Lift
We often talk about ways that dealers and integrators can enhance their businesses and boost profits by thinking outside of the box. This poker table offers a unique opportunity to add value to installations in large residential spaces, or dedicated "man caves." At first glance, it looks like a basic poker table, with Tefton-treated cloth, a soft elbow rail, and milled stainless steel drink holders. But who wants to get up in the middle of a big game to refresh your beverage? Press a button (or remote touchpad or controller) and a concealed, revolving whisky and spirits bar silently glides up from inside the base of the table using Nexus 21's telescoping lift system. It even has a poker chip vault and card storage area. Made in the U.S. of hardwood, it ships fully assembled - just attach the tabletop. It sells for about $8,500 and will ship to Canada, with an approximate six-week lead time.
Labeling cables and gear isn't exactly the sexiest part of the industry, but it's an essential one. Epson's new Datacom app is designed for network equipment panels, and works with the company's Bluetooth-enabled wireless portable label printer. The company is developing apps for specific verticals, and considering one for the AV integration industry that would make the label creation process easier and more streamlined. You can colour code the labels, select the appropriate width, length, number of copies, font size, and more, all through the app. Simply tap "print" and labels output immediately from the compact printer. Particularly when it comes to complex rack setups, this could be a tremendous time-saver, and make troubleshooting much easier as well.
Bose SoundTouch API
In an effort to promote more interoperability among gear, Bose has opened up its SoundTouch API to third-party vendors so they can implement SoundTouch control into their own apps, allowing customers to control SoundTouch speakers through them. It would permit two-way metadata, and full volume and playback controls. Already, Bose has partnered with Elan G, Staples, RTI, SmartHome, and Key Digital, will be launching soon with Control4, and is working on partnerships with URC, Crestron, and AMX that should launch some time in the next few months. The company is also in early talks Savant about partnering with that firm as well.
Speaking of Savant, the automation company's booth is undoubtedly one of the continuously busiest ones at CEDIA, with attendees excited to check out the new Remote. The design is reminiscent of a Harmony remote, sexy and intuitive. But beyond that, it's the functionality that's turning heads: users can control a number of devices from it, including Sonos speakers, Apple TV, cable boxes, Roku players, and lighting. But in addition to the physical buttons and touch interface, you can also use voice commands to initiative playback. Say things like "Food Network" to quickly switch channels on your cable box, or "Apple TV" to switch to that source. You can also set personal profiles for each person in the family that includes his favourite channels and scenes for one-touch activation; and set up guest profiles. Savant products are available in Canada through Evolution Home Entertainment.
Flexson HeadsUp Headphone Stand
Speaker stands are pretty common these days, but there hasn't really been an interesting way to display a nice pair of headphones. The HeadsUp base stands are similar to headphone stands you might see in a retail store. And indeed, they can be used as retail displays as well, with screw down capability at the bottom. But they can also be sold as consumer products, making a great way to showcase and display your headphones on a shelf, desk, or in a media room. They come in black, white, red, and premium chrome, for $52.99 for the former three, and $124.99 for the chrome. There's also a chrome floor-standing version that will sell for $199. Future models may incorporate other features as well so they serve as more than just stands. Stay tuned. Flexson products are available in Canada through Erikson Consumer.
Flexson Sonos PLAY:1 Floor Stands
For those looking for a stylish way to display a Sonos PLAY:1 speaker, the new premium floor stands up the game, coming with real wood and in two finishes. Pricing will be about US$199, with availability scheduled for some time in December.
Jaymar D-Box Seating
Canadian technology D-Box has partnered up with furniture manufacturer Jaymar to bring the company into the CI channel by incorporating its motion technology into a line of theatre seats. This includes a sectional, sofa, or lounger, called the Indiana, Ventura, and Star. Customers can adjust the level of motion intensity to their liking, adding another dimension to the experience. With 4K video, technologies like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for fully immersive sound, motion seating adds another opportunity to enhance the experience for high-end residential (and commercial) theatre setups. Jaymar demonstrated all three seating options at its booth, playing a high-action scene from Fast and the Furious from a Christie projector and ona 120" wide Black Diamond screen from Screen Innovations.