Speakers, televisions, and other AV gear dominate this year's CEDIA trade show, which wraps up today in San Diego. But among the many demo rooms and mesmerizing images displayed on displays and projection screens are some other interesting products for integrators.
These range from "smart" products that help make life more convenient for clients, including lighting and automation systems, to sleek and sexy mounts, and other useful tools.
Here's a round-up of some interesting items beyond AV that caught our eye.
Seura Smart Mirror
This Smart Mirror functions as a standard vanity mirror in a variety of sizes, including custom-made options, but can display a full Android interface that you can interact with just as you would with a smartphone or tablet. Call up apps, check the weather, watch the news, and even send e-mails or update your calendar. Use the touch interface to swipe screen and select items, or even voice to dictate an e-mail reply while you finish shaving, doing your hair, or fixing your make-up. Seura touts the mirror as the perfect technology for the "working woman," but it's also a great way for both men and women to get a head start to the day while they get ready, without having to bring their phone into the bathroom and touch it with wet and/or dirty fingers. The 27" mirror seen in this photo sells for US$7,000.
Savant Partnership With Apple and HomeKit
Home automation company Savant has partnered with Apple for native IP integration, allowing for seamless voice control via Siri from its voice-enabled remote. It's an interesting integration, showing that traditional home automation companies can and are embracing "DIY" smart home platforms, such as Apple HomeKit and voice control, and working together for home control among a multitude of devices, and in a multitude of ways. A beta will be available some time in Q4, and offered via a software update to existing owners of the Savant remote with voice control.
LumaStream Tunable White Lighting
LumaStream's tunable, low-voltage white lighting solutions are neat in that they come in sleek fixtures, and can be controlled by a single button, and match the sunrise/sunset schedule and Circadian Rhythm cycle, which many believe can add some much needed calm to your day. The architectural LED lighting options employ modern designs that interior designers will like, and are also energy efficient, which can help save on bills and reduce environmental impact. The Canadian distributor is Power Design.
BluOS Software Update
BluOS is still technically an audio technology, but it sits on the software end, complementing both Bluesound products from the same parent company, Lenbrook, as well as potential new collaborations. (Monitor Audio and Roksan, for example, will have BluOS-compatible products coming in the future.) A new version of the OS will launch in October that will include things like Alexa and AirPlay 2 support, as well as an Apple chip that will allow for automatic Wi-Fi network authentication, copying your Wi-Fi settings from a connected Apple device, to help reduce set-up time.
Origin Acoustics Valet
Another demonstration of the way new smart home gear and voice control is being embraced by traditional integration set-ups is found in the Origin Acoustics Valet. Announced earlier this year, the multi-channel amp works with Amazon Alexa. But what's most interesting about the set-up is a balen that can be used to mount an Amazon Echo Dot in the ceiling, or flush into the wall, to become an invisible service in the room. It uses patented bracket technology: cut a hole, attach the Dot, put the grille on top, and the Alexa unit disappears. But you can still give voice commands as needed. It's available in Canada through Evolution Home Entertainment.
It's a simple, yet could be effective, accessory for installers. Developed by integrators, each tube comes with six sized posters matching common display sizes, from 40" up to 85". Rather than mount a TV only to have the client ask for it to be moved a few inches to the left or right, or suggest that maybe they should go a size up after the fact, place the paper poster on the wall to determine exactly where a TV should be mounted, and which size would make the most sense for the space. The images are designed to look like TV screens to provide a visual feel for how an actual TV would look in the space. Who needs AR technology when you can go back to basics? It's essentially like using painter's tape to determine where to place a dining room table on the floor. Each roll is US$40, though the owners recommend having at least 3 to use in every room of the home for a bigger job. The only downside: the posters aren't adhesive, so you'd have to use sticky putty, tacks, or painter's tape in order to adhere the poster to the wall for temporary positioning purposes. It's a great tool to provide designers as well, so they can chime in before the installers go in to actually mount the TV.
MantelMount MM855 SmartMount
As an update to the MM850 mount, the MM855 adds smoother operation, and comes with a home integration module so the user can control the TV's viewing positions using popular home automation apps, including Control4, URC, RTI, Savant, and Crestron. It comes with built-in Ethernet for plug-and-play set-up, and Dual Electronic Actuators that adjust the mount in vertical and horizontal positions. Save up to six preset positions in the Favorite TV Position Memory. With a Heat Sensing Thermocouple that measures heat from a fireplace and Auto Temperature Sensing Technology that automatically retracts the TV to the fully-raised position if it detects an unsafe temperature, it allows you to safely mount a TV above a fireplace. It sells for $2,999 through Evolution Home Entertainment in Canada.
Nexus21 CL-65 Ceiling Flip-Down TV Lift
Nexus21 always attracts crowds with its cool TV lifts, and the new CL-65 doesn't disappoint. Whether you're looking for sheer cool factor, or want to get a TV into a small space, this one allows you to hide the TV on a ceiling, then flip it down when you want to watch. Selling for about US$5,600, it's one of those products you want in your home just as much for the wow factor as for the convenience.
Browse the site for more news from CEDIA 2018 in AV and other categories, including David Susilo's Day 1 and Day 2 reports of 5 stand-out products and announcements from the two main days of the show.