Essential Install March 2024

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MARCH 2024 THE ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE FOR THE AV AND SMART HOME INDUSTRY SECURITY FEATURE SAFETY CONSCIOUS CABLES AND CONNECTIONS WIRED WORLD TRAINING FOCUS COURSE FISHING Your guide to a connected home IntelligentH mes A game changing consumer publication for the AV and Home automation industry Brought to you by the publishers of Essential Install magazine Turn to page 14 to find out more

HDBaseT™ Matrix with Advanced Audio Integration

We are pleased to announce the launch of three feature rich HDBaseT™ Matrix, the HMXL88ARC, HMXL66ARC and HMXL42ARC-KIT.

Using CSC technology, these powerful HDBaseT™ matrix support 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 resolutions over distances of 40m over a single CAT 6 cable. The new HMXL42ARC-KIT, HMXL66ARC and HMXL88ARC come into their own with advanced audio features specifically designed for maximising the integration of all AV sources in the modern home. Enhanced audio routing is achieved through the integrated independent audio matrix. This enables the audio both from displays (via ARC) and all other sources to be embedded and routed through the system at the users discretion.

These ARC and audio routing features enable our installation partners the ability to create a truly immersive AV experience throughout the home.


8x8 HDBaseT™ CSC ARC Matrix

J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering distribution of video and audio over a single CAT cable

J Advanced Colour Space Conversion (CSC) supports HDMI 2.0 18Gbps specification including HDR

J 26 x 8 Audio Matrix independently controllable from the video


4x2 HDBaseT™ CSC ARC Matrix including Receivers

J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering distribution of video and audio over a single CAT cable

J Advanced Colour Space Conversion (CSC) supports HDMI 2.0 18Gbps specification including HDR

J 8 x 2 audio matrix that is independently controllable from video.


6x6 HDBaseT™ CSC ARC Matrix

J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering distribution of video and audio over a single CAT cable

J Advanced Colour Space Conversion (CSC) supports HDMI 2.0 18Gbps specification including HDR

J 20 x 6 Audio Matrix independently controllable from the video

HDCP 2.2 HDCP 2.2 HDCP 2.2


latest in HDBaseT™ technology. The HEX18G-KIT supports bi-directional IR, RS-232 and PoC up to lengths of 100m over a single CAT cable.


HDBaseT™ ARC Extender Set - 70m

J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering uncompressed video and audio with zero latency

J Extends HDMI 1080p up to a distance of 70m over a single CAT cable

J Supports 4K UHD video up to 40m (3840 x 2160 @30Hz 4:4:4, 4096 x 2160 @24Hz 4:4:4, and 4K @60Hz 4:2:0)


HDBaseT™ CSC Extender Set -100m

J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering CSC scaling with zero latency

J Supports 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 UHD video up to 70m


HDBaseT™ CSC Extender Set - 150m


J Supports 4K 60Hz 4:4:4

1080p up to 150m

Web: Email: Tel: +44 (0)115 824 7000 Our UK Address: The Service Station, Melton Road, Hickling Pastures, Nottinghamshire, LE14 3QG United Kingdom. Current Tutorials Available J CAT Cable Certification & Verification J When is 4K, Actually 4K? J Specifying a Custom Pro Matrix with 18Gbps support J Video over IP vs HDBaseT - which should you back? J with 10 more courses to choose from... Register now: J Become a Certified Blustream Installation Partner Book now at J
Supports ARC from display via HDMI and optical digital
video up to 100m










March 2024


Doug Maxwell, Sales Director, Chord Company


An acoustic triumph in the Surrey countryside

54 SMART THINKING Commercial opportunities


Andy Taylor, Smart Home and Bespoke Installations, PJ Hi-Fi

60 CASE STUDY Reach for the horizon with RTI

67 ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS Unboxing bonus

68 ESSENTIAL CEDIA CEDIA Tech + Business Summits

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Our March
All the latest news
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SECURITY FOCUSED Snap One secures the future
Eric Martin, Director of Training, Just Add Power
Jason Knott, Data Solutions Architect and Evangelist for D-Tools
CEDIA TRAINING Course updates
James Chen,
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So as I write this, the dust is settling on yet another ISE show. Those with long memories will know that our magazine was launched at ISE some 14 years ago now. We have always been big supporters of this event and have enjoyed the platform it provides our industry to promote itself and the undoubtedly wonderful opportunity for our team to walk the floor and learn everything that is happening in the sector.

A welcome development this year is that the smart home and audio-visual sector has a clear home in hall 2 making getting to see everyone a more achievable goal and definitely saving on the shoe leather. With a long record of not only launching our own magazine but other important projects at the show, this year was no different as we used some of the time to introduce the industry to our returning Intelligent Homes magazine. Our team had lots of meetings explaining how this new consumer-facing magazine has been created specifically to showcase our industry directly to consumers via postcode-based letterbox delivery, getting to over 100,000 different addresses in the UK over the four planned issues we have for this year. If you would like to get involved from a marketing point of view, then do get in touch with the sales team. However, for our purposes here I wanted, once again, to visit how we plan to create the editorial, offering anyone reading this the chance to get involved!


Our in-house team will be contributing to creating Intelligent Homes, however, we are also asking the industry to get involved and contribute articles gathered from their experienced and expert personnel. If you are an installer, distributor, manufacturer, or service provider involved in the Smart Home, Home Cinema or Luxury AV market, we want to hear from you!


In each of the four issues that will be produced each year, Intelligent Homes will be inviting industry players to submit articles on the following general areas

Home Cinema, Music Only Systems, The Smart Home, Lighting and Shading and Case Studies.


Intelligent Homes will be delivered to 25,000 different homes each time the publication is produced. The aim of the publication is to act as an introduction to the sector for those who have little or no knowledge of our industry. So, the tone of the articles should reflect this and leave technical jargon at the door. Instead, content should introduce the concepts available, inspire and enthuse the reader to want to discover more by, for example, contacting their local installer or signing up for a visit or demo. Some mention of specific products and services is fine for context, but the main thrust of all articles should be one of exciting the reader as to what impact buying into the sector will have on their lifestyle and homelife.


Articles should be between 600-1200 words and must be accompanied by at least, three high-quality, high-resolution images. Contributors must contact the editorial team with their suggestions, either by email or phone, and agree on the approach and content before going ahead with any article. The preferred format is a Microsoft Word Document and JPEG for images. Get in touch and let’s spread the word of our life-enhancing industry to new horizons!



Daniel J Sait,


Jessica Pereira,


Ian Kitchener,


Claire Talty,


David Kitchener,


Mark Weller,


Essential Install magazine, Suite 14, 6-8 Revenge Road, Lordswood, Chatham, Kent ME5 8UD

T: +44 (0)1634 673163

F: +44 (0)1634 673173




The editors and publishers do not necessarily agree with the views expressed by contributors, nor do they accept responsibility for any errors in the transmission of the subject matter in this publication. Whilst we make every effort to ensure that everything is factually correct, we cannot be held responsible if factual errors occur.

In all matters, the editor’s decision is final. Editorial contributions to Essential Install magazine are welcomed, and the editor reserves the right to alter or abridge text prior to the publication. All articles are copyright and remain the property of Essential Install magazine.

MARCH A TIME FOR INTELLIGENCE Proud Media Partners of FEATURE CONSCIOUS CONNECTIONS FOCUS Your guide to a connected home IntelligentH mes A game changing consumer publication for the AV and Home automation industry Brought to you by the publishers of Essential Install magazine page 14 to find 04 MARCH 2024
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Every home is a unique expression of the lives lived there. A reflection of your clients’ tastes and passions. Your design realizes their dream. Our technology makes it a reality. Smart home technology that is intuitive and simple. Instantly responsive to touch or the sound of your clients’ voice. A complete smart home system tailored just as they imagined.

One company designs, manufactures and supports every component of that system. One company where design and technology meet. Beautifully.

All brand names, product names, and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Certain trademarks, registered trademarks, and trade names may be used to refer to either the entities claiming the marks and names or their products. Crestron disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Crestron is not responsible for errors in typography or photography. ©2024 Crestron Electronics, Inc. Photo: Paul Moore
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Bang & Olufsen will again be a featured brand on Ferrari’s SF-24 Formula 1 car with prominent logo placement and will continue to work closely with the Maranello-based Team to build immersive sound experiences trackside and in Bang & Olufsen stores worldwide. In the 2023 season, Bang & Olufsen hosted a number of successful events, showcasing how the company’s portfolio of highend TVs and speakers deliver the most powerful and captivating off-track viewing experience for Formula 1 fans. Two icons in a partnership that embodies the best of both brands.

Bang & Olufsen’s partnership with Scuderia Ferrari goes beyond the collaboration with the racing division, and in 2024 the two brands will continue to entice clients with the launch of new and exciting special edition products.

CEO of Bang & Olufsen, Kristian Teär, is excited about what the 2024 season will bring, “We have been delighted with our partnership so far and hope to elevate it even more this coming season. Like Ferrari, we have a proud history of world-class performance, innovation and exceptional craftsmanship. In the past year, we have shown Ferrari brand lovers and the Formula 1 community the immersive experiences our products can deliver and I’m pleased we can continue working together to create even more magical moments.”

Lorenzo Giorgetti, Chief Revenue Officer at Ferrari, added, “With an excellent partner like Bang & Olufsen, we can continue to offer our guests at the Grands Prix a first-rate immersive experience. Like us, Bang & Olufsen believes in constant technological research, a passion for beautiful things and a continuous drive to innovate.”

Bang & Olufsen


CEDIA has unveiled its re-imagined and expanded 2024 CEDIA Tech + Business Summits (formerly CEDIA Tech Summits). The new name and theme, ‘CEDIA Tech + Business Summits: The Tech You Need, The Business You Want’ encompasses the dual focus of these events in supporting members’ success, says the organisation.

With a carefully curated schedule, the summits offer a blend of training from technology and business leaders, including financial consultant and CEDIA Fellow, Leslie Shiner of The ShinerGroup

and Hazel Napier, Operations Director at legal and contract services specialist, BEB Consultancy. Plus, each summit features networking opportunities for business owners, system designers, project managers, technicians and newcomers. The UK programme is extended to include Bristol (March 20) as a summit destination for the first time, alongside London (April 18), Edinburgh (May 22) and Leeds (Leeds 19).

Designed with all job roles in mind, CEDIA aims for the education sessions to cover a spectrum of technology and business topics to provide attendees with tools for immediate action. Attendees can also indulge in the latest technology trends and connect with key decision-makers from top brands, gaining invaluable insights and fostering meaningful partnerships. New exhibitors confirmed for the UK programme include D-Tools, Henley Designs, PMC, Sony, Super Rod and UR-EKA Lighting & Controls.

CEDIA has also announced that it is now accepting submissions to the 2024 CEDIA Smart Home Awards, the annual global awards programme honouring outstanding achievements in the field of smart home technology.


All relevant information can be found on the association website @Install_mag /Essentialinstall 13-14 Headlands Trading Estate, Headlands Grove, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 7JQ Controllable PDUs with surge protection. Designed for the AV Installer 01488 73366 or call us today on 2-fold switched & metered PDU 4-fold switched & metered PDU 21-fold switched AC/DC PDU 12-fold switched & metered PDU
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The deal will include introduction of special edition products
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Invision and Pulse Cinemas have announced that as of Monday, March 4, 2024, they are joining forces, solidifying their commitment to the custom install market.

With more than 40 years of industry experience combined, the partners said they will work together to deliver a best-inclass service and support to partners. The

companies state this means customers will have one trading account with access to a wider portfolio of industry-leading brands all in one place, dedicated account management and product specialists, continuation or enhanced terms, regional training locations and centralised warehousing.

Mark Taylor, Commercial Director at Invision, said, “We are thrilled to be working with the Pulse Cinemas team. They are likeminded with similar values and to join forces with them means we can offer more solutions and an expanded service offering through the addition of a complementary portfolio and an experienced specialist team. This is an exciting time for both businesses and we look forward to working together.”

The partners said customers can continue to visit state-of-the-art demonstration facilities in Stansted at Pulse HQ and at the Invision tech showcase located at Innovation


PMC Distribution UK has announced the exclusive UK distribution of Michell Audio products. The arrangement will allow more audiophiles to experience the iconic British brand via PMC Distribution UK’s existing retailer network.

The brand’s new distributor said that since 1966 the name Michell has been associated with high-quality turntables, with its most famous product, the GyroDec, appearing in the early 1980’s. So ‘right’ was the design that it still features in the company’s product range, alongside the flagship Orbe, other turntables, cartridges, tonearms, power supplies, upgrades, and the famed record clamp.

The relationship between PMC Distribution UK and Michell came out of a conversation between PMC’s founder, Peter Thomas, a longstanding Michell owner and Steve Rowland, then in charge of the Michell business.

“We are delighted to welcome Michell Audio to our UK Distribution portfolio,” said Paul Bayliss, Head of home audio for PMC Distribution UK. “There is so much synergy between our two brands in terms of ethos, family ownership and a passion for engineering excellence, all with music at the heart, that the relationship seems entirely natural. I know we’ll be able to bring a lot to the Michell brand in

terms of market expansion and management.”

PMC Distribution UK takes over the UK distribution of Michell from now onward, and will be responsible for all UK sales enquiries, order fulfilment, customer contact and retailer relationships.

“We are at the point in the development of our business where we are ready to take the next steps in terms of market presence and expansion,” said Jonathan Nye, who took

House in Bracknell. Both sites have platform technology solutions installed in a variety of applications with a high-end luxury experience at Stansted and a multi-market offering at Innovation House.

Mike Beatty, MD of Pulse Cinemas, added, “In this fast-paced industry, we are always looking at how we can offer the latest technology and outstanding service to our customers to help them grow their own businesses. This union further signifies our unwavering dedication to surpass industry standards and by combining our distinct skill sets, we can provide exceptional solutions to our customers.”

In August 2023, Pulse Cinemas joined the Midwich Group.

Mike said, “Before we joined Midwich Group, we had been searching for a partner to help us take Pulse Cinemas to new levels and deliver on the plans we have for the company and our dealers. With the support of the Group, Kapes (Pulse Cinemas COO) and I am now in the position to use our knowledge, experience and passion to do just that. We are incredibly excited for what comes next.”

Invision UK Pulse Cinemas

over the running of Michell in 2023. “As a relatively small team dedicated to designing and manufacturing the world’s best turntables, that will remain our focus. Working with the customer-focused and hugely respected PMC Distribution UK is ideal, and we are delighted to be part of its family of carefully curated brands.”

PMC Distribution UK Michell Audio

For more information, speak to your Invision or Pulse contact @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 09 NEWS
Jonathan Nye, Michell Audio (left) and Paul Bayliss, PMC Distribution UK, seal the deal


Connected Distribution has been appointed distributor of the Pro Control brand in the UK, bringing the single room control solution to the country’s custom installation sector as an offering for clients who don’t require a fully-fledged whole house control system.

Pro Control is designed to clean up the media room experience, replacing the multiple remote controls common to

so many households with one personalised touchscreen remote.

The Pro24.r remote’s customisable LCD touchscreen boasts fully programmable hard buttons that assure intuitive and personalised control of every media room component.

Programming is simply executed using the wizard-based Pro Control Studio Software and expansion via the optional ProLink.r


Peerless-AV has announced that the AV Showcase is back in play for a fourth consecutive year at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, on May 14-15, 2024. The AV Showcase will house over 40 of the industry’s AV and Digital Signage brands, all coming together to demonstrate the latest technology innovations and product launches that are reshaping the way businesses communicate, view, stream, work, present, interact and navigate, both now and into the future.

“After a record-breaking and successful ISE 2024, tradeshows are back. Now our attentions turn to putting the 2024 AV Showcase on everyone’s radar,” said Keith Dutch, Managing Director –EMEA, Peerless-AV.

“Since we first launched the event in 2020, the Showcase has really become a firm fixture in the AV and Digital Signage events calendar. There’s no other event of this scope and speciality in London at this time of year. It’s regarded by our

exhibiting partners as a mid-year platform to demonstrate first-time showings and product launches to the UK and European audiences and to generate new business. For end-users, resellers, integrators and consultants, the event offers the opportunity to meet all the major vendors under one roof, have conversations, and make connections.”

processor increases the scope of the system. Its four dedicated IR emitters and two voltage sensing inputs enable hidden components to be controlled and on/off state to be monitored.

The ethernet-linked processor also permits the use of an iPad or iPhone running the ProPanel software to control the system. The addition of a further four-port IR emitter block and a four-relay control module, for control of blinds and drop-down screens etc., provides an even more powerful solution.

Mike Bonnette, Connected Distribution’s Product Director, commented, “We are delighted to be able to provide the Pro Control system to our customers and ultimately for their end-users. It is a fantastic solution that fills in the gap between a simple universal remote and a whole house control system, making it perfect for installations that are single room-based, such as a media room or home cinema. “Not all customers require the power or complexity of a full control system, but they do want to benefit from the advantage of having just one remote or a tablet-based system. And, for the installers, it is an easy system to programme, which can save valuable time on-site.”

Connected Distribution

This year, there are planned keynote speakers from AVIXA and Microsoft. There will be a new 2024 Love2Learn cricket session and exhibitors and visitors will be invited to attend a sunset mix and mingle networking reception on Tuesday evening.


Pro Control is in stock and available now from Connected Distribution @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 11 NEWS
Registration for the AV Showcase 2024 is now open

Invision welcomes Ian Strange as new Business Development Manager. Ian has joined Invision from Midwich, where he worked for more than seven years. His original role in 2016 was external sales support and, most recently, Microsoft Teams Room disti champion from November 2022. Prior to Midwich, he worked for Beta Distribution, Ingram Micro and Admiral.

With over 12 years in the AV industry, he brings a wealth of sales and demonstration experience with a particular focus on forming partnerships with customers and supporting them in finding the right solutions for their projects.

Ian said, “I’d worked with Invision on a couple of projects over the years and what they were doing, and the technology involved, really piqued my interest. When I saw the opportunity come up, I knew I had to go for it.

“I love technology and am excited to work in the luxury market. I am very customer-focused, always looking at how we can support them to deliver exceptional projects and to provide advice to find the right solution for the job. I look forward to building relationships with my customers and becoming an extension of their team.”

Mark Taylor, Commercial Director of Invision, said, “We are excited to welcome Ian to the team. His previous sales experience makes him a great asset and will bolster our offering to provide premium support to our customers as part of our Committed to Custom pledge. This is an exciting time for Invision as we look to further invest in and commit to the custom install industry.”

Lighting and electrical manufacturer Luceco has appointed James Harper as Head of Digital Marketing. With a wealth of experience in the manufacturing for construction market, Digital Marketing Manager, James has previously worked with other leading brands such as Johnson Controls and Viessmann. James will now be bringing his expertise to lighting, electrical and EV charging specialist Luceco, where he will be driving a series of innovative digital marketing campaigns.

Wayne Hill, Managing Director at Luceco Group, said, “James’ appointment demonstrates our commitment to the Luceco brands. I am confident that with his experience and motivation, James will make a hugely positive contribution to the business.”

James said, ‘This is a very exciting appointment for me. As well as high-quality and well-respected brands to offer our customers, there is a great team of people who make it all happen. I look forward to the opportunity to drive new business development and increase sales revenues.’

Stuart Tickle, owner and Managing Director of AWE, has joined the CEDIA Board of Directors Following an extensive interview and selection process of nominated trade suppliers, CEDIA announced the approval of Stuart Tickle and James Chen (Kordz) as Directors at its January meeting.

Stuart, who previously served as a Director of the CEDIA UK board from 2003 to 2009, said, “It’s a huge honour to be elected to the CEDIA Board of Directors once again. CEDIA has a strong executive team headed globally by Daryl. Having met most already, I am excited to be joining a dedicated board who are investing their time alongside other volunteers to help steer our industry and trade association in an even stronger direction.

“Since the announcement was made and after speaking with many at ISE, I have been very encouraged by the many kind words spoken to me from industry friends and peers. What comes across is that CEDIA is recognised as an essential pillar of our industry that does a lot of great work, but it is also expected to add even more value. I want to help the board and team enable that to happen.”

CEDIA Global President and CEO Daryl Friedman, commented, “Stuart was one of the first people I met when I joined CEDIA and from that first insightful meeting I was impressed by his knowledge and commitment to this industry. I am delighted to continue to have his insights in the Boardroom and welcome him to the Board at this exciting time.”

Stuart joins two existing board members who are also from the UK, integrators Melanie Malcolm (Bespoke Home Cinemas) and James Ratcliffe (Homeplay).

LED maker Absen embarks on a new chapter of growth and diversification with the addition of four outstanding individuals, each bringing a unique set of expertise to the company. Joining the team is Darren Jackson, UK Business Development Manager, AbsenLive: Bringing 14 years of management and business development experience, Darren will spearhead AbsenLive, a dedicated brand category catering to the high-end rental and staging and virtual production/XR stage segments.

River Harper-Boyce, Marketing Specialist: River’s proven marketing and event expertise, honed during her successful tenure with Absen’s long-standing partner PSCO, aligns perfectly with Absen’s commitment to enhancing brand visibility through effective communication strategies.

Max Hedayat, Strategic Business Development Manager, DACH region: A seasoned sales and strategic business development professional with 20 years in the Pro AV industry, Max strengthens Absen’s position in the key DACH region of the European market.

Shine Philip, Technical Manager, DACH region: Shine’s vast technical knowledge and experience will contribute significantly to the development and implementation of cutting-edge LED display solutions, ensuring Absen maintains its highquality standards across the board.

Ian Strange River Harper-Boyce Darren Jackson James Harper Max Hedayat
ESSENTIAL PEOPLE NEWS 12 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag

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All Things Media, owner of Essential Install Magazine is launching a brand-new way for the home cinema, quality AV and smart home sectors to reach out to consumers. Read on to find out more about Intelligent Homes.

Intelligent Homes is a revolutionary magazine that aims to promote the luxury AV, smart home and home cinema sectors. This quarterly consumer magazine is set to be distributed across the UK, with 25,000 copies of each issue delivered to home owners covering new households with each issue. By the end of 2024, the magazine will have reached a staggering 100,000 households and potentially 200,000 readers.

With Intelligent Homes, the industry will finally have a vehicle to raise consumer awareness and increase market growth. By using the Geoplan Mapping Software Platform, DLM, magazine’s distribution company ensures geo-demographic targeting of households throughout the UK. This software combines geography in terms of postcode sectors and the demographics of residents living within these sectors. This will allow Intelligent Homes to target specific audiences, focusing on ABC, C1 and C2 demographics.

The distribution data is sourced from the UK Gov’s Census Office and is collated to provide the most accurate datasets at postcode, district and area level for the UK. By choosing the most prominent demographic characteristics of a target audience, the title will minimise wastage and increase response rates.

The data selected for Intelligent Homes are postcodes based on the UK ‘Index’, (indexed against the average of the entire UK – the national average being 100) that have an index of 100 or more, and are the top postcodes for the magazine’s demographic target audience.

Intelligent Homes is poised to be an industry game-changer, revolutionising the AV, home cinema and home automation industry sector by delivering a highly targeted and engaging magazine to households across the UK. The magazine’s strategic distribution, innovative use of technology and accurate datasets make it the ideal choice for businesses seeking to expand their consumer reach and market growth.

INTELLIGENT HOMES LAUNCH! 14 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag




The in-house team creating Intelligent Homes will be putting our shoulder to the wheel creating exclusive content for this new and important industry initiative, however we will also be asking the industry to get involved and contribute articles gathered directly from their most experienced and knowledgeable team members. If you are an installer, distributor, manufacturer, or a service provider involved in the Smart Home, Home Cinema or Luxury AV market, read on to find out how you can contribute.


In each of the four issues that will be produced each year, this new title will be inviting industry stakeholders to contribute articles on the following subjects: Home Cinema, Music Only Systems, The Smart Home, Lighting and Shading, Case Studies.


Intelligent Homes will be sent to 25K different homes each time the publication is mailed. The aim of the publication is to act as an introduction to the sector for those who either have little or no knowledge of our industry and encourage people to engage with the market. So, the tone of the articles should reflect this and leave technical jargon at the door, instead content should introduce the concepts available, inspire and enthuse the reader to want to find out more, contact their local installer or sign up for a visit or demo. Some mention of specific products and services is fine for context, but the main thrust of all articles should be one of exciting the reader as to what impact buying into the sector will have on their lifestyle and home life.


Articles should be from 600-1200 words long and must be accompanied with at least three high-quality high-resolution images. Contributors must contact the editorial team with their suggestion either by email or phone and agree the approach and content before going ahead with any article. Preferred format for words is a Microsoft Word Document and JPEGs for images.

Get in touch and let’s spread the word of our wonderful and inspiring sector to an ever expanding audience! Send your editorial suggestions to,


200,000+ READERS

Issue 1 March 2024 Issue 2 June 2024 Issue 3 September 2024 Issue 4 December 2024 UK distribution by post code area @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 15 INTELLIGENT HOMES LAUNCH!
“TOGETHER FOR CINEMA – TOGETHER FOR 42 good cause cinema room installations completed With a normal installation value of over £1,050,000 Thank you to all our 2024 Aldous Systems, Alltrade, Amina Invisible Speakers, Antiference, Art Of Integration, Audio Partnership, Cinema Rooms, Connected Distribution, Crestron, Digital Interiors, Epson, Future Automation, Gasoline
Ltd, iCubed Home Cinema, Ideaworks, Indigo Zest, Intuitive Homes, Invision, Ivory Egg, Karma MK Iconic Solutions, Modus Vivendi, Monitor Audio, New Wave AV, Newland Solutions, OneAV, Optoma, QMotion, RAKO, Re-Sauce, RGB Communications, Smart Living Solutions, Smartcomm, Snap One, Pictured above are a few of our Charitable Partners that we ran into at the recent ISE show


Charitable Partners

Partnership, AVPro Global, AWE Europe, Bespoke Home Cinemas, Bowers and Wilkins, Cadaema, Cinema Luxe, Media, Glo AV, Green Bean Limited, Griffin360, GUDE Systems, Habitech Ltd, HDANYWHERE, Hisense, Karma AV, Kordz, L-Acoustics, LC AV, Legrand, Lighting Control, LILIN, Loud & Clear, Lutron, Meridian Audio, Optoma, Origin Acoustics, Orluna Lighting, Philips Professional Displays, Primare, Pulse Cinemas, Pulse-Eight, One, Sony, Steinway Lyngdorf, SurgeX, TDI Trimever, The Chord Company, Webro, Wisdom Audio



Our trusted trade focused reviewer Richard Stevenson experiences the DLA-NZ7 from veteran home cinema servant JVC.

I have long been a fan of JVC’s D-ILA projectors and owned models going back to pre-HD resolution days. Pound for pound, I felt JVC’s bespoke Direct-Drive Image Light Amplification technology offered the best cinema performance, improving tone and black levels on LCD machines and circumnavigating colour banding with DLP. I even opted for a DLA-NP5 as my first 4K machine in the new cinema, but the bulb-based model could not punch the brightness I wanted for the larger room and larger screen. I ended up with Sony’s vivid WX7000 before JVC’s latest laser-based goodies were available.

The JVC DLA-NZ7 is the brand’s opening soiree into a laser-engine-based native 4K D-ILA projector with a neat 8K trick behind its premium all-glass lens. Using pixel shifting technology that JVC calls e-shift, 8K content is split into two frames that are displayed sequentially, shifted half a pixel diagonally. The frame overlap produces a viable 8K image

from a 4K panel, backed up by the NZ7’s twin 48Gbps HDMI 2.3 spec connections for 8K content and an onboard 8K scaler. The flagship NZ9 model boasts an even smoother 8K thanks to pixel shifting in two directions, called e-shiftX.

Under the hood of this large 24kg beast, the NZ7 is equipped with a 17-element, 15-group all-glass 65mm diameter lens, providing excellent uniformity of sharpness from corner to corner. As projector bulbs are becoming obsolete (soon to have an EU ban for their energy-using atrocities), the NZ7 has JVC’s BLU-escent laser engine at its heart, claiming to punch out a maximum 2,200 lumens brightness. It still sucks over 400W in use and is necessarily cooed by twin multispeed fans. JVC’s expertise shows here as those fans are very quiet and seemingly (to my ears) a less obtrusive tone than Sony’s laser models despite registering exactly the same sound level on my test meter in low fan mode.

ESSENTIAL REVIEW: JVC DLA-NZ7 18 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag

There is a fully motorised lens shift and focus here, controlled from the JVC’s fucntional and pretty remote, and like most motorised systems it is very easy to ‘overshoot’ the focus mark. I still can’t understand why projectors don’t have autofocus to save installers squinting at pixels while tweaking a lens assembly with the momentum of a bus via a remote control, but JVC is not alone here. You do, however, get 10 lens presets with anamorphic scaling covering everything you could need for standard ratios, cinemascope and masked screens.

For awkward installs, where the projector has to be offset from the perpendicular screencentre or cannot hang neatly at the top of the screen height, the NZ7 offers a very generous 80% vertical and 34% horizontal lens shift. Image focus and uniformity remain excellent even towards the extremes, and the 2x zoom lens gives plenty of fore-aft scope in a room. Having had a limited zoom projector hung directly over my head for many years, being able to install the projector at the back of the room without needing an IMAX-sized screen (or vice versa if moved forward) is very handy.

This brings me neatly to screen size. JVC recommends screen sizes between 60 and 200in and in anything but a fully dungeondark cinema room I would say the upper end of that range is ‘ambitious’. The 2,200 lumens maximum gets significantly reduced by setting the fan to low/eco mode and both JVC’s naturally smooth and rich image along with its dynamic tone mapping put further pressure on the realistic brightness at longer throw distances and with larger screens.

My screen is a 130in diagonal AT model with 0.9 gain and I am not sure I would go too big with the NZ7 in anything but a full black-out decor. There is scope to lift the brightness on the highest laser power / highest fan settings but the NZ7 picture is so rich and it runs so quietly on low, it would be a tough trade-off for me. Your customer mileage may vary.

When it comes to calibration, the DLANZ7 offers a range of controls within its menu system, it is ISF-licensed and uses JVC’s own Auto Calibration software. I have read some installer angst on the NZ7’s slightly limited flexibility and course calibration settings for truly granular image tweaking, but I managed a good picture, somewhere between drop-dead gorgeous and phwoar, very easily.

A good chunk of that visual wow-factor comes down to JVC’s class-leading dynamic tone mapping and Frame Adapt technology. Frame Adapt dynamically adjusts the tone mapping on a scene-by-scene or frame-byframe basis, optimising HDR content on only the fly. While other brands now have similar technologies in their premium projectors, the NZ7 remains at the top of the game here for producing silky-smooth, cinema-like images with superb detail in high and low bright parts of the scene.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance, the wife’s favourite film for some reason, offers a cinematic canvas perfect to demonstrate the NZ7’s amazing shading and toning, bringing amazing contrast and detail to the auditorium dance scenes. Inky black backdrops, vivid stage lighting, superbly shot effects like the rain dance on stage, and, according to the wife, extremely well-crafted rippling torsos,

are a real joy to behold (the picture, not to torsos to make that clear). I have seen 4K TVs that cannot deliver this level of high contrast smoothness and seamless cinematic grace. Bundle that with the NZ7’s deeply rich colours, natural skin toning and smooth motion processing, and this is a projector that begs for bespoke cinema room builds.

Side by side with the more expensive Sony installed here, the JVC gets frighteningly close to the much more affluent model in almost every respect. The Sony simply punches harder and brighter with more vivid colour. That makes it a better choice for bigger media rooms and multi-use lounges and with general high-impact content like sport. For a more bijou, bespoke cinema room with decor noir and a strict diet of Hollywood and less mainstream movies, the JVC would get my Oscar for its stunning cinematic performance. @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 19 ESSENTIAL REVIEW: JVC DLA-NZ7


Music streaming technology built for CI places high performance audio, design versatility and control in the hands of integrators, says CUK MD Stuart Thomson.

We’re delighted to be extending our valueadded outreach to CI integrators with LODE Audio’s specialised multi-zone music streaming architecture. Positioned in the market between mainstream multi-room solutions and ‘audiophile’ single room streamers, LODE is designed and built entirely in the UK to deliver high performance audio and to integrate with all the leading home control systems, transforming the experience of music streaming in premium smart home projects.

Created for custom integrators by custom integrators, LODE has for over 10 years understood the desire from its growing customer base for a more sophisticated CI-oriented streaming solution having local support for proprietary technology, including HD audio design, audio-over-IP architecture, control system drivers and ‘additive’ API technology. Its dedicated CI design priorities offer clear technological, practical and performance advantages over mainstream offerings in CI applications.


LODE’s range comprises one, two and fourzone players, a compact POE powered single zone player and LA DANTE, a 1U rack mountable eight-channel (four-zone) Dante system, all running on Ethernet from a router or switch. The zone players feature superior ‘Hi -Fi’ DACs with a wide 112dB dynamic range, an equally impressive S/N of 112dB and vanishing THD at -93dB, upconverting all popular file formats, including MP3, M4P, M4A, Flac, WAV

and AAC to 32bit/48kHz for output to stereo RCA, S/PDIF optical and coaxial for each zone.


The brand’s CI focused ethos is also defined by a comprehensive range of control options for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Crestron, AMX, Control4, RTI and ELAN (Nice). Via intuitive interfaces on tablet, phone and desktop, customers are able to navigate playlists on Tidal, Deezer, Soundcloud and Pandora for instance, or radio from TuneIn, Internetradio, HotelRadioFM and SoundMachine, as well as local NAS music libraries. Apps and drivers are available from the LODE site (control system drivers via login).

As distinct from retail rivals, LODE sets up via Web-UI and is scalable to up to 64 rooms of independent audio with any number of grouped rooms, and with the lowest audio and control latency. But the unique accumulator for installers is the proven power to integrate with all the leading home automation platforms via in-house drivers for AMX, Crestron, C4, RTI and ELAN. What’s more, Lutron’s advanced TCP API integration allows LODE streamers to integrate with the Homeworks system, while LODE’s proprietary ‘additive’ APIs are designed to dovetail sensitively with existing interfaces, so as to not break existing installations during firmware upgrades.


LODE’s gifts to residential installation also apply to commercial, marine and hospitality environments with the addition of special

features such as a custom scheduling tool, which can be set up from the Web-UI to allow music to change in different rooms at different times.


Above all, the beauty of LODE’s CI dedicated expertise means that whatever the design choice for any project, LODE’s in-house development team is on hand locally with a wealth of source code to reduce development time and to ensure the best user experience for integrators and end-users. In deploying LODE for CI, you’ll get the mature levels of support you’re used to from a long-established CI service provider, and with CUK’s proven commercial backup.

For further information, please contact: +44 (0) 141 440 5333
LODE’s range includes one, two and four-zone players featuring Hi-Fi DACs, and LA DANTE, a 1U rack mountable eight-channel (four-zone) Dante system ESSENTIAL CUK 20 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag



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Recent weeks have seen our reimagined main cinema demonstration space packed out with installers enjoying our new Krix speaker array, offering an insight into the recently installed Trinnov WaveForming technology. Read on to find out more about these recent developments and this key new audio technology.

Sales Manager - International - High-End Audio at Trinnov Audio, has been on hand at all of the events to guide visitors through how this technology works and what advantages it can bring to the home cinema world. We thought it would be useful to answer a few key questions that have come up from these events, so that the entire home cinema universe can fully understand what can be achieved here and how this technology operates.

The space also features a recently installed collection of Krix speakers, look out next month for a full feature on this fantastic brand celebrating its 50th year in business.

Q: In its most basic form, what is WaveForming?

David: WaveForming is an active acoustics solution that removes the room’s modal response and reduces decay times in low frequencies. Bass reproduction in small rooms provides a significant challenge to any high-

performance audio space and is the hardest, and least predictable, part of the frequency range to control. The methods employed by passive acoustics and multiple subwoofer placements still have their place, even within WaveForming,

but are only ever mitigating the issue. As always there is only so much that can be done in the physical domain and when blended with the digital domain, we get a real- world solution to solve this complex issue.

ESSENTIAL PULSE CINEMAS 22 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag

Q: What particular improvements should we be looking out for in different types of audio?

David: With WaveForming you remove the lingering ‘boomy’ bass from the room. This means that the bass is reproduced as it was intended rather than having recorded decay time on top of the room’s decay time. This is what leads to a boomy and inaccuratesounding bass. Waveforming solves this issue and allows listeners to experience a clearer and more dynamic bass, whilst also revealing details in the mid-bass and higher frequencies that were otherwise masked by lingering bass notes.

The benefit of an active technology such as Waveforming is its tunability. If you are listening to music, you may want a dryer and more ‘precise’ sounding bass but for movies, you may want a more lively-sounding bass to add to the visceral experience. Additionally, you may choose to enable our Pressurisation mode for movies, to extend the low frequency performance and maybe you prefer not to have this enabled for music. This is easy to achieve with different Presets within the Altitude processor.

Q: Give us a concise explanation of how WaveForming actually works in practice.

Simply put, WaveForming, in its highest performance form, uses the ideal placement of subwoofers on the front and rear walls that work together to absorb the planar sound wave before they get the opportunity to reflect off the back wall and cause issues. This means that the low frequencies don’t get the opportunity to reflect and cause standing wave issues in the room. This dramatically increases seat-to-seat consistency as well as controlling the decay time of those low frequencies.

The number of subwoofers required is broken down into some easy-to-understand criteria. Firstly, we need to know the room’s height and width, we then can offer different performance levels based on the upper frequency you want to correct up to. So, if your aim is correction up to 80Hz then you will need fewer subwoofers than if your aim is 120Hz or higher. This gives easy performance and therefore pricing, levels for integrators to offer different options to their customers.

Q: When will the technology be fully approved and rolled out to all compatible systems?

David: Since July 2023, we have been offering the software to qualifying projects. The qualification is based upon the subwoofer placement meeting our subwoofer layout recommendations. We simply require drawings to show the dimensions of the room, the subwoofer location and require all subwoofers to be individually addressable. If those criteria are met, then we can approve that project for early access to the software.

We have chosen to do this because we don’t want people to be disappointed by the results thinking it’s solely down to the software. Software without correct engineering and design doesn’t offer a magic wand. Taking this get-what-you-are-given approach only leads to poor or unpredictable results. We want to offer a very high level of performance with WaveForming in its current form which is why we put these restrictions in place.

Q: Is the technology difficult to install and calibrate?

David: The most difficult part is in the design and layout of the subwoofers. Once you have the subwoofers in the right place the calibration and measurement process is straightforward enough for experienced Trinnov dealers. We provide full documentation and training to dealers so they can operate autonomously and deploy this alongside their usual AV calibration methods.

Q: WaveForming will evolve, what are some of the most recent additions and what can we expect in the future?

David: The latest addition is the Pressurisation mode that we debuted at ISE. Pressurisation mode is designed as a complementary technology to WaveForming. Waveforming is only really required down to frequencies where modal issues occur. So below the first fundamental room mode, we utilise all the subwoofers to extend low frequencies and provide headroom in those very low frequencies down into the infrasonic region below 20Hz. We have many more features to come from WaveForming, but we are focused currently on updating the user interface

which will lead us up to public release. But we will add further features, enhancements and recommendations to make WaveForming more accessible to less optimal subwoofer and speaker layouts.

Q: What training is going to be available on learning how to install and use WaveForming effectively?

David: We have pre-recorded webinars and documentation available to our dealers which will guide them through the design, setup and calibration stages. We also plan to have an online WaveForming certification module to bolster our Level 1 and Level 2 certification offerings later this year. We will offer both online and in-person training with the support of our distribution partners globally.

Q: Can the technology cope with the many different types and shapes of rooms that installers encounter? (Building out to create false walls is not always possible).

David: The algorithm is very flexible, but it cannot be expected to cope with every scenario. You can still get benefits in non-ideal rooms but it’s never going to be as good as a dedicated controlled space. But I think we have proven that in temporary structures, like our rooms at ISE and CEDIA Expo, provided by Officina Acoustica, or the pop-up event we held at CEDIA head offices with Invision earlier this year, we can still gain surprising benefits even with far less certainty on the outcome. This is why we believe in a design-lead approach so we can be confident about the results rather than just working with what we are given and the expectation being unrealistic.

Q: How does WaveForming fit in with the CEDIA RP22 recommendations?

David: It fits well in that RP22 and WaveForming are both engineering-lead design approaches. So, they are complimentary in that way by offering solid engineering recommendations to provide quantifiable performance. Active acoustic techniques like WaveForming aren’t covered within RP22 yet, but will make up a revision in the future.

Pulse Cinemas @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 23 ESSENTIAL PULSE CINEMAS
David has been giving visitors a thorough grounding in WaveForming


In the ever-evolving world of smart home security, contactless and keyless access control systems are rapidly gaining ground. Chris Edwards of CIE-Group reveals the key factors behind this trend.

The world of smart home security is constantly evolving with rapid and regular technological advances taking place in the sector. In particular, contactless and keyless access control systems have seen significant growth in the last few years, a trend driven by several factors.

Firstly, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the adoption of touchless technologies due to hygiene concerns amongst security system users, residents and staff. These fears saw users seeking ways to minimise physical contact with surfaces - including access control equipment - making touchless systems more appealing than traditional systems. Convenience was another major factor as touchless systems offer fast and easy operation and access, especially for people carrying packages, groceries, or pets and such like.

Technological advances have also made these frictionless and keyless door entry systems more reliable and affordable. The widespread adoption of smartphones as a personal access authentication method has also been a huge driver behind this movement. As well as inherent smartphone technologies such as Bluetooth and NFC, the use of QR codes in access control systems has undeniably risen in the last few years on the back of this. In fact, the history of QR codes has an interesting ‘rise-fallrise again’ trajectory.


QR codes were invented in 1994 and initially gained traction in Japan for product tracking and marketing. The use in logistics soon broadened to cover other areas. With the rise of smartphones and dedicated scanning apps, they started seeing wider adoption globally as they offer a convenient way to access online information, share websites and connect with brands. However, user fatigue set in and their use began to decline. Many codes led to irrelevant content or required downloading separate apps, which is a frustrating experience for users and the eventual death knell for any technology.

The COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly revived QR codes. Embodying touchless interaction, they provided a safe way to access menus, payment and share contact information. Also, improved integration with mobile devices such as native scanning made using them seamless and user-friendly. Now businesses and marketers are using QR codes to trigger augmented reality experiences and other innovative uses. So the QR code story is indeed one of dramatic shifts in popularity. The current resurgence suggests they have found a more sustainable role in a mobile-centric world, particularly in the access control market.

Overall, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of QR codes in access control, but they have advantages that suggest they will remain a significant player in the field, even as hygiene concerns lessen. Some of the benefits include:

• Mobile credentials: Instead of physical cards or key fobs, users scan a QR code with their smartphone camera to unlock doors or gates. This reduces the need to touch shared surfaces.

• Temporary access: QR codes can be generated and revoked quickly, granting temporary access to visitors, delivery drivers, contractors, etc., without issuing physical cards. This improves security and efficiency.

• Efficiency: They streamline access control processes, reducing wait times and administrative burdens.

• Convenience: QR codes are easy to generate, manage and distribute, making them adaptable and versatile.

Post-pandemic it’s clear that the appeal of nontouch access control and QR codes in particular goes far deeper than mere hygiene worries. They offer enhanced security through encryption and dynamic codes which make them far less susceptible to counterfeiting than traditional cards. Additionally, they’re budget-friendly, eliminating the need for physical cards and the associated costs of production, distribution, and replacement. Lastly, they boast impressive scalability, readily adapting to evolving access needs and accommodating diverse user groups. In short, QR codes are a versatile and secure access control authentication solution helping to shape the future of smart homes and building security.

ESSENTIAL SECURITY 24 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag
EVERYWHERE More than the sum of the brands we proudly represent, CUK supports our partners with complementary services including system specification and design, RP22 design support, acoustic modelling, commissioning support, and training. Almost two decades of success in commercial and residential AV gives us the versatility to support your projects in residential, marine, retail, hospitality and beyond, in spaces large or small, no matter how complex the challenges. A proven track record of brand and technology introduction ensures that the solutions provided are uniquely featured and backed by industry leading system and technical support. In these ways we help our partners to stand out, flourish and grow.

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Home security and surveillance systems represent a key area of growth for the professional home technology industry and provide a fantastic opportunity for expanding your service offering to clients.

According to the Home Security System Global Market Report 2023, the global market forecast for security systems is set to grow at a CAGR of 1.6% to $4.26 billion by 2027. This is supported by the latest findings from CEDIA’s Market Research Analysis, which forecasts security in the top three areas of business expansion for installers, with an anticipated growth of 44% in 2024.

For homeowners in the high-end residential space, minimising threats and keeping property, contents and, of course, family members safe from intruders is imperative.

At Snap One, we have made it our mission to make life easier for integrators and offer everything required for every project, including a growing portfolio of security and surveillance products. We have now brought these technologies to UK and European integrators with solutions that are purpose-designed for quality performance and easy integration into home automation systems. In fact, our Luma range was cited in the top two leading brands for integrators in the Home Security – Surveillance/Access control category in the CEDIA Professional Smart Home Market Analysis 2023 - UK.


Home security technology has come a long way in recent years. While infrared cameras provide black-and-white night-time imaging, we work

with new camera technologies that produce fullcolour images in low-light environments, and even in complete darkness with the help of the integrated warm white LEDs.

For example, our latest Luma IP cameras, available from 2MP to 8MP resolution with fixed and varifocal lens options, include 24/7 colour with Colour at Night technology, improved clarity in low-light environments with Starlight, or IR imagery for dim settings.

This leap in capability offers homeowners and businesses greater night-time security and peace of mind, providing much clearer videos with greater detail that can help identify bad actors after a security incident. Now, installers can be confident that a professional security system will not only provide high-resolution imagery but offer clear in-colour playback – even at night.


AI now plays a significant role within home security systems and we can expect to see this technology delivering more functionality as our industry, and clients, continue to embrace its benefits.

AI-powered cameras, such as the Luma or Clarevision series’ by Snap One, can offer AI analytics with human, vehicle and non-motor vehicle detection and notifications. When used with a control system, a series of events can be triggered, for example when a car enters the driveway it could activate the pathway lights to turn on.

With AI analytics, home security systems can identify multiple different scenarios and potential threats, alerting the homeowner to take action before an incident has occurred. The Luma range includes a feature called Smart AI events to monitor and create alerts for the detection of people, instrusions, line-crossing and loitering.


A dedicated app, such as the Luma View App, for security and surveillance systems provides further peace of mind for the client. As well as faster connectivity, a dedicated app offers an enhanced user experience for playback and AI analytic smart searches. Other features within the Luma View app include 24/7 Colour Options, enhanced PTZ Controls, Live Thumbnails, Single Camera View, and auto-resolution detection.

A surveillance app is an important asset for installers as it can be integrated into their remote management and monitoring software. The Luma View app, for example, includes deep OvrC integration for a simple and efficient installation experience, saving up to 50% of the time during system configuration.

When it comes to handing over the system to a client, this two-phase solution places customer privacy at the forefront, while allowing installers to access the system as and when needed. Moreover, it provides a tool for installers to build successful long-term customer relationships. Luma and ClareVision security and surveillance products are offered by Snap One.

Snap One @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 27 ESSENTIAL SECURITY


Matt Claydon, Head of Trade at Yale tackles some key security issues.

How has the emphasis on what customers expect a security system to do changed in recent times?

Technology has developed considerably over recent years. With more innovative smart products coming to market, there are more products than ever to choose from, all with unique functionalities.

For customers, this has meant they expect security systems to do much more. They are no longer just a security productcustomers require security systems to provide convenience, bringing additional benefits to their day-to-day lives.

And for this, customers now require products to work together in an ecosystem, which is what Yale aims to achieve with interoperability and convenience at the forefront.

Yale’s ultimate goal is to not only make smarter products but also make it easier for everyday consumers to secure and monitor their homes.

Interoperability is the biggest advantage of Yale’s new Smart Security Ecosystem and is what is now expected from a security system.

Having interoperability not only means having different devices which are connected to the same system or app but, also that they interact with each other. Advanced technology enables an event from one device to trigger an action at another device, providing even more convenience for the customer.

An example of the convenience customers can experience with the Yale Smart Security Ecosystem is the possibility to unlock their door using the Conexis L2 Smart Lock and their Yale Smart Alarm will go into disarmed mode the moment they enter their home, with no additional action required. So, if a consumer has children or trusted visitors such as family, friends or a dog walker who need to gain access to their property but aren’t familiar with the security set up in place, the homeowner doesn’t need to worry about the alarm being triggered.

We are all leading busy lives and for consumers, if their security system allows for additional convenience, this will only be an added benefit. Consumers require peace of mind, enhanced levels of privacy and the ability to check in on their property from anywhere, at any time with a simple tap of their smartphone.

ESSENTIAL SECURITY 28 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag

How is technology evolving to meet these challenges? What role can AI offer?

Technology is developing to allow homeowners to have more control over their own home security. An ecosystem such as that from Yale can bring all security devices in a home into one place, minimising the time consumers need to spend on their home security.

Technology in security products now not only secures the property but it offers added functionality, which meets the demands and requirements of consumers.

AI has advanced at a record pace and the security industry is embracing these advancements, as products are now being built with AI capabilities from human detection to customisable zones. These AI functionalities have been introduced into Yale products including the Smart Camera range and the Smart Video Doorbell.

With customisable detection zones, users can define specific areas they want their camera to cover, and AI detection means vehicles, pets, packages and people can all be detected through the doorbell, ensuring the user is always in the know of who is approaching their front door. These features will also reduce the number of false alarm triggers sent to the user’s smartphone, minimising constant notifications and creating an overall smarter ecosystem.

How far are security systems assisting in wider home automation responses?

One way is through connectivity with other devices not in their own ecosystem. Creating products which work in partnership and have interoperability with other brands ultimately helps to improve the user experience.

Yale understands the importance of these partnerships and what they offer customers and now works with partners covering Smart Home, smart hosting and video intercoms, including Samsung SmartThings, Google Home, Philips Hue and voice assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Another way security systems are supporting wider home automation is through the products attached to their ecosystem and the accessibility this provides to the user. Ideal for consumers who host a rental property, the Yale Ecosystem allows users to grant permanent or temporary access remotely through the Yale Home app using one single code for their smart lock, Conexis L2, their Smart Opener, Smart Safe and Smart Cabinet Lock. This would grant access to guests to any safe, cabinet or door, which can then be revoked once their stay is complete, keeping the original user in complete control over who has access to different areas in the property.

Additionally, smart security systems can now expand even further, giving the user a much wider range of protection throughout the property. For example, users of the Yale Indoor Camera and Smart Garage Opener can remotely open the garage door for a friend or colleague to retrieve or return any tools or other items. Through the connected Yale Home app, it’s possible to view the garage through a video stream, check the status of the garage door and even close it once their visitor has left.

This wider home automation simply gives customers more accessibility and convenience assisting in helping to build a fully functional home ecosystem.

Yale is one of the makers establishing functionality links with other manufacturers @Install_mag /Essentialinstall ESSENTIAL SECURITY 29 Part of ASSA ABLOY With IP Video Door Stations from DoorBird you will find the right solution for every project. Easy installation due to compact components
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Are Your Project Sizes Bouncing Back? asks Jason Knott, Data Solutions Architect Evangelist at D-Tools and ex-veteran Editor-in-Chief at CE Pro for 23 years. Jason will be back each month with some data driven observations.

If UK-based integrators suddenly see their average project sizes start to slowly grow again, they are not alone. That’s what is happening in the U.S. market, and it represents a reversal of a year-long trend that has seen average project sizes get smaller and smaller. The turnaround could be a positive signal that the smart home/ home theatre market has finally stabilised from the disruption and chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain crisis.

Specifically, in the U.S. market the average project size grew by 3% in Q3 based on actual aggregated data from D-Tools Cloud generated from nearly 35,000 signed contracts run through the software from January through September 2023. That small percentage increase may not sound like a big deal, but it is an about-face from a somewhat worrisome trend that saw project sizes getting smaller.

In the last six months of 2022, the average revenue from a signed commercial or residential contract by a U.S. integrator fell by 4%. That trend continued for the first half of 2023, when the average contract value fell by another 5.2% to $15,234 compared to $16,068 in the first half of the previous year. But the downturn halted in the third quarter of 2023, as the average contract value rose to $15,704, a 3% increase.

So what is going on? When you look at the market over a longer timeframe, the revenue declines that occurred in 2022 and early 2023 may not be totally unexpected. Remember that during the pandemic, there was a frenzy of business growth in the residential custom installation market as homeowners found themselves ‘trapped’ at home. The demand for high-speed networks skyrocketed so clients could accommodate working from home. Likewise, while they were stuck at home during COVID lockdowns homeowners realised they needed better TVs, enhanced sound systems, outdoor entertainment and improved indoor air quality solutions. That high demand was satisfied by the time 2023 rolled around, resulting in a softer first half of the year in 2023 when compared to year-over-year data from 2022.

Then the market was hit by a series of economic conditions that quelled demand. At this time last year inflation was rampant in the U.S. with over 9%, immediately boosting the cost for everything from equipment to labor rates. Consumers were forced to tighten their belts on project wishes as the higher costs simply outgrew their budget. Moreover, that reluctance to spend meant customers were looking for more value-oriented, consumergrade smart home solutions, forcing integrators to value-engineer their proposals more than usual. To combat inflation, interest rates soared. When that happens, the new-home construction and retrofit remodeling markets both slump. That represented another blow to integrators’ revenue growth potential.

Lastly, the commercial market is still on the mend from the pandemic. Integrators

with diversified portfolios including not just residential projects but also commercial markets such as pubs, restaurants, hotels, houses of worship and especially corporate offices were hit hard. While the commercial market has somewhat bounced back, there are still fewer corporate offices filled with employees than before COVID.

All of those general economic conditions led to smaller average project revenues over a one-year period. But the light appears to be at the end of the tunnel with the Q3 bounce back. Let’s hope the same positive trend hits the UK and full European market. Let me know what you are experiencing!

Knott can be reached at

“In the U.S. market, the average project size grew by 3% in Q3 2023 to $15,704 per signed contract, a turnaround from a year-long trend during which projects were getting smaller.” @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 31 TOP KNOTT


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David Pedigo, Chief Operations Officer, Trinnov Audio, examines how we learn and how best to leverage that knowledge.

It’s hard to believe that it was 30 years ago that I graduated with a degree in social science and secondary education. I spent the first five years teaching at-risk youth and the rest training or running training programs in the AV world. In that time, it’s easy to see how much technology has changed, significantly impacting the way we access learning. This accessibility doesn’t necessarily change how we learn.

Everyone, no matter the experience or intelligence level, has a preferred learning style. The understanding of how people learn and their preferred style is evolving, but the commonly accepted approach these days is VARK (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic). Within this framework for learners is a breakdown of the percentage of learners who have a preferred single learning style (34% of the population) vs multimodal learning styles (66% of the population. Multimodal learning styles are bimodal, trimodal and fourpart preferences.

While this is interesting, at least to me, the question is why does it matter? It matters in several ways. First off, it is important for anyone developing training to know that we all learn differently (despite advances in technology). Secondly, the majority of people learn from a multimodal approach.

Thus, any class written or taught, be it by a professional instructor, or a boss teaching their newbies, should be multimodal. This will significantly improve the likelihood of understanding and retention.

Assuming the above is correct, the next step is developing training solutions that work for both dealers and manufacturers alike.

The challenge to dealers training their employees is manyfold. First, and most importantly, is the opportunity cost of having an employee in class instead of working billable hours. Secondly, there is so much to learn, whether it is technical in nature, soft skills, business or project management. There is no

doubt that technical subjects are the most difficult to keep up with due to the rapid state of change in our industry, but all subjects are massively important to a thriving business.

Thirdly, the cost of training is a barrier to many. Whether the class is one where the instructor uses the revenue to make a living, or it’s just the cost of travel and lodging. The net profit for many integrators is just a few percentage points and paying out-of-pocket expenses to train employees who may, or may not, stay long-term is hard to justify.

This is why training at trade shows is such a big deal. Dealers and manufacturers can pack a year’s worth of training in a few days. The opportunity cost of staff not working billable hours is limited, there is a wide variety of subjects taught, and the ability to save on training (i.e. CEDIA training pass, manufacturer’s product training) is desirable.

ESSENTIAL TRAINING 34 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag

The same is true for many manufacturers in our industry. While many have amazing products, they, too, are working on limited budgets and surprisingly small net profits. Many companies do not have the budget for a fulltime educator, so they use their sales staff to teach at events. While this approach (teaching only at events) is effective, it has limited longterm effectiveness due to retention rates. The generally accepted retention rate is somewhere between 5-15% per hour depending on the quality of the instructor and the ability and interest of the student.

So, what is the right approach? First off, in order for any of us to be successful, we need to be lifelong learners. This means we must accept that learning is a continual process, not one that starts at 8:00 am and goes for an hour and poof, you’re trained. The process of learning must be ongoing. For business owners, one good trick is to have the employee who took the class, teach a condensed 5–10-minute version of what they learned, to you or their coworkers. This is a type of reinforcement that utilises chunking, where you store the same information in different parts of your brain. This is because hearing what you learned vs. verbalising that topic to someone or a group of people requires different brain mechanics.

Another option for business owners is having mandatory outside training hours per month. Somewhere around 2-4 hours per month should be sufficient and not too taxing on business hours. This requires help from the manufacturers, which I’ll cover next. Finally, I have heard, but cannot verify, that it is common in the commercial world to include a 1% markup on their projects which goes to a training fund. This can be used to offset costs for paid training of your employees. And, for those business owners reading this, I strongly recommend taking a minimum of one to two business classes (accounting, finance, marketing, advertising etc.,) for every technical class taken. Being the most proficient at technology doesn’t help if you go out of business.


For manufacturers, there are a few things that can help. First off, start training more regularly but in smaller intervals. As an example, Trinnov Level One High End certification is an eight-hour course, which is often taught online. To make it easier to attend, most students chose the option of taking the class over (4) two-hour sessions. The are a variety of class options available

and the times are varied to accommodate different time zones across the globe. By breaking up the sessions, retention rates increase and the overall impact on the business is reduced as they’re often around lunchtime or early evening. The occasional weekend class is also offered, and, while inconvenient for the instructor, it allow those who cannot fit training into their workweek.

The next thing is to try and hit different learning styles. Webinar style is almost exclusively aural. By adding solid visuals, including activities, and constantly asking prompting and probing questions, you can increase attention rates while also gauging understanding, even if they’re thousands of miles away. Finally, manufacturers need to make sure that when they are teaching a subject, they explain why the topic is relevant to the student and do their best to tie back to past experiences (also a type of chunking). Finally, include as many activities as practicable, including giving them homework. As an example, if you’re teaching a cinema design class, have the students design a cinema in their house using the design principles just taught. If this is at the end of the course, give them individualised feedback. If it’s a segment of the course, have the students present their design to the class. By doing this, you’ve personalised the course, reinforced the topic and almost always increased their enthusiasm about the course. These types of activities significantly increase retention rates.

It is ultimately up to manufacturers, distributors, associations, buying groups and dealers to increase accessibility to training. It is, then, up to the course writer and/or instructor to deliver the training in a meaningful way, which hits on multiple learning styles to ensure that those getting trained are learning, and remembering the concepts taught. If this is done effectively, we are guaranteed to have a better-trained and qualified workforce, which we all know is desperately needed. @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 35 ESSENTIAL TRAINING



Director of Training, Just Add Power, assesses the progress made in training provision.

Organising training events for integrators is no small feat, especially for those who are new to the industry. Behind every successful training session lies a carefully planned effort to equip installers with the skills necessary to excel in their fields. In recent years, training within the AV industry has undergone significant transformation. As a company creating and curating industry-leading training programs, we at Just Add Power have observed firsthand how these changes have opened new avenues for skill development and knowledge sharing. The journey from pre-pandemic norms through the height of online learning to the current flexible models reflects a dynamic response to evolving needs and preferences.


The shift towards a flexible training model is one of the most notable trends we’ve witnessed. This approach aims to meet learners wherever they are, catering to diverse preferences and circumstances. Whether it’s through in-person sessions, online modules with access to a

trainer for questions, or a blend of both, the focus has been on making training accessible and effective for everyone. Offering training at regional locations has made hands-on training more accessible and allowing learners to choose self-directed learning through videos or online modules ensures that they use the format that best suits their learning style.


Despite the convenience and reach of online training platforms, there’s been a noticeable resurgence in the demand for in-person training sessions. This comeback underscores the value of hands-on experience led by an experienced trainer, which is often crucial in learning to troubleshoot and fully understand the practical aspects of AV systems, especially for new installers. In-person training provides an irreplaceable opportunity for learners to interact directly with the technology, enabling them to gain insights that are difficult to replicate through digital platforms.

ESSENTIAL TRAINING 36 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag
Progress has been made towards more bespoke training programs
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Networking skills have emerged as a critical area of learning for installers who want to take advantage of the most advanced signal distribution technology. While some manufacturers have made great advances in simplifying the configuration of network-based AV systems for installers, there remains a need for a deeper understanding of installs that must integrate with the end users’ other systems and those products from manufacturers who haven’t made configuration simple. This also highlights the ongoing need for targeted training that equips professionals with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of modern AV systems seamlessly so that they can choose the best product for each installation.


Attracting and training new entrants to the AV industry requires a multifaceted approach. In my experience, creating programs for the K-12 level as well as higher learning institutions has sparked interest in network technologies and related fields among students. Furthermore, creating meaningful programs that connect with industry organisations such as CEDIA – for whom Just Add Power has hosted on-site training – can engage integrators of any skill level. These partnerships can provide a foundational

understanding and enthusiasm for the industry, which we can build upon with more specialised training. It’s also crucial to recognise the diverse backgrounds of individuals entering the field, many of whom bring valuable experience from related sectors. This diversity necessitates training programs that are adaptable and responsive to varied levels of prior knowledge.


The importance of training in the AV industry cannot be overstated. As we continue to

navigate the technological advancements and shifting demands of our field, the role of comprehensive, accessible and flexible training programs becomes increasingly critical. By embracing the evolution of training modalities, addressing skill gaps with targeted efforts, and fostering the growth of new entrants, we can ensure continued excellence and innovation within the AV industry. The journey of learning and adaptation is ongoing and by acknowledging and responding to these changes, we set the stage for a future where everyone involved is better equipped, more knowledgeable and profoundly more capable. @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 39 ESSENTIAL TRAINING
A mixed training landscape has emerged in recent years


Jason Knott, Data Solutions Architect and Evangelist for D-Tools, argues that UK intelligent home installation companies have five unique training methods to help stay ahead of the competition.

In the rapidly advancing landscape of intelligent home installation, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for UK-based integrators. With technological advancements in home automation, audio, video, lighting, control systems, motorised shades, home networks, and security/surveillance, continuous training is indispensable for companies aiming to provide cutting-edge solutions.

In the UK, intelligent home installation companies are presented with a variety of training options to keep their teams abreast of the latest developments. Here are five common options:

Bespoke private training: For those seeking personalised, hands-on experiences tailored to their specific needs, bespoke private training sessions offer an unparalleled advantage. Manufacturers often provide on-site training at the facilities of integration companies, allowing teams to familiarise themselves with the intricacies of new products within their own environment. This option is ideal for companies with unique requirements and larger teams, ensuring that the entire workforce is on the same page. Similarly, manufacturers that have dedicated training facilities and demo rooms will host integrators. These highly valuable on-location events can also include face-toface time with the engineers developing the products, as well as factory tours to see how the products are made.

Scheduled group training: Local distributors play a pivotal training role in providing scheduled group sessions. These sessions bring

together professionals from various integration companies to collectively learn. This interactive and collaborative environment fosters knowledge sharing among industry peers. It is particularly beneficial for mid-sized companies looking for a cost-effective yet comprehensive training solution.

On-Site multi-Day training at events: Regional or national events, such as the EI Live!, often feature on-site multi-day or single-day training sessions conducted by equipment manufacturers in private rooms and on their stands on the exhibit floor. These events create an immersive learning experience, allowing professionals to gain in-depth insights into multiple products over an extended period. While larger companies with the resources to spare may find these events beneficial, they might not be practical for smaller companies due to potential disruptions to day-to-day operations.

Remote web-based webinar trainings: In the digital age, remote web-based webinars have become a popular choice for companies of all sizes. Scheduled or recorded for playback at the convenience of the participants, these webinars offer flexibility and accessibility. Smaller integration companies, in particular, can benefit from this option as it allows employees to receive training without significant disruptions to their daily workflow. For example, D-Tools hosts regular webinars for general training for its System Integrator (SI) and its D-Tools Cloud software solutions.

Remote video training: For ultimate flexibility, remote video training viewed at one’s convenience provides a self-paced learning experience. Companies with limited manpower, such as smaller integration firms, can maximise their training efforts without compromising their productivity. This option is suitable for professionals who prefer to learn at their own pace and revisit materials as needed. D-Tools has dozens of training videos on its website and its YouTube channel.

Choosing the right training option depends on the unique needs and capacities of each integration company. Larger firms may find on-site and group training more suitable for their expansive teams, while smaller companies might lean towards remote options to maintain operational efficiency. The key is to strike a balance between staying updated on the latest technological advancements and ensuring minimal disruption to daily business operations.

Whether through bespoke private sessions, scheduled group training, on-site events, remote webinars, or video training, UK integrators have the tools to stay ahead in this dynamic industry. By carefully considering the manpower and specific requirements of their teams, companies can strategically choose the training methods that best align with their goals, ensuring they remain at the forefront of innovation in the ever-evolving world of smart home integration.

ESSENTIAL TRAINING 40 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag
Lots of different training types are available, which combination will work for you?


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Rather than a single branded company, KNX is an open protocol which provides a robust control platform supported by over 500 certified KNX manufacturers. All of which conform to the same approved standards offering a wide level of flexibility and product choice which can be tailored to match any building type or budget.

KNX provides a future-proof infrastructure for lighting, shutter/blind and HVAC functions that can be controlled within one system along with further security, door entry and energy management applications. In addition, KNX also allows the combined integration of wider control systems for extended personalisation, including Dali, BACnet, Modbus, Crestron and Control 4.

Founded in 2012, My KNX Store is a market leader in specialist distribution, training and support of KNX control solutions throughout the UK. To best support its client base, the company offers a range of specialist and technical services to ensure every project can

be tailored to the specific control and design requirements, from initial design stages through to completion.

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Matt Nimmons, Managing Director of CEDIA EMEA, explains CEDIA’s approach and commitment to training.

Education remains at the forefront of CEDIA’s work. Quite simply, education has such a huge power to be a valuable and transformative asset to integrators in our industry.

And yet, only just over 30% of business owners surveyed in CEDIA’s 2023 Smart Home Recruitment and Salary Survey list personal professional development as a company benefit that they offer.

How can this be when so many integrators are competing to attract and retain employees in a business environment which is so highly competitive?

Over the years, I’ve personally witnessed the benefits of in-person training and how well-skilled, properly trained employees can make a big difference to businesses, ensuring they stand out from the crowd in a competitive market.

Whether you’re at the start of your career, have several years of experience, are a business owner, CEDIA is your go-to resource for industry training, providing personally tailored education pathways for every member.

We continuously update our offerings so they remain relevant and impactful for our members. We also structure them so that we can prepare learners to take the next step in

earning CEDIA certifications and distinguishing themselves in the marketplace.

We encourage the industry to join us in valuing education and the key benefits that it can bring:

• Learning new skills

• Gaining recognition and credibility

• Advancing your career journey


The five-day CEDIA Smart Home Technician Essentials pathway is aimed at new hires and entry-level integrators. It offers a solid foundation for anyone interested in starting their careers in the industry or their journey towards CEDIA certification. The package covers essential topics such as audio and video fundamentals, best practices in structured cabling, smart home subsystems, as well as design and installation of AV racks. The last day of the programme also covers the UK’s regulations of electrical safety and safe isolation.

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The one-day Project Management course is aimed at aspiring project managers and designers, providing them with an

understanding of the essential skills that every project manager should have in the field of custom installation. Attendees will learn about the time, cost and quality restraints on a project, within the context of the smart home technology industry and explore the key principles of project management.

• Next Training – 17 June

The one-day Design Documentation course will explore and explain the documents that make up a successful project, from architectural plans, schematics, wiring schedules, change order forms and specifications to final client sign-off. Aimed at senior technicians, they will learn how to prepare, draw, and write their own documents, whilst learning how to read and understand documents issued by others during the project process.

• Next Training – 18 June


As well as running regular face-to-face courses at our HQ in the UK, we provide our global membership with access to hundreds of hours of self-paced education via the online CEDIA Academy. Our investment in CEDIA’s online education has been and will continue to be substantial. This will ensure that no matter where our members are located, they have direct access to the same comprehensive training courses and hundreds of hours of educational content.

For more information and to see details of workshops, webinars, in-person training, and more, go to the events calendar at

ESSENTIAL CEDIA 42 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag
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Category cables, denoted by the iconic ‘Cat’ followed by a number (such as Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a), are the unseen heroes of our data-driven society. But did you know that not all cables within the same category perform equally?

Contrary to common belief, the term ‘Cat’ is not a manufacturing standard. It’s an outline design and specification for a cable type. The engineering, construction, materials and production methodologies are key factors that dictate a cable’s performance. So what sets one cable apart from the next?


The internal architecture of a Cat cable is surprisingly intricate. Each twist, each layer, contributes to the cable’s ability to transmit data efficiently and without errors. The crucial quality differentiator is the consistency in production methods with little to no variation in construction tolerances. This delivers better reliability and lower signal attenuation, ensuring that your data arrives at its destination promptly and intact.

To reduce signal loss and crosstalk (that is, interference between pairs), each pair of wires within the cable should have a slightly different twist rate. This strategic arrangement maximises the distance between interference points. When

coupled with superior insulation, this minimises the potential for signal degradation. Moreover, shielding plays a vital role in protecting the cable from electromagnetic interference (EMI), ensuring a stable and reliable connection. The details around shielding within cables and the physics of how it works are probably a story for another day.


Just as a chef selects the finest ingredients for a high-quality dish, the choice of quality materials significantly impacts the performance of a Cat cable. Copper, a common conductor material, is the backbone of category cables. That’s why substituting with Cat cables made from materials such as Copper Clad Aluminium (CCA) can compromise conductivity and signal integrity. The purity and gauge of the copper conductor directly influences signal loss and overall performance.

The insulation material used in a Cat cable also influences its flexibility, durability and resistance to external factors. A well-engineered cable employs insulation that can withstand the rigours of installation and use, ensuring a longer lifespan and consistent performance. Also, quality materials easily pass more certification and fire standards.


Behind every remarkable product lies a process of research and development (R&D). Cat cable manufacturers who invest in advanced engineering techniques are capable of minimising signal attenuation and optimising bandwidth. Again, consistent manufacturing comes to the fore by translating this engineering know-how into a consistent high-standard, lowvariance product that cheap machinery and methods simply can’t match. This extreme attention to detail by manufacturers leads directly to enhanced reliability and performance of the networks you install.


Consider for a moment the analogy of cars. When seeking a new vehicle, many of us understand that investing in a higher-priced option often translates to superior performance, safety and quality. Similarly, with Cat cables a range of quality exists and opting for a cheaper alternative can mean substandard construction, materials and engineering connecting an otherwise high quality network. Cutting corners might save a few bucks initially, but in the long

James Chen, Managing Director at Kordz International, reveals what to look for in a quality ‘Cat’ cable.
ESSENTIAL CABLES AND CONNECTIONS 44 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag
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run it can result in frustration, downtime and customer dissatisfaction. The infrastructure you are putting in is probably here to stay for the foreseeable future, so it needs to last the lifetime of several potential upgrades to future technologies. It’s important for you and your end customer to recognise that you will get what you pay for here.


When embarking on the journey of selecting the right Cat cable, we advise discernment. Reputable manufacturers provide detailed specifications that offer insights into the cable’s capabilities. Keep an eye out for features such as consistent twist rates, consistent conductor thicknesses, shielding, high-grade (usually shiny) copper conductors and good cable jackets. These elements contribute to a cable’s ability to withstand physical stress and environmental factors, ensuring a stable and reliable network connection. Increased flexibility may also be desirable and make installation easier but do ensure that these don’t come at the expense of reliability or performance.

Another consideration is labelling and packaging. Does the product come with metre or foot markings? Is it clearly labelled so it can be identified or found on a job site? Does the product reel out without twists, so it can be pulled easily without becoming snagged? Will the box it comes in protect the product, especially during transport and use? All these options have been developed by those in the know to make your job easier.


Cat 5e, Cat 6, and Cat 6A cables may all share a common heritage, but their specifications vary. Cat 6 and Cat 6A cables are better suited for demanding applications due to their enhanced capabilities. Understanding your network’s needs is paramount in selecting the appropriate category cable and choosing the right cable ensures optimal performance for your network’s requirements. For modern networks, the starting point is Cat6 and many are now opting to upgrade to 6A to ensure future bandwidth and headroom.

Kordz has developed this free technology guide to make choosing the right cable for your

network easier. You can also read our Category Cable Demystified article about the different cable types.


In a world where budgets often dictate decisions, as a network professional it’s essential to understand that price should not be the sole factor in cable choice. People often confuse price with value. However, sacrificing quality for a cheaper price can lead to performance issues and network problems that ultimately cost much more in the long run. Electronics can easily be replaced but the cost of physical cable installation often outweighs the cost of the cables themselves, let alone the cost of ripping apart walls and making good in the future to facilitate cable upgrades when the infrastructure has been under-specified.

So be sure to weigh up the real cost-tobenefit ratio when making your cable choice and educate your team about this too. Highquality cables are a long-term investment in a stable and efficient network connection, delivering satisfaction and positive outcomes for all involved. @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 47 ESSENTIAL CABLES AND CONNECTIONS


Cables come in a variety of different combinations, with conductor materials, insulation materials, screen types, armouring and sheath materials offering endless choice to the customer. Here, we’re going to focus on the sheathing options that are available, what their advantages and disadvantages are and the best applications for each material.


We’ll start with the most common and costeffective material, PVC. It’s been used in the production of cable for nearly 100 years and it’s still going strong today. PVC is flexible, reasonably durable, cheap to produce and is mainly used for internal applications, although darker colours generally have good UV stability when clipping to walls.

PVC is flame-retardant and selfextinguishing, but it gives off toxic gases when burnt. It also produces black acrid smoke in a fire, which can make evacuation difficult in highly populated areas and when mixed with water it creates hydrochloric acid (HCL), which is incredibly harmful to people and equipment. It’s common practice to use PVC cables in smaller residential properties.


This material is essentially a modified PVC, which when burnt releases acrid black smoke. When mixed with water it creates hydrochloric acid. It’s generally understood that a good LSF material releases around 15% HCL emissions, whereas a poorer quality material releases up to 22%. Both are relatively high percentages and vary between manufacturers.

If cables containing LSF materials are installed in a public building, there’s a significant risk to life. Black smoke and HCL gas are considered to be more deadly to people than the flames themselves. Once the smoke is inhaled, it mixes with moisture in our bodies and HCL is created, which irritates our lungs causing coughing, shortness of breath and eventually loss of consciousness.

The risk from smoke created when LSF materials are burnt cannot be understated. It should be duly noted that there are no standards to clarify LSF material quality or performance. As such, they’re open for self-classification by manufacturers and distributors.


These are all essentially different acronyms for the same materials. Webro uses a standard term, LSNH. This material doesn’t give off nasty halogens when burnt, so as a result it’s much safer for people. To be classed as nonhalogen the material must give off less than 0.5% HCL gas when burnt. It’s also designed to produce white/light grey smoke, which makes it easier to evacuate heavily populated buildings, maintaining critical visibility of escape signage and keeping evacuation routes clear.

This material is ideal for use in public buildings such as MDU’s, hotels, schools, hospitals and airports where population densities are high, which makes escape more challenging. To be classified as LSNH the material must pass rigorous tests. The first is a smoke generation test that determines how much light is lost in a smoke-filled room. Visibility mustn’t drop below 60%. Secondly, a halogen gas emissions test determines the degree of acidity of gases emitted during combustion. It measures the pH level and conductivity.

LSNH materials are PE-based and therefore they’re slightly stiffer than PVC and LSF. The material is mostly used in internal applications, but when they are black they can be used for internal/external operation, however other colours should have UV stabilisers added to stop degradation of the material. Prolonged exposure to UV light can have an impact on the material that causes it to become brittle and crack. Where UV stability is important, additives can be mixed to increase service life, but it’s rarely better than PVC or PE externally.

Because of the improved fire performance of this material, it’s slightly more expensive than traditional PVC or LSF.


PE is best used on cables being used outdoors. It’s strong, waterproof and when mixed with a UV stabiliser, it offers great UV and weather resistance. PE is usually used on cables either being installed outdoors, pulled through ducting, or buried directly because of its excellent water resistance. When PE is extruded thinly on external cables that are designed for clipping up/around walls, it offers good flexibility whilst remaining waterproof. When it’s extruded thickly on duct grade cables it’s strong and tough and can be pulled through the most challenging duct works - or even buried directly.

It’s not recommended to install PE sheathed cables internally because of their poor reaction in a fire. Although the fumes given off aren’t particularly toxic, they release a lot of smoke and drip flaming droplets when on fire, causing anything underneath to potentially catch alight.


If cables are being installed internally in a small residential property, it’s widespread practice to use PVC cables. However, as the properties get larger – in MDU’s or hotels for instance, or they have areas that are difficult to evacuate people, it’s advisable to use LSNH cables due to their limited production of smoke and gases when burnt. If cables are run outdoors or through ducting, consider using PE sheathed cables because they offer excellent water and UV resistance.

Gary Banfield, Business Development Manager at Webro underlines the importance of what is on the outside of a cable.
ESSENTIAL CABLES AND CONNECTIONS 48 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag
The type of smoke produced by different coatings is important for selection


We’ve been hand-building AV cables just outside historic Stonehenge since 1985 and like anyone in the AV industry, have noticed the rapid pace of change in technology, standards and compliance. One constant piece of feedback that we receive from customers, dealers and installers alike, is the importance of quality and reliability, whatever the connection type or system destination.

Reliability is, of course, critical for installers, especially when adding long runs of cables into customers’ walls, ceilings or floors, where consistent performance over time with minimal risk of failure is vital.

Our award-winning install-friendly AV range has an enviable reputation for consistency, performance and reliability, and complies with strict performance standards, while remaining affordable for customers and installers alike.

Against a backdrop of high-quality products with a proven track record, the finer points of installation become even more important in order to guarantee peace of mind for all stakeholders involved in installations.

Thankfully, our hardware enables us to more than meet customer expectations, and mission-critical tools, such as our ChordOhmic Hex Gun crimping device, enables customers to enjoy factory-quality speaker cable terminations from their installer (or dealer), meaning we can exceed their expectations.

The ChordOhmic Hex Gun is a precision instrument capable of delivering consistent terminations every time, yet with the speed and efficiency that installers can take advantage of. Lovingly referred to as the A/V and CI installers’ new best friend, cables can be neatly finished to exacting lengths with professional, reliable terminations.

Coupled with our ChordOhmic banana or spade plugs, plus our Chord Company ‘trousers’ (where specified), the crimping device delivers a perfect result every time - existing cables can also benefit from the termination upgrade, which gives useful flexibility.

Speaking about the ChordOhmic Hex Gun, Alan Gibb, Chord Company’s managing director said, “Historically, crimping has unfairly been seen as a fast, compromised termination option for cable connectors; conversely, this is the termination standard for military and other high-spec connections. Following a 10-year project, we have optimised our ChordOhmic plugs and silver-plated copper cables to give a far superior long-term connection over our previous soldered connectors.”

In addition to military standards of termination, Chord Company’s various proprietary technologies, construction techniques and enviable build quality, mean that once cables are installed, they can be relied upon for many years to come.

Famous for introducing shielding to the cable market some decades ago, today Chord Company technologies include advanced mechanically tuned ARAY conductors, exemplary military-spec Taylon insulation and unique ChorAlloy plating across selected phono plugs and speaker cable plugs, to maximise performance and minimise signal-degrading tarnishing. Cumulatively, these technologies combine to bring even greater stability and reliability for installers.

Under our sister brand, English Electric, we’ve focussed on network noise, introducing two data switches, the 8Switch and 16Switch, plus an inline filtering solution which sits between Ethernet cables, called the EE1. Even the most hardened digital sceptic may be surprised at what can be achieved with a highspec Ethernet switch or noise isolator.

If we were to offer tips to installers, we’d suggest the following time-proven advice: route interconnect and speaker cables away from power cables where possible; don’t bend the cable excessively or subject it to undue force or pressure and test for compatibility with the equipment you wish to connect before installing cable in walls, floors etc.!

Doug Maxwell, Sales Director at the Chord Company assesses the cable landscape. @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 49 ESSENTIAL CABLES AND CONNECTIONS


Roy Pitts, MD at cable and accessories supplier Kenable, provides some company background and a reminder that networking is now a vital ingredient in most of what the smart home and AV sectors offer.

21 years ago, when internet-based-ecommerce was still in its infancy, our family run company Kenable was born. Right from the start we specialised in cables and networking products and this still forms the heart of our offering today.

As the internet itself expanded and the need for reliable networks and connections increased, Kenable grew as well expanding to be a global player providing products right around the world. Kenable filled a need for the fast and reliable delivery of products, without compromising on quality. In this way, we grew a strong bond of trust with our customers, old and new, and this is still at the heart of what we deliver today.

In more recent history, over the past 12 months we have evolved from a retailer into a distributor as well, developing a successful move into B2B sales as we aim to be the distributor of choice for networking products supplied to

SME and corporate customers alike. We are excited to offer this new arm of the company to installers of smart home and AV systems and have backed the move with new sales staff and a new focus on purchasing in order to get the highest quality products, whilst offering the very best value to our customers. We are also working behind the scenes to deliver new dedicated websites focused on the needs of our trade customers, so stay tuned for more news!


When we launched the company over 20 years ago now, Cat5e was the product in demand, but now in 2024, the demands on networks are completely different and evolved solutions are required. Here at Kenable, we have been developing a whole range of networking products with Cat6a at its core as we see this as

the new minimum standard for businesses and the home.

The cost of this type of approach has come down considerably, so whereas before it was mostly a ‘could have’ proposition it is now a ‘should have’ and is fast approaching the ‘must have’ status.

Cat6a offers 10 gig performance, ten times that of most Cat6 installations. As user bandwidth increases every day, from streaming to video conferencing, gaming to shopping, everyone needs more data and this is the standard that will deliver the reliability your customers expect.

Even eCommerce itself has changed, where customers once browsed websites for products, it’s getting more popular to buy by watching videos on social media. All these requirements increase the need for a faster network and Cat6a is now the minimum requirement.

Nothing is ever futureproof of course, but Cat6a offers performance that should be relevant for many years to come. Cat5e is still our biggest seller, due to the lower price, but for any serious network installation, Cat6a is now our go-to recommendation.

After working with some smaller Ethernet cable factories, last year we took the decision to begin working with one of the largest factories in China, with some of the highest standards and quality control. Although this increased our costs slightly, reliability and performance are the most important things to us and the knowledge that we are selling the best on the market makes a big difference.

We are also working with our new manufacturing partners to ensure our cables are easy to work with and provide assistance, not hinderance, during installation. Our latest batches of Cat6, Cat6a and Cat7 come on internal wooden spools with no plastics. Feedback, so far, has been great with customers saying the cables are easier to use than standard boxes and people also like that the packaging is better for the environment.

Visit our website and check out all the fully compliant, super-fast and reliable network solutions we offer. We are sure Kenable can supply you with all your networking needs.

ESSENTIAL CABLES AND CONNECTIONS 50 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag


When Media Max required a home cinema system that would provide a family of movie lovers with an immersive experience like no other, the integrator turned to DbM to deliver expertly created design and specification support as well as products that provide unparalleled performance.

Media Max started working on this large residential property around four years ago, but due to COVID putting the project on hold and the sheer scale of the job, it’s been a lengthy install for the team. Located in the Surrey countryside and sitting on 50 acres of land, this family home incorporated the main house and a rebuilt annexe.

The house was renovated before the existing owners moved in. While new in design, the technology and cabling were quite old. Knowing what the client wanted in the long run, Media Max made it a priority to get the infrastructure up to current requirements.

Following this work, Media Max turned its attention to specifying new tech for the project.

The team has worked with DbM before and knew that a combination of its brands would work well. They wanted the client to see the products for themselves, so they invited them to visit the DbM HQ in Cambridgeshire to experience the demo rooms, meet the team and enjoy a factory tour. The client fell in love with the Meridian Audio experience and requested that Media Max equip the whole house with these speakers.

Having installed Meridian speakers throughout the property – including a custom finish pair of DSP7200SE loudspeakers to match the client’s new piano in the lounge and DSP320.2 in-ceiling speakers and DSP640.2 in-wall loudspeakers in the snug – Media Max started work on the crown jewel of this project – it’s home cinema, which is situated in the newly built annexe alongside a pool, games room and bar.

Media Max worked closely with DbM on the design for the cinema. Using DbM’s complimentary and fully customised Design &

ESSENTIAL DbM 52 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag

Specification Service, the two teams landed on an impressive reference level cinema spec, which was guaranteed to exceed the requirements for this family.

On the audio side, the room is packed to the brim with Meridian speakers. The set-up includes five DSP8000SE loudspeakers and three DSP640.2 in-wall loudspeakers for the front-height channels – all hidden behind the projector screen. Six DSP640.2 loudspeakers in the ceiling, eight in the side walls and four in the back wall complete the speaker package.

DbM also supplied four Meridian DSW600 in-wall subwoofers, a Trinnov Altitude 32 audio processor and two 271 Meridian Digital Theatre Controllers. Acoustic treatment panels ensure maximised audio performance.

Media Max and DbM ensured the video matched the audio, with a Barco Prometheus 3 4K DCi Projection System, a 4,700mm x 1,958mm 2.40:1 ratio projection screen and a Lumagen Radiance Pro 5244.


11 fully customised seats – to accommodate the tall family members – complete the cinema room. This allows enough space for the family to enjoy regular movie nights together – ranging from Sing and Trolls for the grandson up to the Marvel movies for the older members of the family.

“The client is delighted with the final result,” comments Daniel Lee, Director of Media Max. “They are big audio fans and we have been able to deliver fantastic audio performance throughout the property, with particular

emphasis on the set-up in the cinema. We are extremely proud of the work that we have done on this project.

“We worked closely with the DbM team from day one. From Chris who provided us with a thorough design document to present to the client, Barry and Matthew who are just a phone call away and always willing to help answer any questions and finally Alex, who came on site to help us set up the Trinnov – the team is one of the best in the industry.”

DbM Kit list

• Five Meridian DSP8000SE Digital Active Loudspeakers

• 21 x Meridian DSP640.2 Digital Active


• Four Meridian DSW600 In-Wall Subwoofer

• Two Meridian 271 Digital Theatre Controller

• One Trinnov Altitude 32 Audio Processor

• One Barco Prometheus 3 Projector

• One 4,700mm x 1,958mm 2.40:1 ratio Projection Screen

• Acoustic Treatment Panels

• One Lumagen Radiance Pro 5244

For more information about DbM, visit

ESSENTIAL DbM @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 53


Expand your horizons into commercial projects for new opportunities urges experienced CI operator, marketeer and former installer, Pete Baker of the The BIG Corp.

After over 30 years in the industry, 2023 was be one to bookmark. In 2022, we saw a surge in business with so many projects backed up in the pipeline off the heels of a COVID lockdown. In 2023, we saw consumers spending less time and money on their home environment and more on travel and entertainment. Additionally, new construction housing starts took a dip and so did remodelling projects. Arguably, this had an impact on the number of residential projects that required new technology. In fact, I have heard from dealers and manufacturers around the world who have stated the number of projects being completed have dropped significantly in 2023, and the mid-size projects have virtually disappeared. I suspect this is due to interest rates and people have decided to stay put and wait for rates to drop before buying a new home or investing in a significant remodel. Larger projects are still strong with cash buyers.

Over the years in the industry countless articles, marketing campaigns, educational sessions and more have promoted ‘light commercial’ project opportunities for residential integrators. So, I wonder is now the time to seriously consider this as a viable business opportunity. I would argue, yes! Let’s

face it, there may be less residential projects now, but the restaurant and bar businesses are booming! People are spending more time out of their home and less time looking at the walls considering what changes they want to make in their home.

I must be honest; I am just as guilty as anyone else reading this article who has not been involved in commercial projects. Over the course of my 20-year career as an integrator, I only worked on a handful of commercial projects. So, let’s take a moment to explore this further and what it may entail to generate some level of success with light commercial project opportunities.


Stadiums, arenas, shopping malls, massive houses of worship are not likely to be considered light commercial by most professionals. However, bars, restaurants, barber shops, beauty salons, fitness studios, medical and dental offices certainly could be great candidates for light commercial AV projects.

The AV and control systems for these projects can be relatively easy to design and

deploy with products you already have in your portfolio. Furthermore, it is possible the final experience may be so impressive that it can result in further referral business. If you think about how many visitors come to a commercial establishment compared to a home. If the visitors enjoy the experience of watching video tiling and the great acoustics, they may ask who installed the system for the owner, or it may be possible to showcase your company name, business cards or brochures somewhere in the establishment?


Many of the manufacturers you currently work with are involved in these types of projects. They will, very often, have sample case studies on their website, host training on how and what products can be used in specific project applications. I know many brands who offer these resources. Review projects/types on manufacturers websites and in industry publications. Explore potential project types and system designs or packages with your team.

SMART THINKING 54 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag


The first step in venturing into a new market vertical like Light Commercial, is establishing your business as a viable option for these prospective customers. This can be accomplished in many ways. Add messaging on your website, vehicles and business cards, to promote services for commercial customers. Contact the local newspaper and ask if you could contribute an article on the importance of quality entertainment in a commercial environment to create the best ambiance and experience for visitors.


Attracting customers in new markets can take a little work but can also deliver great benefits. The first step is to establish your company as a viable and trusted resource for potential customers. Some key steps in this process may be as follows: seek out a few small commercial projects to start with; creating a portfolio of work to showcase as references. Each of us has been to a restaurant, gym, medical office and other establishments with poor audio or video. Ask to speak with the owner and maybe offer a special promotional offer to help improve the entertainment in their establishment, with an agreement that you could create a case study to highlight the project on your website.

Given the current interest rates and several other factors, the mid-size residential market may experience a slow down in the months and potentially years ahead. It is good business sense to explore other markets and product categories; developing new opportunities for the business to flourish. Light commercial projects may be a good solution!

I would love to hear from you. Please email me anytime at: @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 55 SMART THINKING
Commercial projects offer vital new revenue and expanded awareness for your company


Andy Taylor, in charge of Smart Home and Bespoke Installations at Surrey based PJ Hi-Fi, takes on our challenging quiz.

Tell us a little about your company, what do you specialise in? Who is involved?

We are a Hi-Fi and Home Cinema equipment retailer with a High Street location in Guildford, Surrey. Over the years we have evolved from purely two channel Hi-Fi, into audio and video enthusiasts, offering solutions from a record player, amp and speakers, through to a Dolby Atmos home cinema and right over to a smart home lavished with technology. What makes us unique is that our two main concerns with any project are performance and reliability. We are lucky to have our showroom with four demonstration rooms, this allows us to indulge in our passion, allowing us to live, sleep and breathe our trade. Everything we stock is assessed and tested thoroughly before we offer them to our clients. This way we can offer our clients the purest sound quality, vivid picture quality and most reliable smart homes.

What are you doing today workwise?

Today, I am installing some outdoor speakers in the bitter cold, hardly the season for it, but our client is keen to be ready for those first rays of sunshine this year!

Tell us about the projects you are working on right now.

As usual for us, a complete mixture, a couple of high-end two channel Hi-Fi systems going in with custom cabinetry and discrete cabling to

sort. A Dolby Atmos cinema or two in the first fix stages. A fun one at the moment is a big CCTV, access control and gate entry project. This one features facial recognition on the front and rear doors of the property. Our client wanted to be able to walk out into his grounds and not have to worry about, keys, fobs or having any smart tech on him when he wants to get back in. Facial recognition was the answer and it works incredibly well. Very pleased with the results.

How do you feel the industry is doing right now?

The industry for us is strong on both the Hi-Fi and both the cinema and smart home. Less new builds to work on these days, quite a few extensions on going but mostly we are doing a lot of retro fitting of systems to existing properties or garden getaway/offices.

What areas of the smart home and luxury AV sector need to improve and how?

My bug bear is the vetting and/or criteria to obtain accounts with some of our brand’s needs to be far stricter to maintain standards in our industry. I spend a good amount of time rescuing clients from bad installations. We commonly find firstly the kit specification is under par, then usually the wiring is low quality cabling and set out poorly, then on top of this the programming is substandard, ultimately

leaving a bad ‘smart home’ or ‘home cinema’ taste in people’s mouth. When an installation is done right it will bring years of pleasure and enjoyment, but all too often we are finding clients with years of stress and upset from sub-standard installations.

Do you think training needs to be improved, if so, how?

I think training does need to go further in-depth. When we take over jobs we see all to often issues such as poor or zero calibration on surround sound systems that sometimes can be quiet high-end and not being used to their full potential.

Is there a project you are particularly proud of and why?

Probably my first installation about 25-ish years ago. As is usually the best way, I was chucked in at the deep end, 16 zones of audio using a Linn Knekt multi-room system, along with a big Meridian Digital Theatre cinema system with a Sim2 DLP projector. These were the days when you really had to specialise in your craft. I remember the Linn kit used Cat5 which was pretty advanced for its time, however, Linn being Linn, it was not wired in your typical 568B standard, oh no no… Linn liked you to wire your RJ45s with the striped cores on the outside and solid colours in the middle, not only that you had to reverse it at the other end. Massive headache. Anyhow, it took me weeks to complete but we got there.

COMMENT FROM THE COALFACE 56 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag

Are there any brands or products you particularly like working with, and why?

Control 4 – Great reliability when partnered with the right products, really like the new Halo remote controls and the remote support we can offer customers with it is brilliant

Trinnov Altitude – The absolute pinnacle of home cinema audio processing. We have used these with some great hybrid - Hi-Fi come home cinema systems and they are so flexible and configurable which we find for our audio files clients is essential.

Roon Nucleus – I love the way you can pool all your different branded music streamers across the house into one slick app.

Sony x7000 – The best picture quality available without spending crazy money.

Ubiquiti – We use these guys for all our networking requirements, once you have a complete setup, router, switches and WiFi Access Points it is very easy to setup, great reliability and brilliant to manage

What is the best and the worst thing that has happened to you on site?

Went out for a simple call out, you know one of those in and out within five minutes. Well after sorting the issue out I dropped the RTI remote control onto the customer’s marble floor, marble was okay, remote control not so much!

Lots of ‘best bits’ to be fair, but probably the time I had to take my swimming trunks to work because I was given the terrible task of testing out a clients brand new indoor swimming pool. I had to do a few lengths and and a couple of cannon balls to make sure the underwater speakers were working. Tough life but some one had to do it.

What is the most unusual client request you have had?

Just in the last few weeks actually, an existing client wants a big screen in a conservatory, so straight away that is a no no for projectors. The only place it can go is in an archway leading into the conservatory from a dining area. So we are

working on a pocket slide-out mechanism for a 65in TV. Of course there is only one place to turn to for such a thing; Future Automation, the kings of hiding big tech!

How do you see the sector changing in the future?

I think the change will continue towards simplicity. voice control is becoming more and more popular. Less cabling, the likes of Cat6 being used for more and more functions. Plug and play / auto setup systems. Mainstream control systems from the likes of Google/Apple etc.

Away from work, what are you interests/hobbies?

I like to get away from it all and get out on the mountain bike, I’m a bit of a kid so I love flying my drone and blitzing my RC car around. Love a DIY project at home and work.

You have magic powers and get one wish concerning the smart home and luxury AV market, what are going to wish for?

Rock solid network connected products. Everything in a modern, Hi-Fi, home cinema or smart home wants to sit on and communicate through an ethernet network in your home. These being stable is essential to any system working satisfactorily. We are pretty much there with the networking equipment, routers, switches Wi-Fi transmitters, etc. But it’s the devices we connect to that need to up their game.

Favourite music and movies? What are you watching/listening to right now? Gladiator and Terminator 2 are 110% my top films. Working in a Hi-Fi shop, we are constantly exposed to new music through events and client demos - favs at the moment, Agnes Obel, Oddisee, listening to Radiohead as I type this.

You can invite three people (living or not) out for a meal/drink, who’s coming and why?

Fred Dibnah – We both like steam engines, he had a pretty crazy life and would have many incredible stories to tell. Tiesto – His music was a big theme to my younger years when I used to ‘Go Out Out’ and Kevin Bridges my favourite comedian of the moment. @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 57 COMMENT FROM THE COALFACE
Music and fun are of big importance away from work


Elegant RTI control and automation solutions bring reliability and ease of use to luxury yacht.

In the world of luxury yachts, the demand for seamless control of audio and video integration is paramount. Horizon Yachts embarked on an ambitious project, seeking an integrated AV system that would meet the demands of a discerning client with a 125ft super yacht, Vin Xan. Horizon engaged Bridger Automation, who leveraged the power of RTI control and automation to deliver a customised, elegant control experience.

“The client wanted a big package, but being a yacht, we had to think creatively due to space and build requirements,” says Mark Bridger,

Director, Bridger Automation. “Horizon Yachts were receptive to our integration into their project and through careful planning, we were able to work with their team and design a complete integrated system.”

Bridger installed multiple Sonance Mariner speakers, Sonos amplifiers and speakers, Samsung UHD TVs, plus Hik-Vision ColourVu security cameras throughout the five cabins, upper and lower decks, kitchen, and living areas. The client’s vision was clear, they wanted individual zone control for each of the cabins, communal entertaining areas and crew, but also

the convenience of grouping multiple zones for entertaining. The user interface had to be simple and intuitive, especially for the owner and guests. Other objectives were integration with the vessel’s Maretron vessel monitoring and control system.

The challenges were not only technical but they spanned across continents. The yacht’s construction unfolded in Taiwan, far from Bridger Automation’s base in Australia. It took meticulous planning and it helped that the RTI control and automation system could be pre-programmed and fine-tuned once the yacht was docked in Australia.

58 MARCH 2024 ESSENTIAL CASE STUDY /Essentialinstall @Install_mag

Grow your Business with Sonos for Professionals

Whether you want to design the ultimate home cinema, install a sound system in a business, or integrate speakers in a multi-unit development, Sonos makes it easy to create incredible listening experiences for every client and space.

Because users range from the yacht owner and guests to staff and crew, it was important to cater the control interface to varying degrees of tech savviness and comfort levels. For this reason, Bridger Automation selected the RTI T1-B+ remote, which offers tactile buttons for a more familiar feel, as well as the RTI Control App for control via iOS devices. In addition, Bridger installed a central in-wall iPad for control and integration with the Maretron system. With multiple control options, guests and the yacht’s crew can comfortably interact with system from their iPhone, iPad or a remote.

An RTI XP-8v Control Processor integrates all the components of the vessel’s AV system, programmed and customised by RTI Integration Designer software. RTI also enabled Bridger to solve some unique control challenges. For example, to streamline entertaining in multiple audio zones, the install team created a global audio control page named, ‘Global Audio’. From there, the client is able to turn the audio on/off or adjust volume in any zone at any time. Similarly, an ‘All Off’ button on the main deck iPad prevents the system from being triggered accidentally from local controllers, iPhones, or iPads. It also effectively powers off all guest AV zones when needed.

60 MARCH 2024 ESSENTIAL CASE STUDY /Essentialinstall @Install_mag
RTI is the backbone of all of the vessel’s systems

“RTI was the only choice for us with regards to this project, as its stable platform and product range were the perfect fit for the system design and user interface,” says Mark. “Once we had obtained the brief and scope works, we immediately chose RTI’s architecture to deliver this ‘turn-key’ solution.”

The client’s feedback spoke volumes — the system was hailed as remarkably intuitive and easy to use for all users. RTI says the Vin Xan stands as a testament to the power of innovative control integration.

Mark concludes, ““RTI was the only choice for us with regards to this project, as its stable platform and product range was the perfect fit for the system design and user interface. Once we had obtained the brief and scope works, we immediately chose RTI’s architecture to deliver this ‘turn-key’ solution.”

Bridger Automation

Essential RTI Kit List • 1 XP-8v Control Processor • 1 PCM-4 Port Control Module • 1 RM-433 Antenna • 10 T1B+ Remotes • RTI Remote Control App Licenses @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 61 ESSENTIAL CASE STUDY
Control had to be simple for crew and guests


Mike Ranpura, Managing Director at Smart Life AV, urges installers to take the time to attend.

CEDIA has just announced the launch of the 2024 Tech + Business Summits (formerly Tech Summits) programme and it made me think about why I find these events so valuable. I have been attending the CEDIA Tech + Business Summits since 2016, having only entered the industry in 2014 with Smart Life AV. When I signed up to be a CEDIA member, it became immediately apparent that these events are a good resource. They have helped me stay updated on the latest industry trends, technology advancements and business strategies.

One of the most significant benefits of the Tech + Business Summits is the opportunity to network with industry peers. These interactions often lead to valuable collaborations and partnerships. For instance, during one summit, I met with someone who I then ended up using to subcontract on one of our projects. It’s these kinds of meaningful connections that can truly elevate your business and expand your reach within the industry.

The summits also offer a great platform for CEDIA to share updates on industry developments and organisational initiatives. Each event I’ve attended, I’ve come away with a valuable overview of the UK market and it highlights the positive changes and progress within our industry, which helps us stay informed and connected. With a focus on enhanced education, each summit provides a unique opportunity to delve into educational sessions where I always learn something new and gain precious insights that I can apply directly to my work.

The timing of these events is also helpful. Positioned in the Spring/Summer window, CEDIA’s Tech + Business Summits fill a gap in the industry event calendar, providing a perfect opportunity for networking and knowledgesharing during a time when there are fewer agnostic events. This timing allows attendees to catch up with peers, discuss current projects, and connect with international manufacturers and suppliers.

Despite the busy schedule, the Tech + Business Summits maintain a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. This balance makes it an ideal event for both seasoned professionals and newcomers looking to break into the industry. The locations across the country are also convenient, making it easy for attendees to participate.

The CEDIA Tech + Business Summits are a must-attend event for professionals in the smart home industry. The 2024 UK schedule is as follows:

• March 20 - Bristol, UK

• April 18 - London, UK

• May 22 - Edinburgh, UK

• June 19 - Leeds, UK

For more information and to register for the summits, visit:

ESSENTIAL CEDIA 62 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag


Crestron Electronics has announced four new Crestron DM NAX Audio Edge Devices to provide interoperability and performance between audio sources for any AV-over-IP system.

Each new accessory is available in two form factors: wall plates or surface mounts — a single network connection allows homeowners to control and manage the device through the Crestron Home OS. Other features include an onboard DSP for tone shaping and signal optimisation. All new edge devices are compatible across DM NVX AV-over-IP, DM NAX Audio-over-IP, AES67 and Dante audio networking platforms. Additionally, the edge devices are powered via PoE, eliminating the need for local AC power. The four devices include the DM NAX Wall Plate with Bluetooth Connectivity and Unbalanced Analogue Audio Input and Output (DM-NAX-BTIO-1G) and the DM NAX Wall Plate with XLR Input and Balanced Analogue Audio Output (DM-NAX-2XLRI-1G). Also included is the DM NAX Converter with Balanced Analogue Audio Input and Output (DM-NAX-AUD-IO) and the DM NAX Converter with USB and Unbalanced Analogue Audio Input and Output (DM-NAX-AUD-USB).

Crestron says with the flexibility, scalability and interoperability of the Crestron DM NAX

platform, homeowners can enjoy the ultimate audio experience in every room of the home. DM NAX edge products provide integrated streaming, routing and distribution, combined with audiophile-quality speakers, amps and complete control of all media and content in a Crestron system.



Adelante is Basalte’s new modular door phone for Basalte Home. Completing the company’s ecosystem for the intelligent home, Basalte now brings its aesthetically-led design approach from inside the home to the front door.

Users can see who’s at the doorstep, talk to them and let them in using Lisa, Ellie and Lena displays or the Basalte Home app.

Making a first impression is important, so Basalte is keen for installers to provide customers with a way to make sure they do it with great elegance.

Everything is built around an attractive OLED display with super-high contrast. Its touch-sensitive display reacts at the slightest touch, but a physical button is always there. Two types of cameras are integrated so users always have a clear overview of visitors and the outside area.

Adelante only comes in high-quality finishes to match aesthetics and Basalte’s full product line. Moreover, this new door phone has a modular design so users can have every option at their fingertips like access control, badge readers, fingerprint recognition and so much more.

Also new, Plano is described as a unique collection of high-performance, passive in-wall speakers for the most exclusive homes. In a

stereo or surround setup, Plano speakers will live up to the expectation to create a magical sound performance while blending beautifully into the interior design, says the maker.

While Plano R3 is a compact and accurate inwall speaker for smaller rooms or as a surround speaker, the bigger Plano R5 is the reference design and is designed as a front stereo or centre speaker.

Exclusive finishes combined with a variety of top-quality fabrics by Gabriel and Kvadrat from Denmark, give plenty of choice to find the perfect architectural combination that fits every interior and other Basalte products.


technologies in five models for luxury stereo and home cinema applications
‘Utopia’ IW/IC models
1000 Series
A full-length door phone is possible on-wall or on a separate pole @Install_mag /Essentialinstall MARCH 2024 63 PRODUCTS
new devices can be controlled via keypads, remote and touchscreens, or via the Crestron Home OS app
AQUIOM Exclusively distributed by 01488 73366


Waterfall Audio has unveiled its Niagara XT series of floor-standing loudspeakers. Setting a stylish, new landmark for loudspeaker design and performance, says the maker. The Niagara XT series has been created to marry a refined sense of haute couture elegance with an extraordinarily clear, authentic and vibrant sound.

The Niagara XT Series features three brandnew models all designed to deliver a richly detailed, open, natural-sounding and powerful audio experience. Contained within a fully transparent platinum safety glass enclosure (XT2 and XT3: 10mm thick; XT1: 6mm thick), the Niagara XT Series comes alive in natural light, subtly reflecting and refracting sunbeams throughout the day. Custom-built mid-bass Atohm drivers appear as if they are suspended in mid-air and are underpinned by an ultra-low frequency 21cm passive driver in a down-firing position in the solid, CNC cut, brushed tapered aluminium base.

The drivers are equipped with JETSTREAM damping technology, developed in-house by Waterfall Audio, to maximise performance and ensure the mechanical decoupling of the midbass driver from the glass structure. JETSTREAM allows for a deeper and faster bass with a smoother response in the mid and high range, optimised heat dissipation and superb control of the rear wave on the cone.


Snap One has announced a new flagship security product, the NDAA-certified ClareVision Smart Video Doorbell, giving partners and its customers a self-contained, subscription-free solution to monitor and record activity at the front door 24 hours a day.

According to Clint Choate, Senior Director of the Security Market at Snap One, the new ClareVision Smart Video Doorbell is an ideal solution for standalone surveillance or as part of a ClareOne smart home system. It also provides an easy-to-install option for production builders, ensuring all buyers are satisfied.

“Home surveillance is now a top priority for many homeowners and buyers, and with the new ClareVision Smart Video Doorbell we are giving our partners a high-quality branded option that integrates seamlessly with other Clare solutions and requires no monthly subscriptions for storage or viewing,” says Clint. “The doorbell is designed to be powered by existing low-voltage doorbell wiring for added partner convenience while including powerful features, such as dual Wi-Fi band connectivity, full HD resolution and support for two-way voice.”

Waterfall Audio says it has also scaled new heights in attention to detail, craftsmanship and finesse with the Niagara XT Series. For example, the speaker base is housed in luxurious, handstitched Nappa Leather, renowned for its smooth grain, softness and durability. Nappa leather is the interior fabric of choice for premium automotive brands, including Mercedes and Porsche.

The-top-of-the-range Niagara XT3 (1200mm x 300mm x 320mm / 500w output) has been created to be the ultimate choice for a clean, luxurious aesthetic with its unique glass horn tweeter design.

Waterfall Audio

The ClareVision Smart Video Doorbell is a simple surveillance and security upgrade that combines 1080p video capture, AI-based smart analytics, 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi connectivity and two-way voice calling into a slim device that uses existing doorbell wires for power.

Users can view the live feed from the ClareOne Wireless Security and Smart Home Panel and the ClareVision app or integrate the video doorbell with Control4 as a surveillance device. Recorded video is stored via an internal 16GB microSD card, which partners and users can expand up to 512GB.

Snap One

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KEF has launched the KC92 Force-Cancelling Subwoofer and Kube Subwoofers, which have been designed for everything from watching an action-packed film, playing the latest video game, or listening to music.

Both KC92 and Kube feature KEF’s proprietary Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithm, the Music Integrity Engine (MIE), one of the brand’s core innovations in technology.

Tailored for each model, the MIE ensures every component works within the individual subwoofer in harmony. Powered by MIE, the iBX Intelligent Bass Extension creates an extended depth that unlocks the full potential of the custom driver.

KC92 contains two 9in drivers. A shallow, concave aluminium skin sits above a paper cone in the drivers’ hybrid structure, which also includes a vented voice coil and an enlarged motor system. The force-cancelling layout of the KC92 ensures reactive forces are eliminated, which reduces cabinet vibration and maximises precision and detail.

The KC92 features an audiophile-quality 1000W of Class D amplification (a dedicated 500W amplifier for each driver), improving timing accuracy and dynamic response for a more detailed sound and the ability to deliver sudden bursts of power.

With line level and speaker level inputs, it can easily connect to any amplifier.

Kube adapts to a wide range of audio systems due to its extensive range of connection choices

The five-room placement options allow the KC92 to integrate whether it’s placed in a free space, next to the wall, in a corner, snug within a cabinet, or using the dedicated apartment mode. Regardless, its performance will be consistent.

Meanwhile, Kube subwoofers are available in four driver sizes – 15in, 12in, 10in and 8in – from the deceptively diminutive Kube 8 MIE to the Kube 15 MIE, giving options for any room size and system requirements.

Kube has a long throw driver that fires from the front, increasing output at lower frequencies. This method produces an impression of direct force within the space, resulting in a tactile, compressed bass experience.



Harman Luxury Audio Group has confirmed that the new JBL DA Series distribution amplifiers will go on sale in the UK during Q1, 2024.

Engineered to work with any existing JBL architectural loudspeaker, the eight-channel DA850 and 16-channel DA1650 provide four and eight zones of audio, respectively in a compact 1U design while offering bridgeable outputs to meet high-power requirements.

Harman Luxury Audio Group gave the distribution amplifiers their EMEA debut at ISE 2024 in Barcelona.

“Designed to deliver up to eight zones of highquality audio in a compact, flat-stackable design, the DA850 and DA1650 provide maximum performance while occupying minimal rack space,” says Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, Harman Luxury Audio Group. “These models feature a host of installerfriendly features and powerful amplification, including the ability to bridge stereo channels into even more powerful mono outputs when needed. They are the perfect companion to our portfolio of JBL architectural loudspeakers, delivering a single-brand system solution from one of the most recognized names in audio.”

Both the DA850 and DA1650 offer 50W for each of their Class D channels into 8ohm loads and 110W into 4ohm loads. By bridging their outputs, rated power increases to 185W into 8ohm loads.

For additional flexibility, each audio zone can feature an independent source or a single source can be shared across all zones using the global audio input. In addition, zones sharing an audio source can be expanded across multiple amplifiers using the global audio output.

The DA amplifiers offer three power mode control options — 12V trigger, audio-sensing inputs, and always on — plus overcurrent and thermal protection to prevent potential speaker damage. The amplifiers feature local and bus inputs and channel output level controls.

Harman Luxury Audio Group

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Rithum has announced its latest innovation, the Rithum Switch Pro. This device, crafted exclusively for professional installers, marries Power Over Ethernet (PoE) with an integrated speaker and microphones, offering control and communication capabilities across various settings in smart homes and beyond, including offices, meeting rooms, hospitality, hotels and educational institutions.

The Rithum Switch Pro, according to Rithum, epitomises its dedication to pushing the boundaries of technology to create versatile, user-friendly solutions that enhance living and working spaces with minimal hardware. With its PoE functionality, the device delivers a streamlined installation process with a reliable power source and solid data communications with no reliance on Wi-Fi. The addition of a built-in speaker and microphones transforms the Rithum Switch Pro into a communication hub, facilitating high-quality audio interactions, Rithum says, throughout any environment, such as answering the video doorbell.

Furthermore, Rithum also unveiled several new integration plugins. These new


Marantz has introduced its new reference design for its CINEMA series of high-performance home theatre AVRs – the CINEMA 30.

CINEMA 30 represents the pinnacle of Marantz’s approach to AVR design. According to the maker, in every regard, this no-holdsbarred flagship model distils all the timeless yet progressive design, unrivalled performance and technological excellence of Marantz’s product philosophy into one outstanding component.

Available in black or silver-gold finishes, CINEMA 30 incorporates the latest generation of Marantz’s porthole display combined with new industrial design language with a multi-layer chassis incorporating extensive use of copper.

At its core, CINEMA 30 is built around a symmetrical, monolithic amplifier. The amplifier channel is mounted on a separate PCB opposite the power supplies, delivering clean and instantaneous low-distortion power. 11 channels of onboard amplification ensure sufficient output to support a wide range of potential speaker configurations for all forms of immersive audio. The 13.4-channel onboard processing with selectable pre-amp mode allows the additional external power amplifier to suit the largest of dedicated home theatre environments.

plugins provide compatibility with Zuma, KNX, CoolAutomation, Shelly and Audioflow, enabling seamless integration into existing smart systems and broadening the scope of control for users.

Founder and CEO, Ryan Ovens believes this is an important step on the company’s journey to address the mid-market and do more with less. He says, “For the last four years, Rithum have been daring to challenge the status quo of the control system.

“Rithum Switch Pro now builds on the progress we’ve made with Rithum Switch and offers installers the solution that many of them have asked for. Rithum has applications not just in smart homes but far beyond, where we are seeing it specified as a mid-market alternative to clunky centralised systems in meeting rooms, hotels, hospitality settings and more.”


All digital and analogue signals pass through the Marantz HDAM SA-2 pre-amplifier stage to ensure the characteristic warmth and musicality expected from any Marantz audio product.

The CINEMA 30 deploys the latest Analog Devices SHARC dual DSP chipset coupled to 32-bit ESS Sabre DACs with dedicated jitter reduction. The result, according to the maker, is a powerful digital platform able to precisely decode and accurately process all forms of incoming audio, from high-resolution stereo to the latest forms of immersive audio, including Dolby Atmos, IMAX Enhanced, DTS:X Pro and Auro 3D.

CINEMA 30 teams that capability with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 advanced room optimisation, based on automatic calibration of speaker sizes, speaker distances and level adjustment.

Dirac Live calibration is optionally available and includes Dirac Live Bass Control. Each of its seven HDMI inputs can support 8K video and the CINEMA 30 also supports the latest HEOS whole-home multi-room platform.


The Rithum Switch Pro will be available for purchase in April
PRODUCTS 68 MARCH 2024 /Essentialinstall @Install_mag
The new Marantz CINEMA 30 is available from Mid-March

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