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VOLUME 20 NO.8  |  AUGUST 2019

Residential Systems

What to Expect at CEDIA Expo Installing Solar Theaters Integration Guide to Projectors & Screens

ResidentialSystems.com

ts complicated by ge l ro nt co of y it ic The simpl p. voice, remote, or ap available options — nts. a clear choice to clie t en es pr to w ho is Here

Product Review: MSE Audio Cherry Bomb and OS-440 Outdoor Audio System


TableofContents

columns 8

CEDIALine Disrupt and Transform CEDIA Expo keynote speaker Luke Williams to focus on making impactful changes to your business. By Ed Wenck

10 Dave Donald’s Business Book Club The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun by Wess Roberts, Ph.D. Was Attila a fierce warrior or master marketer? Either way, he knew how to lead the Huns. By Dave Donald

12 The Strategist The Price is Right Why you should not discount what you charge. By Tim Fitzpatrick, Rialto Mobile Marketing

14 Home Theater Installing Solar Theaters Controlling the power that feeds your systems may be a lucrative move for your business. By Anthony Grimani

42 Going Forward Expansion Strategies for Smart Home Do smart vents, smart beds, and smart major appliances belong in your business? By Patrice Samuels, Sr. Analyst, Parks Associates

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features 20

16 Making Sense of Control By Henry Clifford

Although designed for simplicity, the number of control options available is enough to

gear 34 Review MSE Audio Cherry Bomb and OS-440 Outdoor Audio System

complicate the project and confuse the client. Here are some ways around that.

20 John Sciacca’s European Summer Tour By John Sciacca Checking out high-tech residential gear in the Old World.

24 Mounts and Enclosures Spotlight

Getting that high-end

By Resi Staff

outdoor sound without the

Showing support for the things that give us support.

wiring hassle. By John Sciacca

38 Resi in Action Connected Cottage AV-over-IP infrastructure delivers high-end viewing and listening experiences across a sprawling luxury property.

on the cover

26 What to Expect at CEDIA Expo By Resi Staff A brief preview of some of the products coming to Denver this September.

30 Integration Guide to Projectors & Screens By Karen Mitchell

departments

Crestron’s TSR-310 remote in action. See our recommendations for selling control to clients on page 16. Photo courtesy of Crestron.

Editor’s Letter.......................... 4

Get More Industry Information from Web: www.twice.com Twitter: @TWICEonline

New Products.........................40

ClickThrus

Resi Briefs................................. 6

Ad Index...................................41

Join the online Residential Systems community on LinkedIn (groups/ Residential Systems), Twitter (resisys), and Facebook (facebook/ resisys). And visit www.residentialsystems.com to join our Forums and read the interactive, Digital Edition of this and past issues.

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Residential Systems August 2019 Volume 20, Number 8

Moon Shot

B Y A N T H O N Y S AV O N A PHOTO: NASA/GETTY IMAGES

August Issue

Editor’sLetter

Contributors

DAVE DONALD An industry veteran with over 35 years in the CI biz, Dave was on CEDIA’s founding Board of Directors and was instrumental in building the industry through his work with several manufacturers.

TIM FITZPATRICK Tim Fitzpatrick is the president of Rialto Mobile Marketing. He helps small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more ideal clients, and make marketing easier with consistent, repeatable results.

ANTHONY GRIMANI Anthony Grimani is president of Performance Media Industries, an acoustical engineering firm specializing in home theater design and calibration with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Paris, France. agrimani@pmiltd.com

HENRY CLIFFORD Henry Clifford is president of Livewire, an integration firm in Richmond, VA. He also serves on the CEDIA Business Working Group and writes a bi-monthly blog for www.residentialsystems.com.

JOHN SCIACCA John Sciacca is a principal with Custom Theater and Audio, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In his free time, he blogs prolifically about the CE industry. johnsciacca.webs.com

PATRICE SAMUELS Patrice Samuels covers smart home products and services and leads Parks Associates Smart Home Tracker product, keeping clients informed of industry developments and competitive shifts across more than 10 smart home markets.

Residential Systems (ISSN# 1528-7858) is published monthly by Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036 Periodical Postage Paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: send address changes and inquiries to Residential Systems P. O. Box 1067 Lowell, MA 01853. Subscriptions: US: 1-yr $56, 2-yr $100; Canada: 1-yr $104, 2-yr $196; Foreign: 1-yr $156, 2-yr $300. Back issues are $8. Copyright 2019 by Future US, Inc.

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As I write this, the world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the “one small step” of humankind walking on the moon. I was on Earth at the time, but, at one-year-and-onemonth old, I have no memory of the actual event. The after effects, however, certainly had an impact, as I was obsessed with science fact (astronomy in particular) and science fiction throughout my adolescence. It was there that my fascination with technology took hold, and still grips me to this day. One bit of trivia that I have heard repeated through this golden anniversary of the moon landing is how they were able to do it with computer power that is 1/1,000,000 of what we now carry around in our smartphones. But, really, that is not surprising at all; the speed at which technology moves is astounding. To put it in perspective, I often think of my grandfather’s life (1900–1984). He saw the evolution from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles, to lunar modules, to space shuttles! In 1969, the notion of a home computer was still off in the distance, let alone an iPhone. At home, television viewers could only choose from the few stations offered, and if they were building any kind of sophisticated entertainment system, it revolved around the Hi-Fi. Think of the whirlwind of AV innovation that has happened since then: from VCRs to surround sound, to laserdiscs, and so on. We have seen formats come and go,

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but they served their purpose and moved us technologically forward, on to the next evolution of entertainment and convenience. We had barely heard the phrase “smart home” at the turn of the century, and now look how embedded in our lives it has become. Could you have imagined, five years ago, that we would be talking about sophisticated power management tools that provide energy savings and efficiency to clients? Did you ever think that circadian rhythms would be part of a typical sales pitch? Just as the first moonwalk inspired us to dream of where we could go next, so does the latest generation of home entertainment and convenience tools. What is the next phase of evolution for the CI channel? What services will we be able to provide to our clients within the next five years? Where do we go from here? I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to assigning an “installing a theater in zero gravity” story for the first off-world settlement.

Find me online... anthony.savona@futurenet.com residentialsystems.com twitter.com/resisys groups/Residential Sytems facebook/resisys

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Research: Over 233 Million 4K TVs to Ship in 2024, with 8K on the Horizon As worldwide TV household penetration is quite saturated, the flat panel TV market has been driven by consumer adoption of TVs with higher resolution, larger screen size, and connected and integrated applications and services. While flat panel TV makers have announced 8K TV sets, it is the 4K TV market that will continue to grow to cement its place as the mainstream TV format over the next few years. ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm, forecasts that 4K flat panel TV shipments will grow at 13 percent CAGR to reach 233 million in 2024. Flat panel TV makers such as Samsung, Sony, LG, and TCL have announced the introduction of 8K flat panel TV models, which are priced between $5000 and $70,000 depending on the display size. “The cost of 8K TV sets is far from affordable for most consumers,” says Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst at ABI Research. “This will limit the sales volume for the foreseeable future, however, we can expect the price points to decline to a more reasonable level over the next several years just as 4K sets have.” However, the lack of content and distribution models are more significant barriers than cost for 8K TV adoption at the moment. Aside from 8K channels provided by Japanese broadcaster NHK, there are no other 8K broadcast channels currently available, although Korean Broadcasting Corporation (KBS) is working toward an 8K broadcast. While streaming service provider Rakuten recently announced its interest

to provide 8K content in late 2019, service providers overall are not ready for 8K content, nor is there much incentive for content providers due to limited 8K TV set adoption at present. 8K content also needs larger data files, which creates challenges in content distribution and data management. Versatile Video Coding (VVC), which achieved 34 percent higher efficiency over HEVC, is currently in the process of standardization. VVC will play a vital role in driving the 8K TV market when the final standardization completes in 2020. 8K is likely to gain momentum only when challenges are addressed, and the ecosystem evolves. “For now, 4K will be the dominant format of the flat panel TV market, and of the content ecosystem as a result. 4K TV household penetration will reach slightly more than half of the TV households in mature markets, and with penetration still relatively low in emerging markets, there is significant room for 4K market growth in the years to come,” concludes Lynn. These findings are from ABI Research’s Media Devices: UltraHD, 4K, HDR, 8K, HEVC market data report. This report is part of the company’s Video & Cloud Services research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Market Data spreadsheets are composed of deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, servicespecific forecasts to provide detailed insight where opportunities lie. For more information, www.abiresearch.com.

Klipsch Audio Inks Exclusive National Distribution Partnership with SnapAV dealers today carry more Klipsch has announced that than one speaker brand,” SnapAV is the exclusive says Mike Jordan, VP of national custom installation Audio for SnapAV. “By distribution partner for partnering with one of the its speakers in the United best speaker companies, States. The partnership we’re allowing dealers to provides broader and more shop for all their audio premium audio solutions Tommy Jacobs, VP of sales for Klipsch (left) and needs conveniently in one to custom integrators, while Mike Jordan, VP of audio for SnapAV. delivering the world-class support and logistics they place. SnapAV will be where pros buy audio.” Klipsch is committed to developing highly have come to expect from SnapAV. Klipsch will join SnapAV’s own brand of Episode speakers in their efficient, premium speaker solutions for any portfolio and will be available on their website and residential or commercial application. Klipsch custom installation speakers feature exclusive via their local distribution locations in August. When it comes to speakers, SnapAV understands technology designed to save integrators time and the importance of having options. “We know money, while ensuring maximum profitability.

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Z-Wave Alliance Promotes Enhanced Certification for Next Gen Devices The Z-Wave Alliance has unveiled details about the Z-Wave Plus v2 certification designed for devices built on the new Z-Wave 700 platform. The updated certification will deliver an improved consumer experience by mandating the inclusion of SmartStart, a setup feature that promises to bring plug-and-play to the consumer smart home. SmartStart-enabled hubs are able to recognize any SmartStart-enabled accessory device, like a lock or light, with a quick app scan of its QR code. With SmartStart, the device’s information is already set up inside the hub and pairing is complete prior to a consumer adding product — the setup all happens behind the scenes, shortening and simplifying the product setup process for consumers. As more and more devices using the Z-Wave 700 platform are released, SmartStart will become a ubiquitous feature for all Z-Wave smart homes. Additional updates for certification of Z-Wave 700-based devices include a requirement for device identification through an LED light on each product to provide user confirmation that the right device is setup within a hub’s app. New hubs/gateway devices built on the ZWave 700 platform will be required to support every device category, including sensors. In April 2017, the Z-Wave Alliance Board of Directors voted to make the new IoT security framework, known as Z-Wave S2 Security, mandatory in all newly certified devices. Z-Wave Plus v2 certification will continue to require each device to implement the updated security framework.

Azione Unlimited Expands to Canada Azione Unlimited has ventured north of the border to Canada. The goals set out by the group will create Canadian-specific vendor programs while bolstering a broader support network for all members of the group. The concept was also encouraged by current American vendor-members who are looking to expand into the new markets. According to Azione, this marks the first time a United States-based buying group will formally approach the Canadian market. “What I think really makes this a prospering partnership is a mutual benefit from both parties,” says Richard Glikes, president of Azione Unlimited. "Canadian dealers will welcome an abundance of business guidance, networking opportunities, and growth potential. Additionally, both our dealer and vendor members can work with a brand new audience of top-tier members to spark new ideas. It’s simply a win-win.”


ResiBriefs Mitchell Klein Honored as the 2019 CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Recipient

MantelMount To Be Distributed by Stampede

CEDIA has announced that Mitchell Klein has been chosen as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Klein will be honored at the CEDIA Expo Opening Keynote hosted at the Colorado Convention Center on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. The CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has exhibited outstanding, creative, innovative, and visionary leadership in the growth and advancement of the residential technology industry. Nominations are submitted by industry professionals and evaluated on the basis of achievement and service within the industry. “Mitch is part of an elite group, not only now as a CEDIA Lifetime Achievement recipient but as someone who has been actively engaged with CEDIA from the early stages and has continued to serve the community,” says David Humphries, CEDIA chairman. “Anyone who knows Mitch likely has a story about his willingness to share his expertise and his passion to further the growth and success of the industry.” Walt Zerbe, CEDIA senior director of technology and standards, adds, “Mitch is a pillar of guidance and mentorship — whether that’s mentoring a person, program, or company — he is unfailingly selfless and always willing to help problem solve.” Klein is a 30+ year industry veteran who has dedicated his career to educating the industry, building, creating, and implementing strategic businesses and programs, and leading companies that helped bring smart home and custom installation into the mainstream. Klein is known for kicking off many key initiatives for CEDIA in almost every area, including operational, educational, financial, legislative, and marketing. Examples include initiating and implementing CEDIA’s first strategic plan, the creation of an operating budget and reserve fund, and introducing the CEDIA certification program and Management Conference, along with various policy and promotional projects. He continues his volunteerism on the Professional Development Action Committee today. Above all, Klein is hailed as a leader in IoT, consumer electronics, home automation, and the integrator market. In his current role as the executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance, a consortium of leading IoT brands and influencers, Klein has grown membership to over 700 global companies and more than 3000 certified products that represents over 60 percent growth during his tenure. Prior to Z-Wave, Klein consulted for numerous consumer electronics brands, led business development for URC for several years, and, before that, he was in the home technology trenches, owning and running his own industry-leading, cutting-edge installation firm for over 14 years. Klein is a CEDIA Fellow, former two-term CEDIA president and ongoing volunteer and is a regular contributor to trade and technology publications such as IoT for All, Residential Systems, IoT Agenda, and Essential Install.

MantelMount is turning to Stampede to drive sales of its full line of manual and automated drop down and swivel television wall mounts and accessories in the United States, according to Stampede President & CEO Kevin Kelly. “This is a product line that genuinely brings meaningful new benefits to a very mature product category,” says Kelly. “The product line, and the engineering vision behind it, reimagines the perfect home entertainment experience or boardroom experience in a way that eliminates neck pain, eye strain and screen glare. We are proud to represent this innovative product line to our commercial and residential resellers throughout the United States.” Commenting on the appointment of Stampede, MantelMount managing director Daniel Hughes notes that, “Since our formation in 2014, MantelMount has come to be regarded as a critically important component of a truly user-friendly, integrated display solution — be it in home entertainment or commercial display environments. The appointment of

RESIDENTIAL SYSTEMS 

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Stampede to serve as a United States distribution partner is going to help us present our unique value proposition to thousands of residential and commercial resellers through a unified sales and marketing program that will significantly expand our sales across all vertical markets.” MantelMount has found highly receptive customers in both the residential and commercial markets. The commercial market, which will be the focus of Stampede’s efforts, holds especially promising potential. Among the fastest-growing commercial locations are schools (i.e., secondary and higher educational facilities), boardrooms, corporate training, restaurants and bars, hospitals and hotels. Ultimately, any commercial location where a TV is mounted high on a wall and needs to be brought down for optimal viewing is a candidate for MantelMount.

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CEDIALine

Disrupt and Transform CEDIA Expo keynote speaker Luke Williams to focus on making impactful changes to your business. BY ED WENCK

With the speed of change seeming to accelerate by the very minute, CEDIA has chosen innovator, inventor, disruptor, and bestselling author Luke Williams as the keynote speaker for 2019. Williams brings a powerhouse resume with him to the CEDIA Keynote stage: Williams is Professor of Innovation and Design at the NYU Stern School of Business, founder of the W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs, and a Fellow at Frog Design. He is the inventor of 30-plus U.S. patents and has designed more than 100 products in industries ranging from transportation to finance and healthcare to consumer electronics. He’s lectured in 21 countries and addressed the United Nations General Assembly and the World Innovation Forum. He is the author of the international bestseller Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business. Williams's keynote will focus on how disruptive thinking can spark transformation in business. “Companies need to be consistently making bold moves, even at the very peak of their success,” says Williams. “It is an essential skill for anyone in business, from a small start-up to a global corporation, with the desire to transform organizational processes and behaviors, and ask, ‘Why hadn’t we ever thought about our business and industry this way before?’” As Williams crafts the address, he notes that a big part of training one’s brain for this task requires a business owner in the CEDIA universe to achieve a kind of heightened sensitivity. Without giving us too many spoilers, Williams says, “One’s success in this field used to be about making reasonable predictions on what you think is going to happen in the home technology market. Now we’re into needing to make it more of getting into the habit of making provocations that almost seem unreasonable, and then using those to accelerate a change in their thinking, accelerate their learning, so they can start to think about their future in a different way. “I’m a strong believer in the best way to learn this type of thinking is for people to start doing it in their everyday lives. “I actually work to get people out of the comfort zone, thinking just about their own industry, and just starting to notice stuff in their everyday lives, like the next time they’re in a hotel or catching a plane or in a meeting or whatever it is — what do you note about those experiences? What would make that experience better for the end user, whatever it might be? They start to build a habit of mind around thinking disruptively.” But by the same token, Williams understands that one can’t

I’m a strong believer in the best way to learn “this type of thinking is for people to start doing it in their everyday lives.” 8  R E S I D E N T I A L

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abandon the day-to-day operations of their business to focus on the next big thing. “It’s a balance between delivering today and keeping your business running; keeping your best customers happy, all that. But the capabilities they’re going to need in the next decade might be incomplete — sometimes those new ones will be in direct conflict with capabilities that are currently making them successful.” When Williams outlines the tools you’ll need to identify and implement these strategies, he’s quick to point out that “it’s not about destroying what you’re currently doing. You’re going to need a portfolio of unconventional ideas and unconventional strategy options to balance all the incremental options that any home technology professional faces right now. “I call it the difference between maintaining continuity — expecting things to continue exactly the way they have been in the past — and the way they are now. Knowing that it’s your job, it’s your role, to make sure you’re also introducing deliberate discontinuity into your business.” And what does Williams mean by “deliberate discontinuity?” “It means you’re coming up with ideas, with scheduled changes, with capabilities that would not naturally develop as part of the current movement, the current industry trends.” n

When & Where The CEDIA Expo Opening Keynote with Luke Williams and the recognition of CEDIA’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Wednesday, September 11 5:30-6:30 PM Find more info at cediaexpo.com/events/keynote


BookClub

The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun by Wess Roberts, Ph.D. Was Attila a fierce warrior or master marketer? Either way, he knew how to lead the Huns. BY DAV E D O N A L D

Sometimes the title just grabs you. You see it and you immediately have a need to know what’s inside. I had always considered writing a book titled How to Guarantee You Will Fail Miserably. What person could walk by that on the shelf? Well, this month’s selection fits into that category. I was triggered by the recent passing of Ross Perot and I remembered his quote on the cover of this book: “A great book…the principles are timeless.” With that and the recommendation from no fewer than 23 notables, including coach Pat Riley and Ken Blanchard of One Minute Manager fame, I had to give it a read. It’s only 110 pages, but it is packed with some of the best leadership advice I have ever read. Roberts was the human resource manager at the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company when he published the book in 1989. Picking a controversial figure as the model for his wisdom was a stroke of brilliance. It created a unique position from which to deliver his treatise. Although Attila is historically considered to be a savage conqueror, Roberts posits that this was mostly marketing spin designed to strike fear in the hearts of his enemies and respect in his followers — a very interesting take. His true success lay in inspiring the Huns and focusing them on a common quest. He begins by allowing Atilla to outline the qualities needed for leadership. Basic elements such as loyalty, courage, emotional and physical stamina, and several others that set a solid foundation for the process. Each quality is detailed in a single paragraph, perfect for a monthly mantra or a small space on the company bulletin board. For example: You’ve got to want it. A young Atilla who, in dealing with a nomadic and ragged band of savages, needed to have a desire to lead. People who do not want to lead others should not be leaders. I realize that is simplistic, but being a reluctant leader is a recipe for failure. That being said, simply wanting to be in charge does not qualify you for leadership either. As the chapters evolve, there are several key points that will have you saying, “I knew that, so why haven’t I practiced it?” Of course, if

you were already a perfect leader, why would you waste time reading the book, or this column either for that matter? The art in Roberts’s delivery is pointing out the obvious in a way that makes you want to adopt the specific qualities. I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter on discipline and morale. Attila’s need to unite the Huns was essential to their success. As a group of nomadic tribes, they were at the mercy of their surroundings and enemies. Morale was high after a victory and decidedly low after a defeat. Unity and discipline was the answer. “Discipline builds the inner confidence of our Huns. Thus, discipline builds morale.” Note his nuanced delivery. In referring to “our Huns,” he was already proclaiming ownership and familial pride. The chapter goes into detail on how discipline and morale created peace in the camp. A necessary condition in any successful company. Chapters on “Cunning in the Tribes,” “Picking Your Enemies Wisely,” “Responsibilities of the Chieftain,” and “The Art of Delegation” are just a few of the subjects that round out this volume. The best part is how condensed and brief the delivery is. It allows the topics to settle in and lets your mind expand on the effect and applications in your own leadership style. Saving the best for last, the real kicker is the list of “Attilaisms: Selected Thoughts of Attila.” These one- or two-sentence statements are worth the price of the book. ƒƒ Great chieftains never take themselves too seriously. ƒƒ Weak chieftains surround themselves with weak Huns. ƒƒ A wise chieftain never expects his Huns to act beyond their wisdom and understanding. ƒƒ Huns learn less from success than they do from failure. The list is extensive and impressive. Need a kick in your leadership butt? Pick any chapter and internalize it. Your team will thank you for it. n

Although Attila is historically considered to be a savage conqueror, “ Roberts posits that this was mostly marketing spin designed to strike fear in the hearts of his enemies and respect in his followers.” 10  R E S I D E N T I A L

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The Price Is Right Why you should not discount what you charge. B Y T I M F I T Z PAT R I C K

You had a great initial consultation with a prospective client, showed them all the testimonials anyone could ever ask for, gave them a professional and well thought out proposal, and then you get the dreaded question… “We’d love to work with you, but can you do any better on your price?” How do you respond? Should you discount your pricing? My opinion is “no,” you shouldn’t discount your pricing. Here are five reasons why: 1. It Shows a Lack of Confidence. When you know the value of your products/ services, you confidently discuss pricing Tim Fitzpatrick is the president of Rialto and the value that you have to offer. Mobile Marketing (www.rialtomobile.com). He There is no need to discount because spent 10+ years in the consumer electronics industry as a partner in a distribution you know you’re worth the price you company before getting into marketing are charging. Whether you intend to consulting and digital marketing. He helps or not, when you discount pricing, you small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more are communicating to the client that ideal clients, command a premium for their you aren’t sure you are worth what you products and services, and make marketing originally asked for. easier with consistent, repeatable results. 2. It Leaves the Customer Wondering If They Got the Best Price. Have you ever negotiated the price of a new car? You drove off the lot wondering if you got the lowest price, didn’t you? It’s a horrible feeling wondering if you got the best price, and taints the sales process. You want customers to feel great about their decision to work with you, and discounting your pricing can leave doubt in a customer’s mind. 3. It Sets a Bad Precedent. When you discount at the beginning of a relationship, you are setting a precedent that you are willing to negotiate and lower your pricing. From this point forward, your customers will always expect it, and if you don’t, they will not be happy because they’ve grown to expect a discount. 4. It Can Encourage You to Cut Corners. Discounting reduces your profit margins, and to maintain healthy profit margins, you may be tempted to cut corners to save money on a project you sold at a discounted price. Inevitably, cutting corners will lead to lower quality and an unhappy customer. Not good.

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TheStrategist 5. It Sets You Up for a Price War. Once you discount your price, the client may start to negotiate with other companies they have received proposals from. Instead of selling on the value you bring to the table, this puts you in a situation where the lowest bidder wins. Trust me, unless you are Walmart, you don’t want to be known as the low price leader. There will always be someone willing to beat your price. The Exceptions to the Rule So, should you never discount your products and services? There are a few cases where I think it’s okay to break this rule. 1. Discounting to Correct a Mistake. If you dropped the ball and need to discount pricing to save a customer, that’s okay. It shows the customer you are willing to take responsibility for your mistakes and go the extra mile to make things right. Customers will always appreciate this. 2. When You Want to Reward a Long-Term Customer. When you have a long-term client who has done multiple projects with you at full price, it’s okay to discount a project here and there to show your appreciation. You’ve already established a strong working relationship that hasn’t been built on pricing. Having said that, I think there are better ways to show your appreciation other than discounting. Throw in something unexpected your client will love for free or buy a gift they’ll love that shows how well you know them instead. Alternatives to Discounting Can discounts drive sales? There’s no question the answer is “yes.” But you will most likely pay for any discounting you do at some point down the road. I think there are better options besides discounting you can consider. Here are a few things to try in the future: 1. Say “No” and Communicate Your Value. It’s okay to say “no.” Communicate the value you bring to the table and show the client why your price is worth it. Focus on the benefits the client will experience in working with you. They may not be an ideal client if they don’t see the value in working with you. 2. If the Client Has a Budget to Stick to, Cut from the Job to Stay on Budget. Cutting from the job is an easy way to lower your pricing without discounting. Maybe the client is willing to replace that 70-inch high-end LCD with a 60-inch model, or you can eliminate several pairs of speakers throughout the house. There’re no shortage of changes you can make in a proposal to bring the project in line with the client’s budget. 3. Add Value to the Project By Adding Elements at No Cost. Isn’t giving something away for free similar to discounting? They may seem similar, but the perception from the customer’s point of view is totally different. Clients are drawn to free products versus discounting, and they have a much higher perceived value than discounting. You work hard to generate leads and turn prospects into clients. You also need to make enough margin to be profitable and have a thriving business. Discounting your products and services is a slippery slope. I hope this article has convinced you why to stay away from it and what you can do instead. Happy selling! n


Installing Solar Theaters Controlling the power that feeds your systems may be a lucrative move for your business. BY ANTHONY GRIMANI

You probably know by now that I am a big fan of feeding our audio, video, technology, and automation systems with very clean and stable power. I find that there are less gremlins and equipment failures, and also better AV quality when you start with a noisefree, stable 120 V/240 V sinusoidal power supply. It’s also really nice to have uninterruptable power in the case of brown-outs or black-outs, so that our customers can enjoy movies and music regardless of the conditions outside that virtual reality bubble we create for them. If you can get your hands on an oscilloscope — either the old full-sized type or a USB-controlled interface Anthony Grimani (agrimani@pmiltd.com) is president of Grimani Systems, PMI Engineering, type — take a look at what lives on the and MSR Acoustics, with offices in San power line these days. Instead of a nice, Francisco, Los Angeles, and Paris. clean sine wave, you will mostly see flat-topped, noisy, and glitchy waveforms. In the olden days of ballsy analog power supplies, this didn’t matter too much because the rectifier and storage and filtering capacitors would largely smooth it all out. They couldn’t, however, regulate the voltage swings or bridge the gap of a temporary interruption. Modernday switching supplies can regulate around the voltage variations, but won’t do too well with all the noise. That’s where all the glitches, gremlins, and system failures can originate. Computing equipment with inconsistent or noisy supply voltage or ground noise will start to spew out invalid data, and failures cascade from there. Automation and security systems are computing devices; networking systems are computing devices; audio processors are really just computing devices with audio signal I/O; and video displays are, for that matter, computing devices with video signal inputs. Get my point? It’s all guaranteed to be flaky if the power line is flaky. So what to do, you say? The most ideal AV/home technology deployment looks like this to me:

“Modern-day switching supplies can regulate around the voltage variations, but won’t do too well with all the noise.

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HomeTheater 1. A large bank of storage batteries, the number of which is TBD below. 2. A really high-quality inverter that turns the DC power in the batteries into perfectly stable and low distortion sinusoidal 120 V AC mains voltage. The inverter would also have a low output impedance with enough output current load capacity to drive your system with +20 percent for margin. At the full rated load, its output voltage should not deviate by any more than 5 V. As an option, you can insert a high-quality isolation transformer that will further reduce the output impedance and clean up any noise. 3. A bank of breakers fed from the inverter or transformer to segment the systems into useful groups such as line level devices, switchers, and sources; audio amplifiers; control, networking, and security systems; video displays; etc. All theater and house equipment will be fed by outlets that come from these breakers, and you will designate these outlets as hospital-grade “clean power” in the usual red or orange color. The breakers should all be IoT-enabled, so that you can do full power reboots by remote if needed. 4. A battery charging system that takes power from the grid and also keeps the batteries at the perfect voltage in trickle charge, so as to optimize battery life. 5. …and while you’re at it, a set of solar photovoltaic panels that can keep the battery bank charged during daylight hours. Here’s where you fit in: Figuring out the proper infrastructure for the managed local power system takes some engineering as well as some thorough product research if you want all the specifications just right. With the advent of solar power, there are now literally dozens and dozens of companies that make these components in various grades of performance, quality, and price. I visited the InterSolar show in Munich a few months back, right after the High End Audio show there. InterSolar filled most of a very large convention center, and they had visitor traffic that would be the envy of any of our AV shows. The array of choices was dizzying. Judging from the size and quality of the booths, there is a lot of money circulating in this business. My point is not necessarily that you should get into the solar power business, but instead that you can leverage the technologies and products from that market segment in order to provide stable and repeatable power foundations for your projects. You will make some added income by engineering, selling, and installing the power management scheme, and you will stop paying out of your pocket for the endless debugging and service calls that come from glitchy power from the utility company. While you’re at it, once you have installed a charging system, a bank of batteries, a good inverter, an IoT breaker package, and clean power outlets for all your gear, you may as well encourage the home owner to look at getting solar panels in order to be independent of the power grid — and lower the energy bill. You can handle the work yourself or partner up with a solar company who will be happy with the referral. Solar becomes very useful in the Western states that will have rolling blacks-outs this summer to protect from wildfire hazards. Even with a two-day utility interruption, all your gear will keep on working. Your clients can continue watching movies, surfing the internet, and checking the status of their home security — all within the safety and comfort of their virtual reality bubbles. Talk about an added feature that your clients will thank you for! n Chase Walton (cwalton@pmiltd.com) contributed to this article.


Although designed for simplicity, the number of control options available is enough to complicate the project and confuse the client. Here are some ways around that. By Henry Clifford Crestron’s TSR-310 remote 310 includes the new Crestron Performance UI.

Water rolling downhill tends to follow the path of least resistance. So, too, do homeowners when trying to control their technology. It’s been shown time after time that people will happily trade away quality for convenience any day of the week. For our industry to continue thriving, we must continuously strike a balance between these two poles. If we over-emphasize quality, convenience suffers and frustration sets in. When we flip the equation, technology becomes easy to use, but products suffer from high failure rates or lousy user experiences. Control choices for the home are almost too numerous to name. From voice assistants to handheld remotes to thousands of apps, our industry is awash in choice. Too much choice. How do we make sense of it all? As the old adage goes, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. If we break down control into three main categories — voice, handheld remotes, and apps — and analyze from there, it becomes easier to design simple solutions for all types of customers. Voice Apple’s Siri came along in 2011, with Amazon launching its Echo appliance in 2014. Google’s been playing catch up with its Google Nest appliances since 2016. One thing’s for certain: voice control is fast becoming a necessity in most home control environments, and figuring out how best recommend solutions to our clients is paramount. Key Players, Features & Integrations: • Amazon Echo: Far and away the 800-pound gorilla with over 60 percent of the market, chances are your customers have at least one of these at home. Smart home skills number into the thousands and all the major control system manufacturers (Control4, Crestron, ELAN, etc.) advertise varying levels of compatibility. • Google Nest: Its market share grew this year to 23 percent. While Google Nest may be playing catchup, it is aggressively pushing its smart speaker products and doesn’t show any signs of letting up. Control system manufacturers have been slow to embrace Google Nest, and the next year will see many more integrations announced similar to the recent Sonos news touting compatibility with both

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Josh.ai is the only voice-control solution designed specifically for the CI channel.

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include tight partnerships with Alexa, Sonos, Lutron, and many others. • Savant: The Savant Pro remote offers Apple’s Siri voice assistant built into the remote, as well as a clean user experience. This may be the most elegant handheld remote on the market today. • ELAN: Award winning remotes like HR10 and HR30 offer seamless integration with ELAN g! systems, including the ability to view video cameras from the 2.8-inch touchscreen. • RTI: The company’s T4x handheld remote control includes a high-resolution 4-inch capacitive touchscreen, and fully programmable soft-touch buttons. The device also includes WiFi and dual RF, as well as grip sensors that keep the device awake during use and an accelerometer provides instant-on activation. The mobile version of Control4’s OS 3.

major voice assistant platforms (Alexa and Google Nest). • Josh.ai: The only solution designed specifically for the CI channel, the Josh Micro looks like an Echo Dot and simplifies complex home control functions by integrating with platforms like Crestron and Control4. In addition, deep integration with products like the Roku deliver as seamless a voice control experience in the connected home as is possible today. Josh. ai touts privacy as a key selling feature, pledging never to share customer data with third parties. • Siri: Apple’s only path into the smart speaker world has been the HomePod, which appears to be a dud. It’s only capable of interacting with Apple Music and HomeKit devices, and doesn’t appear to be a factor for the CI channel. Siri is still a factor on the iPhone/iPad, but meaningful home voice control is the domain of smart speakers. Handheld Remotes No matter how good apps or voice get, handheld remotes still hold sway in the family room. Whether it’s generational or preferential, it doesn’t really matter. Tactile buttons and being able to control AV in the dark while watching a movie are still really important to a majority of homeowners. Understanding what’s out in the market and learning their features to make an expert recommendation is an ongoing process, and vital for any home technology professional.

Key Players, Features & Integrations: • Control4: The SR-260 still uses Control4’s basic list interface from their early days. Nevertheless it’s proven a stable remote with easy-to-use buttons and features like a programmable remote finder and quick shortcuts to lighting scenes or music presets. Time will tell what they do with its acquisition of smart remote company NEEO. • Crestron: Crestron has a number of handheld remote offerings, including the newer HR-310 and TSR-310, which provide both tactile control for customers who like dedicated buttons and also a multilayered touchscreen UI for deeper control. The TSR-310 includes the new Crestron Performance UI, which adds smooth transitions, animations, and icons to the interface. They are also customizable — up to nine buttons can be custom engraved to display the functions used most frequently. • Universal Remote Control: URC manufactures a good portion of remote controls, and they’ve been a stalwart supplier to the CI industry since inception. Products such as the TRC-1080 showcase an intuitive user experience with a 2-inch color display. URC remotes can also easily interact with its Total Control technology platform, which offers integrations into lighting control, multiroom audio, and more. • Logitech: Products like the Harmony Elite and Pro feature low price points, reliability and easy app-based set up. Integrations

Apps Apple’s 2008 app store launch forever changed the way we control technology in the home. Today’s apps offer control of most anything in the home (including tea kettles and litter boxes). Which cocktail of apps make sense for your customer is completely subjective. Some opt for “one app to rule them all” while others prefer a grab bag of apps to play with. By showing your customers both options during your sales consultation, they’ll be able to make up their own mind and your approach can follow suit. Key Players, Features & Integrations: • Lutron: Lutron Connect supports not only Lutron lighting but also integrations with Sonos and Amazon Alexa. Scheduling lighting events and creating scenes is a snap with the easy-to-use interface. • Sonos: Updates frequently move around key features on the screen to the dismay of frustrated users. All of that aside, Sonos is still far and away the most popular multiroom music app on the planet, featuring integrations with most major music services and voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Nest. • Control4: OS3 launched earlier this year and features the ability to easily pull forward shortcuts and favorites to declutter the screen. The end result is an incredibly clean user experience that can be tweaked per user. • Alarm.com: The app is incredibly easy to use with special focus paid to the differences

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hunting and pecking on small screens. • Voice: Linking the smart speaker (Echo, etc.) directly to a multiroom music system such as Sonos will cut down on the need for awkward language commands. Amazon Echo will now automatically play music over architectural speakers by making a one-time configuration between Sonos and Amazon (without having to append a room name to a command). This makes accessing music incredibly easy. • App: Music systems like HEOS and Sonos all offer their own apps that will vary in their level of appeal across your customer base, particularly across generational lines. If your customer has a whole home control system, show them both the standalone music app and the whole home app and ask them which they’d prefer to use.

The Savant Pro remote offers Apple’s Siri voice assistant built into the remote.

between phone and tablet user experiences. Alarm.com seems to understand there are elements that customers care about while away from their homes, and does a great job delivering peace of mind by organizing information in clean tiles by subsystem. • ELAN: If you want customization, ELAN allows the integrator to create a user experience to suit individual preferences and truly offers everything on a single app. Even better, its app, touchscreen, and onscreen experiences are all exactly the same, keeping things simple. • Savant: Often seen as the “cleanest” user experience, Savant has always positioned its app as the mainstay of its control platform. While it’s priced at premium, customers appreciate its ease of use and reliability. • Crestron: While they’ve stopped actively pushing their products at CEDIA Expo, Crestron is still seen as the premier product line for today’s ultra high-end homes. Its app is completely customizable and readily supports multiple residences and integrations with companies such as Josh.

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ai, Google Nest, and Amazon Alexa. • RTI: The RTiPanel runs on an Apple or Android smart phone or tablet device as well as on a Windows PC. It provides secure local or remote access to an RTI control processor from any internet connection, and allows for control via LAN, WiFi, and WAN control off-site. Bringing It All Together As with most things in life, delivering simplicity requires paying close attention to the age-old Occam’s Razor proclamation that the simplest solution is often the best choice. As home technology professionals we can easily get caught overthinking recommendations for our clients. By carefully listening to their needs and finding friction, easy suggestions begin to emerge. Instead of fretting over which systems to use, here are some common scenarios along with recommended control applications: Listening to Multiroom Audio: • Handheld Remote: Shortcut buttons on the remote to music presets mean no

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Watching TV: • Handheld Remote: Shortcut buttons on any major name-brand universal remote make turning on the TV very easy and picking up the remote is memorized behavior for a majority of consumers. • Voice: This might be the most frustrating scenario for technology integrators. Cable companies have launched their own handheld voice remotes that are locked down and not able to integrate with other home technology components. While there are solutions such as Josh.ai and proprietary search options available from cable companies, there still isn’t a truly global voice control solution across all electronics. Customers who express an interest in using the cable company voice remote should be shown how to use it and expectations set that they’ll be using multiple remotes. Whenever possible, using a hands-free smart speaker as the voice endpoint in a room is much more preferable to a multiple handheld remote scenario. Any of the control system company remotes (Savant, etc.) with voice control built in may produce more frustration for the customer than satisfaction. Just as picking up the remote to turn on the TV is hardwired behavior, consumers have now gotten used to using an attention phrase such as “Alexa” or “OK, Google” to interact with a voice assistant. By separating voice control from the handheld remote, you’re lessening confusion and doing your best to preserve simplicity. Voice assistants do a great job


In a darkened theater, many clients prefer a dedicated remote with tactile buttons, such as this model from ELAN.

controlling pockets of technology. Josh. ai has deep integration with Roku, while Alexa does a great job with Fire TV. Setting expectations with clients around TV voice control is imperative in these early days. It doesn’t always work, and what can and can’t be done is often confusing. These control scenarios should be reserved for clients who ask for them by name. • App: Home technology customers tend to be very polarized around whether they prefer a handheld remote or an app to watch TV. As always, listening to the client and delivering what they asked for tends to earn referrals and repeat business. Companies such as Control4 and Savant have come a long way in recent years delivering TV apps that are easy to use and often serve as the customer’s only means of family room AV control. Controlling Lights: • Handheld Remote: Quick shortcuts, including a favorite scene, all on/off, or easy dimming of a group of lights, go a long way to making life easy — especially while watching a movie. • Voice: Huge advances in reliability between companies like Lutron and Alexa deliver very consistent results and hugely satisfying experiences for customers. Using natural

language commands such as “Alexa, turn off the kitchen lights” truly deliver on the promise of home technology making life easier by saving customers a ton of time. Try to avoid any integrations that force awkward speech commands. If your voice skill won’t support the way your customer already speaks, don’t use it. It’s not the customer’s job to learn how to speak to the voice assistant. A good voice user experience will interpret what the user is trying to do and deliver meaningful results. • App: While not as useful inside the home, apps from all the major control companies offer great visibility into lights left on and occupancy while away at work or on vacation. Making use of scheduling agents, geo-fencing, and automation means your customers won’t need to use their apps as much.

automation dialed in so using the remote becomes unnecessary. • Voice: If a client asks for this by name, by all means show them how to do it, but adding this to a training session can produce more confusion than anything else. There are a few independent living and assistive technology scenarios where voice thermostat control is necessary, but unless you have to, it might be best to steer clear. • App: HVAC has so many different options around heat and cool setpoints, humidity, scheduling, etc. that using a decent control app is the preferred method. A well-programmed system should require minimal interaction from the customer and ideally they’re shown the app as their only means of remotely controlling their heating and cooling schedules, which are especially helpful when traveling.

Controlling Thermostats: • Handheld Remote: While it’s possible to control thermostats through a handheld remote, this generally boils down to a question of “why?” A properly designed HVAC automation schedule should require minimal tweaking. There’s nothing wrong with showing a customer how to do this, but the emphasis should be on getting the

We still have a long way to go until our handheld remotes, voice assistants, and apps all work together seamlessly. Until then, it’s up to all of us in the CI channel to listen for friction from our customers and design solutions for them that cater to their needs while setting reasonable expectations about what our solutions can and cannot do. Keep it simple, and your clients will thank you. n

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John Sciacca’s

European Summer Tour Checking out high-tech residential gear in the Old World.

This past June, three luxury European manufacturers — Meridian Audio, Future Automation, and Barco Residential — invited a small group of dealers and reps from multiple states including California, Colorado, Texas, New York, Illinois, Washington, Georgia, and Florida to fly across the pond and visit their factories, meet with employees, and enjoy a bit of the local flair. They graciously invited our own John Sciacca to tag along, and he shares his experiences with us here. For more details on each of these stops, find the full articles in Blog section of ResidentialSystems.com.

First Stop: Meridian

 We arrive in Huntingdon to visit Meridian’s headquarters, still emblazoned with the original Boothroyd Stuart name.

 One product the company feels hasn’t gotten enough awareness, particularly in the U.S. market, is the 271 Digital Theatre Controller. This device acts as a bridge between other manufacturer’s high-end preamp/processors such as a Trinnov, Datasat, or Storm Audio while still using a full suite of active Meridian Digital loudspeakers. With an unbalanced RCA, balanced, and digital inputs, the 271 is compatible with whatever brand of processor an integrator prefers to deploy.

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 The building’s “lobby” features a listening lounge with multiple fully-functional areas displaying and demonstrating the company’s full line of speaker models from DSP3200 to DSP8000SE. Dealers are encouraged to utilize the factory and demonstration space to help serious buyers determine the best Meridian speakers for their listening needs.

 The company is just launching its new architectural product, the DSP520- and DSP640- series two. The DSP520.2 includes a 5 ½-inch bass driver that can achieve sub 40 Hz bass extension, while the DSP640.2 has two 5 ½-inch bass drivers for sub 35 Hz bass. Multiple speakers can be stacked together to deliver incredibly high SPL levels in excess of 125 dB (@ 1-meter). Both speakers feature new Class D “Dynamic” amplifiers utilized in bridged pairs for each speaker driver. They also benefit from Meridian’s latest Class M DSP, which is responsible for handling crossover, time alignment, equalization, driver protection, etc. Also interesting, the speaker’s full range, wide bandwidth drivers were originally designed for use in McLaren automobiles for best-in-class performance in a challenging design environment.

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ILLUSTRATION: KATERINA_ANDRONCHIK/GETTY IMAGES


Second Stop: Future Automation

 You don’t put much thought about the work that goes into all of the parts and pieces and manufacturing it takes to craft every bit of a mounting solution, but when you see and hear all the machines, punches, laser cutters, welders, metal folders, etc., you really get a sense of the work involved. This robot here, good o’le TruPunch 3000, was making U-brackets, taking them from a single flat sheet of steel, and then punching all the holes, bending them into U’s, and then breaking them loose where they land in the grey bucket ready to move on to the next station.

 If you liked the TruPunch 3000, then you’ll love the TruLaser 5030. This machine cuts perfect holes in sheets of steel like a hot knife going through butter, but with no melting or other messes. The specifications are fed into the computer, and then TruLaser gets down to work, making perfect cuts in seconds. The power supply and cooling for this machine is massive, and is kept in a separate room.

 Located in the city of Bedford in England, about an hour drive south of Cambridge, is one of Future Automation's five sites spanning across the U.S. and U.K. with approximately 90 total employees. While possibly a new name to some U.S. integrators, the company has been in business since 1998. While they would like to have all of the operations in one building, their growth has outpaced the ability to find a single space, so they split up between facilities, with the majority of fabrication, final assembly, and packaging done here. The company says it isn’t looking to flood the market with dealers, rather it is looking for roughly 100 “really good integrators” so they are able to keep the product and dealer-base exclusive and protected. They also feel by focusing on their premier dealer channel they are able to access the top 1 percent of wealth in the world.

 Future Automation’s products are not just for the high-end AV market; they also make designs to move furniture, appliances, art, safes, etc. The company also does quite a bit of business in the luxury yacht market where space and design are always at a premium. They also design and manufacture in-wall infrastructure solution products for wire management, and the company can design and build panels to your exact specifications and needs, potentially saving you loads of time in the field and making for a better/cleaner install. Pictured here is a large servo motor lift system that is slated for a project in Russia. This will store a 150-inch Plasma TV underground, and be able to slide back a section of flooring to raise and deliver the TV into viewing position in a matter of seconds.

 Here is the TruBend 3066, one of the company’s three bending machines. There are different machines used depending on the thickness of the steel needing bending with the 3066 being the smallest. (They say the largest bender is the most dangerous machine in the factory, with only a couple of employees certified to use it.) On the floor you can see the post-bended pieces standing in a perfect 90-degrees.

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BONUS STOP! Following our morning at Future Automation, we headed out to the village of Thurleigh, Bedfordshire to visit the Bedford Autodrome and home of Palmer Sport. This is an area that traces its history back to WWII where it was used as a base for bomber aircraft, housing the 306th Bombardment Group. Laid out across many acres and out away from any other businesses, the Autodrome can handle several different track configurations and is designed to let you race all out with plenty of run-off areas to ensure safety. To get acclimated to the 1.87-mile west circuit, we started out in the Renault Clio Cup (pictured here), and then got to drive a Formula 3000!

Third Stop: Barco

 Barco’s worldwide headquarters is located in Kortrijk, Belgium, and is known as One Campus, which houses The Circle, The Lab, The Pulse, and The Engine. Opened in May 2016, the company wanted the building’s industrial design to reflect the inspired design aesthetic the company puts into its residential units, and the company put out the design for bid to top designers. The completed design by John Eyers and Pierre Lallemand is gorgeous both inside and out and won an award. The entire campus is roughly 194,000 square feet with roughly 1300 employees working here. The Circle itself is 75 meters in diameter and 25 meters high.  The highlight of the factory tour was a visit to The Circle’s very own full-blown commercial cinema! This luxury theater is capable of seating 170 people with a full immersive surround array (Barco happens to own Auro-3D, a competing immersive surround format to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which is far more popular in Europe than it is in the States). The room had actually been rented for the day for a company holding meetings and training, but we were able to spend about 20 minutes in the theater and watch some brief film clips. The Theater’s projected image area is roughly 37-feet wide x 15-feet high and uses a matte white screen from Harkness Screens. The audio system utilizes an APX AuroMax special audio processor, and features 36 JBL loudspeakers (six 3-way screen arrays, 22 surrounds, and eight ceiling/height layer speakers), and a massive JBS 5628 dual 18-inch cinema sub, all driven by 26 Crown amplifiers.

For the full story on each of these visits, log on to residentialsystems.com/blog.

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 Barco displayed the new Bragi Cinemascope, a projector the company is very excited about that is designed for residential installations in the $25–35k price range. Bragi Cinemascope is the company’s smallest 5K (5120x2160) projector and is designed to deliver the highest quality images for both 16x9 and 2.40:1 content. It will deliver 2100 lumens from an RGB light source and handle 4K HDR with screen sizes recommended up to 12-feet wide. The projector also features ultra-low fan noise for in-room operation, and can be place in a massive variety of off-center locations due to the company’s projection warping technology, which produced no visible artifacts I could detect.

 The projection booth at the rear of the theater houses a variety of different projectors (along with the chillers for the lasers and the massive power supplies) from what Barco labels its C-series. These are actual commercial cinema chassis that have been adjusted to deliver higher contrast ratios and be able to handle consumer sources such as Apple TV and Kaleidescape Strato up to 4K HDR in 60 fps. The projectors can also be fully DCI compliant for those in the Bel Aire crowd to watch day-and-date films at home.


Mounts and Enclosures Spotlight Showing support for the things that give us support. By Resi Staff The very nature of racks and enclosures keep them from the limelight — the behind-the-scenes heroes that literally support the system. Clients typically don’t ask about them or even want to see them, but they are crucial to the efficiency of the entire installation. Here, we take a look a look at some relatively recent additions to the product genre that will provide the structure you need, and maybe even get the client’s attention.

Middle Atlantic Slim C3 Series Credenza Speaking of getting the client’s attention, Middle Atlantic Products’ credenza solutions can be installed right out in the open, as they are designed to match any décor and installation. Building off of the popular C5 series, the company has introduced two models — the slim-profile C3 AV credenza and the 22-inch-deep C5 credenza. The C3 Series credenza boasts a 10-inch-deep profile that marries modern aesthetics with an ADA-compliant design and Middle Atlantic’s signature rack frame and flexible equipment mounting options. This credenza presents integrators with a furniture solution that complements any décor, ensuring that customers have the style they desire while installers are assured that equipment is protected. Legrand On-Q Flat Screen TV Pro Power and Cable Management Kits Legrand’s On-Q Flat Screen TV Pro Power and Cable Management Kits provide installers with everything needed to safely extend power to wallmounted displays and accompanying devices, while neatly concealing power and AV cables inside the wall.

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Each in-wall kit includes a power input module with a drywall bracket and 6-foot power cord. Offered in white to blend in with a home’s décor, the module’s decorator power inlet strap provides the flexibility of ganging other connections. Each kit’s power output module includes a 6-foot UL-rated power cable. A tamper-resistant outlet with a recessed design accommodates almost any type of power plug, including right angles and wall warts, while a bush strap opening allows for the connection of AV cables. Available kits include the HT22U2-WH-R6 with a white output module and the HT22U2-BK-R6 with a black output module that blends in with TV mounts and hides cable connections. The HT22U2-WH-R6C features a white output module and includes two 10-foot in-wall-rated premium HDMI cables. Certified to the HDMI 2.0b specification, the cables support UHD 4K, HDR, Deep Color, ARC, and Ethernet. On-Q Flat Screen TV Pro Power and Cable Management Kits by Legrand are available at MSRPs of $59.99 for the HT22U2-WH-R6 and HT22U2BK-R6, and $79.99 for the HT22U2-WH-R6C. Lowell LER-1822 Enclosed Rack The Lowell LER-1822 is an 18U x 22-inch D stand-alone floor rack with adjustable rails made with fully welded 16-gauge steel, with a 14-gauge base, and reinforced at all load-bearing junctions. The EIA/TIA/RoHS compliant, standalone floor rack’s overall measurements are 37.625 inches high x 22 inches deep x 23.06 inches wide with panel space of 18 rack units. Load capacity is 500 lbs. The rack includes a recessed rear door with vents and key lock, welded side panels with vents, steel top with vents, open base with grounding stud, one pair adjustable front mounting rails with printed RU increments, combination knockouts above and below the rear door, and provisions to mount an optional surface-mount front door or rear rails (ordered separately).

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The rack is manufactured in the U.S.A. with certified U.S. steel and has a black wrinkle powder epoxy finish. It is UL listed to UL2416, and has an MSRP of $731.36. VMP Cable Management Options Video Mount Products (VMP) recently introduced its 27U and 42U cable management options for its floor rack enclosures. VMP’s ERENVCM-27 and ERENVCM-42 help keep wire bundles organized and sorted as they feed into the rack equipment. Both are made from ABS and steel and include a removable plate for easier mounting of cables. The 27U ERENVCM-27 (MSRP: $147.00) mounts into VMP’s EREN-27, EREN-27E, and EREN-27E1K equipment rack enclosures, while the 42U ERENVCM-42 (MSRP: $159.00) mounts into VMP’s EREN-42E and EREN-42E1K equipment rack enclosures. Peerless-AV Heavy Duty Universal Projector Mounts Peerless-AV’s Heavy Duty Universal Projector Mounts (PJR125 and PJR125-POR) support a wide range of projector models, including laser projectors, large venue projectors, and heavy LCD/LED projectors. The mounts also accommodate projectors weighing up to 125 lbs., with the PJR125-POR model being the only mount on the market that supports portrait-mounted projectors weighing over 75 lbs, according to the company. Peerless-AV’s projector mounts feature a low-profile design and Hook-and-Hang feature to help installers when securing the projector and making adjustments. The mounts include six universal legs (four pre-installed) that provide additional support for projectors with more than four mounting holes and are completely adjustable. Both mounts contain a universal adaptor plate that extends up to a 25.5inch mounting pattern to accommodate most projector models. In addition, the mounts’ tilt, roll, and swivel features are all lockable to prevent even the smallest shift in image. Plus, cable management allows cables to be routed through the mount and out of sight. SANUS Soundbar Mount for Sonos Beam The SANUS Soundbar Mount Designed for Sonos Beam integrates Beam with mounted TVs. The SANUS mount for Beam provides 12 inches of height adjustment to ensure an ideal fit between Beam and the bottom of a mounted TV. The product’s Smart Latch allows for speaker height adjustment with just the touch of a finger — no disassembly or tools required. Compatible with SANUS TV mounts and other mount brands, the re s i d e n t i a lsystem s. c om | R E S I D E N T I A L S Y S T E M S  

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SANUS mount for Beam works with a large range of TV sizes — up to 70 inches — and features broad VESA compatibility. When paired with a fullmotion TV mount, the SANUS mount allows Beam to move with the TV for an optimal listening experience. Constructed of light-weight steel and available in a black finish, the mount virtually disappears behind Beam. Developed in partnership with Sonos, the SANUS mount for Beam is custom-fit to Beam, ensuring unobstructed access to speaker ports. PowerHouse Alliance A2V Mounts Available exclusively from PowerHouse Alliance distributor members, A2V Mounts come in various sizes to accommodate flat screen TVs up to 70 inches. Integrators can choose from three configurations: standard fixed mounts, mounts with tilt and swivel capabilities, or mounts with full arm motion. All mounts include post-install leveling. For added value, PowerHouse Alliance supports dealers and integrators with the A2V rebate program. When a dealer’s previous quarter’s A2V’s purchases exceed $500, they qualify and receive an automatic 10 percent rebate/credit on all A2V products purchased during that quarter. n


What to Expect at CEDIA Expo A brief preview of some of the products coming to Denver this September. By Resi Staff It is almost here — the annual CEDIA Expo where the industry gathers to talk shop, learn from the experts, and experience all the new products that we are going to want in our arsenals. Here is a quick look at some of the gear opportunities that you can experience at the 2019 CEDIA Expo. Atlona, Booth #2947 Atlona returns to CEDIA Expo with Opus, a series of three HDMI-to-HDBaseT matrix switchers and one receiver built for highperformance 4K/HDR and Dolby Vision signal distribution and extension in residential AV environments. Opus products are engineered with a comprehensive range of control and audio matrixing features, making the series ideal for a wide range application that require multi-zone AV distribution. AudioControl, Booth #1813 The AudioControl Avalon G4 high-performance amplifier is fully configurable to operate as a 4-channel, 3-channel, or 2-channel amplifier using rear panel controls. The 2U rack space Avalon G4 provides high performance from a Class H design that achieves 230 watts/8 ohms or 300 watts/4 ohms into four channels all channels driven. It is suited for immersive surround formats such as Dolby Atmos or as a premium standalone power amplifier for nearly any multizone entertainment system. D-Tools, Booth # 1343 New to D-Tools Cloud is the addition of critical, intelligent system design. Built for collaboration on opportunities, quotes, and system design, D-Tools Cloud’s browser-based and data-driven drawing capabilities remove the need for outside drawing applications such as Visio or AutoCAD. D-Tools Cloud’s browser-based design tools automatically create data-driven signal flow drawings (Line Diagrams) based on a quote’s bill of materials. D-Tools Cloud’s new Whiteboards enable users to sketch out and share ideas, collaborate on design, and help clients visualize their project — all in-app.

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GoldenEar Technology, Booth #SR-2 GoldenEar Technology is launching the new Triton One.R. Its monocoque cabinet is constructed of multi-density medite, engineered with the goal of making it as non-resonant as possible and optimized with extensive use of accelerometer-generated spectral decay analysis. The baffle is as narrow as possible, minimizing diffraction issues for superb imaging as well as delivering a tower design. Induction Dynamics, Booth # 3925 MSE Audio’s Induction Dynamics ID1 combines a four-way tower speaker with a subwoofer via a rear switch. Incorporating a three-way design, the ID1 features dual 10-inch subwoofers with an upper drive spaced to alleviate floor-bounce resonances. Measuring 56 inches tall, 11 inches wide and 10.5 inches deep, the ID1 features MSE Audio’s patented crossover, S4X super 4th order, with almost 30-dB-per-octave slopes at 80, 700, and 3800 Hz. The ID1 drivers include a 1.125inch, titanium, inverted-dome, phase-controlled tweeter, with a three-inch soft dome midrange and a 6.5-inch Kevlar woofer. The subwoofers incorporate a dual 10-inch, mica-graphite poly cone driver with a case frame and rubber surrounds. The ID1 features a three-way portion with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms, 98 dB for one-watt at one meter, with the subs boasting 4 ohms and 89 dB/1w/1m. Jetbuilt, Booth #4401 At CEDIA 2019, Jetbuilt will show Project Management 2.0, which provides users with a single, unified platform for sales and project management. Project Management 2.0 features a management task list to create an enhanced

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visualization of steps, conversation, photos, and documents between project managers and technicians. Users can comment on individual tasks from the desktop software or with the JetbuiltGO app, available for Android and iPhone devices, enabling two-way communication between sales managers, engineers, project managers, and technicians in the field. Josh.ai, Booth #4319 For the first time Josh.ai will have its own fully enclosed demo room where attendees can witness in real time how its full ecosystem of products work and integrate with other brands. This includes voice commands given to its hardware product, Josh Micro, as well as through its mobile apps for phones and iPads, and its web-based integrator portal for more advanced functionality such as setting up distributed AV architecture. In addition to its own booth, Josh.ai can also be found driving demos at other exhibits, including Lutron and Sony booths. Just Add Power, Booth #1817 J+P will be holding its annual CEDIA party on Thursday, September 12. This year’s event with be at Summit Music Hall (www.summitdenver.com) and will feature Mötley Crüe tribute band Dr. Crue (www.drcruerocks.com). Doors open at 7:00 PM and the music starts at 8:30 PM. Passes will be available at the Just Add Power booth (#1817). LeakSmart, Booth #4208 LeakSmart now works with the Samsung SmartThings Hub, enabling homeowners to connect the LeakSmart system to their already connected home. The SmartThings Hub allows users to connect wirelessly with a wide


range of smart devices to make them all work together. SmartThings currently integrates with LeakSmart’s Protect by LeakSmart Valve, as well as LeakSmart’s water sensors that are placed around the home to detect leaks. Legrand | AV Residential Solutions, Booth #905 At CEDIA Expo 2019, Legrand | AV Residential brands, including Chief, Da-Lite, Luxul, Middle Atlantic Products, Nuvo, On-Q, and Vantage, come together to deliver three major areas for residential integrators: infrastructure, networking, and AV systems. Integrators can build a strong foundation with Legrand | AV’s infrastructure and networking brands, then integrate AV systems to transform smart homes and deliver an exceptional AV experience for homeowners. Integrators interested in learning more about Legrand | AV’s latest products and solutions should sign up for the variety of CEDIA Manufacturer Product Training courses being offered throughout the show across all major areas. Modus VR, Booth #4343 Having introduced virtual reality design software for media rooms and home theaters, Modus VR is at CEDIA 2019 ready to unveil a significantly updated version of its platform. Show attendees can also experience the future of AV room design at the booth with a one-on-one session in virtual reality that is led by a Modus VR specialist. The newly updated software provides more flexibility and options, including an updated CAD export workflow, options for new virtual finishes and

materials, support for new Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and improved organization of the virtual objects library. OneVision, Booth #2651 During CEDIA Expo OneVision is inviting integrators to “Tame the Beast.” The “beast” being the overwhelming demand that technical service and support places on the average CI company and the impact it can have on the bottom line. OneVision has developed a state-of-the-art offering to tame the service beast. Partnering with integrators across the country, OneVision’s dedicated team, technical expertise, and software suite streamlines the process of service while creating RMR at the same time. Platinum Tools, Booth #4133 Platinum Tools is featuring the new Waterproof RJ45 Coupler System (p/ns 740C and 741C) at CEDIA Expo 2019. There are those installs where Ethernet connections will need ruggedized protection due to exposure to water, dust, corrosion, harsh elements, and vibration. The waterproof RJ45 coupler system is rated to IP67 to meet those harsh environmental conditions commonly found in outdoor and indoor installs. The screw mating system assures secure connection, and it is RoHS compliant. PowerHouse Alliance, Booth #2137 PowerHouse Alliance is bringing a brand new booth to better showcase its A2V products, including outdoor speakers, subwoofers, HDMI cables, mounts, racks, and more. The group will

provide dealers with easy access to a large variety of product from its own line, as well as from over 250 vendors, including audio, video, security, networking, home control, accessory, and other categories. PowerHouse will have manufacturers and members in the booth focusing on what’s new, and educating dealers on how they can maximize and expand their projects with new technologies from the show to capture new business. Pro Audio Technology, Booth #SR-6 Pro Audio Technology will display and demonstrate its new and improved loudspeakers and amplifiers, which, according to the company, are the best products it has ever produced both in sound quality and specifications, as well as fit and finish. Rayva, Booth #3837 Unlike traditional offerings which are known for being complex and fraught with challenges, Rayva’s home theaters are engineered to be fullycustomizable yet turnkey, and can be installed in a matter of days (rather than weeks or months). During CEDIA Expo, Rayva will have a theater in the Origin Acoustics booth (#3837) as well as as a kiosk in the CEDIA Wellness Pavilion. RoseWater Energy Group, Booth #2654 RoseWater Energy Group will highlight its new partnership with Alpine Power Systems at CEDIA 2019. RoseWater Energy Group has partnered with Alpine Power Systems to manage installations of the HUB SB20 Energy and Storage System. Alpine Power Systems brings

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“Creating Sonic Connoisseurs” with Sam Cavitt Residential Systems columnist Sam Cavitt is hosting a CEDIA Expo course entitled “Creating Sonic Connoisseurs,” which takes place Wednesday, September 11 from 1:00-2:30 PM. This course is part of an initiative to foster a greater appreciation and value of high performance private cinema experiences. The class reveals information about how sound can be seen as a new, inspiring experience that clientele should appreciate and value. Unfortunately, a large percentage of prospective clientele are not properly exposed to the pleasures of high performance audio experiences, which remain a pleasure, unexploited! Take this class to become part of the renaissance of luxury audio experiences in our industry.

resources to over 150 technicians and vehicles in over 20 locations nationally, as well as 24 hours of customer service. RTI, Booth #SR-12 RTI’s flagship T4x handheld remote control will be a highlight of its control and automation lineup at CEDIA Expo 2019. The controller’s design offers solid ergonomics, a high-resolution 4-inch capacitive touchscreen, and fully programmable soft-touch buttons. The device also includes grip sensors, WiFi, and dual RF. Savant, Booth #1500 Savant Breaker-Companion Modules provide panelized lighting control and energy management functionality that delivers individual load-level control throughout the home as well as utility-grade reporting of energy usage data. Designed in partnership with sistercompany Racepoint Energy, Savant BreakerCompanion Modules have been engineered to deliver both control and energy management functionality of lighting loads as well as other devices throughout the home. Severtson Screens, Booth #1826 Severtson Screens is showcasing its 4K thin/zero bezel fixed frame projection screen solutions during CEDIA Expo 2019. Severtson’s new 4K thin/zero bezel fixed frame projection screen solution offers simple assembly and Severtson Screens’ USA-made projection surfaces. Sonus faber, Booth #SR-18 The Sonus faber Palladio is a collection of stylish

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custom in-wall and in-ceiling loudspeaker systems that feature two lines, Level 5 and Level 6, with 13 models in total. Level 5 offers two inwall and four in-ceiling speakers and the Level 6 includes two in-wall and five in-ceiling speakers. Additionally, both lines boast the option to add a versatile passive subwoofer. SoundTube Entertainment, Booth # 3925 MSE Audio brings IP-based, PoE technology to the residential market with the SoundTube Entertainment IPD-HUB2 Dante-enabled amplifier. The IPD-Hub 2 Amplifier offers an IPbased alternative to traditional audio distribution systems. The IPD-Hub 2 utilizes the Dante and Unify infrastructures to provide performance monitoring and EQ/DSP control over individual speakers in the system from any computer with an internet connection. Theory Audio Design, Booth #SR-7 CEDIA Expo 2019 will mark the official launch Theory Audio Design. Previewed at CEDIA 2018 and shipping this fall, Theory loudspeakers and amplified loudspeaker controllers marry Pro Audio Technology’s acoustic performance with contemporary design to bring large-scale professional sound to residential and commercial installations where aesthetics and installation flexibility are essential. Torus Power, Booth #2533 During CEDIA Expo 2019, the company will unveil the all-new Torus Power AVR Elite lineup of toroidal isolation power products with the TorusConnect monitoring and control platform,

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and more. Attendees scheduling a booth appointment in advance of the show will receive a special limited-edition vinyl press. Vanco International, Booth #643 One of our Vanco’s focuses at the show will be new audio solutions, including new ways to incorporate its patented Sonic Vortex technology. Vanco will also display the new PulseAudio single channel amplifier, as well as a Beale Street Audio 4-channel amplifier. Vivotek, Booth #1225 Vivotek is showcasing the CC9381-HV, the newest model in its line of H.265 180-degree panoramic network cameras. The new model offers up to 30 fps at 2560 x 1920 (5MP) resolution with built-in IR illuminators up to 15 meters; it provides complete video security throughout the day and night without losing angle coverage and video quality. Yamaha, Booth #2143 Yamaha will be showing its XDA-QS5400RK MusicCast multi-room streaming amplifier at CEDIA Expo. Designed specifically for customintegrated multi-room audio applications, this quad-streaming amplifier, “QS” for short, offers a combination of installation flexibility, expandability, and high-end audio performance, plus compatibility with the range of MusicCast audio products. It provides four zones of streaming audio with eight channels of amplification for powering in-ceiling speakers throughout the house, as well as outdoor speakers. The streams may be assigned to any or all pairs of the amp channels. n


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This theater features an Elite Screens’ 138-inch Peregrine A4K acoustically transparent projection screen, which has a 1.1 gain ultra-white front projection surface.

PROJECTION PAIRING Finding the right projector and projection screen for the room. By Karen Mitchell It’s the ultimate AV question: What do clients want and how do you deliver it while also ensuring that it’s what they need? This is especially key in the ever-changing world of residential projection. “Without question, our clients are asking for 4K HDR projectors,” says Ted Bollinger, vice president of sales, TVS Pro. “Some are very informed and knowledgeable about the improvements in color, image reproduction, and fine detail.” The second most frequently asked question, he adds, is about the new laser projectors. “Since we do both professional and consumer custom projector installations, we have been installing and selling laser projectors since 2015,” he says. “And, since laser projectors do not require lamp changes and are significantly more stable relative to color stability and brightness life, they have become a significant factor for our home theater clients.” In addition to image stability, the laser-based solutions also provide a much better customer experience due to the expanded color capability and less worry over lamp failures or loss of brightness issues over time. “Once the customers’ primary use is determined (movies, sports, gaming, etc.), then the size of the room, the

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desired screen size, and budget are determined. From there, we are able to narrow the best options down to just a few key choices for the customer,” Bollinger notes. THE RIGHT STUFF Selecting the right projector for a specific space is a process. “Once we know and understand the needs of the customer and have a rough idea of their budget, we look at the size of the screen and what brightness levels the customer will be using,” Bollinger says. “Sports applications and gamers usually want a little more light in the room than is used for pure movie usage; the more light the brighter the projector needs to be.” The TVS Pro team also likes to have a discussion on the possibility of using a high Ambient Light Rejection screen (ALR), he explains. “They can do wonders if you need or want lights on, but require another level of brightness, and sometimes even the use of a professional high brightness class projector. Fortunately, there are some good 4K HDR professional projectors available now that can work well with a good ALR screen. If it is a smaller space and


PROJECTORS & SCREENS the customer is looking for an under 100-inch screen, then we might recommend one of the new short-throw 4K HDR projectors or even the pure LED 4K projectors depending on their own unique situation.” THE OPTOMA LIFE “We have had good success with the Optoma UHZ65 laser 4K UHD HDR projector,” Bollinger says. “When we first saw the announcement, we were very skeptical that a single DLP with an actuator could come close or even approach a 3-chip native 4K projector.” The test phase, however, brought a pleasant surprise. “Not only did it equal the detail and sharpness of much more expensive projectors, but it was laser-based and has a brightness level that is significantly higher than most of its competitors,” he adds. “Even in its brightest mode of nearly 3000 lumens, the color was very usable for those ‘light on’ events like sports or gaming marathons. This projector has been a great addition to our projector lineup. It allows us to solve many room challenges with a wide range zoom lens, ISF calibration capability, good HDR performance, and a very good three-year warranty.” Clients love the fact that they never have to worry about a lamp going out or that they must spend $300 or $400 on a lamp each time it goes out, Bollinger notes. “The extra brightness allows us to

The Optoma UHZ65 laser 4K UHD HDR projector is a big seller for TVS Pro.

do very large screens and still have a good range of HDR that the customer seems to really appreciate,” he says. “In the end, it is the image quality that our customers like. We do lots of comparisons so the customer can actually see what some of the key differences are. Of course, there are other options, but once you consider solid-state laser in 4K, the alternatives are very expensive and most customers seem to appreciate the fact that not only does the Optoma solution provide very good image quality, but it is a great value as well. Our six salespeople seem to really enjoy selling the UHZ65 as it is a win-win for everybody.”

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PROJECTORS & SCREENS

SCREEN TEST There are three hot trends right now in screens: ambient light rejecting projection screens, UST (ultra-short throw) compatible screens, and high-performance screens that can compete in a market with declining product costs, says David Rodgers, marketing manager, Elite Screens. “Ambient light (a.k.a. ceiling light or off-axis light) is basically everything but the light from the projector,” says Rodgers. “Since many clients are shunning dedicated rooms in favor of replacing their TV flat panels with larger-than-life displays, these screens must be made of a material that can reject the washout effects of ambient light while enhancing picture quality. UST projectors minimize the footprint of a projection system. This also keeps foot traffic from passing between the projector and screens.” The new ALR-UST or “CLR” screens are really gaining traction, he adds. “In dedicated theaters where there is strong light control, nothing beats a good ISF-certified white screen,” he says. “The stiff competition between projector manufacturers drives quality up while prices continue to drop. Paying more money for a screen than for a projector is nuts. This is why there is a growing market for high performance white screens offered at competitive prices without skimping on quality. While there will always be someone out there willing to buy a projection system that rivals the cost of a new home, there just aren’t enough customers to sustain many manufacturers like that.” THE RIGHT LOOK Choosing the right screen for a space always uses the same recipe: space, environment, gear. “Your projection space really dictates

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your screen size,” says Rodgers. “Of course, you want a big screen, but there can be too much of a good thing. For example, there’s nothing stopping you from putting a 150-inch screen in your 20x20 room, but why would you? Getting a screen that is too big should be avoided for the same reason that most people hate sitting in the front row of a movie theater. It’s just one more example of ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’” Regarding environment, if you have ambient light control, a good matte white material should be fine. “If there’s a lot of ambient light, a specialty material is in order,” he notes. “Integrating your screen really is a matter of what you want to put into a living space. Free-standing units can be used to create a non-invasive projector array in places such as condos and apartments where associations frown on sinking heavy screws or cutting into walls and ceilings. Fixed frames can be installed with as little effort as installing a large picture frame. Electric screens require a bit more work, especially when integrating into the ceiling. “When it comes to gear, always make sure that your projector and screen are compatible in size-to-throw distance and aspect ratio, and that the materials have the ability to enhance projector performance. If you are working with a sound system that involves in-wall speakers, an acoustically transparent material is in order.” Although Elite provides a wide variety of DIY projection screens, EPV Screens, a division of Elite, deals directly in dedicated products for custom installers. “EPV Screens is focused 100-percent on home theater products,” Rodgers says. “Although ambient light rejecting materials that work with UST projectors are a hot commodity, everyone still loves the classics, and EPV offers just that in the Prime Vision ISF series.” n


ProductReview

MSE Audio

Cherry Bomb and OS-440 Outdoor Audio System BY JOHN SCIACCA

As I write this, summer is in full swing. Days are lasting longer, the weather is nice, and people are spending more time outside either catching rays by the pool, grilling on the deck, or just chilling and enjoying the great wide open. And what improves outdoor living better than having some tunes either filling in the background during a quiet hang-out or taking center stage during a party? I’ve been in this industry more than 20 years, and it has been interesting to follow the slow evolution of “outdoor audio” during that time. For a while, rock speakers were all the rage. Get one of the colors — brown, grey, sandstone — that most closely matched the environment, and then strategically place as many rocks as the budget would allow around the listening area(s). Or you’d just hang some “all weather” speakers off an eave, wall, fence, or post and aim them towards the main areas.

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One of the biggest improvements for outdoor audio in recent years has been the landscape audio systems pioneered by companies like James Loudspeaker and Sonance, and now available in some form by just about everyone. These systems adopt the commercial model of using 70-volt amplification to drive lots of speakers at lower overall volumes, but delivering far more even coverage across large areas. Plus, they include a subwoofer (or several) to produce some true lowfrequency bass information that delivers a far more impressive listening experience. But one of the challenges all these systems face is wiring; all of them require getting some amount speaker wiring back to a weatherized location where you have an amplifier and source components. During construction, sure, it’s no problem, but in an existing home this could be a Sisyphean task, leading many homeowners to just bag it and go with some wireless or Bluetooth speaker they set on a counter. Fortunately, MSE Audio has developed an ideal solution to this problem in the form of the new OS-440, billed as the industry’s first outdoor

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855-663-5600 mseaudio.com

Kudos Amp seems truly weatherproof; wide dispersion of audio with impressive bass performance

Concerns MSE OS-App control can be a little fussy; speakers have a bit of strain at higher volumes

Product Specs Rockustics Cherry Bomb (CB5) 4 3-way design featuring 5.25-inch doublechamber, bandpass subwoofer, 4-inch mid/ bass driver, and .75-inch Titanium dome tweeter 4 8-ohm or 70-volt operation with included internal 64-watt tap 4 50 Hz–20 kHz (±3 dB) frequency response Phase Technology OS-440 4 2/4-channel operation; 4x40 watts, bridgeable to 2x80 watts 4 Google Chromecast builtin with DLNA server 4 Bluetooth and WiFi Direct modes 4 RCA analog and Toslink optical digital audio inputs 4 Includes Outdoor Weatherize Kit to achieve IP55 rating


ProductReview

smart amplifier. While MSE Audio might not be a familiar name to you, you’ll definitely have heard of a number of the companies that fall under its ownership umbrella, including dARTS, Induction Dynamics, Phase Technology, Rockustics, and more. (My review of the dARTS 535 audio system can be found online at ResidentialSystems.com.) The OS-440 is manufactured by Phase Technology and is a fully-contained amplifier and audio streamer with built-in Google Chromecast that is meant to live outside. Simply pick a convenient location where there is power, the ability to run speaker wiring, and a decent WiFi signal, and you’re in business. And, while definitely preferred, the WiFi part is technically optional as the OS-440 supports Bluetooth streaming, offers a WiFi direct mode, and has both analog RCA and Toslink digital audio inputs for connecting a separate source such as an outdoor TV. As the perfect complement to this amplifier, MSE also sent a pair of Cherry Bomb (CB5) speakers that were unveiled at this past CEDIA

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by sister-brand Rockustics. Rockustics pioneered the rock speaker, so they know a thing or three about outdoor audio, and these new speakers are a three-way design, featuring a 5-inch doublechamber bandpass subwoofer, a 4-inch woofer, and .75-inch titanium tweeter all in one housing. It also features a distinctive bright red base, thus the “Cherry Bomb” moniker. Sold as singles (rather than in pairs), the CB5 can operate in either 8-ohm or 70-volt applications. Opening the OS-440’s box reveals a daunting number of accessories, as well as three separate installation manuals: a set-up guide, a waterresistant parts guide, and an app guide. These manuals definitely come in handy as they explain how to correctly use all the miscellaneous connectors and weather kit to achieve the OS-440’s IP55 rating that allows it to survive the elements. Connection-wise, the OS-440 can power four speakers at 40 watts/channel, or be bridged to drive a pair of speakers at 80 watts/channel. As I had only two CB5’s, I ran it in bridged mode. There are also two Tri-band antennas for Bluetooth and WiFi reception as well as the aforementioned analog and digital inputs. The amp has a source selection button and some LED indicators; however, these will likely rarely see use in practice as they are inaccessible once the weatherized kit has been attached and that is not something you will want to just pull on and off. The amp can be wall-mounted or simply placed on a flat surface. Once everything is connected and the weatherized seals are installed, you download the MSE OS-App (Android and iOS versions available) to complete setup. This allows you to name the connected speakers, connect the OS-440 to an available WiFi (2.4 or 5 GHz) network, adjust bass and treble, select 4-channel or Bridge mode, and so on. The app can also be used to switch sources between RCA, Optical, and Bluetooth, select Local Content for playback, or browse content from a DLNA server on the local network, and is used to group multiple OS-440’s together in large installations. The lower half of each Cherry Bomb speaker is meant for in ground burial for permanent installs. This would conceal its striking red base and greatly reduce the overall size and formfactor of the speaker, making for a more “landscape friendly” look. However, Rockustics said the speaker performs equally well freestanding, so that’s the route I took. The Cherry Bombs do have a bit of idiosyncrasy in their wiring connections. There are blue and yellow wires for 70-volt operation, connecting

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to the speaker’s 64-watt transformer. There are also oddly four wires for 8-ohm operation; a green-and-red pair and a white-and-black pair. The green is used for positive and the white for negative, with the red and black unused. Why Rockustics would veer from the industry accepted color codes — or include an extra set of unused wires — is an answer I don’t have. Since the OS-440 uses Chromecast, there are a variety of options for streaming music to it. App-wise, Chromecast supports the majority of biggies, including Pandora, Google Play Music, Spotify, Tidal, iHeartRadio, Napster, and TuneIn. Similar to how AirPlay and Spotify Connect work, you open the streaming app you’d like to use, then select the speaker you want to Cast to. I have a pretty robust Luxul WiFi network, and I never had any streaming issues. For services not supported by Chromecast (or when no WiFi network is available), a customer could connect to the OS-440 via Bluetooth. The OS-440 definitely acquitted itself of any concerns about its durability and capability of withstanding the elements from the get go. Not five minutes after I installed it, my wife watered some plants directly above where I installed the amp and it got soaked. The amp shrugged it off. Myrtle Beach, SC in the summer can be a ruthless location for people, let alone electronics, but the amp has handled months’ worth of weather that has included afternoon thunderstorms, brutal humidity, and 100-plus-degree temps like a boss. I’ve had it playing long hours in baking temps with nary a hiccup or blip in performance. (For the record, the OS-440 is rated for –20–150-degree Fahrenheit operating temps.) Audio performance from the Cherry Bomb’s was likewise impressive, with sound quality more resembling a quality, full-range traditional tower loudspeaker than any outdoor model. I listened to hours’ worth of music over the months I had the CB5’s installed, and they consistently delivered the goods on all genres. Bass from the bandpass subwoofer was not only deep, but textured, letting you appreciate Geddy Lee’s complex bass work on “YYZ.” “Flight of the Cosmic Hippo” from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones is another great bass test track, and the CB5’s showed it was up to the task, delivering all the layers of the deep synth bass line. The speakers are rated to play –10 dB at 42 Hz, and The Crystal Method’s “High Roller” showed that, while they play the big bass notes, they didn’t have the kick of a system that includes a true powered subwoofer. Still, they were able to generate bass notes that you could (continued on page 41)


Connected Cottage AV-over-IP infrastructure delivers high-end viewing and listening experiences across a sprawling luxury property. Approximately two hours north of Toronto, Ontario, the District Municipality of Muskoka — with its three major lakes — is home to 60,000 permanent residents, as well as an additional 100,000 property owners who spend time in the area on a seasonal basis. Affectionately known as “cottage country,” this upscale destination is dotted with luxurious estates, with Hollywood A-listers such as Stephen Spielberg, Cindy Crawford, and Tom Hanks among the owners. King’s Electric Ltd., an electrical contractor and audiovisual system design and integration firm based in Toronto, was hired to integrate a complex audiovisual system at a newly constructed residence. The system would cover a main cottage, several outbuildings, and exterior amenities, including a gym, pool, and boathouse.

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King’s Electric turned to Atlona’s OmniStream R-Type AV-over-IP distribution platform to seamlessly deliver video and audio to all locations. “We’ve been using Atlona as one of our video distribution options for the last two or three years,” says Francisco Aquino, senior audiovisual project manager at King’s Electric. “The OmniStream R-Type solution specifically was brought in for this project to tackle a problem that we couldn’t find a solution for in other manufacturer’s products.” Video Everywhere King’s Electric created a Cisco switch network via a 10-gigabit back haul, with six OmniStream 512 (ATOMNI-512) dual-channel encoders and 12 OmniStream 521 (AT-OMNI-521) single-channel decoders

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at the core of the AV over IP video switching. “The dual-channel encoders were particularly useful from an integration perspective, as the architecture allowed us to get multiple video inputs with fewer devices,” says Aquino. “Rack space is always at a premium, especially in residential areas where server rooms don’t really exist. So, we were able to accommodate all our video-over-IP switching needs with a compact rack system in a standard mechanical room, without shortchanging the signal count.” Network switches were deployed to each individual building, enabling OmniStream to take a source from the main cottage — whether a 4K Apple TV or a cable box — and stream it on any of the TVs in that location, simultaneously or in succession.


ResiInAction offered me the ability to spread audio across the network, as well as take audio inputs that were coming from different areas of the property.”

“This configuration allows the residents to begin watching a program in the main cottage and continue viewing that same content when they move to the gym,” says Aquino. “There would have been limitations to this using a circuit-based video matrix, the first being the length at which you can run an HD-based video signal.” One challenge that Aquino and his team encountered was the property’s combination of 4K video sources and HD sources together on the same video architecture. This raised latency and synchronization concerns, along with general video switching questions. “We needed to provide for the client a system that provided a quick response along with a consistent experience throughout the entire property,” says Aquino. “When video-switched in the gym, the system needed to respond as quick as it did in the main cottage, as well as down at the boathouse. OmniStream expertly handles moving between 4K sources and non-4K sources, as well as the required synchronization on that level, all with ultra-low-latency.” Aquino adds that all of that decoding is done internally within the OmniStream encoders and decoders, and controlled by the client with ease.

Audio for Everyone The project also required improved audio distribution throughout the property. The two surround sound zones in the main cottage are handled by Integra 7.2 and 9.2 surround sound receivers. The 20 remaining 2-channel zones are powered by Triad multi-zone 8-channel amplifiers running to Triad’s designer series In-Ceiling Full-Range Loudspeaker. All outdoor common areas, including the pool and lakeside fire pit, were designed with the guidance of the team at Staub Electronics. Crown amplifiers power the 16 Episode speakers, with four subwoofers positioned throughout the property. Aquino explains that the ability to distribute audio seamlessly throughout the entire property was made possible via Dante audio networking. Audio streaming capabilities were provided by the Control4 automation system that serves as the user interface — with Atlona’s OmniStream OMNI-232 Dante audio interface playing the critical role that allowed the two systems to integrate. “OmniStream was the solution that tied these two pieces together,” he says. “The Dante interface

Confidence All Around While King’s AV doesn’t shy away from projects with a considerable degree of complexity, Aquino underlines that the goal is always to create user-friendly systems that can be trusted. “In the end, our goal was to create a simple and userfriendly system. Given the complex requirements for the project, finding the right solution that utilized the strength of the network we created was crucial,” Aquino says. “In all the projects we take on as a company, our number one goal is to deploy a solution that is going to be rock-solid, reliable, and serviceable. OmniStream was by far the most effective AV-over-IP solution to ensure we fulfilled that goal.” Aquino also notes that, from an integrator’s perspective, Atlona provided the support required whenever he or other members of his team required guidance. “Atlona and its representatives have the technical knowledge, and they were able to assist us with the pieces of the puzzle that we weren’t knowledgeable about,” he says. “It was important to align ourselves with a company that we thought was not only pushing the envelope, but that was really well-versed in the cutting-edge technology they provide.” n

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NewProducts

 SnapAV Unveils Araknis Wireless Access Points SnapAV’s Araknis Networks has released two new wireless access point models designed to deliver high speed for installs with multiple wireless clients. The Araknis Networks 510- and 810-Series indoor wireless access points are powered by Wave 2 MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology, allowing these access points to simultaneously communicate with multiple devices while increasing throughput and decreasing network congestion. While the current the 500-Series WAP is designed for installations that require more range, the new 510-Series is designed to be a dealer’s go-to access point for highdensity applications. The new 810-Series is ideal for an integrator’s most robust networking installs, as it can easily handle hundreds of devices at lightning-fast speed, according to the company. For more information, visit snapav.com/Araknis.

Marantz Introduces Two New 4K UHD AV Receivers  Marantz has announced the SR5014 and SR6014 4K Ultra HD AV receivers. Designed with custom integrators in mind, the new SR Series AVRs boast the latest remote monitoring and management capabilities via Domotz Pro, ihiji Invision, and OvrC, as well as RS232C and IP control capabilities. New to the 2019 models, both receivers support the ability to assign different music sources to the same HDMI input. Both the SR6014 and SR5014 add Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology to give users an object-based listening experience without the need for dedicated height or surround speakers. Listeners can configure up to seven channels for a 7.1 setting while the technology adds virtualized height effects. For more information, visit marantz.com/us.

Denon Introduces Latest IMAX Enhanced 4K AV Receiver   Firmware Update for JVC DLA-RS4500K 4K Laser Projector JVC has announced a firmware upgrade to its DLA-RS4500K 4K home theater projector that adds significant new performance features. The V2.0 upgrade, now available, includes Auto Tone Mapping; dedicated color profiles for the Panasonic DP-UB9000 UHD Blu-ray player; and expanded screen adjustment modes. The JVC DLA-RS4500K is the company’s top-of-the line 4K home theater projector that combines a JVC-developed native 4K D-ILA device with the company’s proprietary BLU-Escent laser phosphor light source. It is rated at 3000 lumens brightness. The firmware can be downloaded from the following link: https://www3.jvckenwood.com/english/download/dla-z1_rs4500/

Denon has announced its latest X-Series AV receiver, the Denon AVR-X3600H ($1099). The new 9.2-channel AV receiver offers IMAX Enhanced out-of-box, as well as a full suite of three-dimensional audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, and new Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology. It also supports the latest video technologies, including Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG, and 4K Ultra HD. Additionally, the AVR-X3600H supports Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which ensure consumers have the latest performance and connectivity options for years to come. Featuring discrete high-current amplifiers on all channels, the AVR-X3600H delivers high-power performance at 105 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, THD: 0.08%, 2 channels driven). The AVR features 9-channel amplification and is also capable of processing up to 11.2 channels to drive a 7.2.4 speaker setup when used alongside external 2-channel amplification. For more information, visit usa.denon.com/us.

 Pro Audio Technology S and SR Series Loudspeakers Pro Audio Technology (PRO) has announced two new series of loudspeakers consisting of three new models — S-12sm, SR-12ai, and SR-212ai. The S Series was designed to reproduce the unrestricted dynamics and power of the commercial cinema experience but in a more compact form factor ideal for home theater environments, according to the company. The new loudspeakers replace existing PRO models: S-12sm replaces SCRS-12sm, S-12ai replaces SCRS-12ai, and S-212ai replaces SCRS-212ai. The S and SR Series models employ a new 1.7-inch Ultra-Purity high-frequency compression driver mounted on an elliptical wide coverage horn. For more information, visit proaudiotechnology.com. n

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Residential Systems Vol. 20 No. 8

August 2019

residentialsystems.com FOLLOW US twitter.com/resisys facebook/resisys CONTENT VP/Content Creation Anthony Savona anthony.savona@futurenet.com Contributors: Llanor Alleyne, Dennis Burger, Sam Cavitt, Henry Clifford, Dave Donald, Tim Fitzpatrick, Ted Green, Jason Griffing, Anthony Grimani, Karen Mitchell, Todd Anthony Puma, John Sciacca, Heather Sidorowicz, Gordon van Zuiden Production Manager Fred Vega Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban Design Director Walter Makarucha, Jr. ADVERTISING SALES VP/Market Expert, AV/Consumer Electronics, Education & Pro Audio Adam Goldstein, adam.goldstein@futurenet.com, 212-378-0465 SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to residentialsystems.com and click on About Us, email futureplc@computerfulfillment.com, call 888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 1067, Lowell, MA 01853. LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS Residential Systems is available for licensing.

ProductReview (continued from page 36)

feel while floating around in the pool, which I consider a definite win. They also produced detailed midrange and bright highs courtesy of the titanium tweeter. Vocals were always clear and distinct, and cymbals like on Hank Mobley’s “Dig Dis” had the appropriate amount of snap and air. “Rey’s Theme” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens is one of my favorite works by John Williams, and the CB5’s treated the delicate instrumentation with the proper amount of care. I did notice that as I started pushing the volume level up in the range that mids and highs started to sound strained. Wayne Shorter’s trumpet on “Lady Day,” for example, started leaning towards shrill as volumes crested 50 percent. The only operational issues I had were all app and control based, many of which were a learning curve on my part. The MSE OSApp can’t do anything with the speaker while a Casting session is in progress. So, doing anything — changing the volume, adjusting bass/treble, picking a different source — requires you to first disconnect any Casting in progress. When using Google Play, the speaker

would “time out” after not using the app for a bit; and while music would continue playing, I would have to reconnect to it in order to control it. And sometimes the Google Home app would “see” the speaker, but not allow me to connect with it and control it. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this combination is the price. With the amp selling for under $500 and the Cherry Bombs at $649/each, customers of all budgets can assemble a truly stellar, full-range outdoor audio system. Plus, the amplifier’s installation location flexibility will save additional on wiring and labor and open up additional sales opportunities that might not have existed otherwise. n

Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing: Rachel Shaw, licensing@futurenet.com

AdIndex

MANAGEMENT Managing Director/Senior Vice President Christine Shaw Chief Revenue Officer Luke Edson Chief Marketing Officer Wendy Lissau

COMPANY NAME

PAGE

TELEPHONE #

Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance FUTURE US, INC.

A-NeuVideo

11 469.277.7606

11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036

Arlington Industries

25, 35, 43

800.233.4717

Cedia

37

800.669.5329

DISH Networks

44

303.723.1000

Harman/JBL

2 888.691.4171

KEF America

13

732.683.2356

North American Bancard

29

866.481.4604

Optoma

31 888.289.6786

Platinum Tools

7

805.384.2777

Stampede Global

9

800.398.5652

All contents ©2019 Future US, Inc. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.

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GoingForward

Expansion Strategies for Smart Home Do smart vents, smart beds, and smart major appliances belong in your business? B Y PAT R I C E S A M U E L S , S R . A N A LY S T, PA R K S A S S O C I AT E S

As smart home device adoption increases, device manufacturers and service providers in the space seek to expand their product ecosystems and boost their presence in the industry. Building smart home ecosystems involves a combination of expanding the value proposition of current products as well as adding new products. Expansion strategies for smart home brands include adding intelligence to consumer electronic devices that solve real-world problems and drive convenience. Ecosystem development around bedrooms has spurred the launch of smart beds and smart vents. Ecosystem development around the kitchen has spurred the development of a number of smart major appliances, including refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers. Adding intelligence to the bathroom has spawned the development of smart mirrors as well as smart toilets. Smart Vents Smart vents take comfort in the home to a more granular level by allowing more precise room-by-room heating and cooling. Leading brands in the smart vent space are Keen Home, Ecovent, Flair, and Alea Labs. Generally, smart vent systems are differentiated by the level of sophistication of their accompanying sensors. This ultimately helps them manage the health of the HVAC system, which can be compromised if too many vents are closed off. The sensors also enable additional services such as HVAC system and air quality monitoring. Smart vents in tandem with smart thermostats can maintain preferred temperatures already established for the smart thermostat. However, smart vents also have the potential to cannibalize the smart thermostat market, given their ability to independently maintain temperatures throughout the home more precisely than a smart thermostat. Smart vents are well positioned given that 84 percent of U.S. broadband households that intend to purchase a smart thermostat report

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that being responsive to weather in ways that maintain comfort and save money on heating and cooling is an important feature, and only 29 percent report that their thermostat has this capability. Smart Beds Smart beds typically consist of a mattress with sensors that track sleep patterns and technology geared at improving sleep quality. Most also leverage wireless connectivity to enable a range of smart home functions. Companies in the space consist of both startup companies such as Eight Sleep, ReST, and WinkBed, as well as established mattress manufacturers such as Sleep Number. Ideally, smart mattresses are designed to make automatic adjustments that enhance the user’s comfort and sleep quality during sleep time and even improve the wake up experience. The mattress industry needs to continue to work on awareness. Only 24 percent of consumers report some level of awareness of mattresses with built-in sensors that track sleep. Awareness of sleep tracking devices associated with beds is generally low. Only 21 percent of US broadband households report awareness of sensors that can be placed on under their mattress to track sleep and only 22 percent report awareness of sensors that can be clipped to a pillow, or reside by a bed for the purpose of tracking sleep. Smart Major Appliances Major appliances (refrigerators, ovens/ ranges, dishwashers, clothes washers, and clothes dryers) are staples in U.S. broadband households. According to the EIA, almost 100 percent of U.S. households have at least one refrigerator and cooking appliance. In a cumulative way, combining smart major appliances under this report’s review, 12 percent of U.S. broadband households report owning one or more smart major appliances (smart refrigerators, smart ovens, smart dishwashers, smart clothes washers, and smart clothes dryers), up from 3 percent in

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Figure 1: Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Stove/Oven Ownership by Demographics (Q2/18)

2014. This rate is significantly lower than the overall adoption rate (24 percent) for smart home devices. Approximately 10 percent of U.S. broadband households report owning a smart refrigerator, smart oven, or smart dishwasher. Innovators, consumers who generally purchase technology-filled devices as soon as they become available, are early buyers, in general, of smart major appliances. The smart appliance market faces challenges in the following areas: limited product availability, long replacement cycles, high prices, and lack of perceived value. [See figure 1.] Several conditions can negatively affect market growth of these emerging products, including low product awareness, a perception that products are too expensive and do not offer strong value, security and privacy concerns, and the long life cycle of major appliances. Moreover, consumers fear that these products are technically complex and will endure technical problems and glitches in the long run. For success, product manufacturers and channel partners must develop cost-effective strategies, including cross marketing efforts through various channel partners, developing products with flexible technology architecture, and integrate smart home devices wherever there is value. n This article is based on the Parks Associates report “Smart Home Adjacencies: Building the Ecosystem.” For more information, or to buy the full report, visit parksassociates.com/ report/smart-home-adjacencies-ET.


Profile for Future PLC

Residential Systems - August 2019  

Residential Systems - August 2019

Residential Systems - August 2019  

Residential Systems - August 2019

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