The Future is Here: Who’s Who, What’s What and What’s Important in Custom Home Theatre and Home AutomationNovember 4, 2015 8:51 pm
The Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association – better known as CEDIA – is the expo where leading installers, custom home integrators and media go to learn about the best, latest and greatest in custom home theatre and home automation. It’s where the ‘who’s who’, the ‘what’s’ what and the ‘who’d ever imagined’ align. Where futuristic dreams come true.
And when, like us, you’re committed to being consistently on the leading edge of technology and all that’s cool, it’s the place to go to ensure that we can specify, install and guide our clients on adapting technology to their lifestyles so that they can have the most innovative, high-tech and functional homes possible. That’s not only cool, it secures our own futuristic dreams.
Pragmatic Futurism: The Future is Fast Approaching and We Need to Be Ready
I was really struck by keynote speaker Michael Rogers’ concept of ‘Pragmatic Futurism’. So basically that means having a vision of the future but focusing on what we can install now and over the next few years to make sure it will evolve as the future happens. Because it is happening – much faster than we expect – and we need to be ready to stay ahead.
Our Top 6 Technology Takeaways
Cedia 2015 was an inspiring show, jam-packed with exciting new products. But, also having the experience and knowledge to be on the practical side of big dreams, here are the trends that most impressed us:
1. The Internet of Things. Smart sensors that connect everything – from heat, humidity to video analytics. It’s all hosted in the cloud with access to all the power that implies. What does that mean to the world at large? Your favourite music, your ideal temperature, the privacy you demand go where you go – at home, the cottage, the office – everything is just the way you like it.
2. The human interface to virtual technology. AV is going to become radically different. Two new AV technologies will allow us access to a sophisticated (and practical) virtual world.
A pair of glasses will kickstart interaction on a whole new level. With them, you can be connected 24/7 – plugged in to all of your devices – all the time. A small transmitter on the earpiece can pick up the vibration of your voice so you can speak at very low levels. They’ll contain scanning software with facial recognition – no more forgetting the name that goes with the face. Think of the possibilities this holds for an aging population – straight out of Sci-Fi, but a practical reality! The technology will likely be carried by someone like Google, and we’ll probably see these SmartGlasses by 2025.
Meetings will never be the same. An AV wall in one room is mirrored in another and suddenly you’re face to face with touch, feel and sound. It’s been tested in Oregon. And a helmet will create a single virtual room from two places a world apart. Have a conversation at the water cooler. Shake hands. Hand over documents and share experiences. TeamTime, Go-To-Meeting, Skype and the like will be a thing of the past. And what about beyond the office? Your home becomes your business becomes the place for everything. Because you can do that. The implications for business are infinite – and practical.
3. Processing Power: Moving beyond the chip. As Moore’s Law goes, there are only so many transistors that can fit on a chip and chips can’t go any smaller. Fact is, we’ve already run out of room and new processing power will be a quantum leap for all kinds of things. 5G is coming for mobile devices and will lay the precedent for 1G memory/second. When you’re able to stream AV seamlessly at 1000 times the current speed, everything will change. Get HD movies on your smartphone. Be virtually in a room while a thousand miles away with the push of a button.
4. 4k Ultra HD is here to stay. Whether everyone was going to make the leap to Hi-Def has been batted around for some time, but there’s no longer any doubt about it. The entire industry, from manufacturers, to providers, installers, and users have banded together for a common cause: consistently better sound, better picture and better experience. In the near future, you’ll need to be on 4k to get the programs you want, the way you want them.
But unrolling all of this presents some significant integration issues and the increasing emphasis on content protection, or HDCP, is not going to make that any easier. So while 4k Ultra HD is inevitable, it’s not as simple as just buying a new TV and plugging it in. We’d urge you to be assured that it will be a safe investment, but to be practical about the realities and timing. Investigating the impact on your home and associated costs with a qualified integrator is a wise idea.
5. 3D: The Next Generation of Surround Sound. Movie fanatics are in for the sound of their lives. Dolby ATMOS is at the forefront of this new technology that will see us installing domed sound. Not just around us but above us too, it’s refined, real and more ‘in the moment’ than ever before.
6. HDBaseT. No more tangle of wires or cable boxes. The network will be the medium and a single HDBT cable will deliver simple streamlined AV content, power and control to your projection devices – with amazing quality. It will change they way you watch TV forever.
The pragmatic future is in the works and around the corner. And we’re ready for it.