CEDIA 2018 was a magnificent display of new concepts in automation. This year’s Expo was held in the beautiful downtown San Diego convention center. Exhibitors and attendees came from near and far to get an inside look at emerging smart-home design technology. Starbucks kept the attendees caffeinated with multiple depots in the outer corridor the convention center, one of which actually ran out of coffee before the exhibit hall doors opened on the first day.

Inside the Hall

Energy, lighting, audiovisual and entertainment specialists all rolled out their carpets to educate and excite smart-product enthusiasts for five mind-blowing days. Among the heavyweight exhibitors were Google/Nest Labs, Sony, Samsung, and Savant. Attendees were lured in and wowed by overhead halos, posh furnishings, impressive light displays, eye-catching bling, and soul penetrating music. There were demonstrations, informational talks, private dinners, and a surprising absence of printed materials, but with a crowd of digital junkies, this is the new norm.

Captivating Screens

Sony was a feast for the eyes, introducing a massive Crystal OLED modular screen they erected to demonstrate their Master Series TVs. According to Mike Fasulo, President & COO of Sony Electronics, the new line “…delivers content the way the creators intended.” Three new projectors were also presented, which all include 4K HDR picture processor, exclusive Netflix calibrated mode, and certified IMAX enhanced content.

Séura smart TVs rolled out their new “…Best in Class Shade Series, fully weatherproof, brightest in its class, 4K HD.” It is exquisite decor at the least. They’ve also developed outdoor sound bars for full sound distribution that matches the remarkable picture quality. The Shade Series is a stylish addition to Séura’s already impressive outdoor line, and a great way to view media and play music with excellent picture and sound delivery.

Samsung brought out their customizable Super Fine Pixel Pitch LED Display “Wall.” They also introduced a brand new AK Q900, which is an 8K QLED available in the US in 85 inches. 8K resolution is 4 times the resolution of 4K HD, which is touted as providing an even more realistic viewing experience. Think fluffy down on goose feathers so intricately portrayed that you can actually reach out and feel the soft silkiness on your fingertips. While there is very little 8K content currently available, it promises to be a very satisfying way of experiencing media very soon.

Intuitive Controls

Dana Innovations, which includes iPort, Sonance, and Trufig are currently developing a flat panel iPad device for controlling not only scenes but all automated features of the house. The new “iPort” has touchable, user-friendly buttons that facilitate the command of a smart-home. The developers at Dana found that users were more likely to press a button than they were to click through screens on an iPad or smart-phone. The sleek iPorts are easily programmable. They can even be removed from their wall mount and carried from room to room, and include all of the regular features of a typical iPad.

Iridescent Spectrum

Lighting was big at CEDIA this year. Innovators are excited about the importance of natural light and the ability to change the entire scape of an interior design with a change in color hue. Among the exhibitors were Ketra, Luma Stream, Savant, and USAI Lighting. Products feature touchpad control of tunable white light and the ability to change the actual color of the lighting in an impressive range of options. With a brush of your finger across the screen of your touch-controlled device, your living room goes from day-bright white to cool-blue creating an entirely different mood.

Mind-blowing Theater

Among the most exciting categories at CEDIA were the AudioVisual Innovators. Fully decked out home entertainment booths played music on exciting new products to get the attention of passers-by. Exclusive appointments were offered to some of the biggest integrators. Other attendees waited in line chatting excitedly to get their feet in the door of these coveted rooms.

Martin Logan Speakers are designed for people who like to see awesome speakers. But speakers were not seen in this year’s demo booth. Attendees sat on rows of cubes in a small 10’ x 10’ carpeted room with nothing on the walls. All that was said before the lights went out was, “You get to hear the future before you know what it is.” Essentially, you will not get to see what you are about to hear. What was delivered was a smooth flow of voice and instrument so pure that it literally was capable of moving a person almost if by possession. Never a jolt nor interruption, the audience was mesmerized and left in absolute wonderment.

Wisdom Audio created a theater that included posh Italian home theater seating and an audiovisual experience that left the attendees with the illusion that they had become part of the cast of Ready Player One. Wisdom’s sound speakers and subwoofers deliver the visceral experience of what is being seen and heard. After the action film elicited an insane adrenaline rush, Norah Jones voice calmed and pulled at the heart-strings of the audience, with intensity that can bring tears of emotional release. The Wisdom Audio experience is so excellently engineered the only difference from a commercial theater experience, is the comfort of a private home. But we will take the Italian furniture too.

The Piano engineers at Steinway Lyngdorf provided a happy hour for guests to enjoy a private demo of their sound systems. The Danish company uses technology called line source in their speakers, for remarkably even dispersion of sound quality and intensely smooth base. A massive screen was erected with speakers and subwoofers strategically placed in the front, sides, and back of the non-enclosed demo space. Actually open to a large space, the demo theater could have been subject to acoustic interference if it were not for the flawless Steinway Lyngdorf engineering. The resulting experience was an impeccable delivery of sound. Again, Ready Player One and other action-packed film excerpts shocked and jolted the audience. And then onlookers were enticed to move fluidly with the musical finale of the demo.

Thoroughly Impressed

Integrators had a feast of the senses at this year’s CEDIA Expo. Home Automation is the new norm in residential design. And judging from the offerings at CEDIA, smart-home owners will be endlessly pleased with the exciting products coming to market this year.

“Responsive Living,” the term coined by Acoustic Architects founders, Aaron Flint and Spencer Hauldren, is the concept of seamlessly enhancing the client’s unique lifestyle using smart home technology. Responsive Living allows you to interact with your space via touch input, voice command, and predictive automation, placing you in full control of your home.

If you would like to learn more about home automation, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to schedule a demo with you.

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