Bob Borson’s Discoveries at CEDIA Expo
I am a seasoned veteran of attending conferences and expos … I know how to walk the floor and break through the seemingly overwhelming amount of information that is on display. I know that if you make eye contact you are fair game – we all know this. As a result of years of experience, even though it was my first time at the CEDIA EXPO in San Diego, I felt like I was prepared for what was to come.
Turns out I was only partially prepared as the CEDIA EXPO was a little different than most of the other architectural, building, kitchen and bath shows I attend. First off, there were so many televisions and speakers. They were literally everywhere you looked and all of them were playing something. After a while, I came to the conclusion that they all looked terrific and sounded amazing. As a result, they all tended to disappear and didn’t really catch my eye as something I needed to take note of and bring back to the office.
Here are my favorite discoveries from visiting the Expo floor.
Installs like a normal switch, Noon Lighting controls feature an OLED controller called a “Director” that can control up to 10 extension switches. Utilizing your existing wiring, you can change out your light switches and take control of all the hardwired light fixtures in your house. The Director control comes with three professional scenes based on the bulbs you have in place but you have the ability to customize up to six additional scenes.
Utilizing a universal dimming base, NOON lighting controls work with all residential bulb and fixture types including LED, incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, CFL bulbs, and MLV, ELV light fixtures and there is no requirement for separate switches for multi-way installations.
With advanced voice control and a suite of technology whose sole purpose is to simplify how homeowners interact with their smart home, Josh.AI might just be the most exciting discovery I had from my time exploring the expo. Most of the complaints I hear from clients who want to use interactive controllers like Alexa and Google Assistant is that their speaking patterns feel forced and completely unnatural. The Josh AI controller allows users to speak naturally and string together a series of commands rather than tackling each task one at a time. The feature that I responded to the most was its ability to sense where I was in the house so I didn’t have to say “dim the living room lights” … I can just say “dim the lights” and it would know what room I was referring.
There were a lot of televisions on display at CEDIA, which makes complete sense since it’s an audio/visual technology expo. That having been said, the outdoor televisions from Séura really stood out from the rest. These units are fully weatherproof and go through an extremely rigorous set of tests to ensure that your television will perform regardless of what Mother Nature throws your way. Séura Outdoor Displays also adjust the picture settings to present optimal video quality in changing lighting conditions. These units can also be ordered with a sound bar so that you can watch your favorite sports program from the comfort of your hot tub.
If you spend any time designing outdoor spaces, you have a love-hate relationship with outdoor speakers. At one end of the spectrum, you have speakers that look like “boulders” … except they don’t fool anyone. We know that’s not a real rock and as a result, I don’t want to use them. Ever. At the other end of the spectrum, you have the Seasons Bollard Collection from Origin Acoustics.
This is a satellite subwoofer combination, which means that there’s a subwoofer located for each remote speaker bollard. The 6” subwoofer is buried and only the 4” 2-way loudspeaker extends above the ground. There is a lens above the loudspeaker that allows you to control the direction of the sound from 180 degrees of 360 degrees. These bollards are minimal in their design, are available either round or square and come in three different finishes – black, bronze, or silver, allowing you to fit them into any aesthetic.
The last item that stood out to me from my time exploring the CEDIA Expo was the Paramount from Whyreboot. This is one of the most logical and convenient housing devices and I’ve been waiting for a product like this for longer than I care to admit.
The Paramount is made to contain wireless access points in the ceiling in a way that allows you to hide equipment that nobody wants to see. Easy to install, these housings can be placed so that wireless access points can be spread across my large residential projects so that internet service can be provided, ensuring faster connections, no matter where my clients are in their home. The cover is held in place using small magnets and can be textured and painted to match the surrounding ceiling material.