Have your Aladdin lyrics ready? Good. Now sing along with me "A whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew."
Why are we AVraoking a Disney score? Because that sums up my experience at CEDIA Expo 2018. I've been to CEDIA at least eight times—I've done set-up over enough Labor Days for a life time—but this year I saw it differently. Could it be that I wasn't chained to a booth? Probably has a little bit to do with it.
The bigger difference is that I've spent the last 13 months totally immersed in the world of pro AV and resi had fallen to the wayside. Sure, I'd reach the occasional article from Residential Systems, but I wasn't really keeping up with the trends. When Tony asked me to help out with the CEDIA Expo Daily, I said "An all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego? I'll take it." Because, you know, California.
When I arrived at the show, WOW. Just wow. It was truly a whole new world for me. Who are all these security vendors? Why are there mini-houses on the show floor? Exhibitors were getting creative and I loved it.
Making things pretty has always been a part of residential AV. But this year, it seems the show managers and the manufacturers were taking it very seriously. Things were made to be beautiful...AV is bringing sexy back.
The CEDIA Expo staff definitely spent a significant amount of time talking about design thinking. There were several sessions where experts discussed how to unify technology and interior design. There was even a tour specifically geared towards uniting the design and custom integration communities. CEDIA Expo is taking a page from AVIXA's playbook and bringing new people into the fold, and I'm digging it.
Alexa, Create a Smart Home
We're all buzzing about IoT. But I saw it in action on the CEDIA Expo show floor. Design thinking didn't just apply to the way things look—things are being designed to work together. Both exhibits and classrooms were abuzz with discussion on how to flawlessly create a truly connected smarthome (shameless self-promotion: read my article on 5 Things You Need to Know About IoT for the Home). I've never heard the name "Alexa" so much in my life!
I left San Diego thinking, man, residential AV is RAD! Which is a good thing because pro AV is preparing for resimercial. I'm ready for beautiful products that function well together. Are you?
Megan A. Dutta