The doors of the 2008 CEDIA Expo hall opened an hour earlier today and I had the distinct sense that the Expo was not only open longer than yesterday, but also was busier. The walkways were bustling and crowds gathered at various booths to take in short seminars and presentations.
I gathered an armload of press kits, predominantly on CDs and thumb drives. One exhibitor seemed almost apologetic for giving me an old-fashioned paper press kit and promised to send an electronic version. Paper makes it easier for me, as a writer, to quickly scan for the nuggets of information I need, but times change. I applaud CEDIA’s and the industry’s commitment to environmentally friendly business practices, which include offering free electronic education courseware and printing promotional materials on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper.
One interesting “green” product made its debut at CEDIA. Honeywell’s Energy Internet Connection Module (ICM) is designed to help home and business owners conserve up to 15 percent of their energy use by managing their consumption online. By logging onto a secure Web site, users can access information that includes the amount of energy their homes or businesses are expending through heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Tim Trautman, senior product manager for Honeywell Cable and Custom Electronics, added that users also can read tips on the Web site for adjusting their system to save energy and money.
Sooloos announced expansion of its eye-popping networked home entertainment systems to include video and photos, as well as music. According to Rob Darling, Sooloos vice president of strategy, the new systems, plus their scalability and functionality, give dealers a complete line-up of systems that will enable them to develop unique networked home entertainment solutions, at a wide variety of price points, for a wide range of customers.
Universal Remote Control (URC) introduced a new remote with real appeal to dealers who’ve been frustrated trying to program macros on smaller project remotes. The Complete Control MX-450 is a home theater remote with a vivid color LCD screen that can be programmed and set up in minutes without a PC or Internet connection. URC’s MacroEdit firmware enables full macro editing on the MX-450’s screen. Jon Sienkiewicz, director of marketing for URC, says this remote is a solution tailor made for entry-level or secondary-room home theater installations.
Russound is telling CEDIA attendees, “Don’t retrofit, retroquick.” Retroquick thinking is what Russound believes is necessary in today’s business climate, which is developing innovative ways to get additional revenue from existing structures and existing customers. Russound’s retroquick systems, tools and accessories are designed to make retrofit installations easier and more economical for dealers and their customers.
As always, there are hundreds of great product stories at CEDIA; these have been just a few of them. -- By Linda Pohle, Contributing Writer