CE Pro Names Top 5 Home Tech Opportunities for 2013
4K Ultra HD, wireless audio, high-end headphones, motorized shades, enterprise-grade networks represent top technologies for integrators in 2013.
What are the top technologies for the home in 2013? Each year we assemble a list of trends that represent big opportunities for CE pros, and present them in our annual State of the Industry report in the January CES issue of CE Pro.
The Top 5 Home Technology Opportunities for 2013 are:
1. Wireless Audio
Sonos has dominated the wireless audio category forever, both in DIY and integrator channels. Throughout 2012 we saw a huge number of product introductions in this category, and at CEDIA Expo in September, virtually all of the major audio companies – and lots of small newcomers—showed some kind of wireless audio solution. 2013 should be a banner year for wireless audio, both for multiroom and surround sound.
2. 4k Ultra HD Displays
LG and Sony each launched their 84-inch 4k Ultra HD displays just recently, and plenty more will follow from other manufacturers in 2013. We believe the difference between 4k and 1080p is so clear, it could generate more manufacturer investments in the industry, more foot traffic in stores, and more margin for dealers than 3D or smart TVs or 1080p.
3. Motorized Shades
It used to be that motorized shades were wildly expensive, challenging to spec and install, difficult to wire and install, and simply an afterthought for dealers who were more focused on A/V and traditional home automation. Furthermore, there were only a handful of viable vendors for our channel. This year, however, the options exploded with more wireless, affordable, and simpler-to-install products from several new providers.
4. Enterprise-Grade Networking
With more high-resolution streaming content, more videoconferencing and more wireless stuff in the house, consumers need high-performance home networks and professionals to install and manage the networks. In-home networks dominated the dialog this year in CE pro circles. CEDIA set up a new certification for the category, and CE Pro readers counted it as a top money-maker in 2012. At CEDIA 2012, a plethora of companies launched new enterprise-grade networking solutions, including wired, wireless and remote management.
5. High-End Headphones
Headphones are no longer the strict domain of mass-market retailers and online stores. Custom installers are now getting into the action, thanks to channel-friendly vendors providing high-performance products and tools to sell them. Headphones represent one of the best attachment-sales opportunity for specialty A/V shops.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]
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