The Big News from CE Vendors: Productivity, not Products
Some fine products debuted at CEDIA Expo, but manufacturers generally shunned bells and whistles for tools that improve productivity, profitability and user experience.
Forget the bells and whistles, the theme of CEDIA Expo 2012 was productivity! Some of the most important news at the show was less about new products, and more about tools to help dealers succeed in their businesses.
Crestron Core 3
Visiting the Crestron booth, CTO Fred Bargetzi – who usually shows me all the whiz bangery that is Crestron – practically apologized that the biggest thing this year was a new software platform that “makes integrators dangerous.”
Bargetzi says, “Over the past five years, we have re-architected everything. Everything is completely changed.”
As CE Pro has reported before, Crestron’s new Core 3 UI (Design Studio) lets dealers drag-and-drop prewritten “SmartObjects” onto their interface designs, and resize them simply (and perfectly) thanks to “SmartScaling” vector-based graphics.
“The amount of time it cuts from programming, it’s crazy,” says Bargetzi.
AMX dedicated a huge chunk of its booth not to a product but a program: AMX Unity. Purchase a video switcher and a Modero X touchscreen, and AMX will provide free programming and touchscreen design. Marketing VP Jeff Kindig told me he was surprised Unity wasn’t the star of the show.
CE Pro Blog Mobster Bjorn Jensen says the service “makes it easy for somebody to get started selling higher-end gear to their clients and get a taste of what it’s like to step up to one of the top dogs in control.”
AMX dedicated a huge chunk of CEDIA real estate to promote the Unity programming service
Control4 OS 2.3
Everyone made a big deal about Sony’s new receivers with Control4 inside (for good reason), but Control4 CEO Martin Plaehn was especially giddy about some major enhancements on the back end with OS 2.3.
In that version, Control4 implemented Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP), which enables automatic device discovery. Drivers from SDDP-enabled partner products are automatically uploaded as soon as they’re plugged into the network. Just drag the product into a project and, bam, you’re done.
It “increases the speed and reduces the propensity for errors,” Plaehn says.
Also in 2.3 is a “Advanced Lighting Scene Agent,” which makes it easier to create and track lighting scenes. Here’s how Control4 describes it:
The Lighting Scene Agent streamlines dealer programming with single-button on/off toggles for scenes, tracking and display of lighting scene states, and configuration of advanced scene ramping/fading with support of complex scene sequencing including delays between ramps/fades of different lighting zones — all from within the Control4 Composer system design software.
On the consumer-facing side, Control4 has added a feature that lets users edit and program their own lighting scenes simply by setting the lights and pressing a button.
Also at CEDIA, many dealers got their first first look at Control4’s new online ordering portal, introduced earlier in the year.
Consumers can set and edit lighting scenes themselves with OS 2.3
Lighting Agent helps integrators visualize their lighting scenes
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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