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Russound on Cloud Computing, Colorado vNet, Smart Grids

Outlines six maturing areas that could drive future product development.

Robert Archer · July 26, 2010

During a pre-CEDIA Expo press event at its Newmarket, N.H. headquarters, Russound discussed its history, the immediate future of consumer entertainment, and its plans for its Colorado vNet brand.

Michael Stein, senior director research and technology at Russound, said the company is basing its new market strategy around the changing role of media.

“Today we are acting on the steps to move towards that future,” Stein said. “Five years from now, if it’s a smart device, it will have some type of wireless thing that can bridge out to your home network and bridge out to the Internet.”

Stein outlined six maturing areas that could drive future product development and consumer buying trends:

Content access: “We’re moving from a collector’s society to a society that accesses content,” Stein said. “This is a generational thing where some like to buy disc, but that’s breaking down. It seems silly to buy one disc to play one movie.”

Smart Grid: Stein said these technologies will drive standards in command and control. “The utilities will on their dime install new meters that speak ZigBee, Z-Wave. Etc,” he said. “These smart meters and smart grid will drive standards. There will likely be two or three standards, but there will be far few standards and less proprietary standards like there are today.”

Cloud computing: Access email, schedule and controls on any connected UI device he said. “The apps will be important and not the devices. We’ll all have PDAs and HTML 5 will lead to rich applications,” estimated Stein.

TVs: “They will continue to erode in price and improve in performance,” Stein said with certainty. “TVs will be thinner and lighter; they will be Internet connected and they will along with other devices will support audio/video bridging [AVB] or other standards for QOS [quality of service] and synchronization over LAN”

Service providers: Stein expects broadband providers to sell more services that include energy management, content services remote monitoring and access. “The service providers are asking themselves rhetorically, ‘how can we generate the same revenues we are enjoying now … energy management,’” he said.

Voice artificial intelligence (AI):  These technologies will mature, and he said for evidence of where the market for voice AI is heading to go to the iPhone Apps store and download “Siri” for proof of the technology’s potential. This iPhone app was developed at Stanford. Its voice-based, artificial intelligence and it can remember what you said. “This truly is the replacement for a real human assistant,” said a blunt Stein. “In five years I’ll be selecting my music with this [app]. For example I say soft jazz and it starts playing. It’s where we’ll be in five years and we need to be a player in the network space.”

Retrofit, Colorado vNet in Mix
Collage product manager Walt Zerbe discussed the current status of the Collage powerline multiroom audio system, outlining how much more profit installers can make by offering Russound Collage. He compared the labor and equipment costs of a traditional whole-house system to the powerline-based Collage. He added that considering the slow pace of the new housing market, the retrofit electronics market offers more sales opportunities.

“Aim at a larger target. Five million homes are projected to change hands in 2010 and that’s a lot of potential,” says Zerbe. “Now integrators have to fight for business.  They need to place product in lighting showrooms, sell modular features to get their feet in the door, and they need to get POP [point of purchase displays] in their local design centers and Realtors offices to become technical liaisons for clients.”

Petro Shimonishi, vice president of sales and marketing for Russound’s newly acquired Colorado vNet brand, said the company is looking to blend the established administrative skills and business processes that Russound has forged with the fresh technologies Colorado vNet has delivered to market. “We’re leveraging the strengths of both companies,” she said.

Shimonishi explained how Colorado vNet is a direct-to-dealer brand and how it is selectively growing its dealer base. She said the company’s research indicates that a small percentage of Russound and Colorado vNet dealer bases overlapped, and that about 75 percent of its dealers classified themselves as electricians and CEDIA certified.

Speaking about upcoming products, Shimonishi said dealers can look forward to new iPad control apps, new lighting control systems that will enable installers to combine energy-efficient bulbs with lighting control, and some new external amplifiers.

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  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at robert.archer@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

News · CEDIA Expo · Colorado vNet · Russound · All Topics
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