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Say Goodbye to Huge Racks (and Other CE Megatrends)

Cloud computing, streaming content and SaaS-based home automation will reduce A/V rack requirements and provide new challenges and opportunities for integrators, says CE Megatrends presenter Steve Moore.


The incredible shrinking equipment rack (courtesy of Middle Atlantic)
Jason Knott · October 21, 2011

Guys like big racks in their home theaters. But there are several key trends affecting the future of rack size.

According to Steve Moore, principal of SMC, a U.K.-based custom installation and consultancy company, the size of racks is getting smaller and will continue to do so.

Photos: 15 Impressive Racks

During the upcoming CE Pro LIVE! keynote “8 Megatrends and How They Will Affect Your Business,” Moore says, “The days of your dad’s giant rack behind smoked glass taking up the big portion of the closet or corner of the room are over.”

Why? The cloud. With the advent cloud computing and A/V, fewer on-site devices are going to be necessary; thus, the space and size of the rack is going to continue to be reduced. That trend can create problems for integrators, who are used to connecting, servicing and, more importantly, cooling big racks with lots of extra space are going to have their skills challenged.

Indeed, in the future racks themselves will get smaller and smaller as Blu-ray players, media servers, CD players and even gaming consoles disappear from being housed inside the home to being located in the cloud.

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OCT. 27, 2011: Jason Knott and Steve Moore present 8 Megatrends That Will Change Your Business Forever
Free registration for CEProLive! at http://ceprolive.com.

Moore’s point brings up a potential sales dilemma for integrators: Do they risk “over-selling” a client a larger rack that might only end up halfway full, or try to squeeze equipment into a small rack, which could be harder to service and potentially more difficult to keep cool?

With a larger, emptier rack, an immediate reaction from the client could be “You ripped me off on this rack. What else did you over-sell me?” Dealers don’t want to go down that path. Moreover, tech-savvy clients are not going to even want a rack, creating another sales challenge.

At the same time, equipment is getting sleeker. Some components that formerly were 5u in height are now just 2u. Also, pushing the required size of the racks downward.

Moore says it will be important for CE pros to talk openly with their clients about the advent of the cloud and how devices will be disappearing in the future. Clients can either pay for a right-sized rack now and downgrade to a smaller option later, or integrators can look for modular racks that can be made smaller as necessary.

Moore adds that the biggest benefit from the cloud is that integrators’ service costs should go down because most of the systems can be serviced remotely.

imageCloud-related sessions at CEProLive, Oct. 27, 2011
KEYNOTE: 8 Mega-trends that Will Change Your Business Forever
KEYNOTE: Connecting with the Cloud: Content, Control, Opportunity
Combat Xfinity with IP Based Security Solutions - How to Parlay Low-Cost Security Offerings to Your Advantage
ADT: The Changing Face of ADT and What it Means for Your Business



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  About the Author

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at jason.knott@emeraldexpo.com

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