If you attended CEDIA Expo 2022 earlier this fall, chances are 99.999% you heard the word “design” used in booth after booth. Whether it’s product aesthetics, the ability to conceal technology, lighting fixtures to add function and flair, or promoting healthier smart living (along with much more), the influence of design and the prospects of fostering interior design relationships echoed throughout the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center during the Dallas event.
That’s a good thing. Manufacturers in the channel are trying to help get integrators into projects earlier, and connecting dealers with designers is one way to do so. Once designers understand how integrators can assist by creating proposals that utilize invisible speakers or color-changing lighting or TV mounts that fold up into the ceiling (to name a few) they may be the ones bringing potential jobs to their trusted technology partners.
Again this year at CEDIA Expo, designers were welcomed to the revitalized in-person tradeshow. CEDIA hosted the return of Design + Connection tours that brought designers around several booths including including Crestron, Google, Harman Luxury Audio, HTSN Nationwide/Azione Unlimited, Lutron, Origin Acoustics, Samsung, Sony and AiSPiRE/WAC.
I visited several of those booths and many more whose exhibitors told varying ways design has influenced their product development and engineering, whether it was new products, revisions or new category entries. I found design impacting products ranging from LED lights, motorized shades, loudspeakers, displays, and even security and automation devices.
Take Crestron, for example, with its new LED lighting fixtures or Origin Acoustics working with Bang & Olufsen on a reimagined soundbar that fits in with the Danish company’s renowned design heritage.
The display manufacturers have been catering to the design crowd for years now, as the likes of Sony, Samsung and LG have continued to slim down, embiggen and help their products double as wall art … now able to fill entire walls with the rise of microLEDs.
I love the way keypads from Basalte and the capability to flush-mount keypads (and touchpanels, Josh.ai devices, Sonos soundbars and more) from Wall-Smart offer unique aesthetic perspectives for integrators and their clients.
Personally, my favorite eye-catching design enhancement at the Expo was countertop backlighting, shown by some of the fixture providers. Throw in some invisible loudspeakers, voice control, motorized shades and lighting control and it doesn’t take much these days to pull together a compelling tech package that satisfies homeowners and designers especially in frequented secondary spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms.
There’s much work to be done connecting integrators and designers, as I observed while attending my first KBIS show earlier this year, and moderating a session with integrator and HTA panelists in front of an audience of curious designers. But if CEDIA Expo 2022 is any indication, the technology makers are leading the bandwagon to bring the trades together.
For the companies that I did get a chance to visit or briefly take a photo while walking by – there were plenty of head-turning products – check out this slideshow of solutions that helped design dominate CEDIA Expo, from:
- AiSPiRE (WAC Lighting)
- Bang & Olufsen / Origin Acoustics
- Coastal Source
- Da-Lite (Legrand AV)
- Environmental Lights
- Hunter Douglas
- JBL (Harman Luxury Audio)
- Leon Speakers
- Magna Audio
- Masonite (Z-Wave booth)
- Proluxe by American Lighting
- Sonance / James Loudspeaker
- Stealth Acoustics
And remember, these were only on my exhibitor visit list (among others I saw) – these companies represent only a fraction of the exhibitors crowding the show floor this year. I’m sure attendees found myriad other ways design is increasingly becoming a driving force in the industry.
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