Product Briefs

PULSE SOUNDBAR+

November 19, 2021 · Bluesound adds Dolby Atmos to PULSE SOUNDBAR+

Bluesound, makers of the hi-res wireless multiroom line of audio products, has announced a software update for the PULSE SOUNDBAR+ that introduces all-new audio settings for realistic home theater sound and adds support for Dolby Atmos.

Ahead of the U.S. Black Friday holiday, customers will be prompted to update their PULSE SOUNDBAR+ and experience an incredible soundstage that brings a whole new dimension to movies, music, games and shows.

The Bluesound PULSE SOUNDBAR+ ($899 in black/$999 in White, U.S. MSRP) is designed to satisfy any home entertainment need. The PULSE SOUNDBAR+ is configurable to a range of home entertainment applications, and it comes with with a wall mount bracket and two kickstand feet.

The BluOS implementation of Dolby Atmos in the PULSE SOUNDBAR+ features four virtualization profiles— Movie, Music, Late Night and Off—to give customers more features than typical in other soundbar implementations of Dolby’s audio processing technologies. While content that is encoded in Dolby Atmos will provide the most realistic experience, any content—from two-channel all the way up to seven-channel—can be virtualized to provide users a wider, higher, and more enveloping soundstage.

PULSE SOUNDBAR+ Offers Flexibility For Any Entertainment Setup

The Canadian audio company points out that integrators can connect nearly any audio source to the soundbar via its array of wired and wireless, digital and analog connectivity options. TVs, gaming consoles, music streaming services, laptops, and music libraries can be accessed through HDMI eARC, Apple AirPlay 2, two-way aptX HD Bluetooth, TOSLINK, RCA, USB, and our proprietary BluOS music streaming system.

More news from Bluesound: Bluesound: Using Wireless Audio in Home Theater Applications with BluOS

Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series Metallic Blue

November 18, 2021 · Bowers & Wilkins Introduces new 700 Series Finish

Bowers & Wilkins has launched two new versions of its 705 Signature stand-mount and 702 Signature floor-standing loudspeakers: Available in Midnight Blue Metallic paint, the 705 Signature and 702 Signature models feature the same drive unit design and upgraded crossover componentry as the existing Datuk Gloss-finished 700 Series Signature models, which remain available to purchase. 

Bower & Wilkins‘ new 705 & 702 Signature feature state-of-the-art Bowers & Wilkins technologies, including a decoupled Continuum cone midrange drive unit on the 702 Signature, complemented by Aerofoil-profile bass drivers. Both 702 and 705 Signature also feature the outstanding Carbon Dome tweeter, housed in Bowers & Wilkins iconic Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top assembly. 

As with the existing Signature models, both Midnight Blue Metallic loudspeakers feature specially treated and upgraded bypass capacitors sourced from Mundorf, larger heatsinking and, in the case of the 702, an upgraded low-frequency capacitor on the bass section of the crossover. According to Bowers & Wilkins, in tandem with the benefits both models enjoy as a result of their Tweeter-on-Top configuration, these upgrades improve the already remarkable resolution, openness and spatial retrieval on offer, lending them an even-more polished, refined and involving sound. 

Both 700 Series Signature models feature Bowers & Wilkins Carbon Dome tweeter technology. Designed to bridge the performance gap between the Aluminium Double Dome used in the 600 Series and the Diamond Dome used in the 800 Series Diamond, the Carbon Dome is composed of two sections.

The front portion is a 30-micron aluminium dome that has been stiffened by a PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating of carbon. The second section is a 300-micron carbon ring that has been profiled to match the form of the main dome. This is then bonded to the inner face of the structure. The outcome is exceptional stiffness and resistance to distortion without undue mass and a first break-up point of 47kHz.

Bowers & Wilkins also points out the speakers’ Continuum cone midrange drivers were first seen in the 800 Series Diamond. The Continuum cone’s design is based on the concept of optimised and controlled flexibility.

Additionally, the 700 Series speakers’ Continuum cone midrange drivers were first seen in the 800 Series Diamond. The Continuum cone’s design is based on the concept of optimised and controlled flexibility. This helps the cone to avoid the abrupt transition from pistonic to break-up mode behaviour that drastically impairs the openness and neutrality of a conventional drive unit. Continuum is a woven composite that gives highly controlled break-up, for a more transparent and detailed midrange.

More news from Bowers & Wilkins: Bowers & Wilkins Takes Flight with a Brand New Zeppelin

DMF Lighting integrator website

November 9, 2021 · DMF Lighting Debuts Custom Integrator-Centric Website

DMF Lighting, a leader in modular downlighting for the custom integration channel, has announced the launch of its new website designed specifically for integrators.

DMF Lighting offers a wide range of lighting applications that continue to be optimized for the residential lighting sector with customization available for integrators and their varied projects.

“In keeping with our continued commitment to investing in the CEDIA space, if you’re an integrator and want to learn more about what DMF has to offer, this resource is the perfect starting point for you,” says Mike Libman, national sales director, Residential Systems, DMF Lighting.

Following the introduction of the popular DID Series, exclusive to the integrator channel, DMF has continued to add innovative products to address multiple room needs and has added services to increase ease of doing business with the lighting specialist.

The DMF Promise guarantees compatibility with lighting controls, access to advanced technical support, and an industry-leading 10-year warranty.

“With the introduction of our DID Series and its seamless integration into major lighting control solutions, we now offer a wide range of lighting applications that we will continue to optimize for residential use cases,” added Libman. “From traditional to modern aesthetics, you can match the mood to the moment with whiter or warmer light outputs. The DID Series is engineered to be modular, allowing for optimum flexibility and ease of installation.”

To learn more about DMF’s portfolio of products engineered for integrators, visit the new website: https://www.dmflighting.com/integrator.

More DMF Lighting coverage: CE Pro Podcast #64: Make Lighting a Larger Part of Your Portfolio

November 9, 2021 · Immersive Audio company Spatial, Made Music Studio Partner

Spatial, an immersive audio software platform, and Made Music Studio, the global sonic branding and design studio, have announced a partnership to create immersive sonic experiences for any environment, starting with an inaugural series of workplace-focused sonic ambiences.

The partnership will combine Spatial‘s software platform with Made Music Studio’s creative audio, and according to the companies, they will seek to redefine the human experience of sound in the workplace.

“As leading companies are rearchitecting the full lifecycle of work and rethinking the purpose of the modern campus with their employees, immersive work design is coming to the forefront,” says Calin Pacurariu, co-founder and CEO of Spatial. 

“We’re thrilled to be working with the brilliant immersive audio designers at Made Music Studio to enhance the employee experience throughout the day. Hybrid work models inherently consider the unique strength of each workplace to maximize creativity, teamwork and performance and our partnership delivers soundscape enhanced environments in an easily scalable and customizable manner on the real-time interactive Spatial platform.” 

Spatial, Made Music Studio Partnership Brings together Science and Art

Spatial’s flexible and scalable technology breaks down traditional audio barriers at a fraction of the cost of traditional immersive sound solutions. Made Music Studio’s originally composed soundscapes, orchestrated and deployed through Spatial’s platform, integrate musical compositions, biophilic sounds and other research-backed audio elements that enhance the employee experience throughout a workday. 

A convergence of art and science, Made Music Studio’s work in ambiences has been shown in testing to quantifiably improve our emotional relationship to spaces and places. The result is next level spatialized sound design that is immersive and interactive, customized to reduce anxiety, increase productivity or evoke states of calm. The impact of this partnership is transformational not only for the future of work, but also the future of retail and the future of hospitality.    

The first series of soundscapes Made Music Studio created on the Spatial platform premieres on November 16 as part of NYCXDesign. Developed for specific use in office and corporate settings, the Made Music Studio sounds include a suite of three sonic ambiences inspired by nature’s four elements of air, earth, water, and fire, designed to enhance employee engagement and productivity.

These soundscapes include:

  • Focus ambience: for use in coworking spaces or other quieter spaces that are used for focused productivity; inspiring relaxation and intimacy while reducing distractions. 
  • Energizing ambience: for use in high-energy communal spaces and high-traffic areas (e.g., dining, recreation areas, hallways); inspiring optimism and motivation.
  • Welcome ambience: for use in lobbies & entry points to offices & corporate spaces; inspiring warmth and interconnectedness. 

Made Music Studio research demonstrates that an office’s sonic environment matters. Well-crafted music and sound can move individuals into a state of relaxed productivity that is 16% more calming and 13% more pleasant on average than a typical office ambience condition.** Sound environments matter – all around us, every day. 

“How and where audio is deployed and designed can significantly impact our experiences. We know that there is an 86% correlation between one’s reaction to sound and their subconscious desire to return to that space,” comments Lauren McGuire, president of Made Music Studio. 

“As we think about what it means to re-enter our offices, shopping malls, airports, and hotels, we can reimagine how we design these spaces through premium sound experiences. This technology opens up a whole new world for sonic design in spaces.”

More news from Spatial: New Company Spatial Introduces Immersive Audio Tools

November 9, 2021 · ADT Announces 2021 Q3 Financial Results

ADT Inc., a provider of smart home and small business security solutions, has reported results for the third quarter (2021 Q3) of 2021.

“Our third quarter results show that we are successfully delivering solid results for our shareholders while positioning the Company for long-term growth. Our people are at the heart of ADT’s brand and I want to thank our entire team for their great work and steadfast focus on our customers,” states Jim DeVries, ADT’s President and CEO.

“Our pending acquisition of Sunpro Solar represents an exciting new chapter for ADT, giving us a top-tier position in the fast-growing residential solar business. With our broad spectrum of integrated security, smart home, and energy management solutions – customers will now be protected, connected, and powered by ADT.”

ADT 2021 Q3 Results Versus Prior Year

Total revenue increased 1% year over year to $1,317 million. The revenue increase was driven primarily by a $53 million, or 5% increase in monitoring and related services revenue resulting from the Company’s subscriber growth initiatives and an improvement in average pricing. Higher M&S revenue was partially offset by lower installation revenue, reflecting the non-cash impact of equipment ownership model changes.

Net loss of $109 million improved from $113 million in the prior year, primarily due to strong M&S revenue and lower interest expense, offset by higher radio conversion costs, which are also reflected in the $0.02 improvement in diluted net loss per share of common stock. Diluted net loss per share of Class B common stock was $(0.13) compared to $(0.07) a year ago.

Adjusted Diluted Net Loss per share (previously named diluted net loss per share before special items) improved compared to the prior year, reflecting improvements in Adjusted Net Loss (previously named net loss before special items) of $54 million compared to $58 million in the prior year.

Adjusted EBITDA was $554 million, down from $564 million in the prior year, reflecting the non-cash impact of the ownership model changes and technology investments. These items were partially offset by strong monitoring and related services revenue performance, as well as improved Commercial results.

Year-to-date net cash provided by operating activities increased 16% year over year to $1,155 million primarily due to the impact of ownership model changes, the non-recurrence of a 2020 outflow related to the Defenders acquisition, and lower cash interest, partially offset by higher net payments for radio conversion costs. Year-to-date net cash used in investing activities increased versus the comparable period in 2020 reflecting higher customer acquisition costs and lower cash paid for business acquisitions. The change in year-to-date cash flows from financing activities was primarily due to the Company’s issuance of Class B common stock in 2020.

ADT notes that as of its 2021 Q3 results, Year-to-date Adjusted Free Cash Flow of $289 million was down compared to the comparable period in 2020 primarily due to higher subscriber acquisition costs associated with significant growth in customers and 19% gross RMR additions growth year-to-date.

More news from ADT: ADT Acquires Sunpro Solar for $825M; Rebrands ADT Solar

November 9, 2021 · ADT Acquires Sunpro Solar for $825M; Rebrands ADT Solar

 ADT Inc., a provider of smart home and small business security solutions, announced an agreement to acquire Sunpro Solar (Sunpro), ranked #2 for 2021 Top Residential Rooftop Solar Contractors in the U.S., for $160 million in cash plus approximately 77.8 million shares of ADT common stock, implying a total enterprise value of approximately $825 million, subject to certain adjustments.

ADT will rebrand Sunpro to ADT Solar and enter the rooftop solar business to offer ADT customers a protected, connected, and now powered home.

“With its strong focus on the customer, Sunpro is the perfect partner for ADT and a logical extension of our ecosystem, unlocking an integrated home experience that includes security, automation, and energy management,” says Jim DeVries, president and chief executive officer, ADT.

“By combining a cash-flow-positive company in the high-growth solar space with ADT’s trusted brand, national footprint, and cross-sell potential, we can expand offerings to our customers and accelerate growth for both ADT and ADT Solar.”

Founded in 2008, Sunpro is a provider of rooftop solar systems in the United States. Sunpro markets, designs, sells, installs, and maintains solar power systems on residential and commercial properties through their 3,600-person, full-time workforce of solar energy professionals with 56 locations in 22 states. The company has been growing quickly, with a 90 percent year-over-year increase in installs in 2020 and has a cash-flow-positive, asset-light business model with more than four consecutive years of positive EBITDA. The transaction price represents 10x estimated standalone next twelve months’ EBITDA.

“We’re excited to offer consumers even more peace of mind by giving them the opportunity to power their homes with sustainable and affordable solar energy. Residential solar represents a $15 billion annual market, but still only in 3 percent of all U.S. homes,” comments DeVries.

“With more than 6 million ADT customers and our best-in-class sales force and marketing channels, we will be well-positioned to further scale ADT Solar while lowering customer acquisition costs and accelerating overall solar adoption. We believe we have the potential to grow ADT Solar into a multi-billion-dollar business over time as we meaningfully increase the accessibility and penetration of residential solar across America.”

ADT points out the cash portion of the proceeds are expected to be used for debt reduction and sellers’ taxes. Nearly all of the sellers’ consideration is in ADT stock, reflecting their conviction in ADT’s future growth.

Sunpro founder Marc Jones and the Sunpro management team are expected to join ADT to help build ADT Solar into the U.S. rooftop solar industry leader.

“Becoming part of the ADT family will accelerate our ability to bring residential and commercial rooftop solar to more customers, helping them save money and also become more energy independent,” adds Jones.

“With our shared mission to further advance smart home technologies and renewable energy solutions for customers, our expansion will make a meaningful difference in how our customers live daily.”

More news from ADT: New ADT + Google Platform to Hit Market in Late 2021

Orro WAVE Distribution

November 9, 2021 · Orro adds WAVE Electronics as its Latest Distributor

Orro, creators of the Orro Smart Living System, have announced the addition of WAVE Electronics to its lineup of nationwide distributors. The Houston-based company marks the fourth major provider to offer Orro One Pro, a human-centric, wellness-driven lighting and smart home control system.

According to Orro, its solutions unlock new revenue opportunities for professionals via an easy-to-install, easy to sell, smart living system. The system not only provides automated, intelligent lighting controls that learn and adapt to homeowners’ habits but also offers simple setup and painless compatibility with other smart home devices and systems. The addition of WAVE Electronics comes at a key time, officials say, amid the product’s increasing popularity with home builders, electricians, A/V integrators and lighting professionals.

“The message from professionals has been loud and clear. They love what Orro offers their customers,” says Patrick Gall (PG), head of channel development for Orro.

“The addition of WAVE Electronics is a major step forward in our commitment to making it easy for pros to gain access to Orro One Pro. From training and dealer marketing services to channel distribution, WAVE is known as a ‘brand building partner.’”

Orro explains as a true human-centric lighting system its platform unifies smart home devices that builders and integrators are already installing. In addition to intelligent lighting, the system provides integrated control of popular smart home products from companies including Sonos, Nest, Ring, Ecobee and soon Control4. With Alexa built-in, the product line is capable of integrating voice control, smart bulbs, scenes and more.

Additionally, by adding multiple switches, homeowners can also utilize benefits such as room-to-room communications (intercom) and remote access and control for other smart home devices and systems. With an integrated touchscreen, Orro can be used independently or with a smartphone using iOS and Android apps.

More news from Orro: Orro Pulse Remote Management System Unveiled

November 4, 2021 · Home Technology Association Partners with NARI

The Home Technology Association (HTA)—the resource for qualified and professional home technology professionals—has announced a mutually-beneficial collaboration initiative with NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry).

Through this new arrangement, HTA will provide NARI members access to HTA’s library of educational resources, including articles, webinars, and videos that has proven beneficial in educating, inspiring, and engaging general contractors, remodeling professionals, architects, designers, and specifiers. In turn, NARI will help spread the word about the importance of using HTA Certified home technology integrators in their remodeling projects. 

“Even though most home technology integrators have relationships with contractors, there is still much work to do in making the relationship more proactive and productive”, says Josh Christian, CEO of the HTA.

“Contractors are often frustrated with the home tech industry and are looking for help in guiding their clients’ and their home’s technology needs. Integrators are too often brought to construction projects too late, resulting in compromised solutions and project delays that could have been avoided if consulted earlier. Through this new relationship with NARI and their members, the HTA looks forward to solving these issues and more as technology increasingly becomes an important part of all of our lives.”

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or NARI, provides residential remodelers with tools that enable them to perform at a higher level. NARI boasts that its members’ annual sales are nearly three times the industry average because of the knowledge, network and support that they receive as members. In addition, NARI connects homeowners with its professional members so consumers have a positive remodeling experience with a professional, qualified remodeler. NARI members pledge to follow the nation’s strictest code of ethics for remodelers so homeowners can feel confident that their remodeling job will be done right when they hire a NARI member. NARI’s website, remodelingdoneright.com, contains a searchable list of NARI members that homeowners can use to find a NARI remodeler near them.

“NARI Members consistently strive to provide the highest level of service to their clients, and this partnership with HTA will give them another tool to achieve that standard,” comments David Pekel, Chief Executive Officer of NARI.

“Home technology integration is important to today’s homeowners, and it will only increase in the future. Developing partnerships with HTA members is just one more way NARI members can further develop their businesses to be among the most sought-after in the remodeling industry,” Pekel added. 

This new collaboration—in addition to its new relationship with Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) and the Interior Design Society (IDS)—is one of a series that HTA says it will make over the coming months as it seeks to align more deeply with associations and organizations from both the home technology industry and adjacent trades. The HTA advocates that all certified technology integrators join their local NARI chapters as Industry Partners and build personal relationships with the local remodeling pros. 

More news from HTA: 7 HTA Certification Hacks You Must Use to Increase Your Profits AND Sales

November 3, 2021 · Poly Room Solutions for Microsoft Teams Rooms Updated

Poly, a global communications company that supports collaboration, has updated Poly Room Solutions for Microsoft Teams Rooms.

This new lineup of Poly Studio Kits, offer premium audio and video for focus, small, medium, and large rooms, and feature Poly DirectorAI technology.

Poly Studio Kits for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows are simple to buy and deploy right out-of-the-box. With an optimized room view as well as speaker tracking and framing technology, Poly Studio Kits for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows deliver an equitable and dynamic meeting experience for everyone. Poly’s Microsoft Teams Rooms solutions on Windows can be paired with  new Dell or Lenovo conferencing PCs.

“Meetings are happening everywhere – from conference rooms to personal workspaces and everything in between.  People crave equitable and consistent video meeting experiences no matter where they are,” says Laura Marx, vice president, global alliance and product marketing, Poly.

“Poly DirectorAI technology intelligently frames in-conference room meeting participants so anyone not in the room can easily track the conversation.”

According to Poly, oftentimes conference room participants either appear small and are difficult to hear, or the person close to the camera looks fine while the person sitting at the far end of the table looks too small. This leads to other meeting participants finding the experience to be inequitable, uninviting or dis-engaging. Poly’s DirectorAI technology overcomes this disparity and delivers a high-performing meeting experience in any size space.

“Today’s workplace needs have changed, and Microsoft Teams Rooms is introducing inclusive collaboration experiences through concepts like front row,” says Albert Kooiman, senior director of Microsoft Teams Devices Partner Engineering and Certification at Microsoft Corporation.

“The new lineup of Poly Room Solutions for Teams Rooms brings users to the forefront of the future of meetings with optimized room views, plus speaker tracking and framing for a more equitable and dynamic meeting experience.”

Poly Studio Kits for Microsoft Teams Rooms come in a variety of configurations, and can comfortably equip any meeting room size to deliver an equitable experience for all:

  • Poly Studio Focus Room Kit for Microsoft Teams on Windows: Includes Poly Studio P15 and Poly Room PC for Microsoft Teams Room with Dell, or Lenovo
  • Poly says the solutions provide users collaboration capabilities in limited space with all-in-one video bar and clutter-free cabling
  • The products incorporate beamforming microphone arrays
  • Poly Studio Small/Medium Room Kit for Microsoft Teams on Windows: Includes Poly Studio USB and Poly Room PC for Microsoft Teams Room with Dell, orLenovo
  • Poly DirectorAI technology provides cutting-edge video experiences
  • Poly Studio Large Room Kit for Microsoft Teams on Windows: Includes Poly Studio E70, Poly Room PC for Microsoft Teams Room with Dell, or Lenovo
  • The large-room kit provides dual cameras with 4K 20-megapixel sensors covers large rooms
  • The large-room kit offers Poly DirectorAI technology
  • In addition, the large-room kit provides group framing and speaker tracking, including smooth dissolve video transition between views

More news from CE Pro: CEDIA Hires Industry Veteran Amanda Beckner

November 3, 2021 · Amazon Joins IoT The Thread Group Board of Directors

The Thread Group, an industry alliance addressing IoT convergence, has announced the addition of Amazon to its Board of Directors.

Amazon’s increased backing of Thread Group further demonstrates its commitment to Matter, over both Thread and Wi-Fi, and to supporting a broad range of smart home protocols, which benefits both device makers and their customers.

“We’ve been a proud member of the Thread Group for the last five years, and I’m pleased to join the Board of Directors, continuing Amazon’s commitment to supporting a flexible, private, collaborative, and interoperable smart home,” says Gabe Kassel, principal product manager at Amazon.

“We believe Matter and Thread will improve interoperability and make it easier for customers to set up and automate their homes and, as a board member, I’m excited to drive further innovation in the smart home industry.”

With this appointment, Amazon will continue to advance Thread as a key technology supported by Matter, a unified IP-based connectivity protocol. Matter helps connect and build reliable, compatible and secure IoT ecosystems, enabling communications among a wide range of smart devices. Consumers can be assured that any device built on this standard is reliable, secure, and compatible.

According to the Thread Group, Amazon is dedicated to ensuring that customers can simply set up and use Alexa with as many smart home devices as possible. Supporting new industry standards such as Matter and Thread, in addition to existing protocols, is an important part of that effort. eero, an Amazon company that provides a whole-home mesh Wi-Fi system, already has millions of Thread border routers in homes around the world, including eero Pro, eero Beacon, eero Pro 6, and eero 6.

Amazon joins 12 existing member companies across the IoT ecosystem on the Thread Group’s Board of Directors, including other leading smart home and building technology providers such as Google and Apple.

“As one of the fastest-growing alliances, we are focused on ensuring responsive, robust, and secure smart home solutions,” comments Vividh Siddha, president of Thread Group.

“As such, we are committed to reducing industry fragmentation by working together closely with organizations across the IoT spectrum. Therefore, we’re thrilled that Amazon is increasing its commitment to the organization’s overall goal of establishing the widespread adoption of Thread technology in connected homes and buildings.”

More news from the Thread Group: Samsung SmartThings Introduces Matter Compatibility