Product Briefs

Samsung SmartThings Build

October 26, 2021 · Samsung SmartThings Announces SmartThings Build

Samsung SmartThings, a technology enabling connected living and driving the future of IoT, has announced its “SmartThings Build” partnership solution designed to help builders, property management companies, and real estate developers create and manage connected living experiences across properties and homes at scale.

Announced at the Samsung Developer Conference, SmartThings Build is designed as a one-stop option for builders to meet the shifting preferences of today’s residents and homeowners who value efficiency, speed, and integration across devices. 

According to a recent survey from SmartThings, people are increasingly looking for homes and apartment buildings with connected technology. Almost 75 percent of those surveyed reported that smart home capabilities are an important feature when looking for a place to live, with respondents citing smart cameras, smart lights, and smart appliances as the most important connected devices. 

“The living experience has changed significantly since the pandemic, with people cooking more meals at home, turning bedrooms into home offices, and spending increased time using home electronics,” comments Chanwoo Park, corporate vice president and head of IoT business group at Samsung Electronics.  

“As a result, technology has become an integral aspect of everyday life. By incorporating SmartThings technology directly into new homes and developments, builders can offer residents the home technology they are seeking, while also remaining competitive in today’s ever-changing landscape.”

While SmartThings continues to evolve and enhance its open ecosystem for consumers, it has been doubling down on expanding its offerings to work with partners to seamlessly integrate technology into existing systems and services. Current partners within SmartThings Build range from developers to system management companies, including Entrata, iQuue, Aeotec, CommScope RUCKUS, Project Etopia, Picerne, Greystar, JM, ViewHomes, VolkerWessels, and more.

According to the company, SmartThings increases efficiency and lowers operational costs for builders by removing the barriers that residents often face when scheduling maintenance tasks with landlords or building supers. Through systems integrated with SmartThings: 

  • Alerts are automated for faster repairs and reduced appliance downtime. 
  • Property managers have streamlined access to appliance prevention maintenance and diagnostic tools within a single platform.
  • Smart appliance installation is streamlined via the SmartThings Installer application. 
  • Move in and out processes are simplified by allowing property managers to grant and revoke access to devices and appliances remotely, without needing to be on-site.
  • Maintenance tickets are automatically generated in the property management system, thereby increasing staff productivity.

“We want to ensure a seamless flow from prospect to resident and maintenance to property manager, since each of those experiences are really different,“ notes Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata, the multifamily industry’s most comprehensive technology provider.

“With Samsung SmartThings, not only can a resident control their washer, start their appliances remotely, and access their community, but the maintenance individual can also see the diagnostics. It happens in the background without the resident even knowing, providing an amazing customer experience.” 

SmartThings Build Increases Energy Efficiency

In addition to connected home experiences, next-generation residents and single family homeowners are increasingly demanding more eco-friendly products and putting greater emphasis on sustainability. Beyond providing a scalable, smart home platform, SmartThings Build helps streamline energy costs when combined with home appliances, helping users create healthier, more energy-efficient homes. Samsung SmartThings’ research finds that 61 percent of those surveyed shared that smart devices have helped save money on utilities each month. SmartThings technology the company asserts, can help homeowners monitor water consumption, assist with the right laundry cycles for optimal usage, electrical consumption, and more.

“Our work with SmartThings allows us to understand different moving parts in the home and how they can have a negative impact on the planet – whether it’s a leaky house and the door is left open or the heat is on too high,” states Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, a U.K.-based smart building company and partner of Samsung SmartThings.

“Through our partnership with SmartThings, we allow users to understand how their energy works, making things simpler, smarter and more sustainable.”

More news from Samsung SmartThings: Aladdin Connect Works with SmartThings

October 26, 2021 · 21st Century Distributing 2021 Virtual Roadshow Event

21st Century Distributing, a distributor serving the Southeast and a PowerHouse Alliance member, shared details from its successful 2021 Virtual Roadshow event.

The three-day event, hosted virtually for the second year in a row, took place October 13-15. Providing dealers with a platform to experience new product demonstrations, live trainings, business growth seminars, and arcade games, the Virtual Roadshow brought professional development opportunities to almost 300 custom installation dealers and integrators. 

“The goal was simple, we wanted to provide our dealers and manufacturing partners with an interactive environment emulating that of an actual live, in-person event,” says Josh Vicini, vice president of business development and operations at 21st Century Distributing.

“This year we elevated the event with 31 live educational training and collaborative sessions. Feedback from participants indicated that the coupling of virtual walkthroughs and demos from manufacturer booths alongside product trainings delivered a cohesive, interactive platform that more closely replicates in-person trainings.  Our team is delighted by the record turnout from industry dealers, it seems we are learning more and more secrets to delivering successful events by listening to participants and giving them programs that work both with and for their business.”

The distributor points out the 2021 Virtual Roadshow would not have been possible without the support of 21st Century vendor partners. Platinum sponsors included Sony, RTI, Samsung, Vanco, Lutron, Sonos, IC Realtime, Nortek Control, Focal, and Ring.

“The RTI team had a great experience participating in the 21st Century Virtual Roadshow,” notes Jim Koenig, national sales director for RTI.

“Dealers have missed the interaction and education that they receive at in-person events and 21st Century successfully replicated that experience. The event software and overall dealer experience was unique and engaging.” 

Frank Santos, director of training and product knowledge at Vanco adds, “This was the absolute best virtual event that the Vanco team has attended. The development of the interactive show platform was very well executed.” 

After hosting their first virtual roadshow last year, the 21st Century team wanted to capitalize on what they learned to elevate the 2021 event and set new goals which included an event that was simple to attend and participate in, valuable education and training, and fun. Building on the previous event’s popular virtual golf tournament, the team initiated a participant reward system to keep attendees active and engaged. 21st Century created a virtual arcade system that invited dealers to play a variety of popular games.

Over the course of the three-day event, attendees earned points by playing arcade games, attending trainings, and visiting manufacturer booths. Every 100 points earned would land them a raffle ticket that could be used towards drawings for raffle prizes. Participating vendors provided over $30,000 worth of prizes and products for the raffle, including an 85-inch Samsung TV, a Sonance 8.1 garden set with amp, and a Focal 5.1 channel surround sound system. Additionally, attendees could visit the “food court” where they would receive food vouchers allowing them to order food and eat right from their home. 

More news from Powerhouse Alliance: KOA Electronics Distribution to Hold Grand Opening Event

October 20, 2021 · New Arcam AVR 5 AV Receiver is Dirac Ready

Dirac has announced that the new ARCAM AVR5 receiver is “Dirac Ready” to run Dirac Live Room Correction. 

Cambridge, U.K.-based ARCAM created the AVR5 to be a high-performance, affordable home theater receiver. Its built-in support for Dirac Live Room Correction means even more consumers can easily achieve dramatically enhanced sound experiences that otherwise not achievable: a larger sweet spot, more accurate staging, enhanced clarity and voice intelligibility, and a deeper, tighter bass. The AVR5 also includes support for Dirac Live Bass Control, Dirac Live’s latest feature for managing subwoofers to deliver a spatially consistent bass across the entire listening area.

“Consumers continue to demand ever-higher quality audio, and not just people we might traditionally consider enthusiasts. Mainstream home theater consumers have begun to appreciate the role digital signal processing plays in creating better sound,” says Erik Rudolphi, vice president of home and pro audio, Dirac.

“With Dirac Live available for ARCAM’s new AVR5, more consumers than ever before can experience audio the way they were meant to — regardless of the space they’re listening in.”

The “Dirac Ready” ARCAM AVR5, with its ability to natively decode 12 channels of immersive audio, comes with the capability to support and run Dirac Live. With the Dirac Ready feature, ARCAM AVR5 users can choose to download, activate, and purchase Dirac Live licenses and begin enjoying elevated home theater sound experiences.

“ARCAM understood that there was a strong requirement below the existing offering,” adds Nick Clarke, senior director, global engineering Luxury Audio, Harman.

“The AVR5 perfectly meets this need by offering a comprehensive and configurable feature set along with the legendary sound quality ARCAM is well known for, with Dirac Ready allowing the end-user or installer to make full use of Dirac in a way that suits their individual needs.”

More news from Arcam: Arcam AVR5 Immersive Audio AV Receiver

October 19, 2021 · ADI now Integrates into D-Tools Software

ADI Global Distribution, a wholesale distributor of security, AV and low-voltage products, has announced it now integrates with D-Tools business management software solutions, D-Tools Cloud and System Integrator.

Customers can now access ADI‘s full product offering directly from the D-Tools software interface.

D-Tools software is designed to drive sales and improve operating efficiency by streamlining the entire project workflow—including estimating and proposals, system design and documentation, procurement, project management, installation, and ongoing service—all through a data-driven process that leverages an extensive, integrated product library. Through this integration, ADI customers can simply enter their ADI account number to access detailed product information, get real-time pricing, prepare quotes and place orders at ADI, directly from within D-Tools software.

“Building strategic supplier relationships to further support our software users is a top priority for D-Tools. ADI is a leading distributor in the security and AV market and we’re proud to be working with them,” states Barrie McCorkle, director of supplier programs at D-Tools.

“Through this integration, we’re helping customers save time by alleviating the workload that comes from managing product data and the procurement process, so they can drive sales and increase productivity companywide.”

D-Tools software is used by thousands of residential and commercial security system installers and AV systems integrators across the low voltage industry. Suitable for smaller projects, D-Tools Cloud offers an easy-to-deploy web-based solution, that streamlines the sales and project management process from any device. For larger projects, D-Tools System Integrator is a robust, end-to-end on-premises solution that streamlines the entire project workflow, from initial client contract through engineering drawings and ongoing service. 

“In addition to our wide selection of products, ADI is committed to providing our customers with the support and service to operate more efficiently,” adds Bob Appleby, vice president and general manager, ADI North America.

“By integrating with D-Tools, dealers have easy access to ADI’s complete product offering, pricing and ordering capabilities from the project building platform. This helps improve proposal turnaround times, streamline project workflows and improve productivity.” 

More news from ADI: New ADI App for Dealers Makes Orders Faster and Easier

Hisense Comcast XClass platform

October 19, 2021 · Hisense to Offer Comcast XClass TV Smart Services Platform

The telecomm company Comcast has announced the launch of its Comcast XClass TV platform to extend the reach of the company’s global technology platform to smart TVs nationwide. For the first time, Comcast’s entertainment and voice platform is available direct to consumers across the U.S., without an Xfinity subscription, both inside and outside of Comcast’s service areas. 

Comcast has partnered with Hisense to bring the first XClass TVs to market, combining Hisense’s advanced television hardware with Comcast’s XClass TV operating system. XClass TV will offer consumers an affordable smart TV with an integrated interface and voice remote to access their favorite live and on demand streaming content from hundreds of apps and services. The first Comcast XClass TVs from Hisense are available this week in select Walmart stores and in the coming weeks through

“We’re thrilled to bring our award-winning entertainment experience to smart TVs nationwide and for the first time offer consumers inside and outside our service areas a simple way to navigate their live and on demand content, whether streaming or cable,” says Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer, Comcast.  

“Hisense XClass TVs are the next products in a growing portfolio built on our flexible and scalable technology platform, bringing the best innovative products – whether that’s a streaming box or a smart TV – to each territory and customer segment.”

XClass TV is built on the same global technology platform that powers the company’s entertainment and connectivity products and services, including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, Sky Glass and Sky Q. The platform’s technology integrates streaming, on demand, broadcast, and cable options in one place under unified voice search, discovery, apps and interactive features. It offers customers intuitive navigation across thousands of apps, movies, shows and sports with a simple voice command or remote click. 

The launch follows Comcast’s recent introductions of Sky Glass, a new streaming TV now available in the UK, and XiOne, a new global streaming box, which are all built on Comcast’s global technology platform.  Comcast’s platform delivers nearly five billion entertainment streams per week to customers across Comcast, Sky and its syndication partners and powers more than 75 million Comcast entertainment and connectivity devices today. 

“As a rapidly growing brand in the U.S., Hisense is committed not only to quality products but also to providing an array of options for our customers,” comments David Gold, president of Hisense USA.

“We’re excited to partner with Comcast to bring the first XClass TVs to market in the U.S.”

Hisense XClass TVs are available in affordably priced 43- and 50-inch 4K Ultra HD models. According to Hisense, the televisions include more features and value than other smart TVs in this price category, including a voice remote powered by Comcast’s Emmy-award winning voice technology. Alongside the user experience, Hisense XClass TVs support leading technologies including Dolby Vision HDR, which delivers a more vivid, lifelike image. Hisense XClass TVs also support HDR10 and can enable the pass-through of Dolby Atmos from compatible content sources when the TV is connected to a compatible audio device. 

More news from Hisense: Hisense offers “No Regrets” Try it Before you Buy it Policy

October 19, 2021 · Avnu Alliance Announces Milan Advanced Certification Program

Avnu Alliance, an industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, has introduced its new Milan Advanced Certification Program for faster, more convenient, and less expensive testing and certification of Professional Audio Video (AV) end devices for its members.

The consortium states the program is a first of its kind for the AV industry because it streamlines certification testing at independent test houses for end devices implementing the Milan network protocol. The Advanced Certification program introduces an enhanced Certification Management System, new pre-certification validation test tools, and global access to test houses around the world. 

“This is a new approach to open standard certification for the Pro AV industry. There are other open standards in this industry, however, they don’t guarantee interoperability on their own. Milan manufacturers have come together to invest their expertise, resources, and experience to ensure a system architecture that will work for the future of many ecosystems, all supported by a first-of-its-kind independent certification program. The new Milan Advanced Certification program makes testing and certification significantly easier and faster for members, which brings more manufacturers and Certified devices to the table, with the guarantee that those devices will work together to deliver the best experience for the end user,” says Richard Bugg, pro AV segment chair, Avnu Alliance.

“The new streamlined program is Milan’s solution to enabling a long-term, stable, no-compromise network of future-ready devices that is easier and less expensive to implement and evolves with the market’s requirements.”

Milan is a standards-based, user-driven deterministic network protocol for professional media, that through certification, assures devices will work together at new levels of convenience, reliability, and functionality. To guarantee interoperability amongst Milan devices from various manufacturers, Avnu’s new Milan Advanced Certification Program delivers robust test plans and scripts that are performed at independent authorized certification labs around the world to ensure compliance with the Milan specifications and to guarantee seamless interoperability with all other Milan-Certified end devices and Avnu-Certified switches in the signal chain, regardless of function or manufacturer. 

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Samsung Bespoke AirDresser

October 15, 2021 · Samsung Bespoke Announces Bespoke AirDresser

Following Samsung’s Bespoke Home Global event in May, the brand recently announced the U.S. launch of the Bespoke AirDresser, the latest addition to the Bespoke lineup.

Samsung explains that with new finishes, sizes and upgraded smart features for ultimate convenience, the Bespoke AirDresser refreshes clothing by removing dust, eliminating germs and odors, and smoothing out wrinkles – just in time for the holidays and other more typical daily activities.

Additionally, to build on the successful launch of Samsung’s Bespoke refrigerator earlier this year, the new Bespoke Kitchen Suite allows families to bring even more of their individual style to their home.

The company states that homeowners can now personalize their entire kitchen suite and choose from a wide range of Bespoke looks and finishes to match their refrigerator, which could nicely align with any home improvement plans ahead of the upcoming new year.

In addition to the 4-Door Flex Refrigerator, the suite of products includes a customizable Slide-In Range, an Over-The-Range Microwave and a Linear Wash Dishwasher.

Pricing for the new Bespoke AirDresser starts at $1,499.

More news from Samsung Bespoke: Samsung Provides Custom Fridges Through BESPOKE Series

October 14, 2021 · Zero Ohm Names Selective Design North American Distributor

The electronics import/representative company Selective Design has added the company Zero Ohm to its portfolio of manufacturers.

Zero Ohm designs and manufactures passive devices connected between amplifiers and loudspeakers. The Montreal-based company says its products can be used in commercial and residential environments to connect large amounts of speakers to amplifiers safely.

According to Todd Sutherland of Selective Design, until the development of the Zero Ohm product line the only way to connect multiple speakers to amplifiers with long cable runs was to us 70-volt/100-volt distributed audio technologies.

“Everyone in the industry knows or will soon learn that the use of 70-volt/100-volt transformers has been a necessary evil for decades,” states Sutherland.

“There has been no other way to connect a large number of speakers with very long cable runs and keep any amplifier safely operating because of impossible impedance loads. Transformers solved the impedance problem, but even at the highest quality levels they introduced frequency response and phase problems on their own. Any speaker engineer will confirm this. Their use remains widespread today because we all have accepted that the solution was worth the sacrifice in sound quality … however 70-volt/100-volt has become synonymous with sacrificing sound quality. This can be both heard and easily measured. Zero Ohm Systems has changed that completely and is turning the 70-volt/100-volt market on its head. Integrators now have complete freedom to use the amplifiers and speakers of their choice to achieve the best sound performance without transformers. In the end we are in the sound experience business and that’s what clients are expecting from us without the excuses of connection limitations and compromises.”

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October 14, 2021 · PSNI Global Alliance adds Audinate as Partner

PSNI Global Alliance, a global network of premier technology integrators and service providers, has expanded its worldwide presence and portfolio as it welcomes Audinate as a global Preferred Vendor Partner (PVP).

Audinate is a leading manufacturer of professional digital audio networking technologies. The company’s widely used Dante platform distributes digital audio signals over computer networks and continues to bring the benefits of IT networking to the professional AV industry.

The PSNI Global Alliance Preferred Vendor Partner Program connects vendors and integrators to pursue market opportunities, cultivating deeper relationships and increased sales within member organizations.  PSNI’s Preferred Vendor Partners and its Certified Solution Providers (CSPs) collaborate closely to ensure best-in-class solutions on the market.

“The Audinate brand needs little introduction to those in professional AV circles and we are thrilled to welcome them as an Alliance PVP,” says Tom Roberts, PSNI Global Alliance Director of Vendor Programs.

“Along with their renowned and respected Dante protocol, Audinate have an exciting vision for the future, and we are excited to see where our combined strengths take us in coming years.”

Corey Boyer, director of global system solutions for Audinate, says the newly formed partnership will benefit everyone involved.  

“With the recent rise in the hybrid workplace model, we have seen Dante used in many exciting new areas. With PSNI’s worldwide network and expert knowledge, we look forward to working closely together to ensure end-users receive the best possible service, alongside the best possible solutions to their needs,” adds Boyer.

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October 13, 2021 · Somfy, Extron Announce Somfy Integration into Extron Systems

Somfy, a manufacturer of motors for interior window coverings, projection screens, and exterior solar protections, has announced a partnership with Extron.

Extron is a global manufacturer of professional AV systems. The two companies are combining Extron control capabilities with Somfy-powered products for today’s smart-building projects. 

“At Somfy we are committed to simplifying smart-building control and elevating the room experience for the specifiers and installers, as well as for the people in the space,” states Brittany Mier y Terán, partnerships and custom integration channel manager, Somfy North America.

“We are excited to work with Extron – a leader in AV technology – to bring Somfy-powered product control together with touch panel and AV integration.” 

According to Somfy, facility managers and AV professionals will appreciate the simple installation, setup, automation, and control that is enabled with an Extron control processor and a touchpanel integrated with Somfy-powered devices. A simple press on the Extron touchscreen allows the user to adjust motorized shades and projection screens, and interact with other AV equipment in the room, enhancing the experience and versatility of lecture halls, conference rooms, and meeting spaces. 

“We are very excited to offer our customers all the advantages of the Somfy motorized window covering controls using the simplicity of our Extron control system products,” comments Casey Hall, vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for Extron.

“By working with Somfy, we know that our customers are getting a truly reliable, convenient, and integrated experience,” she added.  

Through the integration of Somfy-powered products and Extron Control System Drivers and Device Modules, the companies say users can access even smarter features. Somfy-powered products can work in concert with an occupancy sensor, providing touch-free automatic control. This room automation can raise the shades and projection screen when a room is no longer in use, or can lower the appropriate shades in preparation for a presentation based upon lighting level in the room. Somfy powers products from leading motorized shade and projector screen manufacturers such as Hunter Douglas, Stewart Filmscreen, Draper, MechoShade, and more. 

The Extron control processor communicates with the Somfy powered products via standard control protocols. The shades and projector screens then provide a responsive room control experience as part of the complete smart-building solution. Sensors can be used to trigger automated settings for shades and projector screens based on room occupancy, ambient light level, and more. 

More news from Somfy: 5 Questions for Somfy’s Brittany Mier y Terán, Partnerships & CI Channel Manager