Dallas is hot right now – really hot – as in daily temperatures in the mid-90s. This is a shocking change from the cooling New England Fall now engulfing our home base. But it’s about to get even hotter as the nation’s custom integration community comes together for its annual pilgrimage, the pilgrimage known as Expo.
See more on the the pilgrimage known as Expo…
Each Expo is unique, a reflection of constant rise and fall of waves of technology. Business cycles as well, ebb and flow as if some massive tide, made up of the whims of consumers and users, moves in-and-out in mysterious ways mostly beyond our control.
This Expo will be truly different. First, it’s taking place in a new market. Well, that’s not entirely true…in the early days of the Custom Electronics Design & Installation Association (CEDIA), events were held in Dallas. But that was many, many years ago.
Now, after many years of Expos in Indianapolis, the show has become nomadic – moving around to multiple new markets, such as Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, and now Dallas. Some of those markets have been popular with attendees (Denver)… And some have been unpopular (Atlanta).
In addition to a new venue, this will be the first Expo under the aegis of our newly crowned CEO of CEDIA – Vincent Bruno, former Crestron marketing executive. Most likely, Bruno is too new to the scene to have had a major impact on this event, as his appointment only happened recently. But it is still the first with him at the helm.
New CEO/New Logo
With the new CEO, the organization has taken steps to refresh its brand with an all-new logo (as shown above). In our initial unscientific survey here pre-show, the new logo gets either a shrug, or a sign of dislike with a gesture of holding one’s nose. But some do like it…and almost everyone thinks it was time for an update.
The winds of change continue to blow through the industry. While the economy remains stagnant, companies continue to jockey for position with lackluster consumer demand a significant headwind to progress.
Progress, If Slow Progress
Development of exciting new technologies seems to have moderated as well. In video, 4K continues to grow, although the “heat” around it continues to taper. Many are looking at technologies like high dynamic range, OLED and 8k resolution, but battered TV manufacturers have cut back on R&D and marketing. And they’ve even cut back on markets…such as Sharp ceasing TV manufacturing and, instead, licensing their products to third party manufacturers in all markets outside of Japan.
On the audio front, we still see some growing enthusiasm, from manufacturers at least, around new surround technologies, such as Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D. In fact, at this very Expo, there will be some interesting demos from GoldenEar (Atmos) and James Loudspeakers (Auro 3D).
High-Res Audio still seems to be languishing with an inconsistent and anemic push. Perhaps, a new thrust by Best Buy for special in-store displays and demos of the technology, in partnership with some of their vendors, will help to start to move the needle on Hi Res Audio adoption. But we shudder at the thought of relying on Best Buy to spearhead this effort – as we personally experienced their botched efforts to promote 3D TV.
Of more specific concern to integrators is the trend to DIY…if there is one. And many feel extreme unease at the continued progression of increasingly intense research by massed hoards of engineers at Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others towards home automation solutions for the masses and what it might do to our already low-growth industry.
So in this environment we come to Dallas to sweat out the heat…and to sweat out the details of new technologies and new products. And – hopefully – new ideas.