Media sign in Dallas

CEDIA 2016 in Dallas is just days away, showing the latest – and the best – home automation devices to use in the Smart Home you are creating.

The CEDIA show is one I’ve been attending for over 20 years.  It has been the primary show for home and business/education projectors for all that time, and home automation has been widely featured there as well.  But, until recently, home automation gear has primarily been very expensive proprietary systems from big names like Crestron, Control4, and Savant.  Those folks will certainly be very visible, but for myself, and the rest of the world that isn’t in the “top 1%” financially, a significant part of CEDIA is what I refer to as new gen home automation – you know – affordable – and much of it, wireless.

Lutron Caseta switches installed in our Dream Home Project

Lutron Caseta switches installed in our Dream Home Project

This is of course the primary focus of this website.  Of course if you are also interested in projectors visit our website.

But, I digress.  There will be plenty of new gear for me to take a close look at at the show, and to arrange for review units for myself and my other reviewers.

CEDIA will have plenty of Smart Lighting.  There are not only all types of LED lighting itself – color bulbs, white ones, white ones with adjustable “color temp” (warm to cool), LED RGB and RGBW strip lighting, (indoor and out).  Lighting will come in Wifi,  Zigbee, Bluetooth and Z-wave flavors .  Those of you who visit our site regularly, know I love smart lighting, and use it myself, extensively, indoors and out. I still owe you all a review on Lutron’s Casseta system, their “entry level” if you will.  Great stuff, and coming soon.

There will be “independent” voice based control solutions to report on, in case Amazon Echo – Alexa (check out Dave’s review of the Echo which complements his Wink hub), Apple HomeKit – Siri, Microsoft – Cortana, and Google – Google, don’t rock your socks.

I’ll be learning and reporting on the latest and greatest improvements to home hubs like SmartThings, who’s long term review will be published early next month, and also Wink, which Dave published.

Door locks?  Smart door locks that is?  Hope to arrange to bring in a couple more of those to review, including one that you can retrofit to many existing, and dumb, deadbolt locks.  Will be talking to the August folks, Yale and others.

And of course there will be whole home audio, and video to report on if I can get to it.

It’s my intention to write a couple of blogs from the show, perhaps a FaceBook Live broadcast or two (but probably from our ProjectorReviews site, simply because it’s far better established with over a million unique visitors a year (compared to this site, relatively new, but growing).  LIKE us, and you should be notified by Facebook when we’ll be doing those.

Echo has a 3 piece audio system delivering clear, crisp and loud sound. There is the reflex tube at the top, working in conjunction with the 2.5" sub-woofer. Then at the bottom, a 2" tweeter to bring out the crisp high notes.

Echo has a 3 piece audio system delivering clear, crisp and loud sound. There is the reflex tube at the top, working in conjunction with the 2.5″ sub-woofer. Then at the bottom, a 2″ tweeter to bring out the crisp high notes.

Editor’s note:  The Amazon provided, cut-away image of the Amazon Echo here, is discussed in our full Amazon Echo review.

I will be truly slammed at this show, though, with a dozen appointments in 2 days, plus another 20 companies’ booths  on my list to see.  I will no doubt be blogging more about the new smart home devices, the whole connected home thing (smart refrigerators, and who knows what else), and anything else significant, over the two weeks following the show.  So don’t forget to check back.

Regarding the image attached to this blog – it’s from last year’s CEDIA, also in Dallas.  I had a great view from my hotel room, of the CEDIA digital signage on the Omni hotel adjacent to the Dallas Convention Center, where the festivities took place.

One last tidbit:  CEDIA, for those of you not familiar, is a show that is designed for those custom installing local dealers.  Until the past couple of years, many did that “old school” home automation, most of us couldn’t afford, but now many of them are looking to expand their customer bases by helping “the rest of us” install, and get some serious home automation going.

“Hark!  There be dealers out there to help you get your Smart Home”

It’s a great show for the DIY types to gather info, and see products, but the point I want to make, is that, most people are not hard core DIY types, and don’t want to be.  Sure, setting up some Philips Hue or LIFX lights is something the least techie of us can handle (can you work your smart phone?), but there are far more folks who want to turn their home into a Smart Home, – and do so without having to figure it all out themselves, but also don’t want to spend $50K or $250K+ to do so.  And it’s great that if something isn’t working right, there’s someone to turn to.  I’ll be checking around for dealer certification programs.  I hear Zigbee (the protocol that Philips Hue, and many other use, for example, has set up a training certification program for dealers.  I hope to see others and report back, so you know where to look if you are ready to start automating, “with a little help from your friends.”

It’s going to be a very exciting year for the smart home and smart home products, so stay tuned, we’ll have lots more for you.  -art

Art's been reviewing high tech products and editing their reviews for 15 years. He launched his first website presenting (sold in 2003) in early 1995 when there were only a few thousand .coms. He launched in 2000, and started planning back in 2011. Art's goal is to provide in-depth reviews on the latest and hottest products that fit into the Smart Home, aka Home Automation, as well as insightful articles to educate people into what's available, what makes the most sense, and where the market is going, so people can better plan, and implement their goals for energy efficient, convenient, and downright "cool" capabilities. Ancient history: Born in Allentown PA, Graduated 1972. Sold and managed stereo stores (and did a little surfing) in the early, mid-70's before getting into computers and more AV. Managed the first computers store in Pa, starting in 1979 (not the first manager). Moved to selling computers to major accounts. Then moved west to SF area, for a four year stint with Epson starting in 1982, then left for one of the early large venture backed start-ups in the Silicon Valley - Presentation Technologies. Left there to start up Presenting Solutions, which became the first projector focused reseller on the internet (Jan 1995). Married Lori in 1990, and have been enjoying our daughter Lisa, since 1992! Presently living, and working in San Clemente, CA.

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