A/V Industry Newsletter 2015-10-04


Quirky and Wink File for Bankruptcy


The first bid in the running for acquiring both companies is Flextronics International at $15M. Wink released the following statement:

“This does not impact the Wink experience for our users nor how Wink operates day-to-day. Our engineers and designers will continue to enhance our platform to provide new, meaningful ways for you to interact with your smart home. The Wink HUB and Wink Relay will continue to be available at The Home Depot and Amazon. Our customer support team will continue to provide the same quality assistance we pride ourselves on. Wink will continue to be Wink.”


Randy Stearns Named CEO of D-Tools

Prior to being named CEO, Stearns founded Engineered Environments. He then became a key architect at VIA International. He also served on the CEDIA board for eight years, some of them as chairman.


TiVo Reveals the New Bolt DVR

The Bolt can skip TV ad’s just like the Hopper can and has a SkipMode, automatically skipping them for users. The new design is also quite different than the current black boxes. The Bolt is white and has a ramp-like shape to it. It’s also 4K ready and promises quicker performance than many smart TV’s on the market.


Simple Control (Who Used to be Roomie Remote) Reveals What Sets Them Apart From Everyone Else

“With Simple Control, you can view and control video, music and photo library content from your phone and tablet. We offer TV program guides for 34 countries, including virtually every city in North America and Europe. Access DVR content, streaming music and video guides from leading streaming services. And the best part is you can use your phone or tablet as a second screen to display all of this guide content, eliminating interruption of your entertainment experience. Competitors simply don’t offer this deep media guide integration.”


Building Smart

Home builders are installing automated lighting control 50% more than they did in 2013. Stand alone video surveillance is up a full 60% percent and energy management systems are up 25%.

“As the housing market continues to expand, awareness of installed technologies as a category and as a profit generator is growing. In 2014, we find more builders recognize that key installed technologies have the potential to boost profits, especially structured wiring, monitored security, home theater and central vacuum,” said CEA.

Interestingly, townhome builders installing home technologies are more likely to experience profits boosting than any other kind of home builder.


Icontrol Awarded Key Patent Claims over Alarm.com

The USPTO rejected several of Alarm.com’s claims in patent ‘694 concerning the “the role of mobile phones in a remotely managed smart-home ecosystem”. The patent office awarded a new patent today, “Integrated interface for mobile device” (No. 9,141,276, filed in 2011) to Icontrol, featuring claims to the inventions nullified in ‘694.

Icontrol could now possibly be thinking of suing other companies that trespass against the canceled claims of ‘694.


Tech Predictions from CEDIA 2015 Keynote Speaker, Michael Rogers

Family Home Page: Rogers states that in 10 years from now when the oldest Millennials are in their early 40’s, they’ll want a “home screen”. This display might include things like a Facebook family page, GPS with mapping, and health monitoring.

Floor to Ceiling TV: Rogers predicts that LCD will be edged out by OLED within the next five years. OLED, or something similiar, could be a 6 foot wide, tall as your ceiling screen in many people’s homes by 2025.

Virtual Reality in the Living Room: Rogers predicts that “VR content is going to be very complicated and expensive to make, but it’s going to provide a level of realism that just blows everything away. And I think it’s going to become the niche for high-fidelity experiences.” From playing virtual tennis, to seeing family members who live far away through telepresence, virtual reality is going to make the first people who adapt to it a lot of money.

“Ten years from now the TV is not really a screen anymore so much as a window into a virtual world.”


Crestron Ships Wall-Plate Tx/Rx for 4K HDMI

Crestron has made a new 4K wall plate transmitter and receiver. It will replace the DM-TX1-C-1G and DM-RX1-C-1G. They can be mounted to a wall or put in a 4’ deep floor box.


NBC Launches Roku Streaming Channel

NBC customers can now stream shows the day after premiering via Roku. They’ll also have access to older episodes of shows.

"We want our shows available where our viewers are watching content. As consumers shift to connected devices, we are committed to working with platform partners like Roku so our fans and audiences interested in entertainment can discover, engage with, and watch our shows," said Rob Hayes, Executive Vice President of NBC Entertainment Digital.


Google’s Nest Expands with Weave

Nest is expanding its’ “Works With Nest” program that it launched in June 2014. Nest is now allowing other products to communicate with Nest through Weave. Weave is already installed on all of the company’s products.

Yale, the lock maker, is the first company to adopt Weave into its’ hardware. The lock will get upgrades like being able to alert their homeowner that carbon monoxide has been detected in the house.

Weave creates a mesh network so that if WiFi is out, products will still work. Companies from the likes of GE,Lutron, are Phillips are going to be at the mercy of Nest/Weave. Nest will take care of customer service and is the host of all the servers.



Sympl is Now Slateplan

Scott Marchand and Jason Wright launched Sympl in early this September. Sympl is a software program that closely estimates the costs of products and labor combined for clients and integrators. The program lets users drag products on and off their floor plans with real time estimates. It’s like a Minecraft for adults in that it lets you build your own little electronic home.

Only a month after premiering, they’ve changed their name to Slateplan.

“Slateplan enables integrators to strike while the iron is hot, leading to more sales and a better client experience,” says Randy Stearns, CEO of D-Tools.

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