ISE’s first ever four-day event closed its doors on February 12, boasting busy halls every day with most manufacturers welcoming the fourth day as an additional day to conduct key business for the year ahead.

As is tradition, this year’s exhibition once again broke records, with ISE stating that the final registered attendee account totalled at 65,686, representing a 6,338 (10.7%) increase on the 2015 show.

“The volume of attendee traffic and its spread over the four days confirms our belief that the extra day was necessary and that it adds value for visitors and exhibitors,” comments Integrated Systems events managing director, Mike Blackman.

CEDIA CEO, Vincent Bruno remarked that “this year’s exhibition confirmed ISE’s importance for manufacturers and integrators for the home. It is simply a ‘must attend’ event.

“We were delighted with the response to our training sessions and to the 15 presentations we contributed in the Residential Solutions Theatre. Plus, we’ve had many companies sign up for CEDIA membership.”

Despite the exhibition offering far more in the way of commercial products, the residential side more than held its own, and was, as Vin says “a must attend event” for any manufacturer or visitor specialising in residential install, as demonstrated by the onslaught of new offerings for the custom install sector.

Meridian Audio enjoyed a busy show, displaying its high resolution audio systems.

Meridian’s chief technical officer Richard Hollinshead spoke as part of the CEDIA education programme about the importance of specifying a high resolution audio system and the benefits it can bring to an installer’s business.

Comparing it with high definition televisions and projectors, Richard explained that even if consumers couldn’t tell the difference between high resolution audio and standard, it was the responsibility of the industry to educate customers.

Meridian unveiled a number of products including its DSP320 in-wall/ in-ceiling speaker and the latest updates to the Sooloos multi-room platform.

The DSP320 is Meridian’s most discrete, yet highest-performing in-wall speaker to-date and updates to the Sooloos system brings integration with third party control systems and storage options.

Within its 300mm square and 100mm deep enclosure, the DSP320 contains all the system’s electronics, including digital audio converters, eliminating the need for any amplification on the rack, whilst still able to deliver high-quality audio.

Sooloos additions include a plugin that enables third party NAS integration improved control options to embrace re-designed iPhone and iPad Apps and TouchPC control alongside integration with Crestron and Control4.

Meanwhile, Artcoustic was showing off no less than four new products.

The C2 is a redesigned version of the company’s sound-bar for larger TVs (75in and above); also on show was a new in-wall round sub.

The sub is designed more for multi-room re-enforcement and as a part of a 2.1 TV support system rather than home cinema.

A new floor-stander also made its debut, with an attractive tapered design. Making a floor-stander, the company was keen to make sure it was every inch an Artcoustic product and judging by the sound and the look, it has succeeded.

Designed originally to help create Dolby Atmos systems where on-wall on in-wall speakers were problematic, the speaker also makes a great basis to offer enhanced TV viewing. Artcoustic also showed off the meaty new 500ml deep true cinema sub, the P4.

Over on the Monitor Audio stand, the company was highlighting some new lines including its AWC all weather in-ceiling speakers (AWC265, AWC265T2, AWC280, AWC280T2) designed to be resilient in the most extreme climatic conditions.

A black anodised cone is in place to provide a stealthy appearance, whilst maintaining high levels of performance thanks to the company’s C-CAM technology.

C-CAM stand for Ceramic-Coated Aluminium/Magnesium and is a material originally developed by the aerospace industry for jet engine components, which also offers strong abilities for speaker design as it is extremely rigid, yet light enough to yield high overall efficiency. Whilst the front of the speaker is impervious to water, the rear is shrouded to resist ingress of dust.

Over on The Davinci Group booth, the company was drawing attention to its new NFS-61-5CMSTT single-point stereo speaker, boasting limited depth mounting at 50mm thick and full depth sound.

A company hoping to increase its exposure in Europe at the show was Sonodyne, which was focussing on its SRT Series of slim profile, but powerful high quality home cinema speakers, available for a mid entry level price.

A well attended press conference revealed a plethora of interesting products launches from Stealth Acoustics, which introduced its CoverArt motorised concealment solution, Trilogy screen-art and Image III art speaker combination, designed to cover a flat screen by obscuring it with a piece of framed, movable art.

When CoverArt is coupled with Stealth’s recently announced Image III on-wall art speakers, that is when the Trilogy solution is created, featuring a three-part panoramic image ranging across the speakers and screen. Stealth Acoustics claims that no other manufacturer can offer this combination of motorised screen art coverings and matching art speakers.

With regards to the on-wall Image III art speaker range, this comprises a line of fully customisable, thin (2.5” deep), high quality speakers that can be finished in a wide array of options to match any chosen design scheme.

The manufacturer was also displaying the latest additions to its StingRay outdoor high fidelity speakers for the marine and luxury boat markets, comprising the both 6” and 8” woofer models which have achieved an Ingress Protection rating of IP-68 per international CEI/IEC 60529 standards.

StingRay provides natural and full range sound output from 45Hz to 18kHz at levels up to 103db at one meter away from the speaker.

Lastly, Stealth Acoustics also announced that its new SA255 350W monaural amplifier with variable low-pass filter is available now.

Core Brands had many new lines on show, including the updated SpeakerCraft AIM range of speakers.

Designed to offer improvements in vocal clarity and reach, this new AIM LCR Series of in-walls come in LCR5 FIVE and AIM LCR3 FIVE variants designed to offer the brand’s highest performance.

The models have new Kevlar woofers and an aluminium-magnesium tweeter to AIM’s patented pivoting baffle to help create a more realistic and enveloping sound.

The manufacturer also says superior response across the frequency spectrum, greater clarity and richer, tighter bass define the Series.

Also from SpeakerCraft was the very inventive in-wall Dolby Atmos 100 height module with Series 2 In-wall speaker. Basically this provides a Dolby Atmos option when in-celling speakers are impractical, using an array to reflect sound off the ceiling to create the desired effect.

On the automation front, ELAN had fresh introductions including the 4.7in LCD gTP4 touch panel, which offers a proximity sensor that wakes at the wave of a hand. The 4.7in LCD screen is encased behind edge-to-edge touchscreen glass and offers 540 x 960 resolution and can display IP-enabled and TCP-enabled camera feeds.

The panel mounting in a standard UK junction box and can be used in portrait or landscape mode.

New functionality also came with the ELAN Intercom, now available through ELAN Software 7.2 and above, which enables remote paging and door station monitoring. Elan also showcased its membership of the Works with Nest program.

Not forgetting the Russound XStream system, which offers a quality approach to multi-room music control which is also available with a new 4.7in dedicated XTS controller.

This new version offers fresh XSource and XZone4 components delivering streaming solutions, simplicity of installation and trouble-free service/operation, says the maker.

The XSource Streaming Audio Player is available now and the XZone4 Four-Stream, Four-Zone audio system comes in April.

The XSource Streaming Audio Player is a multi-use streaming media solution with a small factor for easy integration with external amplifiers or whole-house receivers.

Designed for scalability, the XSource has native support for high-resolution audio and the full complement of sources available in all or Russound’s XStream series of products.

The XSource can be integrated with Russound MCA-Series and C-Series controllers, or can operate as a stand-alone streaming source that can be used with any amplifier or multi-room system.

As a complete streaming media solution, the XZone4 Four-Stream, Four-Zone Audio System is designed to offer Russound installers a single-box package that is easy to install with simple browser-based configuration, with any smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

The XZone4 is a 1U rack-mountable component offering four independent audio streams that support up to four rooms of audio and can scale up to 16 total audio zones.

Also tackling the home automation sector head on was Domotz, which used the exhibition to unveil Domotz PRO.

Built for home automation installers, systems integrators, help desks and hardware manufacturers, Domotz PRO is a professional grade home intelligence system that enables remote technical assistance for home network and device problems. Domotz PRO features include network and device monitoring regardless of manufacturer, remote desktop and device access, remote power management, alerts and network diagnostics.

Domotz’s Domenico Crapanzano told CE Pro Eu that “the low price point is designed to target volume customers. At $2.99 per household, this means if an installer has 100 customers that they want to use Domotz with, then the company will be make $299 a month from that one installer.”

Domenico also revealed that the manufacturer is currently working on new features that will give installers even more information about each individual device.

Control4 had a big presence at the show, not only launching new kit, but with the announcement that it had purchased the Pakedge brand, specialist in home networking and remote access.

Product-wise, Control4 had two main focuses, a new lighting line and the EA range of controllers.

The new range of Square Wireless Lighting products, have been designed to expand custom and retrofit lighting opportunities in Europe.

Consisting of a wireless dimmer, wireless switch and wireless keypad, all have been made to offer reliable intelligent wireless lighting automation performance in a compact square form-factor to fit European wall-boxes.

The range offers control of individual and groupings of lights, as well as a range of configurable keypad combinations on each dimmer and switch, all of which incorporate backlit engraving and status LEDs for two-way feedback.

The keypads can also trigger functions such as starting a favourite Deezer radio station and adjusting the volume, to arming the security system and turning off all the lights.

These functionalities can be achieved by partnering with the company’s new Entertainment & Automation, or EA series of single box controllers.

Three separate models (the EA-1, EA-3 and EA-5) are designed and priced to deliver automation power, reliability and entertainment for single-room or whole–home projects. Control is via a dedicated App.

Entertainment as well as control is a key objective and the platform offers the ability to stream music from any iOS device to different rooms, along with native support for Deezer, Pandora, Rhapsody, Napster, TIDAL and TuneIn.

As far as the Pakedge deal goes, its kind of a no brainer, with remote access to systems and networking major themes at the show, the abilities of Pakedge in this area were an obvious target.

Brad Hintz, director of product marketing, for Control4 told CE Pro Eu that the Pakedge name will stay as it’s a strong brand that of course operates in many other markets.

Fresh from the acquisition announcement the following week, Nicolas Phillips, Control4 (with his new Control4 shirt on) added that the company is currently “working with distributors to work out an integration plan – this is a brand new announcement. There has been lots of interest and we have been visited by installers, distributors and dealers.

“I’m excited to see how we will integrate the hardware and the software going forward. There are lots of possibilities.”

Lutron had lots going on during ISE, welcoming in the new Sivoia QS Triathlon; a flexible and affordable motorised shading system that is available now.

This battery-powered solution offers easy installation and maintenance, making it ideally suited for retrofit applications.

Available in new roller shade or insulating honeycomb styles, these shades are available in a wide variety of fabric colours and textures. Able to work as a standalone or system solution, these shades can be controlled at the touch of a button.

Lutron’s Sam Woodward acknowledged that although Lutron products aren’t the cheapest around, he believes that the reliability of its products and simplicity make up for the price difference with competitors.

Lutron use DSPs in many of its products to act as the brains. This is especially true in situations with motion sensors; Sam claims that the DSPs’ processing power enables it to eliminate what he calls the ‘lights on’ dance.

Crestron continued to add functionality with the aim of delivering solutions for installers to offer 4K distribution and personalised control that operate across its Pyng and 3-Series control platforms.

Installers were able to get a look at the new Home Elements toolkit, which has been created to deliver a versatile family of object-oriented modules and templates that deliver easier set up of functionality priorities.

With Home Elements, installers can include dropdown and slide-out menus, scrolling lists across personalised GUIs right across TSW touch screens, iOS devices, TSR-302 and MLX-3 remotes as well as Crestron’s newest Digital Graphics Engines.

Visitors to the manufacturer’s sizable booth were also pleased to learn that the manufacturer is now shipping the new TS-1542 15.6” HD Touch Screen, enabling integrators to deliver a rich and immersive large-format interface at an affordable price.

The TS-1542 boasts the robust technology feature-set found in the TSW touch screen line, as well as flexible installation options for in-wall applications or a stylish tilt table-top stand.

Its high-definition streaming video capability makes it possible to view security cameras and other video sources over the network right on the touch screen.

Native support for H.264 and MJPEG formats allows the display of live streaming video from IP cameras, a streaming server, or a DigitalMedia switcher.

Rounding off its key residential announcements (click here for all Crestron offered the commercial sector at ISE) was the manufacturer’s new H.264 streaming transmitter/receiver and receiver/room controller, providing an inexpensive way to stream HD content anywhere on the IP network, whilst receiving streams from anywhere on the network.

Speaking to CE Pro Eu at the show, Tim Hymans, EMEA marketing director remarked that due to Crestron’s new-look stand layout with end to end solutions, “there was a 70% improved interaction with clients when compared to last year. The stand layout is completely different to last year; we have brought the integrator into the solution. We don’t want to just talk about products, we want to talk about end to end solutions.”

Elsewhere, Atlona highlighted a line of three 4K/UHD distribution amps with advanced display control and range up to 100m.

The line-up includes the company’s first to feature HDMI-to-HDBaseT distribution of 4K/UHD @ 60Hz/4:2:0 video, HDCP 2.2 support, Power over Ethernet (PoE), EDID management and advanced display control features such as Consumer Electronics Control (CEC).

The new family consists of the eight-output AT-UHD-CAT-8, the four-output AT-UHD-CAT-4 and the four-output AT-UHD-CAT-4ED, which has extended-distance outputs for 100m performance as well as Ethernet-enabled HDBaseT transmission. The UHD-CAT-8 and UHD-CAT-4 provide up to 70m performance.

In addition to HDBaseT outputs, the new amps provide an HDMI output for signal pass-through and daisy-chaining. All three are also equipped with one IR and RS232 connection for the amp and one for each output channel. 

Also making its mark in the residential market was Kramer, which was showing the abilities of its K-Touch platform, which has been created to offer room control over a cloud-based platform.

Using K-Touch, Kramer says installers can easily design automation for room elements such as lights, screens, sound, HVAC, thermostats or AV system. Installers can also create a user-friendly control interface for any iOS or Android device choosing from a wide variety of design elements such as colours and backgrounds.

Cloud-based operation means team members can collaborate during the design process no matter where they are and also provide remote support once the project is finished.

K-Touch is also BYOD friendly supporting most iOS and Android devices and during design phase offering easier, drag and drop control program configuration as well as other features to speed up project building such as slider widgets, modules for Vera automation, Centralite lighting and cameras; IP−controlled Apple TV and full−screen immersive mode support.

Previewing at the show and available in Q1 of this year, the new SI 2016 platform from D-Tools has been created to add new productivity features and enhancements that enable installers to streamline business processes and increase profitability via the company’s software platform.

SI 2016 will be available as an upgrade for existing customers and will be provided at no cost for customers participating in the D-Tools Software Assurance program.

Including a D-Tools Cloud infrastructure, D-Tools says SI 2016 makes it faster and easier than ever to perform key functions of an integrator’s business, estimation, system design and project management.

SI 2016 offers improvements including project and data management, integration with SupplyStream and QuickBooks Online, Purchase Requests, as well as improvements to the current Change Order capabilities.

WyreStorm had another strong show and this year, focused on products such as its new H2 matrix/splitter line, flagship Class A HDBaseT 4K matrix range in 6×6 and 8×8 and a 4×4 matrix/receiver kit with 4x 4K HDBT receivers included.

All these units offer HDCP 2.2 and support HDMI 2.0 video standards of 4K@60Hz 4:2:0 and all are available now.

The manufacturer also showcased the Enado v4 AV automation platform, offering a significant software update, which also now boasts it’s own Mini AV controller.

Important additions include compatibility with Amazon Echo voice control and IFTTT.

The 4K HDMI multi-view PiP 4×2 switcher/scaler (SW-0402-MV-HDMI/SW-0402-MV-HDBT) gets a new HDBaseT sibling – offering everything that made the HDMI version popular as a multi-view solution. With the arrival of the HDBaseT version, this now offers distribution to 4K display devices up to 70m from the unit.

CYP also had new concepts including HDBaseT Matrixes delivering 4K support, HDMI2.0 and HDCP2.2 compliance and Audio matrixing.

Five new models were shown including the range-topping 10 input x 10 output PU-1082-4K22, the 6 x 8 PUV-662-4K22 and 4 x 6 PUV-442-4K22, all offering the full range of HDBaseT functions (including transmission of HD sources over single runs of CAT5e/6/7 cables up to 100m). Two HDBaseT Lite models (signal transmission up to 60m) were also launched (10 x 10 PUV-1082PL-4K22 and 6 x 8 PUV-662PL-4K22). 

Blustream also had lots of new solutions on offer, including updating all products to incorporate full HDCP 2.2 pass through. The company also unveiled a range of 4K multi-room integration solutions, solving the problems associated with having a combination of 4K and lower resolution displays within an installation.

An entry level HDMI Extender has also been introduced to deliver on demand 1080P and two-Way IR over a distance of 50m. Blustream also showcased integration of remote web access and configuration of its matrix solutions via any on-line device such as a PC, tablet or smart phones.

Part 2 of the ISE Report can be viewed here.



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