Innovation & Tech Today was blown away by the incredible products we saw at CEDIA 2016. It was exciting, exhilarating, and a little exhausting checking out so many innovations in the home automation world. Once again CEDIA is an event that showcases some of coolest companies in the country. After a lot of walking and some fierce debate we settled on 10 categories for the products we thought were truly amazing.
The Sustainability Award: RoseWater Energy Group
Energy management should be the first stop along the road to building a smarter home. Our editors were amazed by what they saw from RoseWater at CEDIA. There were so few products at CEDIA that had sustainability in mind like RoseWater: an outright game-changer that puts “sustainability” and “smart” in the same sentence — as they should be.
From their website: RoseWater Energy Group creates innovative and intelligent energy management systems for governments, utilities, industries, and residential consumers. Focused on the mission to create the next generation of renewable smart grid systems leveraging the best battery storage technologies, RoseWater works with their clients to design, build, integrate and manage power system assets specific to their needs. The Residential Energy Management Hub is the first and only power management product to be featured within a micro-grid in the head office of a major utility company.
Best in Home Furnishing Quality: LURACO Technologies
We’ve seen a lot of massage chairs, and we’ve had…mixed reviews. But these made-in-the-USA beauties practically put us to sleep. There’s barely a difference between these and the real thing. It’s a small company with a clear candor that we couldn’t help but appreciate among all the typical trade show gimmicks. This is the real deal.
From their website: LURACO Technologies is a high-tech corporation dedicated to providing research, advanced technologies, and innovative products to the military, industrial, and commercial sectors.
Best Smart Door Camera: SkyBell
You couldn’t shake a stick at CEDIA without hitting a door camera. There was a lot of strong competition out there, but by dint of its night vision capabilities alone, SkyBell stole the show. We’ve never seen clarity like this before in a doorbell camera. Plus, the sensitivity controls were way more adaptable than anyone else’s. “If a bird flies by the door, will it sound the alarm?” we kept asking. SkyBell was one of the few companies with a solid answer.
From their website: SkyBell is a smart video doorbell that allows you to see, hear, and speak to the visitor at your door whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go.
Best of Bluetooth: RIVA Audio
Bluetooth-enabled speakers are another one of those things that CEDIA has an abundance of. Fortunately for us, the choice was clear. The sound quality and affordability of RIVA’s WAND speaker series are unprecedented. Theirs was also the only team that seemed like real music-lovers to us. Instead of some standard pop hit, the first thing we heard stepping into their room was Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of.” Playing that at high volume at a trade show is bold to say the least.
From their website: RIVA is a revolution, a bold new standard and a defiant rejection of the idea that people cannot afford great audio and therefore must accept the bland experience of today’s tin-can wireless speakers.
Best Home Furnishing Design: Salamander Designs
Minimalist, elegant, and sustainable (Salamander Designs is completely solar-powered), this company had a lot to offer at CEDIA 2016. The automotive-inspired chairs and couches, along with the clean, polished-looking tables and entertainment platforms, are a must-have, hands-down.
From their website: For more than 20 years, Salamander Designs® has been designing innovative, specialized furniture systems that are shaped by your needs. Originally, Salamander grew out of an idea developed by Salvatore Carrabba in the early 1990s. During a search for furniture to support and display his home entertainment components, Sal discovered there was nothing in the marketplace that met his requirements. He was hoping to find furniture of good quality that could be configured to meet his current needs, but flexible enough to accommodate his entertainment system as it changed over time.
Best Entertainment System: Modulus
How many devices do you have in your entertainment system, really? If you’re like us, you have stacks of A/V hardware taking up space. What Modulus does is collapse all of those smart home packages into one coherent, intuitive system. It’s so obvious, we can’t believe nobody’s done it before. Mark our words, this one’s a legacy-maker.
From their website: Modulus brings order to the chaos of multiple devices, closed systems, tangled wires, lost remotes,and forgotten passwords. In one brilliant, powerful box, Modulus gives control of your home media back to you.
Best Overall Sound Quality: Wave Electronics
Audio testing at an event like CEDIA is a real gauntlet. First-world problems, we know. But determining the best sound from all of those top of the line speakers is tough. Thankfully, Wave Electronics had an amazing showing/sounding (especially with the Elura line) that allowed us to separate genuine quality from all the noise. We were astounded by the depth and feel of these speakers. No gimmicks, just fantastic sound.
From their website: WAVE Electronics, Inc., established in 2002, operates the largest, fastest growing, independent distributor in the East and Southern regions. WAVE also ships products across the country to our authorized dealers. Offering more than 8500 SKU’s from over 120 manufactures in the audio, video and custom installation categories; WAVE Electronics is the ‘one-stop’ supplier for any custom installation dealer or integrator in the territory.
Best Home Lighting: Lutron
Lutron’s intuitive, scene-based dimming system was another offering that caught our attention. The company appears to be embracing the new frontier of voice command, while making sure that the way we interface with smart systems isn’t an inconvenience. There’s a reason why the demo room at Lutron’s booth felt more like an actual home than the rest.
From their website: Lutron is a technology-centered and people-driven company. As a private corporation guided by our founder’s simple but profound Five Principles, Lutron has a long history of significant growth and smart innovations.
The Art and Action Award: Bocci
Sometimes it’s about how artistic the design of a product is. Sometimes it’s about how functional a product is. Bocci is one of the rare brands that delivers both. Just check out their range of offerings and you’ll see a company that’s able to manage the balancing act between art and action with a grace that must be rewarded.
From their website: Bocci is a contemporary design and manufacturing house located in Vancouver, Canada. Unlike typical corporate structures, Bocci operates unconventionally as a co-operative community of designers, architects, craftspeople, technicians, agents, governance bodies, testing facilities, raw materials suppliers and fine shops. Their aim is to build a healthy, flexible and stable network united under the goal of creating practical but striking consumer goods of the highest quality.
The Fun & Function Award: Metra Home Theater Group
We saw a lot of wall-mounts during CEDIA, but Metra’s tailgating TV mount was the only one that really stuck out as something that was both original and practical. Thinking of all those times our buddies tried to rig up a TV during a tailgate party, only to fail miserably, made us realize that this new product is one of those no-brainers, putting the “fun” in “function.”
From their website: With a commitment to quality over quantity, Metra Home Theater Group continues to be the leading manufacturer of installation accessories for home theater and integration. For over 65 years Metra has continued to design, engineer and produce the most innovative products in our industry. Metra continues to keep the custom integrator and end user in mind when developing time saving and factory finished products.