CES Day 3: Audiophiles and Autophiles

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demo speakers
It was a nice early start and we hit the Tech West by heading straight to the super secluded audio wings at the top of the Venetian’s tower. We stopped in on a few of our dealers to see if they’d slipped any new products by us and for some general hello’s and chit chat. Along the way we ended up in a high end audio room. When the gentleman giving our demo heard we did theaters he quickly directed us further into the tiny room. We were introduced to a full Dolby 7.1 Atmos experience and a new provider who was bringing their line of speakers to market. I have to say, Dolby Atmos is a pretty impressive audio solution. We sampled a few movie clips including Mad Max and Star Wars Battlefront and a few Dolby Atmos show-off reels. It is easily the best audio experience for something I’ve done.

All of the ultra high-end audio guys were up in this tower. We sat in on a few listening demos and were impressed with the degree and level people go to to reach the highest percent of audio perfection. Unfortunately we didn’t have Nelson to bring a higher appreciation of the subject to us.

We stopped in the Paradigm suite, they are the parent of the Anthem line of HDMI receivers. They were showing off their new ultra high-end speakers which marks their entry into the audiophile market. They are presenting beautiful speakers with 100% beryllium drivers. Anthem then brought us over to announce their new Dolby Atmos receiver is coming to market early and Casaplex will indeed be installing them for future systems and for those interested in upgrading.

Bluesound was a brand we had previously demoed as a direct replacement for SONOS but never quite jumped on board it as a solution. They had a suite we ended up in. They’re introducing some very cool modular, rack based solutions that allow expansions on a per-room basis. It’s a great approach to competing with SONOS’ Connect Amps. They let us know that the Crestron module would be out in a few weeks and were really excited to be presenting it. It’s a great solution to a higher quality of audio than SONOS supports. If they continue to improve at the rate they are, they may be a viable replacement for Casaplex’s inventory.

Wearables from head to toe.
Returning to the Sands Hall we made our way through to the health care and wearables section. Here were all the big wearables trying to track every aspect of the human body. From steps to vertical jump height all the way to posture and water intake. Wearables are a very big deal this year and we’re interested in taking advantage of them to integrate them with the Smart Home. We found the NEX band to be one of the cooler bands we have a great chance to integrate with. It’s a fully programmable band with a suite of ways to interact with “teeth” along the top of the band. Tapping a tooth could put it into volume control mode and then swiping along it would raise or lower the volume appropriately. Use it to dim the lights in the whole house with a combination. There’s a ton of possibilities we want to try out. Innovating on this is fun for the Research and Development team as well as whoever gets to try out the end result.

Lunch happened followed by a trip back to the Vegas Convention center to see the halls we missed on Day 1. It turns out it was the Car Show floor.

Suddenly! Car Show.

Ford was out to impress in both style and technology. They showed off their new 2016 Ford GT as well as their LIDAR infused car that maps the surrounding area as it drives as a step toward automated cars. We played in the rendering above the car for a little bit before we moved on. It was crazy how quick and responsive it was to render and notice us. It could even see behind an individual if you’re not standing directly behind you.

As the day wound down and we quickly burned through all the automotive show floor, we decided to double back to check out parts of the Day 1 hall we’d missed the first time. LG’s booth ended up being a treasure trove of impressive technology. They were showing off their new OLED 4K TV and it really does have an impressive contrast ratio. They also had their ultraslim TV that was so thin it was difficult to demonstrate the size of it with a photo.

LG also had a demo for their Smart Home hub. It’s worrisome to think that LG, Samsung, and Sony are all out there demonstrating their Smart Home Hubs without giving too much information on the interoperability of them all. The LG display had a list of products and brands that would work with their solution including Lowe’s Iris but wasn’t the clearest in how they were implemented.

Overall it’s been a very eye opening show and we plan to spend our Day 4 standing in lines to try out the demos we didn’t have time to try out before. It says a lot on where low to mid-range automation is headed and gives us at Casaplex a lot to think about in the coming year. Being able to integrate these easily for our systems might prove crucial if it becomes necessary but could bring about a large variety of issues. We will be picking up these hubs to test out and understand what makes the differences important or to help us bring new features to our users. Looking forward to see all this technology move forward and become commonplace in the world.

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