Aug 11, 2009 4:20 PM,
By Michael Goldman
Despite the state of the economy, the housing crisis, and a general atmosphere in which consumers need to monitor their dollars and avoid excess as never before, we enter another CEDIA Expo with a growing perception that there may well not be an AV industry market segment with a brighter down-the-road future than the residential market. Not that many of us have the resources to even bother fantasizing about putting together the kind of gigantic, state-of-the-art home we feature this month. What many people clearly are doing is paying more attention to ways they can technologically tweak their home environment as it evolves into the prime hub of their increasingly digital lives—a place not only to live but also to absorb most of their entertainment, exercise, and supplement their school and work infrastructures.
Professional, prosumer-, and consumer-level technologies are arriving at a startling pace to help them achieve that goal with and without the help of installation professionals, depending on a consumer’s resources and ambition level. Our contributor, Jason Bovberg, a heartier fellow than I, recently demonstrated the kind of ambition I’m talking about by building his own home theater and painstakingly documenting the effort in a series published in our Residential AV Presents Connected Home enewsletter. It’s also the more informal take I get simply by looking around at friends and family, and the subtle AV upgrades they are making on the high end with major construction projects and the low end with increasingly impressive off-shelf technologies.
It’s also the impression we get from CEDIA’s Technology Council, which detailed this concept in its recent news bulletin (www.cedia.net/press_media/news_tech.php) by essentially arguing that social, technological, and economic shifts are making the home the logical and primary place for fundamental infrastructure changes to take place in the lives of ordinary people. The bulletin simply suggests that these changes—movement toward green, mobile, and wireless technologies, along with the growing movement toward at-home employment, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing—are most impactful within the home environment than anywhere else since that is where consumers are based.
“Housing prices and new home construction are at an all-time low right now. Instead of trying to sell, many homeowners have turned to retrofitting their homes and investing in comforts that will make their home more enjoyable,” Utz Baldwin, CEDIA’s CEO, said in the bulletin. The bulletin suggests that a lot of the technology and information you absorb this year at CEDIA has been built around this belief.
We at SVC agree, and a lot of what you’ll see in these pages in the coming year, in the Residential AV Presents Connected Home enewsletter, in our webcasts, and at www.svconline.com will likewise be geared toward this growing paradigm shift.