Two decades of innovation at ISE - part 6: Residential catalyst for convergence

It was the residential market that led the way in putting all devices onto the network.

In-wall speakerThe catalyst for the industry’s convergence around networks can be traced to the nascent residential market and its proficiency in audio.

“Twenty years ago our industry was all about home entertainment and in particular multi-room audio,” says Wendy Griffiths, SVP Membership & Global Development, CEDIA.

“Audio is the mother of it all,” agrees Bob Snyder, industry consultant.

In 2002, companies like Sonos pioneered distribution of multi-room audio. The ability to distribute discrete audio over a network soon attracted the enterprise and hotels keen to offer staff and guests ambient sound.

Dan Goldstein, Chief Marketing Officer, AVIXA says, “Over time audio started to become considered more and more important in commercial spaces along with the rise of multifunctional spaces.”

It was also more common for residential integration firms to work with video for display purposes. “Residential provided the template for commercial AV to follow because you can’t have home cinema without video, audio and distribution sources available,” comments Goldstein. “The next step was to centralise lighting and media control in the same design. By the time ISE started the residential side was quite converged whereas the pro side wasn’t.”

“We began talking to architects and interior designers... and went from multiroom audio to full home automation controlling security, lighting and HVAC systems"

Wendy Griffiths, SVP Membership & Global Development, CEDIA

Griffiths says, “Networking has always been the essential component of the residential customer install. Even with more robust Wifi, we saw during the pandemic that wireless cannot be relied on for all the bandwidth demands in home.”

Consumer attitudes and expectations around the smart home have changed. “Where home cinema and multi-room audio were once seen as a luxury, now people have a better understanding of what is possible. SIs are more accessible and there are ways for customers to verify work.”

From CEDIA’s inception in 1989 to 2004 it had amassed 1200 members internationally, 300 of them in Europe. Today, it has close to 4000 members worldwide.

“We had pockets of representation in places like Australia, US and UK in 2004 but now we’re a global association with members in 77 countries,” Griffiths reports.

Since 2010, CEDIA has focused on positioning residential integration alongside and as part of construction.

“We began talking to architects and interior designers, which helped professionalise our industry,” Griffiths says. “We went from multiroom audio to full home automation controlling security, lighting and HVAC systems. The pandemic then accelerated the trend to fuse work and home collaboration environments together.”

Next: ISE shapes and reflects the global industry >>

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