ISE Amsterdam 2014: The installer's viewpoint

posted on Monday, 10th February 2014 by David Slater

Lighting Control  Home automation 

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So with cameras packed Inside CI was off to ISE 2014, Amsterdam to traverse multiple halls of tempting tech. So what caught our eye at this year's Integrated System's Europe? Quite a lot, as it happens...

Rako was displaying a plethora of our kind of products; all of its dimmer modules have had a makeover this year, with re-designed features and functionality. The setup of Rako dimmers has changed dramatically. Out goes the old magnet setup, in favour of a push button system. All dimmers now also come with a separate mounting bracket. The Popular 500 watt RMT 500 now boasts 16 different scene settings. An update to the popular iOS app was also launched. A spectrum colour wheel now allows you to choose the extra colour you want. Keypads have  been upgraded, with a new 10 button version launched. LED drivers have also been updated with the RLED 90 being replaced by RLED30 CV4; this is now a four channel x 30 watt doing RGB plus W control. Also on display was a range of blinds from roller to roman all controlled via Rako modules! Peter Broome, Director of Rako told Inside CI that the company's full program of training continues. This is great news, with so many new products being launched, it's very important to be trained on the full features of each product.

HD Connectivity is another company that interests me, so I made a beeline over to its stand where it was showing its new stackable 8×8 matrix chassis. The British-made Modular model is a customisable 4K Ultra HD compatible HDMI matrix switcher that uses a patented system of interchangeable input/output modules, enabling custom installers to build bespoke HD distribution systems on a project-by-project basis. Integrators are free to specify which signal transmission technology is used for each TV location. Inside CI caught up with MD Chris Pinter, who said he was particularly proud of the fact that the Modular was made in the UK: "HDMI, HDBaseT Pro and HDBaseT Lite modules can all be mixed and matched," he said. "Our HDanywhere brand is continuing to make great leaps forward in HDMI matrix design." The Modular matrix features a web-based OS offering an array of system and behavior management tools, as well as the brand's proprietary 'heartbeat' remote monitoring system.

The Wyrestorm stand is always a must-visit destination at ISE. This year the company had its new 4K matrix, Enado control system and new Network HD distribution system on display. Because Enado is a browser-based UI, you can control your AV distribution systems using any Internet-enabled device. This makes it a real game- changer, in my opinion.

Savant, the Apple-based control system, took up residence in the Smart Building area at the show and impressed with Wi-Fi lighting control, new Universal Remote, KNX integration and the Home Control Portal. Middle Atlantic Products had a solid range of racking solutions, including the new L5 Lectern series and new wood finishes for the C5 Credenza range. Power protection units from SurgeX and Torus were also on hand; power protection is often overlooked as being a necessity rather than a luxury on home technology installs.

Monitor Audio had its versatile AirPlay-enabled networkable stereo amplifier to ISE. The A100 is made from rigid polymer and die-cast aluminum, and plays music from the cloud, on a NAS, PCs and Smartphone. It looks to be good value at £400, when it becomes available in March.

Elsewhere, Lutron wants a bigger slice of the retro market and used the show to launch the energy-saving Energi TriPak retrofit solution, which requires no programming and suits any single space application. The brand had hands-on demonstrations of its silent motorised blinds, both wired and wireless. We loved the ease of installation. Also on show was the new battery powered Sivoia QS Triathlon roller blind, which works with the Lutron Pico wireless remote control and can be integrated into Lutron's HomeWorks QS total home system. If you are like me and love interior design, then you could easily while away hours looking through the new Lutron Design Collection, a compilation of over 1,500 new fabrics and materials, which you can browse on the Design Collection app via an IPad.

All in all, this was another great ISE event - and this year more than ever there just didn't seem to be enough time to visit all the stands. But then again even if I was there for a fortnight that would probably still have been the case. Here's to the next one!

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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