The Future according to Rich Green and CEDIA

posted on Sunday, 5th August 2012 by David Slater

CEDIA  4K  Events 


Last week, CEDIA held an evening lecture with noted American CI veteran Rich Green. Inside CI was there for what turned out to be a fascinating event. The agenda? 2017: The Five-Year Technology Horizon.
We just love these new social/educational events that CEDIA UK is bringing to Custom Install. Rich Green is an icon in the installation technology market - having worked alongside some of the biggest names in tech, from Twitter's founder to people involved in Apple's original iPod launch. The prospect of hearing him lecture was too good to miss. 
From the day I first joined CEDIA back in 2000 with my install company DSE DIGITAL, I have found these talks inspiring. Knowledge is a powerful tool in any business, but it's even more relevant in the custom install industry - and Green covered plenty of ground.
Significantly he explained how the business landscape is changing. Media is moving to the cloud, and new interfaces will be operating source components from gesturing to voice control. We have seen a little of this technology all ready from the likes of Xbox Kinnect and Samsung's ES8000 TV range. Sustainable eco lifestyles will increasingly drive your business into a different direction in the future. 
One question Rich asked us all is: "Are you in control of your clients?" This is a very interesting topic, since I find we are never fully in control; changes in specification just as you start the contract always put you on the back foot. We find that sometimes the client just wants the system to go too far, Apple devices have opened the door to affordable devices which are really slick.
The main point that came over is that profit margins are being seriously squeezed, and it appears to be a global effect. The guys in US are having the same problems as we're having in UK. Margins are being killed by the low cost of kit and we all know nobody makes money on iPads. 
Another interesting fact highlighted by Green was that our businesses are becoming ever more inter-connected with the world of PCs and IT. This is all leading to a point in the future where both IT and CI will merge, heralding Virtual Reality. Over the last two years I have found that my IT skills have come to the forefront of all our jobs; if you get an IP clash, your lovely all-singing, all-dancing system will not operate. 
Cash is no longer going to be king with the likes of Paypal Here and the new iPhone 5 which is expected to have NFC (Near Field Communication), the next big step forward in mobile payment. You'll soon be able to plug a card reader into your phone's headphone jack and turn it into a credit card reader. Google Now will use your mobile's microphone to find what you are up to. It will work out you are at an underground station by the sounds it picks up and will attempt to send you info on the tube. Now I am starting to become scared - is this taking privacy issues to a place you don't want to be?
Wi-Fi will shortly take a leap forward with the next generation of the 802.11 standard - known as IEEE 802.11ac. This will be big when the devices catch up and have this high-bandwidth pipe built-in. HDBaseT is another technology which we love at this moment in time. The matrix is now really stable and reliable. We have just started playing with these on our installs and have to say I have now got my confidence back when selling picture distribution, with the installs being up there in stability with the trusty old component switchers.
One subject close to my heart is the development of 4K and 8K devices. Inside CI has had a sneaky look over the past six months at some great next generation displays and projectors. I believe this is one of the most exciting developments over the last couple of years. In my experience, CI clients are willing to pay for quality, we all still miss the days when Pioneer produced a professional plasma range. 
And if you want something radical, there's always Google's Project Glass. Wow, this is life changing stuff!  I suggest you take a look at the Google Project glass advert at this link, it's really clever.
Green ended his talk on the arrival immersive next generation surround formats. Dolby Atmos may seem tad overkill for the home cinema environment at the moment, but it promises a genuinely awesome experience in a true cinema. 
I think CEDIA UK is thinking long and hard about where the CI market is going, and bringing these interesting conferences to its members is a step forward. If the opportunity arises, and you get time in your schedule, I would urge you to go to a Rich Green talk. He is a font of knowledge and has great passion for custom install that's certain to help you in your business.

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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