Top Three Home Technology Trends To Watch Now (CEDIA 2018 Preview)
What are the hottest trends in home technology?
Builders, remodelers, designers and technologists will be gathering at the San Diego Convention Center next week at the CEDIA Expo to find out. If you’re going to be one of the 20,000 home technology enthusiasts expected to attend, you’ll get to see these concepts displayed in real life. If you’re not, St. Louis-based CEDIA Board of Directors member Joe Whitaker of The Thoughtful Home and San Diego-based home technology consultant Terry Morton of Land & Sea Entertainment offer this preview of three top three home technology trends worth following in the year ahead.
1. Voice assistants -- “Enhancement of voice assistants will be a huge deal this year,” Whitaker says, adding, “Pay attention to those that enhance what can be done with existing voice assistants.” These will add features and functionality that make voice control both more complex in their capabilities and more intuitive for users.Morton explains, “For the most part, voice activation is used for launching ‘scenes.’ For example, saying ‘work in the kitchen’ might turn up the lights in the prep areas, turn the TV to the Food Network and set Pandora to Music for Foodies at a good volume.” What these voice assistants achieve is taking a user’s desire for separate functions and uniting them into a simple voice command.MOST WANTED: “Music is king. Playing your favorite music without lifting a finger is awesome,” Morton shares.
2. Light usage -- We’ve seen major shifts in lighting for energy savings. We’re now looking at major shifts in how light is designed and used at home, Whitaker says. “Tunable lighting will be ground-breaking within the residential industry.” This technology, he explains, produces light fixtures that can actually change color temperature as well as brightness. “By blending these together, when a light dims or brightens, the actual color temperature can be changed to mimic natural sunlight. Residential lighting has tried to recreate how the sun’s color changes as it sets and rises for decades. We are now finally able to see this in action.”Light for health will also be talked about, he adds. “The effects of color temperatures will play a key point in the way light fixtures and natural lighting play together and produce healthier and more natural looking lighting.”
Morton shares his enthusiasm. “Until now, you had to choose a color temperature ahead of time and usually had about three colors to work with, from cool to warm, with sometimes unpredictable results. “Tunable lighting allows color temperature adjustment of white lighting after it's installed. As someone who has spent hours trying to get the whites just right, this is a major breakthrough for architectural lighting.”MOST WANTED: “Anyone who has sat under fluorescent lighting for any length of time knows it creates fatigue,” Morton notes. “On the other hand, lighting can be therapeutic, especially combined with other sensory input, like sound. Light can positively affect your mood.”
3. Televisions that enhance your space -- “The way we watch the big game or latest movie is changing, and changing fast,” Whitaker declares. For one thing, the traditional set is morphing into a large screen with a better picture that blends into the room. People are also using their TVs in many more ways than just passively watching a show. “Movies, broadcast channels, video chatting, social media, and the list goes on. The more they pack into these sets today the more they become our all in one hub to the outside world,” Whitaker notes.Streaming is the biggest feature when it comes to display technology, he reports, and the technologies for making your Netflix extra chill include enhancing the surround sound transmission as well as improving the increasingly larger and thinner screens you’re watching on.In designing spaces for these enhanced televisions, Morton observes that “TVs have become more adaptable to all environments, and as a result, client requests for dedicated rooms is progressively decreasing.” Multi-purpose spaces – both indoors and outdoors – are overtaking the traditional home theater room, he says.MOST WANTED: Morton predicts, “Screens are going to get really big soon with the advent of high resolution panels that snap together to build huge bright screens.” Already here: “Indoor 4K displays have reached the video quality to display art when not being used as a TV, even down to the designer frame.”