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Our First Hand Recap of the Integrated Systems Europe 2018: “The One Show To Rule Them All”

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Our Technical Director Sean Hotchkiss has recently returned from Amsterdam, where he attended Integrated Systems Europe, the world´s largest AV systems integration show which ran February 6 – 9, 2018.

What Is ISE?

Integrated Systems Events is a joint venture between AVIXA and CEDIA – the two leading industry associations for the global audiovisual industry. Since the first event in 2004, with 120 exhibitors and 3,500 attendees, the 2018 event has continued it’s crazy growth, with over 1200 exhibitors and more than 80,000 attendees.

Sean reports,“The best part for me was the all-encompassing perspective of the residential and commercial markets, on a global scale. Manufacturers were showing all of their offerings to this wide audience.Companies such as Crestron had their commercial and residential products and staff in the same booth (very large though it was), and any questions I had could be readily answered whether related to videoconferencing systems, or home theater processors.”

He felt that the ability to see companies and products from all corners of the electronics world allowed exposure to new ideas, methods, and products that just isn’t available anywhere else.

“Where else can you go to see video displays the size of a building, to management software, to cameras on flying drones, to audiophile stereo systems? It’s the best show to spend some of your time just wandering and brainstorming about possibilities and business ideas,” says Sean.

Significant Growth of Attendees

ISE added a fourth day to the show in an effort to give attendees more time to see everything at the show, although managing director Mike Blackman has acknowledged that’s an impossible feat even with proper advanced planning.

Overall, ISE included a full schedule of educational programs, trainings, networking events and product demonstrations in the exhibition hall. “All these events worked cooperatively to raise the standard of education and quality of the businesses that serve our clients,” Sean mentions.

Is it too big? Sean doesn’t think so. “I really appreciated the combination of the AVIXA (commercial) and CEDIA (residential) organizations working together under the same roof (roofs – the show was way too big for one building). There is even word that continuing education credits will be transferable between the organizations.” Talk about partnership!

Biggest Takeaways

“This year, audio/video and computer networking have converged so strongly, that it is difficult to separate the two. It is nearly impossible to have one without the other,” says Sean.

Products that take our satellite receivers, BluRay players, videoconference cameras, and computer graphics, and send them across a building to remote displays by means of IP converter boxes were everywhere.

The technology required to compress video in real-time and then decode it again without any perceivable delay was mind boggling. “We are no longer just ‘A/V guys’, but rather professionals that deliver a truly integrated experience as the new AVIXA organization name points out (Audio Video Integrated Experience Association),” Sean states.

Other important technologies we saw at the show were Mixed Reality – AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), OLED and High Resolution and the use of robotics. Our team will be watching the developments of these technologies closely so we can remain on the cutting edge for our clients.

Sean’s final thoughts? “As someone who is working in the design and engineering of both corporate and residential electronics systems, this is indeed ‘the one show to rule them all’. I look forward to attending in the years to come.”

Are you interested in hearing more about what we saw at ISE 2018 and how it could benefit your project? We invite you to contact us today to start the conversation!

Always Be Learning – EntreLeadership Training Day for GHA Team

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According to Forbes, renewable learning is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a ‘need to have’ for employees and employers to succeed in today’s rapidly changing workplace.  Ongoing training is necessary for innovation.

We agree. Learning and development is particularly important for the Grand Home Automation team because we are always monitoring and implementing the latest technology trends to improve experience and make ‘The Fine Art of Living’ a reality for our clients.

To that end, our team recently spent the day participating in an EntreLeadership live stream event with Dave Ramsey and other business experts. Dave Ramsey is a New York Times bestselling author and nationally syndicated talk radio host who built a multimillion dollar company.

During our session, we covered many topics that we can use immediately, including how to:

  • Become a leader who others will follow
  • Lead for loyalty and unity
  • Create unstoppable momentum
  • Build a culture of communication—and why
  • Recognize your team and show them you care
  • Identify and engage ideal team players
  • Get rid of team dysfunction for good

Our team discussed these topics together and recognized how to incorporate some new ideas into better serving our clients, especially when it comes to creating the momentum needed to stay at the forefront of our industry.

Have you attended an EntreLeadership session? We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback as we work to integrate what we’ve learned into our day-to-day operations here at Grand Home Automation.

 

Keeping Up with Streaming Content Updates

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Netflix subscribers were abuzz last month when it was announced that Disney would be pulling their content off the popular media streaming service. While it won’t happen until 2019, plenty of parents voiced their concern on social media, such as the dad who tweeted:

”This is not good for the millions of parents who use Moana, Zootopia or Finding Dory as negotiation tactics with their toddlers.”

Disney plans to introduce their own streaming service, subscription cost yet undetermined, which many fear will be the first step of several additional services to add in order to watch a variety of content.

Disney owns ESPN, which will likewise introduce its own streaming service in 2019. Sports Illustrated says that it’s a similar model to that of HBO NOW, which is an online-only subscription that comes with access to all of HBO’s content but is not part of a cable package.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said that he envisions a more customizable user experience where consumers can select specific games, packages and even parts of games they want to purchase.

Both Disney and EPSN services will be similar to what the Netflix or Amazon Prime platforms offer: paying a fee for the specific content offered through those services. Which is very different from how many people still purchase content through cable or satellite providers.

So does that mean cable and traditional satellite tv providers are dead? Not so fast. Both satellite and cable companies are innovating quickly to keep up with consumer entertainment trends.

DirecTV recently launched DirecTVNow, which Tom’s Guide explains as “DirecTV is a satellite-TV subscription service, while DirecTV Now is an online streaming service that delivers live TV channels.” Both are owned by telecom giant AT&T. Priced much less than traditional packages, DirecTVNow offers a more flexible, portable service that delivers 50+ channels to any connected device.

Meanwhile, Comcast is expected to unveil  XFinity Instant TV later this year, which will be a similar content subscription service available either as an add-on or stand alone.

The home entertainment landscape is changing rapidly. With all the choices available for today’s consumer, it’s more important than ever to partner with an experienced consultant to help you make the best home theatre decisions. Our team at Grand Home Automation can help! Contact us today to start the conversation.

 

 

 

Always Watching? Spying Tech Fears

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Last month an 11 year old computer prodigy named Reuben Paul demonstrated to a shocked audience of cybersecurity experts just how easy it is to “hack” into consumer technology devices when he hacked his own smart teddy bear at a conference. He said of his trick, “I basically showed how I could connect to [a remote Internet-connected device], and send commands to it.”

Talk about one more thing to worry about!

So, what is being done to alleviate consumer fears about cybersecurity related to their connected devices?

The United States Department of Homeland Security draws on its vast expertise in cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, and preparedness efforts to address the challenge in securing the IoT (Internet of Things). It has published fact sheets and guidelines for industry to use when designing and developing technology for consumers.

Beyond developing guidelines, the government also penalizes companies that violate security. The Federal Trade Commission recently fined TV maker Vizio $2.2 million for collecting and selling consumer viewing data to third parties.

At Grand Home Automation, Inc. we are working to apply the standards that are currently being championed by various trade groups to alleviate consumer fears (such as the Cybersecurity Checklist Tool developed by the Consumer Technology Association).

Do you want the convenience of a connected home but are nervous about cyber security? Our team is making every effort to ensure that your smart home technology is not only secure but easy to use. Contact us today to start the conversation.

 

Congrats to the Jim Tibbe Homes Team on New Design Center!

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It’s no s1471381052_Lot-126-PL-Suttons-Bay---STGecret: The housing market is HOT in West Michigan. MLive.com reports that the region’s real estate market, ranked No. 4 in a recent survey of the nation’s hottest housing markets by Trulia.com, saw 13,593 single family homes exchange hands last year, a 3.7 percent increase over 2015!

In 2017, with housing inventory continuing to drop to record lows as eager buyers continue to enter the market, the local housing market had only 1.6 months of inventory available this year, down from 2.5 months in 2015, according to GRAR.

Local builders should then continue to be pleased indeed throughout 2017, as there continues to be a strong demand for housing and new home construction. There were 1,088 single family housing starts in 2016 in Kent County, and 933 in Ottawa County, with higher numbers expected in 2017.

Here at Grand Home Automation, we are proud to have been selected to partner with one of the largest and most experienced home building teams in the area, Jim Tibbe Homes.

The Jim Tibbe Homes team has more than 80 years of combined experience in building new homes and building relationships, with a special focus on quality and excellence.1471381046_Lot-64-CE-Pentwater-Harig-Custom---STG

Please join us in congratulating them on their new design center, opening this week at 1793 RW Berends SW in Wyoming!

When you visit the Design center, you’ll see examples of Grand Home Automation’s latest new home audio, video, and lighting controls technology.

Interested in how to make your new or existing home smarter, more comfortable and efficient? Contact us today to start the conversation!