What Is the Future of Custom Installation?

I’ve worked in the custom business for over 20 years so I’m always looking ahead to see what’s on the horizon. I’m happy to report that there’s plenty to keep me optimistic and excited about the future of custom installation and smart home technology, though there will always be challenges along the way.

“The Internet of Things” (IoT) was a common theme in the past but it’s now assumed that all devices will be smart and connected. Recent studies also show that over 70% of households own a smart home product in at least one of 30 different categories, demonstrating that consumers are readily embracing the technology.

LG and Samsung continue to promote the idea of a smart and connected kitchen, where appliances can share information and status to enable new updates and features, such as different wash cycles. However, it doesn’t seem like this concept is gaining much traction, and it still feels like a solution in search of a problem. Time will tell.

With all the different communication technologies out there — Z-Wave, Zigbee, Thread, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more — interoperability between devices and ease of setup remains a major topic. A relatively new smart home connectivity standard called Matter aims to simplify connectivity and interoperability across various devices and platforms. It was the subject of much conversation at CES 2023, with multiple companies touting its adoption. This is something that could certainly see widespread growth and a standard with the potential to make the smart home accessible to a broader audience.

Making smart devices — and thus smart homes — smarter is the driving force behind companies like Ring and ADT. At a CES panel I attended, CTOs from both companies noted the potential impact artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will have on the smart home.

Ring uses these technologies to "teach" cameras to recognize what they are looking at, set boundaries, and alert when packages are delivered or people enter the property. They also use AI to determine if the car in the driveway is yours.

Similarly, ADT is leaning on this technology to make systems more accurate and create a smarter and safer home. The company claims that AI has helped reduce false alarms by over 50%. Machine learning can also help differentiate between a person and a dog and determine if the person is authorized to be there. ADT is also looking to get creative with its sensors, such as using the same motion detector from a security system to turn on a light or notify when an elderly parent gets out of bed.

Many automation and security systems rely on motion detectors to trigger events, and Aqara’s Presence Sensor FP2 is a cool device that could have an impact on smart home tech. Whereas traditional motion sensors rely on passive infrared to detect movement, the FP2 is based on “millimeter wave” radar tech and can detect motion as faint as raising a finger or the movement of your chest while breathing. It also enables users to define different zones in a room, the idea being that presence in specific zones would trigger different automations for a more customized experience.

Another cool device is Swidget’s Z-Wave-enabled, modular “smart-ready” outlets and switches. These easily installed and affordable outlets can be outfitted with a variety of snap-in modules that perform a variety of tasks, ranging from air quality testing and motion detection to temperature and humidity sensing, USB charging, video surveillance, and more. They also offer insights into energy consumption.

Another big push we’re seeing is health monitoring technology that aids caregivers and makes it possible for seniors to age safely in place longer. This includes smart toilet seats that measure blood pressure and blood oxygenation levels or a toilet that analyzes a urine stream. Fall detection can also alert a responder while still providing privacy. As one panelist put it at that CES session I attended, “Eventually, we will all be end-users, so we have to get this right.”

I’m excited by new developments in home audio. Nakamichi’s Dragon 11.4.6-channel soundbar system was one of the most impressive audio products I saw and heard at CES 2023. It has seven Air Motion tweeters with 16 digital amplifiers delivering a total peak power of 3,000 watts, capable of reaching 125 decibels. Utilizing four subwoofers to deliver truly tactile and theater-like bass, the Dragon is truly a beast! I have listened to many high-end soundbar-based systems, and this is the first one that actually competes with a traditional AVR-based speaker system.

In TV/video, ultra-short throw (UST) projectors continue to make impressive strides. USTs that use laser light engines are now available from many companies, including Samsung, LG, AWOL Vision, BenQ, Formovie, Hisense, Leica, and Xgimi, to name a few. Samsung’s new Premiere 8K, which supports screen sizes up to 150 inches, is a standout in the category. When paired with a good ambient light rejecting screen, today’s brighter, more room-friendly UST projectors make for a compelling living room theater. In my next blog, I’ll discuss the things you need to keep in mind if you are considering going ultra-short throw.

The Author
For the past 20 years, John Sciacca has worked as a custom installer in South Carolina. In his free time, he enjoys drinking craft beer and watching movies on his 7.2.6 surround system.

Heathermoor's picture

Custom installation technology and smart home are gradually being perfected and modernized with the presence of territorial io in your house.

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banner's picture

Looking at Swidget's products, it seems like they're over $100 for the outlet alone, then another $50-$90 for any of the inserts (should you want more than the base power/energy feature). Comparing to other vendors options (Sinopé, Legrand, etc) in the same form factor (receptacle, as plugs aren't really comparable), they typically go for $50-60. Admittedly, they're not able to 'add' functionality with inserts like these are, but at effectively double the price, I would say they're more 'premium' price-wise than affordable.

Excellent looking product though, and I can only hope zigbee and matter support follow the eventual z-wave option!

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The cost of custom software may exceed that of regular fixed packages. But in the long term, a tailored installation will keep you safe. Experts on Linked Profile Maker have also expressed their appreciation for your work in sharing this useful article with us.

Darnell Jess's picture

Customs station is utilizing this technology to improve system accuracy and to create a smarter and safer home. However, the product appears to be wonderful, and I can only hope that Zigbee and Matter support will be added after the inevitable Z-wave selection! M Jackets appreciates all of your efforts and the sharing of these informative posts.

Ehto's picture

I see custom installations of IoT systems being the next big wave for home audio/video setups. Nowadays we all want to connect our streaming services, bluetooth speakers and stream content from our phones. The had part is getting it all to work! Thank you Sound & Vision for making our dream setup a reality. From the team at Best Gutter Cleaners.

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