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System Integration for the Connected Home

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CEDIA Confirms Global Integration

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The majority of CEDIA members vote in favour of the formal integration between CEDIA and CEDIA EMEA, confirming the association's plans to unite all global operations under a single "Better Together" umbrella.

CEDIA "Operating as one global organization is an important step for CEDIA as we seek to strengthen our global voice and influence," CEDIA CEO Vin Bruno says. "Our increased operational efficiencies will ensure that we are able to continue to deploy the resources CEDIA members need to be successful in every region."

While CEDIA HQ will be based in the US, the association will retain offices in Indianapolis and Cambridgeshire, highlighting the importance of regional benefits and connection points in local markets.

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ISE 2017 To Be Biggest Yet

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February 2017 might still be some time away but Integrated Systems Events already can announce ISE 2017 will be the biggest in the show's 14-year history, thanks to an increase in show-floor space, exhibitors and halls.

ISE ISE 2017 sees 135 first-time exhibitors and over 3000 square metres of additional show-floor space compared to ISE 2016, the result of an additional hall and pavilion. The new hall is named Hall 9, and accessible via Halls 8, 10 and 11, while the new Pavilion occupies the Congress Square. It provides 1500 square metres and connects with the Exhibitor Foyer, Diamond Lounge and Auditorium, making a combined area known as Hall 14.

“Making sure that we can feature all of the world’s leading AV vendors and service providers has always been a priority for us in delivering value for ISE attendees," ISE managing director Mike Blackman says. "With the expansion of the show I am delighted that we are able take the attendee and exhibitor experience to the next level for our 2017 event.”

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Razer Buys THX

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Gaming accessory maker Razer makes a surprise acquisition with THX, the venerable audio certification unit founded by George Lucas 33 years ago. Financial details of the deal are not available.

THX LogoAccording to the new buyer THX should retain both its management and employees, and will continue operating as an "independent startup" under the Razer banner. The company will continue working on audio standards for both cinema and the home, but will also branch out into "new categories in order to address evolving consumer needs."

"Our focus has always been on ensuring that anyone can experience high quality entertainment, regardless of their medium of choice. With Razer, we can now continue to strengthen our core lines of business while delivering excellence for our customers’ ever-changing needs," THX says. "As a standalone company, THX will work with Razer but will primarily continue to service our partners in the industry in order to deliver great products to consumers."

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Crestron Opens Entries for 10th Integration Awards

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Crestron announces entries are open for its 10th annual Integration Awards-- a ceremony the company says is a recognition of excellence in projects featuring Crestron solutions throughout the EMEA region.

Crestron integration awardsThis year's awards have a new category, and the entry process is now also open to Crestron integrators, Crestron Service Providers (CSPs) and consultants.

“Our solutions simplify and enhance the lives of millions of people every day around the globe," Crestron EMEA CEO Robin van Meeuwen says. "Our company’s success relies on the excellence of all our integration partners and Crestron Service Providers. The Crestron Integration Awards is our way of highlighting the incredible work undertaken in so many different applications across the EMEA. It is an honour to review and judge the entries, and I am looking to seeing the amazing work carried out by our partners over the past year.”

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Savant Founder Robert Madonna Returns as CEO

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Savant announces the return of company founder Robert Madonna as CEO, with a focus on innovative professional solutions, as well as the launch of consumer products established by outgoing CEO William Lynch.

Madonna SavantLynch remains at the company as advisor, and will assist with the leadership transition.

“Everyone at Savant would like to thank William for his vision, achievements and leadership while at Savant,” Madonna says. “Under his management, we created strong consumer product offerings as well as key relationships to establish a presence for the Savant brand at retail that will serve us well into the future.”

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Google Takes on Home Devices

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The Made by Google event involved more than Pixel-branded phones-- the search company is set to take on the connected home with the the Home smart speaker, the simply named Wi-Fi router and the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra.

Made by GoogleFirst seen back in May at the I/O conference, Home is the company's Alexa-style smart speaker. Similar in shape to an oversized salt shaker, the speaker runs on Assistant (the Google voice-controlled AI platform), and can play music from YouTube or Spotify, queue media on Netflix or Hulu, and answer spoken questions.

Google is also ready to take on home networking through Wi-Fi, a followup to the OnHub router similar to the Eero. The system uses multiple, puck-like access points to blanket the home with wireless access, with Network Assist software automatically optimising the network. A companion app allows users to manually manage users.

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RIP: RTI Founder John Demskie

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RTI announces the loss of founder and CEO John Demskie, who passed away unexpectedly at his Florida home on 15 September 2016. He was 48 years old.

John Demskie “John was a true pioneer in home automation,” the company says. “His passion for designing and creating innovative solutions has greatly influenced the control market. We are dedicated to furthering his technical vision which is at the heart of this company. He will be greatly missed within our RTI family and the industry as a whole.”

Demskie founded RTI in 1992 from his one-room apartment in Minnesota. A skilled hardware engineer, Demskie was a home theatre and CE enthusiast, and his vision for RTI remotes and touchscreen control devices was born after seeing countless magazine images of high-end homes with dozens of entertainment system remotes littering coffee tables.

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