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CEDIA's Tech Council Sees the Future, Part 6: Lights! Uber! Security!

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by Ed Wenck, CEDIA Content Marketing Manager

A 17-member panel has made 100 predictions for 2020.

Here are 10 more predictions for 2020 (#51-#60) from CEDIA Senior Director of Emerging Technologies Dave Pedigo and the 16 volunteers who join him in CEDIA’s Tech Council.

Prediction 51. We’ll see the “Uberization” of technology product delivery and continuing support services. In the CEDIA universe, there’s an opening for an app that will send the nearest home tech pro out to the consumer’s place on an as-needed basis.

Consumers will pay more when demand is high — or choose to wait a while, since the inverse is also true. (One wonders how many people have turned Tuesday night into pizza night now that take-‘n’-bake chain Papa Murphy’s has a $10/any pizza deal that day.)

A Forbes article — now nearly two years old — really laid out the concept of “surge pricing” elegantly:

"We’ve long accepted … price discrepancies for airline tickets, but information technology is allowing us to extend the concept to new realms. Some see a world coming in which everything, or at least a lot of things, are surge-priced — Uberized."

The question becomes: How much will you be able to charge to roll a truck to a customer’s media room during the Super Bowl?

Prediction 52. The nomenclature of the home technology professional will continue to change. Because it has to. Are you still measuring frequency response in cycles per second? When’s the last time you were searching for Fantasy Football rankings on “the Infobahn?” (Note: This prediction was written before Vin Bruno, CEDIA CEO, brought up the term Technologist).

THINK ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF COVERAGE — POWERED COVERAGE — THAT THE FOOTPRINT OF A HOME’S NETWORK OF LIGHT SOCKETS PROVIDES.

Prediction 53. The flexible use of the light socket: Lighting becomes more than lighting. Think about the amount of coverage — powered coverage — that the footprint of a home’s network of light sockets provides. Mike Maniscalco of Ihiji has: “You can use that coverage and power to do really interesting things, like integrate sensors into the lighting. Track humidity, people’s movements, change patterns based on what’s happening in that room.”

Prediction 54. Connected luminaires will significantly affect the lighting control industry. “Dad, Mom says there used to be a thing on the wall called a ‘light switch.’ Is she kidding around again?”

Prediction 55. PoE lighting will significantly affect the lighting control industry. There’s a real synergy among these last few predictions: As home tech pros start pulling much more Cat 6 cable for PoE devices of all kinds (that’s a sub-prediction from the Council that’s part of this No. 55, by the way), there’s going to be impact on all aspects of the lighting biz, from bulbs to controls. LEDs Magazine (and you thought pubs like CEPro were specialized) laid the whole thing out nicely in this feature.

Of course, since LED lamps draw a fraction of the power that incandescent bulbs use, lighting’s rapidly becoming a low-voltage affair. (See Prediction 49 for the implications of that on your state legislature.)

Prediction 56. Enterprise-grade network monitoring and maintenance will become a service that integrators offer. Maniscalco sees agreements being written by home tech pros and signed by consumers that include regular auditing and monitoring of a home network’s reliability and security. “As consumers become more and more aware of these issues, I believe that’s going to translate into value-added services that integrators offer,” he adds. Maniscalco sees the home tech pro ensuring that a system has the necessary patches in much the same way computers and smart phones are currently updated, whether that means an as-needed threat assessment or a monthly or quarterly audit from the firm who installed the gear. Ultimately, all of this checking of a home’s Wi-Fi will result in some kind of security-compliance standard that’s close to enterprise-grade.

Prediction 57. Full deployment of 5G networks and expanded wireless broadband access will level the playing field. The consumer — once all the global standards for 5G are hacked out, costing millions of dollars and thousands of lives (ha) — will be able to download movies in seconds! Connect their coffeepot to the toaster via the IoT! Yeah, you’ll still need to be around to troubleshoot DIY disasters, but the more wireless the world becomes, the easier it’ll be to install home networks, right? This could mean that integrator will need to learn a different skill-set by 2020; one that’s less focused on, say, audio calibration (“There’s an app for that!”) and much more on network security (but see the counter argument in the next prediction).

Prediction 58. There’ll be reduced dependence on the LAN. “That goes hand-in-hand with the preponderance of 5G networks,” says Maniscalco, adding: “My personal belief is the LAN is not dead.” Maniscalco sees the local network as a terrific firewall, and moving away from the LAN — at least in the near term — is just asking for it from a security perspective. “If all of your devices are just hanging out on the ‘big internet,’ that’s a huge security and privacy concern.”

Prediction 59. Internet service providers will expand implementing bandwidth caps. That’s why the (ahem) cable company that bundled your internet loves their closed eco-system of devices, yes? Seeing as how it’s tough to watch Stranger Things while Big Cable Company is throttling your internet speed, well, can the surge-pricing Uberization of Netflix be far behind?

Prediction 60. Increased computing power in smaller spaces and smaller chips and with lower power consumption will allow more IoT device reliability, security, and deployment. Yep, your child’s blanket just alerted you to the fact that Junior’s got a fever.

See 10 more Predictions in our Part 7.

Ed Wenck is CEDIA's Content Marketing Manager. Send thoughts, ideas, and typo notifications to ewenck@cedia.org.

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Go CEDIA's Tech Council Sees the Future, Part 1