CEDIA 2021 was quiet but not a bust by most accounts. The exhibitors that were able to attend showcased some “hidden gems” in the industry, from smart boards to unique customizable lighting options. CEDIA Interim Co-CEO Giles Sutton spoke with Connected Design about his experience of the event and what trends he gathered during the show.

What products stood out to you at CEDIA this year?

I have a personal passion for innovation and expanding the scope of technology solutions that integrators can offer to their customers. The LaunchPad at CEDIA Expo is always the perfect place to find that. This year, first-time exhibitor Orro showcased its line of human-centric lighting products and detailed the restorative and energizing benefits they can provide in the home. CEDIA Propel partner, Autoslide, debuted AutoSwing — an intuitive door-opening system that prevents cross contamination by automating manual doors with touchless activation sensors. Grand Prize winner of CEDIA Expo’s TechStarter Five, guardDog.ai, impressed us with its ability to find and protect against attempted cyberattacks in less than two milliseconds, ensuring the utmost safety where it matters most.

What areas of the smart home do you think are growing the most?

Lighting continues to be an exciting category in the smart home for several reasons. Perhaps most obviously, light fixtures create opportunities to add a unique design element to a space. But lately, we’ve been seeing lighting used for other purposes related to health and wellness and even security. Human centric lighting has been a growing trend for its natural ability to provide energy, focus, and relaxation leading to better quality work, sleep, and overall wellbeing. On the security side, motion-activated lighting provides an added layer of protection, especially at times when a home is most vulnerable, like at night or while the homeowners are away.

What do you think is next for the industry?

I am excited by the state of the industry right now. Technology adoption has been accelerated by COVID and is only going to continue its upward trajectory in the years to come. What’s more is that the perception of the smart home has evolved from being luxurious and unattainable to essential for work, leisure, and as a means of keeping healthy. Now, more than ever, integrators must play an active role in understanding a client’s unique lifestyle and ensuring their home operates in a way that best suits those needs.

What positive feedback did you get from the more intimate size of the show?

We received a great deal of feedback from our members that the intimate size of CEDIA Expo 2021 provided more opportunities for meaningful conversations with prospective dealers, existing partners and industry colleagues. Visitors were able to take full advantage of everything CEDIA Expo had to offer for a truly fulfilling show experience.