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November 19, 2009

News for the automated homes and buildings industry

 Home Systems
  • Facebook to be available on PS3
    Facebook support will be introduced to the console in the next firmware update, version 3.10. Once you link your PlayStation Network account to your Facebook account, you will be able to turn on options to automatically update your Facebook profile in 3 different areas: trophy information, purchasing information, and game event information. Mashable (11/17)
  • Wal-Mart drops more CE prices in run-up to the holidays
    Wal-Mart has announced a new pre-Black Friday promotion that includes the 26-inch 720p Vizio LCD TV and select video game packages. The in-store deals -- the third such price-dropping initiative in the retailer's run-up to the holiday shopping season -- last from Nov. 21 to 27. TWICE (11/17)
  • Some new Sony Bravias, Blu-ray players get Netflix streams
    Select Sony Bravia HDTVs and Blu-ray players now are equipped to directly stream Netflix's catalog of 17,000 "Watch Instantly" titles. Models included are the 40-, 46- and 52-inch versions of the W5100, Z5100, XBR9 and XBR10 series as well as the company's N460 Network Blu-ray Disc Player. Multichannel News (11/17)
  • Study eyes expansion of wireless contracts for CE devices
    Nearly half of the netbooks, notebook PCs, mobile Internet devices and other consumer-electronics products sold worldwide in 2013 will carry a 3G or 4G cellular contract, according to new data from In-Stat. The firm said that 31.5% of netbooks and smartbooks were sold with a wireless contract this year, a percentage that will grow to 49.5% during the next four years. TWICE (11/18)
  • Podcast: Remote monitoring offers a healthy advantage
    For those of us who have elderly or disabled loved ones, getting them the care and attention they require can be difficult at times. It can also be expensive given the cost of assisted living. Learn how M2M technology can help improve lifestyle through remote monitoring and offer a healthy advanatge. M2M Radio (11/17)
  • SpeakerCraft's Burkhardt charts life after the recession
    Now that the economy is showing signs of improvement, custom installer SpeakerCraft will begin targeting a broader swath of the population, including mainstream consumers and retrofit installations. "Those that have survived the storm and put their financial and operational ship in shape are going to come out of this economic learning experience stronger and more prepared to run even more profitable businesses," said SpeakerCraft President Jeremy Burkhardt. (11/16)
  • Samsung regains top spot as U.S. LCD TV supplier
    With a 17% share of the U.S. LCD market in the third quarter, Samsung Electronics has regained its position as the leading supplier over Vizio, which controlled 16% of the market, according to the latest data from iSuppli Corp. Samsung last claimed bragging rights in the category in the fourth quarter of 2008, but it was overtaken by Vizio in the first and second quarters of this year. MarketWatch (11/16)
  • CEA introduces new online tools for data analysis
    The Consumer Electronics Association has launched, a Web portal designed to provide member firms with new tools for tracking reports and customized data analyses. "Our new custom analysis tools take the program to a whole new level, enabling customers to tailor reports to suit their business needs," said Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis. "Companies that participate in CEA's industry-data program now have an even stronger advantage in the marketplace." Dealerscope (11/16)
  • Motorola to buy video company BitBand
    Motorola Inc. said that it would buy privately held BitBand, an Israel-based video-on-demand technology provider, to expand its home video business. Motorola said it would integrate BitBand into its Home and Networks Mobility unity, for which the company has reportedly been looking for a buyer willing to pay $4 billion to $5 billion. Reuters (11/16)
  • Panasonic sells the big-screen plasma experience
    Panasonic executives say large-screen plasma TVs, such as the company's 58- and 65-inch VIERA sets, offer a number of technical advantages over other displays, including a wider "sweet spot" for viewers and a higher level of brightness regularity across the screen. The pitch for plasma as a replacement for outdated rear-projection TVs came as the company conducted technical briefings on the East and West coasts. Dealerscope (11/15)
  • FLO TV service now sold directly at retail
    FLO TV, a mobile-television service that has been sold as an add-on to voice or data service in the past, now is being offered as a stand-alone product at a variety of consumer-electronics stores. The FLO TV Personal Television serves up 10 to 15 channels from cable and broadcast networks for $15 a month. Broadcasting & Cable (11/13)
  • CE firms look to interactive Blu-ray for sales spark
    Consumer-electronics companies increasingly are looking to the highly interactive capabilities of the Blu-ray platform to provide a much-needed sales spark in the home-entertainment category. "As with any new rollout of new technology, we are getting a sense of what people like and what they don't like," said Sony Home Entertainment Vice President Rich Marty. "The real challenge is to stay relevant." Variety (11/13)
  • HDTV sales expected to spread cheer during the holidays
    With LCD TV shipments expected to increase 7.3% during the fourth quarter and prices on all levels of HDTVs at all-time lows, CE industry analysts are predicting that flat-panel sets will be the name of the game this holiday shopping season. "The reason for that strong growth is the fact that the prices are very, very aggressive," said Riddhi Patel, an analyst with iSuppli. "It won't be only on the basic models. It will be on the more advanced ones, too." Multichannel News (11/16)

  • Microsoft lets users download mobile apps from PCs
    Microsoft this week created an online catalog to help Windows Mobile 6.5 users browse for applications without needing to access their mobile phones. Instead, they can download the apps from their PCs, which Windows will deliver wirelessly to their customers' cell phones. CNET/Webware blog (11/12)
  • D&H predicts consumers will want Web-enabled TV, e-books
    D&H Distributing says it will help retailers cope with what CEA economists call a "pent-up demand" for products such as Internet-connected TV and e-books as consumers open their wallets again. "It's time to ask ourselves about the new consumer mind-set," said D&H executive Michael Schwab. "What kind of merchandise and lifestyle are people picturing for themselves, post-recession?" Dealerscope (11/12)
  • Windows 7 inspires touch-screen boom
    Manufacturers are releasing a range of touch-screen PCs to take advantage of multitouch support featured in Windows 7. Gartner predicts about 10% of new PCs this year will include touch-screen capabilities, with shipments next year expected to increase four times over 2008's total. USA TODAY (11/12)
  • Nickelodeon study says technology brings families together
    New media technology may seem to drive families apart, but new research from Nickelodeon says many are doing activities together. A new study by the cable network, as part of an ongoing research effort with Harris Interactive called "The Family GPS," shows that 82% of families watch TV together. 77% of families watch movies together at home each week. MediaDailyNews (11/12)
  • Last of the coupons for DTV converter boxes expire
    Americans redeemed 54% of the 64.1 million government-issued coupons toward the purchase of a digital-TV converter box, according to this report. The last 200,000 of those coupons that were sent by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration reached their 90-day expiration date Monday. The Denver Post (11/12)
  • Packard Bell unveils touch-screen all-in-one desktop PC
    Packard Bell has announced its oneTwo series of all-in-one touchscreen Windows 7 desktop PCs that offer a digital TV tuner built-in. The all-in-one devices, with a "space-saving design and a single power-cord" combine a PC and a TV in a 20-inch 1600 x 900 resolution or 23-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display. Pocket-lint (11/11)
  • Video game consoles morph beyond their gaming roots
    Video game consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 are, according to this report, morphing beyond their gaming roots and becoming full-fledged entertainment platforms. Later this month, for instance, Microsoft will add a number of key features to its Xbox Live online service that will allow users to stream music, download movies and access social-media networks. The Wall Street Journal (11/12)
  • Apple presses Nintendo as iPhone profits surge
    The strong popularity of the iPhone and iPod has helped Apple to press Nintendo as the global leader in hand-held gaming devices, according to a report that also quotes Nintendo's president as saying the companies are not competitors. Apple's gaming applications may have been a major factor in the iPhone's latest success: The handset has surpassed Nokia's phones in generating operating profits, according to a report from Strategy Analytics. The Business Insider (11/10)
  • RFID can help curb rise in retail theft
    The Global Retail Theft Barometer shows that theft costs to companies have jumped nearly 6% this year compared with last year. The increase is being attributed to the economic downturn and reduced spending on security measures. Mark Roberti, founder and editor of RFID Journal, suggests that RFID technology can help in a number of ways. RFID Journal/RFID Journal Blog (11/11)
  • Researchers developing material to keep batteries cool
    Taiwanese researchers are developing a battery material designed to prevent lithium-ion batteries that are used in laptops and mobile devices from catching fire or exploding. The material is called Stoba, and, when placed between the positive and negative sides of the battery, it can morph from a porous material to a film to help dissipate heat buildup in the cells. Reuters (11/11)

Click here for CABA's Industry Events Update

  Large Building Automation
  • New HVAC alliance formed
    The ClimateTalk Alliance will establish a common communication infrastructure for HVAC and smart energy devices, enabling easy interoperability of diverse applications across multiple protocols. cseLive (11/17)
  • Carrier acquires three British controls businesses
    Carrier Corp., which makes heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment, said Wednesday it has acquired three building management control businesses of the i2S Group, a British company. AP (11/18)

  • KPMG says green buildings reduce energy use, lower financial risk
    The potential for energy use reductions in old and new buildings is significant, according to a report from KPMG. The study finds that energy consumption in buildings can be cut by 30 to 50 percent and still produce a positive return on investments. Plus, real estate groups can get a business boost from green buildings by attracting the best deals, strategic investors, and marquee anchor tenants, according to the report. Environmental Leader (11/18)
  • Rogers Wireless and Jasper Wireless partner on M2M connected devices
    Rogers Wireless and Jasper Wireless announced today the companies have entered into a multi-year, exclusive agreement to wirelessly connect consumer electronics and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices. Through this partnership, Rogers Wireless will accelerate market entry for new categories of connected devices such as personal navigation and e-readers. CNW Group (11/10)
  • Lawyers anticipate LEED-liability suits
    Lawyers may not be hearing a lot of concern from the construction community about liability issues arising from LEED projects, but they expect it’s coming. One potential liability scenario could result from simply not receiving the level of LEED certification the owner wanted. (11/10)
  • UTC to buy GE Security unit
    United Technologies Corp. said that it will buy General Electric's security business for $1.82 billion, adding another major element to UTC's own security products unit, UTC Fire & Security. GE Security, a division of GE Technology Infrastructure, provides a wide variety of products, including fire detection and access control systems, alarms and video surveillance. Hartford Courant (11/12)
  • Study: ICT has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 25%
    ICT-based technologies, if used intensively, have the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 25% in the G20 countries, compared with 2006 baseline emissions, according to new IDC report. ICT-enabled smart building systems, ICT-optimised supply chains, and variable motor controls in industrial machinery are the leading technologies for reducing emissions in each of the sectors surveyed. (11/18)
  • U.S. DOE walks the walk with smart building
    Homes and office buildings consume three-quarters of U.S. electricity, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory wants to lower that figure by erecting what it believes will be the largest "net-zero" energy building in the world — one that produces as much power onsite as it uses. AP (11/17)
  • What IT teams bring to green building efforts
    A smart building is one that uses networked sensors and controls and centralized monitoring and management to improve the efficiency of its operation. So what's IT's role? IT also brings a deep understanding of how to stick to standards and secure networks. InformationWeek (11/13)
  • Carrier solutions selected for TESCO superstores in China
    Carrier continues to expand as a total solutions provider for high performance commercial buildings and has recently been selected by the global retail giant TESCO to provide air conditioning equipment for 20 future TESCO superstores. In addition, Carrier will perform chiller retrofits for existing TESCO stores across China. Carrier Corp. is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (11/10)
  • ENERGY STAR releases progress snapshot
    The latest ENERGY STAR Snapshot provides an at-a-glance summary of key performance indicators. The Snapshot brings together the latest U.S. metrics and helps you watch progress across the country. The report monitors trends in the energy performance rating of commercial and institutional buildings and also follows ENERGY STAR certification for commercial and industrial facilities. ENERGY STAR (11/16)
Member Press Releases
  • Other Items
  CABA Research Spotlight
  • Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Transforming the Market
    This paper from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development explores building efficiency in six markets: Brazil, China Europe, Indian, Japan, and the U.S. Energy consumption for building operation was studied. Building operations account for 80% of the total energy consumed during the life cycle of the building that include construction and demolition. Buildings consume 40% of energy produced. The report proposes methods to reduce energy consumption sufficient to decrease carbon output by 77% by 2050. Codes, incentives, designs, and technologies to achieve this goal are discussed. Financial incentives alone are inadequate today; taxes and subsidies are recommended. The net cost is estimated at $250 billion per year in the six market studied. Read the full report as published in CABA's Research Library. Paid CABA membership provides you access to the full CABA Research Library, which has grown by 300 new reports within the last two years.
  Education & Training 
  • Webinar: Bright Green Buildings - Convergence of Green and Intelligence Buildings
    Join Konkana Khaund, Industry Analyst - Environment & Building Technologies, Frost & Sullivan on November 24 at 11:30 am ET as she identifies exciting developments in technology & analyzes their implications for buildings, i.e. lowering energy costs & enabling buildings to comply with Smart Grid & Net Zero targets of the future. The Webinar will be brought to you through 2degrees, a collaborative, online corporate network which invites you to join free of charge.
  • Webinar: How to Promote an Energy Star Qualified Building
    ENERGY STAR will hold a webinar on December 2 at 1 pm ET to describe the characteristics of an ENERGY STAR qualified building, and how to leverage EPA materials and resources that help spread the word about ENERGY STAR qualified buildings.
  • CE Pro launches Virtual Trade Shows
    The CE Pro Virtual Trade Shows will take place on May 11-13, 2010 and October 12-14, 2010. This new virtual event format will offer the custom electronics industry a fresh, new experience. Over three days each CE Pro Virtual Trade Show will offer custom installation professionals and retailers keynote presentations from prominent industry leaders, strong conference content, virtual trade show booths, appointment making, chat, video and audio presentations, and much more. For manufacturers and service providers, the event will offer an efficient tool to showcase their products and services to a national CE Pro community. Learn more.
  • Webinar: Cisco, NetApp and Panduit Data Center of the Future
    Join Cisco, NetApp, and Panduit for an online discussion of Fibre Channel over Ethernet best practices on December 10 at 12 pm ET. Power, cooling, and space challenges are the norm for most data centers today. These challenges are a direct result of the growth of and disparate technologies involved in cabling, adapters, and switch ports for networking. While server virtualization addresses some of these issues, many problems remain and new challenges continue to emerge. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) solutions available today, and how IT organizations are realizing the benefits and efficiencies of products from Cisco, NetApp, and Panduit.
 CABA News
  • CABA Launches Connected Home Roadmap 2010 Study
    The Continental Automated Buildings Association, through its Connected Home Research Council, is launching a consumer market study that will examine all aspects of the connected home marketplace.
  • CABA and Building Intelligence Group to hold seminar at AHR Expo
    The Building Intelligence Tour, produced by CABA and Building Intelligence Group, and in its fifth year at AHR Expo, will present an educational seminar focused on Optimized and Integrated Controls for High Performance Building Operations. The event, to held Jan. 26 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL will demonstrate leadership and expertise in building automation, controls, energy management and integrated systems. The seminar will also be designed to enhance your marketing efforts while educating building owners, facility managers, property developers, system integrators, contractors, and consultants; and providing them networking opportunities. Learn more.
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