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September 10, 2009

News for the automated homes and buildings industry

 Home Systems
  • Palm unveils a smartphone for younger users
    Taking the next step toward rebuilding its lineup of smartphones, Palm announced on Wednesday a new cellphone called the Pixi. Palm also announced it was dropping the price of its Pre smartphone by $50 to $150, with a two-year service agreement and after a $150 instant rebate and $100 mail-in rebate. New York Times (9/9)
  • Blu-ray association wants to take lead in 3-D technologies
    The Blu-ray Disc Association wants to take a leading role in the development of specifications to guide the advancement of 3-D technology. "Just as Blu-ray Disc has paved the way for next-generation, high-definition home entertainment, it will also set the standard for 3-D home viewing in the future," said Victor Matsuda, the chairman of the BDA's Global Promotions Committee. (9/2)
  • Nielsen study shows TV, Internet complementary
    More than half of those with high-speed Internet -- 57% of them -- say they enjoy watching content on TV and online simultaneously, according to a new study by Nielsen. Gary Holmes, a spokesman for the research company, said that "what we're finding is that there's a connection between the two media, and that innovative marketers can take advantage of that. One medium can be used to reinforce the other. Reuters (9/2)
  • HAI introduces IP-based advanced energy display options for home automation
    HAI's new OmniTouch 5.7e and OmniTouch 10p touchscreens are capable of displaying real time information about a home's energy consumption, the current cost of energy, and notifications from the utility company. HAI's Omni and Lumina family of home control systems can also respond to changes in energy cost by controlling energy consuming devices in the home such as air conditioners, lighting, hot water heaters, pool/fountain pumps, and more. HiddenWires (9/7)
  • Energy Star to release stricter guidelines for TVs
    The U.S. EPA-run Energy Star program released new guidelines for TV sets that will take effect in two waves - the first coming next May and the second beginning in May 2012. Version 4.0, which takes effect May 1, will reduce energy use in TVs 40%; Version 5.0, which starts May 1, 2012, will cut energy use 65%. (9/4)
  • Dream HDTVs On A Budget
    Even in tough economic times, the desire for entertainment is strong and the pull of those dazzling high-definition screens can lead consumers to spend when they should save. If you find yourself about to plop down a wad of cash for a new HDTV, make sure you've done your research first. (9/8)
  • TV services now introducing downloadable applications
    DirecTV and the FiOS service from Verizon Communications have recently announced app stores modeled directly on Apple’s App Store. Just a few applications have shown up so far, but already these few — Bible verses, Facebook updates and fantasy sports team updates — suggest that people may not be content to sit back while watching TV but rather want to lean forward and interact and customize their TVs. New York Times (9/7)
  • Apple slashes iPod prices up to $120
    Apple has chopped $20 to $120 off the prices of most of its iPod line. The new prices were posted only hours before Apple was expected to replace most if not all of its existing iPods with new models loaded with more memory and added functions, such as a camera. CNNMoney (9/9)

  • NETGEAR rolls out set-top box for downloaded media
    Netgear has introduced the EVA2000 Digital Entertainer Live set-top box, a system that allows users to listen to and view their personally downloaded music, photos and videos through their televisions. The new device, which will retail for about $150, "enables people to fully enjoy their home-media collections and online video from popular Internet sites on the best screen in their home -- their big-screen TVs," according to Netgear's Phillip Pyo. Dealerscope (9/9)
  • Study: 25% of U.S. households now watch TV shows online
    A new survey by the Conference Board reports that 25% of U.S. households watch TV shows and movies online as opposed to 20% just one year ago. The survey went on to say that the most popular forms of content for online viewers was news with 43%, sitcoms/dramas with 35%, reality shows with 20% and sports with 18%. Los Angeles Times (9/9)
  • Mobile video is likely to soar over next eight years
    Worldwide mobile-broadband users will view 1.8 exabytes of video per month by 2017, research company Coda predicts. While the demand for faster, higher-bandwidth services will probably strain networks until upgrades are completed, it may also lead to as-yet-unimaginable innovations. ReadWriteWeb (9/8)
  • Apple gives OK to rival music service Spotify
    Apple has approved Spotify, a European-based rival to its iTunes digital-music service, for the iPhone's App Store. Spotify, which also runs on the Android operating system, has so far been limited to the European market. Spotify could also soon show up on Sony Ericsson devices: The handset maker said last week that it might strike a deal with Spotify to boost its entertainment menu. San Francisco Chronicle/PC World (9/7)

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  Large Building Automation
  • ZigBee RF4CE Specification Available for Download
    The ZigBee Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, commercial and consumer applications, recently announced the ZigBee RF4CE specification for advanced remote controls is now available for public download. Reuters (9/9)
  • EnOcean emerges as lighting control wireless standard
    Today 113 companies, including Leviton, Masco, Distech Controls, Philips Ledalite and Osram Sylvania, have engineered products that simplify building automation system installations using wireless and energy harvesting sensors, switches and controls. Reuters (9/3)
  • Honeywell completes solar installation at Toronto hospital
    Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Honeywell celebrated the completion of an innovative solar photovoltaic installation. The new installation, part of a $28-million facility renewal program that also includes a variety of energy-efficient upgrades, will help the hospital cut energy costs and reduce its environmental impact. Marketwire (9/9)
  • Echelon gets boost from new contract in Finland
    Echelon said its partner, Spanish firm Telvent GIT S.A., had been chosen by Finish giant Fortum Oyj to provide the advanced metering technology using Echelon's networked energy services. It is the largest smart meter project in Finland, Echelon said, where there are 3.1 million electricity customers. Wall Street Journal (8/28)
  • FCC seeks smart grid comments on broadband plan
    The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comments on its draft broadband plan, which it is preparing to send to Congress in February. The FCC has released two such requests, one seeking comments on the role of broadband in teleworking and another on the role of broadband in building the Smart Grid. (9/8)
  • Managing the electrical load
    The bulk of buildings lack operational performance data, which means that proper management is almost impossible. Jim Sinopoli, managing principal of Smart Buildings, looks at various technologies to obtain data in order to manage the electrical load. (9/7)
  • Very smart cities emerging in Asia
    South Korea's Songdo and China's Meixi Lake are spending billions on intelligent networks with an eco-vibe. Songdo's backers, which include Gale International and Morgan Stanley , are betting the city can become a northeast Asia trade hub, linking nearby Shanghai and Tokyo. It will also be a model for a new Gale project, Meixi Lake, to be built in China's Hunan Province starting later this year. (9/3)
  • HP releases video wall product for enterprise
    The HP Executive Video Wall enables you to aggregate multiple IP video streams from across your
    enterprise and display them on a single screen thus allowing the flexibility to view your distribution feeds outside the master control room. By using the HP Executive Video Wall, you can monitor your IP feeds from the comfort of your office or a remote location - using just an HP workstation and display. HP (9/9)
  • Fluke releases new themocouple clamp for HVAC/R technicians
    Fluke Corporation, a global leader in handheld electronic test and measurement technology, has introduced a new, larger pipe temperature clamp designed to help professionals in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry quickly measure the temperatures that reveal how well systems are functioning. Marketwire (9/8)
  • New introductory guide released by ASHRAE
    A newly released guide from ASHRAE on building information models and building information modeling (BIM) serves as a resource for professionals considering BIM tools and applications for their businesses. ThomasNet (9/8)
  • Stronger digital infrastructure, better economic potential
    “Building for the future” is a very hollow statement when the vast majority of stimulus funding is aimed at maintaining the past. Though federal stimulus programs might have good intentions, they really don’t do too much for improving the digital infrastructure, according to James Carlini, an adjunct professor at Northwestern University and president of Carlini & Associates. (8/24)
  • Seven deadly sins of building security
    You've got a few security guards and your CCTV system is up to snuff. You've got your building security covered, right? Think again. While many organizations are taking the steps to ensure their building is secure, many are ignoring basic pieces of the puzzle that is physical security in and around a facility. Computerworld (9/8)

  • Leviton charts aggressive India strategy
    Leviton is scouting for distribution and solutions partners in India for its networking solutions comprising passive components, cables, and last-mile wireless products. The company is also looking for systems integrators for its building automation, energy management, lighting and power control offerings. CRN (8/15)

  • Unlock a data treasury trove in existing electrical grids
    When utilities have a wealth of data and don't take advantage of it, an embarrassment of riches becomes just an embarrassment. That's the situation facing most utilities as the smart grid goes mainstream. GE executive John McDonald explains how utilities can make powerful use of information they may not even know they have. (9/8)

  • Consider these items before starting a project
    Reed Construction Data has developed a basic list of some contractor must-haves for small to medium-size projects. Most are obvious and general, but it is good to use a checklist. Of course you must customize your checklist to take into account the requirements of the project at hand. Reed Construction Data (7/16)

Member Press Releases
  • Global Caché Launches iTach Family of WiFi and Ethernet Connectivity Products
    Global Caché, known for its highly successful GC-100 Network Adapters, recently announced the new iTach Family of Products designed to connect any control system, including the iPhone and iPod touch, to common household devices so they can be easily accessed and controlled. Employing the iTach and remote control software available through iTunes, the Apple iPhone/iPod touch is transformed into a universal remote control in a matter of minutes.
  • Other Items
  • IP for Smart Objects
    This paper from the Internet Protocol for Smart Objects (IPSO) Alliance is an overview of the benefits of equipping devices with Internet protocol interfaces for communications. The Internet protocols are summarized. The claimed benefits of IP are open, lightweight, versatile, ubiquitous, scalable, manageable, stable, and end-to-end. Read the full report as published in CABA's Public 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 
  • ASHRAE provides opportunity for continuing education
    In keeping with ASHRAE’s goal of continuing education, the Society will once again offer fall online seminars. These online, instructor-led seminars will run from late September through early November and are available to those interested in expanding their knowledge of the HVAC industry and keeping up to date with the latest technology and their applications. Many popular courses will be offered, several of which will include updated material. Learn more.
  • Eight new courses available from CEDIA Registered Outreach Instructors
    CEDIA is proud to announce the addition of eight new courses approved for continuing education through the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD), the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC), and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Now ready for delivery by registered outreach instructors (ROIs) in your area, this FREE education will benefit you, your chapter members, and your associates by providing a basic level of home technology information relative to the design and build process.
  • Webcast: "Lessons in BIM Adoption"
    On September 23 at 2 pm ET, please join Dennis Neeley, AIA, Cindy Bremer, and Mark Mergenschroer for a complimentary webcast from Reed Construction Data, moderated by Rex Miller. The webcast will examine why building information model (BIM) adoption is important, how BIM implementations are approached, and provide a full analysis on the overall results for adopting BIM. Register now.
  • Webinar: Data Center of the Future
    Data centers are expected to deliver reliable services and provide 24/7 application availability. As a result, data center operators are constantly evaluating next generation technologies and methodologies to address the associated challenges, while mitigating unwanted costs and risks. Please join Cisco and Panduit for an online event on Thursday, September 17 at 11:30 am ET, during which you will have the opportunity to learn how you can optimize the physical infrastructure of your data center over its entire life cycle. Register now.
 CABA News

  • CABA at CEDIA Expo
    On September 9, the Connected Home Research Council Family Ecosystem Forum, hosted by Whirlpool Corporation in Atlanta, GA, brought together leading companies dealing with the integration of consumer electronics and other cutting-edge technology throughout the home. For copies of the presentations, please contact Alex Detre, CABA’s Research Director at or 613.686.1814 x228. CABA will also have a display at CEDIA Expo, September 9 through 13, at booth 3000. Please drop by to learn more about the organization.

  • Connected Home Study executive summary available for free download
    The executive summary of CABA's 2008 State of the Connected Home Market Study is now available for free download. The study was commissioned by CABA's Connected Home Research Council and conducted by Zanthus, a high-tech market research firm, to investigate consumer attitudes and behaviors with regard to the connected home. Zanthus conducted a series of Web surveys among both primary market consumers, defined as consumers who adopt technology as products first come on the market, and mass market consumers, defined as those who wait for prices to fall or to assess a product's popularity before making new technology purchases. The executive summary contains a precis of the results and is provided as a free benefit to industry by CABA.
  • CABA to hold senior housing and living ideation session at CEDIA
    On September 10 at 9 am, in Atlanta, prior to the opening of CEDIA Expo, Whirlpool Corporation will host a moderated brainstorming discussion with POCO Labs’ representatives regarding collaborative research project opportunities pertaining to senior housing and living. Interested parties should contact CABA in advance of the meeting to participate and provide input to help frame specific and strategic interests regarding this topic via the completion of a project opportunity worksheet. All input garnered in advance of the meeting will be utilized to develop a senior housing ecosystem that takes into account existing, new and emerging opportunities. This information will also be used during an ideation session with working groups to identify a more strategic focus and approach for CABA's connected home research. If you would like to participate in this ideation session on senior housing and living and receive a copy of the project opportunity worksheet, please contact Alex Detre, CABA’s Research Director at or 613.686.1814 x228.
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