Category Archives: Residential

Outdoor Tech is Hotter than Ever

A study was performed by CE Pro Magazine recently and they found that usage of outdoor technology has increased by 23% yearly. Here is a listing by highest usage to lowest.

1. Outdoor security surveillance cameras
2. Under-eave speakers
3. Outdoor access points (Wi-Fi)
4. Mounts (Weather resistant)
5. Flat panel TVs
6. Staked, satellite speakers (Located in Landscaping)
7. 70V speakers (A way to locate speakers further away from the house)
8. Buried, in-ground subwoofers
9. Rock speakers
10. Landscape lighting
11. Satellite dishes/equipment
12. Security lighting
13. Staircase/railing lighting
14. Cellphone booster/antennas
15. Waterproof remotes/control interfaces
16. Flat panel enclosures
17. Planter speakers
18. Projectors/Screens

Wireless Internet Becoming Popular Outdoors

More people want better WiFi while lounging on their patio or enjoying the pool and are looking for solutions. Companies such as Ubiquiti have made outdoor wireless access points for years but mostly they were purchased by businesses such as country clubs, restaurants and such. Home & Office Network Solutions has seen a recent surge in HOAs installing wireless coverage at their pools as their homeowners demand more services for their community dues.

The cost for outdoor WiFi can vary because the size of coverage varies. A home with a very large yard and a pool extending deep into the yard would require several access points whereas a patio or porch would need just one. Most homeowners do find that their indoor WiFi just doesn’t carry well onto their porch. There is major lag time & drops, if they get coverage at all, so many consumers have to depend on cell coverage, which can get costly based on the plan purchased from the carrier.

As consumers depend more & more on using their cell phone & tablet wherever they go, including their own backyard, we may just see wireless internet move up the list of architectural trends.

Range Extender Problems

It’s rare to get the speed you’re paying for from your internet service provider EVERYWHERE within your home. Most people are plagued by at least one area where Wi-Fi doesn’t work well or doesn’t work at all, i.e. a dead zone. Many people have wasted exorbitant time and money upgrading their router, adding a booster, repeater or range extender, and finding they still have these problems.
What’s a range extender?

A range “extender” is a networking device that’s meant to increase wireless range. They rely on one radio to both receive and transmit information. Since data only has one path in or out, bandwidth is cut in half. Connecting more and more devices just puts additional stress on that single radio, further affecting performance. Only a single range extender can be added to a router in any given direction. If your router is located in a far corner of the home, it’s not possible to add multiple extenders in a row from room to room.

In addition, most extenders use a separate network SSID from your router, meaning you’re left operating two or more different WiFi networks. You’re forced to physically toggle between the networks on your devices when moving from room to room.

There are some new technologies that are showing some promise for extending Wi-Fi coverage. These devices will create a “mesh network” of multiple devices to increase the range and use a single network name. They are coming on the market so stay tuned.

Anticipated Trends in Electronics for 2017

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), took the stage at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York to offer sales predictions the future of electronics.

1. The New Voice of Computing: Voice control will take over as the next computer interface.

2. Connections & Computations: The widening availability of broadband and Wi-Fi will lead to increased uniformity and adoption of smart-home technology, including increased autonomous living.

3. Transportation Transformation: There will be more vehicle technology such as driver assistance and self-driving cars.

4. AI’s Infusion into Our Lives & Business: Just as computers have influenced how we do our jobs today, artificial intelligence will play a similar role in the way we work, communicate and access information.

5. Digitizing the Consumer Experience: Both virtual reality and augmented reality will be the new forms of entertainment.

Hulu to increase live streaming service

Hulu plans to launch a live TV streaming service in 2017. It will include live sports, live news and live entertainment events with access to content from 35 different TV networks. The Wall Street Journal reported pricing to be about $40/month, compared with it’s current $7.99/month. However given what they are offering, the price will still be significantly less than cable prices.

Hulu recently announced an expanded partnership with Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox. Those are two huge names, because both of them control a number of important TV networks. With Disney, for example, Hulu also gets access to content from ABC and from ESPN.
The current TV lineup for the live streaming Hulu includes Fox, ABC, ESPN, FX, National Geographic, the Disney Channel, CNN, TNT and TBS. And that’s not all – Hulu has said that it will continue to add new content partners before a final launch in 2017.

This is most likely just the beginning of the battle between streaming and cable and will most likely impact the way cable companies provide & price their services.