Savant Overhauls Offerings at CEDIA, Major Contender in Home Control Market
After hearing her response, I have to admit that I felt foolish asking Angela Larson what was new at the Savant booth during CEDIA.
"What's new?" the VP of Sales Operations answered with a big grin. "I mean, it might be easier to tell you what isn't new here."
And she was right. Savant showed up covered from head to toe in new solutions and products, stealing the spotlight at this years annual CEDIA conference. My recap follows my overwhelmed tour of the massive space the whole home control company occupied and all the goodies they brought to the San Diego Convention Center show floor.
Artison Acquisition Already Achieving Accolades
Let's start with the newest member of the Savant family.
Artison was acquired back in August, giving Savant the foundation for a high-end audio endpoint, a new premium option for dealers, and an avenue to explore Audio-Over-IP solutions.
For Savant, the acquisition is a make-good on their mission to be a total end-to-end whole home control solution. Savant CEO Bob Madonna notes that Artison compliments the overhauls in VoIP, shading solutions, 'Wally' touch interfaces, Alexa integration, and, importantly, Audio-over-IP that Savant implemented in the past year.
"We put a big investment last year into really innovating around the audio space and creating an Audio-over-IP infrastructure that pretty much leapfrogged everyone technically," Madonna said about the acquisition. "What we need to do next is expand that out to the [speaker] endpoint, and that's where this made sense."
On display, Savant showed off their line of soundbars, subwoofers, and in-wall speakers among other products. It will be interesting to see how this relationship unfolds, considering the giant internal push for audio-over-IP solutions.
Reworked Shading Solution Solves Plethora of Problems
Turnkey solution has been somewhat of a buzzword lately. It's not one that Savant used on themselves regarding their new shading solution, but it is one that I think is appropriate. On that same note, there is nothing wrong with being a turnkey solution, in fact, I think more dealers don't realize how useful a one-stop shop answer can be, but I digress.
The new Savant Shades line is, in a word, simple. On paper, the workflow seems airtight and very apparent that Savant has really tuned in to the grievances of their dealers.
In a previous life, there existed a lot of pain points for shading solutions. Lead times can be lengthy, mismeasurements are costly, and options can feel limited. Savant has tackled all of those issues by offering a made-to-order(-ish) roller-shade that is customizable to a catalog of more than 500 custom options (using Savant's online portal) and has a three-week lead time. Offered up to 8-feet, the nearly invisible 7/8-inch roller can be used to connect as many shades needed - although it doesn't sound like there was a fool-proof solution for a complete blackout on gigantic windows.
Dealers trim out windows and make measurements early in the project and lower the friction to getting a shade up quickly. The initial offerings of four price points and two brackets offer a lot of variety while all the bells and whistles will give them a leg up over a lot of the competition.
TrueImage Interface Reworked for Success
If Savan't shading solution was simple, TrueImage Interface is, in a word, badass. The first run at the TrueImage interface was clunky, but the breakneck speed of the industry can make any technology from eight years ago feel dated.
From their 2009 press release, Savant offered the painless solution of having "professionally shot images of each room" loaded into the ROSIE control platform. Easy right? Just book a professional photographer, take photos of every light fixture in every conceivable scene, and uploaded each individual image into a tablet.
Believe it or not, the system is much easier now. The demo was described as taking a photo on a smartphone and having it instantly controlled, labeled, and integrated.
And it did just that. The demo really was flawless. The image of two lamps was taken quickly, without any real professional alignment, and it snapped into reality. As the app turned the light up and down, not only did the lights in front of us change, but the image on the app did too. This means that icons, panels, and confusing menus are gone and the simplest solution has been presented. This also means that changing lights, setting scenes, and creating new groups can be done by the homeowner at their own convenience. Clients can name their own lights as well, so 'confusing' nomenclature by the dealer for light fixtures are replaced with exactly what the homeowner wants to call them.
It's an absolute game changer.
Savant had a list of other products that are worth mentioning including an overhaul to their outdoor locks, Bluetooth/WiFi enabled thermostat controls, and an ambitious project to monitor, store, and distribute power to individual rooms using connected hardware on the main panel of a home.
The final impression of Savant was just genuinely impressed. Not a lot of companies came out with such a range of products, and solutions that refreshed every corner of their portfolio as well as solved so many pain points for their dealers.
If CEDIA marks the New Year for the CI community, Savant is shaping up to be the most innovative company of 2017.