As an electronics professional, I am regularly asked what the latest trends are. It’s never easy determining which of the trends is really going to make it and which are just eye-candy that will fall away with time. We are always careful in our business to separate “leading edge” from “bleeding edge”. The former is usually more stable and suitable for installation while the latter is typically fraught with our clients doing free beta testing for the manufacturer. Below are my thoughts on trends for the next year with my personal verdict on whether it is leading edge or bleeding edge.

Expanded Cloud Services: Cloud services for content streaming, home controls and surveillance have been on the tech radar for a couple of years now and getting better all the time. My own feeling is that nearly everything will end up in the cloud someday. A number of cloud solutions are totally stable and can be trusted. The overall arena of the cloud however is a bit like the Wild West and should be taken with some caution. At this point stick to simple things and grow at your own comfort level.

Leading Edge vs. Bleeding Edge Verdict: Both. Ask questions about how long any particular service has been running.

4K: 4K is a new TV/video resolution that is coming to the marketplace which has roughly twice the resolution of current HDTV 1080P formats. Commercial cinema is the origin of this technology and in fact our local Regal cinema in Newington uses 4K projection systems. All the major TV manufacturers will be releasing 4K capable sets this year. For now this is nothing but a great marketing ploy. There may come a time when this technology is applicable in your home, but for now it is unnecessary. The reason is that there is no content and no discernible way we can even get content. Having a TV with this capacity to watch your favorite program would be akin to using a commercial grade oven to toast an English muffin.

Leading Edge vs. Bleeding Edge Verdict: Bleeding with a capital” B”.

Bigger TV’s: This year we will see Sharp and Samsung releasing 90-100” LED flat panel displays. This is big. Really big. I am actually quite eager to have a look at these new generations of displays and am not really worried about the quality of the product. These manufacturers have current 1080P technology pretty well down and expanding to a larger panel is just a simple matter of economics. I advise however, that you are careful to only get one of these behemoths if you have sufficient seating distance because otherwise you could be disappointed.

Leading Edge vs. Bleeding Edge Verdict: Leading but be careful how close you sit to one.

Wireless Audio: This much sought after technology is slowly coming to fruition. It has been a holy grail of sorts for the audio community but no one has really pulled it off in a manner that preserves good quality sound. Companies like Sonos have done a great job in this category but still falls short in sounding good. I’m not talking audiophile here. I’m talking, turn it up and feel the music. Soon it will be here. Soon.

Leading Edge vs. Bleeding Edge Verdict: Bleeding

NFC: NFC stands for Near Field Control. This is an emerging technology which allows your Smart Phone to interact with something just by touching it. Soon for example, you will be able to go to Market Basket and just tap your phone on a pay terminal and bang you’re done. In my world, we are looking at some exciting ways to deploy this technology. Walk in your home for example, tap your phone on the door and: the door unlocks, lights come on, heat turns up and your favorite Pandora music station starts playing. The really nifty thing about NFC is that it is quite simple. The actual technology is so simple that I will not hesitate starting to deploy it.

Leading Edge vs. Bleeding Edge Verdict: Leading

I hope this article gives you some sense of where things might head in 2013. As always, I welcome your questions, ideas and feedback at nmark@dchomesystems.com.

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