By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Scottsdale, Ariz.— ZigBee "is poised for skyrocketing growth," according to an In-Stat study. The low-power, low-cost, low-data-rate wireless spec, approved in December 2004, "is receiving attention from many companies that are involved in industrial control, home automation and commercial building control," In-Stat said. "The first residential products are just barely emerging on the scene. Commercial building control "is expected to capture the lion's share" of sales in unit volume, the company said.
ZigBee is a network specification layer riding on top of the IEEE 802.15.4 personal area network (PAN) technology.
One home-automation company, Control4 of Salt Lake City, has just begun shipping its ZigBee devices.
San Ramon, Calif.— The ZigBee Alliance hopes to spur wider development of wireless ZigBee applications by making the spec available as a read-only download free of charge after registering with the alliance's Web site. After downloaders evaluate the spec, they can become ZigBee members to get full access to all final-approved ZigBee specs.
"Beginning in late June, universities, research institutions, companies and individuals will be able to access the specification and develop applications for ZigBee-based technology for noncommercial purposes," the group said.
Upper Saddle River, N.J. — Integra is stepping up its custom-dealer support by giving its direct dealers full-system design and troubleshooting support. The contact for the new program is system design specialist Brian Sandifer, who was a project manager and installation specialist for a custom-install dealer.
Palo Alto — Ripping-service company ReadyToPlay has teamed up with Magnolia Audio Video to promote its CD ripping services. ReadyToPlay also has a partnership with retailer Cambridge SoundWorks and is working on securing a deal with another retailer.
Magnolia will place in-store displays and insert literature with digital music product purchases. ReadyToPlay will get "significant savings" on ReadyToPlay's service, which converts CDs to compressed-music formats and loads them onto music servers and HDD portables.
ReadyToPlay is also marketing agreements with music-server suppliers Elan, Integra, ReQuest and Sonos.
Newton, Mass. — Industry veterans Frank White and Mitchell Klein have created a custom-install-focused consulting group called StayTuned, based here and in Brea, Calif. The group will consult with suppliers and installers. Klein is a past CEDIA president and CEO for more than 14 years of the installation company Media Systems. White was an executive with ChannelPlus. The two also plan to develop a network of members to collect and share industry intelligence and market opportunities, provide dealers with incentives from partner manufacturers, and share best ideas and practices. Its East Coast office is at (617) 243-0088.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.