2016 – A Successful Year for Caster and our Clients
Here we are, right in the middle of holiday insanity with only a few days to go until Christmas and I just had the sudden realization that another year is coming to an end (ok so maybe this happens every year around this time). Where did 2016 go?! Though it seems to have flown by in a flash, a lot of wonderful things have happened this year. Personally, I made a major career move and got hitched, which made for a super exciting year. And, Caster’s rock star VP, Alex Crabb, had her first baby, the oh so handsome Axel – who by the way is technically a Caster baby since her husband Nick used to be a Caster employee… Ok I’m digressing. Professionally, it has been a great year for Caster as well. We have grown this year and are currently the largest Caster team on record – so big we are just about to start a major office renovation to make room for everyone! More importantly though, our clients also had a great 2016. To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to recap some of the Caster client highlights of 2016.
The biggest news of the year has to go to Control4 with integration of Amazon Alexa, the popular voice service that powers Amazon Echo, which allows homeowners the convenience of home automation through simple and intuitive voice commands that can activate smart home scenes and control individual devices. However, just last week, Fibaro caused major waves in the news, unveiling the first ever Apple HomeKit-Enabled Flood Sensor along with a HomeKit-enabled Motion Sensor and Door/Window Sensor. In addition to working with the iOS 10 Apple Home app, Fibaro will also offer a native app to deliver ease of use, remote access and extended product functionality.
Also this year, one of Caster’s newest clients, Turneffe Island, a privately-owned, remote island off the coast of Belize, re-launched after a major face-lift in celebration of its 15-year anniversary. Bloomberg wrote a fantastic story about the hidden beauty of Turneffe Island in a round-up of new private island resorts.
Mode:Green, a premiere hospitality integration firm focused exclusively on the ever-evolving convergence of hotel technology, recently completed the Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa in Grand Cayman. Mode:Green is growing quick, so much so that they just expanded to a second office location in NYC. Similarly, Caster client Pro Audio Technology opened the doors to its High-End PRO Experience Center this past Spring. The gorgeous facility designed and decorated to look like a luxury home theater, bar and games room, features an enveloping 11.4.8-channel (and 14,850 watts of power), immersive audio experience, unlike anything achievable by current consumer-grade audio gear.
Z-Wave Alliance also had big news in 2016 with the re-launch of their Z-Wave Labs competition that Is open to any startup or entrepreneur who wants to integrate the Z-Wave wireless platform into their IoT offering. At CEDIA, Z-Wave Alliance introduced a certified installer toolkit that measures the health and stability of a Z-Wave network in real time, saving installers time and money during setup and maintenance. And, taking the lead on the security and privacy of consumers, the Alliance also recently announced the mandatory implementation of Security 2 (S2) in all products that are Z-Wave certified from April 2017 onward. S2 offers the strongest levels of IoT security in the market today. Similarly, Nortek Security and Control was included in a story about the rise in smart home security at CES on FOX News, which featured their 2GIG GC3 Security & Control Panel.
InFocus Corporation raised the bar this year with the introduction of Mondopad Ultra, the largest (up to 85”) and highest resolution (4K) interactive touchscreen and videoconferencing systems available, outperforming Microsoft Surface Hub and Google Jamboard on price, ease-of-use and compatibility. Mondopad Ultra is a major step forward in collaboration solutions in the industry, and the timing couldn’t be better. With the growth of smart environments in the workplace – due to an increase in remote workers, global offices, and huddle spaces – collaboration solutions, are in high demand and there is no sign of this trend slowing down as we head into 2017 and beyond!
Kangaroo, an independent subsidiary of InFocus, and the brand known for its Windows 10 mobile computing modules, launched three products this year: Kangaroo Plus, Kangaroo Pro and Kangaroo Notebook. Popularity of these devices has blown up, with editors, reviewers and tech enthusiasts often comparing Kangaroo (and taking the win over) mobile and mini PCs in both feature/specs and price.
PowerHouse Alliance distributor members also had major (and somewhat unexpected) success exclusively selling VIZIO’s Reference series of TVs – with the flagship 120-inch model being the hottest seller. This may not seem like a big deal, but how many people do you know that are willing to drop $130K on a television?
Avnu Alliance, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, saw tremendous adoption of TSN/AVB in the Automotive and Industrial sectors this year. They also hosted the second annual Conference on Time Sensitive Networking and Applications (TSNA) in April. With 27 speakers over the two-day conference and quality attendance by engineers, integrators, product managers and executives from around the world, it was a tremendous success.
Last but certainly not least, client ESP/SurgeX was acquired by AMETEK, Inc, a global leader in electronic instruments and electromechanical devices. The acquisition has been nothing but a positive for ESP/SurgeX, who continues to be a recognized leader in advanced power protection and intelligent diagnostics. CE Pro just published a fantastic article written by Dave D’Agostino of Ametek, called “Are These Unseen Problems Slowly Killing You’re A/V Equipment”. The article calls out the warning signs to look for that may indicate a home has power anomalies that require surge suppression.
This is merely a snapshot of successes from our beloved clients this year. I could go on but naming them all would make for one very long blog post! It’s been a prosperous 2016 to say the least, and we look forward to an even more prosperous 2017! Want to know more about any of our clients or share your highlights of 2016? Reach out to me on Twitter @erinmktgpr.