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IBS trip report


Senior Member
I attended the International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida on Friday, January 13th. This is a “professional†show, not open to the general public. The show is huge, attracting around 105,000 attendees and 1,600 exhibitors. I am guessing that I saw about half of the show in one full day of walking & talking. This was my first time at IBS and it is very different from EHExpo and most computer type shows in that a much higher percentage of the exhibitors have large booths. There were very few visible 10x10 booths.

They advertise a sub-show called tecHOMExpo, which focuses on technology and home automation. In my opinion, tecHOMExpo was just a vague concept as is was mostly just a range of aisle numbers and not very well marked or delineated. In other words, somebody could walk through the aisles of tecHOMExpo and barely realize it. And according to the buildersshow.com web site, lots of the tecHOMExpo exhibitors were in other aisles or even other buildings. There were about 262 exhibitors that claimed to be in tecHOMExpo.

To sum up tecHOMExpo in one word, it would be “Z-Waveâ€! There were quite a few booths showing/using Z-Wave and/or members of the Z-Wave alliance. I did not see one mention of UPB or Insteon anywhere. I didn’t even see X-10 mentioned at the Leviton booth, although they were showing their Z-Wave wares. I saw Chris Walker in the Z-Wave video in the Wayne Dalton booth. I saw ControlThink’s ThinkEssentials software being used in the Cooper Lighting booth.

One non tech products that caught my eye was the Gyre hardware system from Reversica. When you see how easy it is to swap from bookcase to TV mode, you just have to say “cool!â€. http://www.reversica.com/products.html

There was a wide range of exhibitors aimed at the home builder, but not a whole lot that were directly applicable to the typical DIYer. I saw a couple vendors showing HVAC zoning systems, but none had an obvious HA interface. Structured wiring is pretty commonplace. Exceptional Innovation did not have a booth, but they had their system installed in one of the demo homes built in the parking lot (the same NextGen house that the Elk M1 was installed in). Their Life|Ware MCE touchscreens are sweet. Control4 was a surprising absence.

I visited the Wayne Dalton booth, which is famous for garage doors and openers. Even though there were lots of staff standing around in the booth, it appears that the one person that knew anything about the Z-Wave aspect was missing. The person I spoke with said that they consider the garage door “to be the portal to the house†and implied that the garage door opener would be the brains of the operation. He stated that they would be shipping Z-Wave stuff in 2007 and that “the garage door opener would be sending emailâ€, so either they have very grandiose plans or their internal education system isn’t working very well.

The Cooper Lighting booth was showing off their Z-Wave devices using their “Aspire†design. They should ship in April 2006 and supposedly will include ControlThink for free. http://marketing.cooperwiringdevices.com/Aspire/

The Lagotek booth was an easy one to miss, just 10x10 nestled among a couple bigger, flashier booths. I missed it on my first walk down that aisle and even missed it the second time when I went back specifically looking for their booth number. I believe they said their products should ship in April 2006. Their two gang color touchscreen looks good and installs simply with 110VAC input, the communications are handled by Z-Wave. They were one of the few (only?) companies showing a Z-Wave controller/brain, rather than just Z-Wave devices. They have their touchscreen, their brain and their software with an open API so it should be able to be used by many vendors as time goes on. Support for UPB and/or Insteon all depends upon their successes. Their plan is to primarily work with CEDIA certified installers and have no plans to market via SmartHome, Worthington, etc. They aren’t against DIYers, but there doesn’t appear to be an plans for DIYers to make purchases easily. They are still debating about exhibiting at EHExpo, but they were very pleased with their reception at IBS and the leads they gathered. http://www.lagotek.com/