CEDIA Expo this year was an extravaganza of lighting and shades. As integrators and designers walked the Expo floor, lighting was a key topic. Integrator and designer Amanda Wildman emphasized in a panel that lighting is the next big thing in the integration and design market.
Sunlight is an integral part of the human experience. It can affect a person’s well-being, productivity, mood, and more. However, natural light is an element beyond the means of human control. Though integrators cannot control the sun, they can adjust and mimic natural light or remove it to achieve desired results, essentially controlling the elements within a space.
WAC Lighting’s booth featured new luxury lighting fixtures for indoor and outdoor sites, including solutions from WAC’s brand AiSPIRE. WAC Lighting and AiSPIRE offer integrators more customization opportunities that are also energy-efficient. With WAC Lighting and AiSPIRE, integrators can incorporate LED bulbs into a project without sacrificing style.
As integrators know, natural light does not always cooperate. Thus, custom motorized shades have become increasingly popular. Unlike the traditional blinds that open and close manually, motorized shades can be powered through an app or a keypad, programmed to rise and fall at certain times, and even include custom lighting.
Hunter Douglas, a luxury shade manufacturing company, announced the release of its Aura Illuminated Shade, a motorized shade that provides custom backlighting to mimic natural light while blinds are closed. The Aura Illuminated Shade has three parts: A customized shade, a reflective liner, and an LED at the base mimicking natural light from sunrise to sundown. Shades that mimic natural light can help with seasonal depression for individuals living in cities with fewer daylight hours or during daylight savings time. They can also provide privacy for individuals in compact areas who need their shades closed but do not want complete darkness.
Motorized shades, blinds, and curtains are quickly becoming a standard part of the smart home system. Somfy has introduced power shades that integrate into a smart home as seamlessly as other smart devices. The Somfy app Tahoma is an all-in-one smartphone application that users can connect to many smart home brands, including Alexa, Google, and Savant. Once connected, the smart home ecosystem can control all Somfy products from a single app. Users can also set up nighttime and morning routines, control blinds from across the country, and adjust shading to fit a person’s lifestyle rather than adjusting their lifestyle to accommodate the day.
CEDIA Expo was an opportunity for Integrators to learn how lighting and shade systems can simulate different weather and times of day. Not only will this enhance user experience, but it will also allow for greater flexibility in design.