The signs are everywhere. Even on the back of the dollar bill: Novus ordo Seclorum. The “new order of the ages” is the de facto state of the custom installation business.

While there has been a significant level of pessimism from veterans of the industry, the dramatic changes that CI continues to experience, may offer unbounded opportunities. The biggest challenge is quite simply being able to admit that the old way of doing business is no longer viable, and that it’s time to embrace the new, uncertain future.

Manufacturers across a broad spectrum of automated technologies for the home have noticed these changes in various ways, and they are working to support AV integrators as they evolve and branch out from their traditional area of expertise.

“It’s hard to be a one-trick pony today,” said Ralph Maniscalco, director of marketing and communications for Honeywell Security Group.

Honeywell is a great example of a manufacturer that evolved from a security-only business by adding lifestyle technology to its services. Coupling the company’s Vista security platform with its Tuxedo touchpanel, Honeywell is able to control Z-Wave-enabled devices for temperature, door locks, shades, and lighting.

Hunter Douglas’ Duette honeycomb shades feature air pockets to boost energy efficiency while enhancing the home décor.

Although it remains firmly committed to selling security products itself, IC Realtime sees its custom integrator dealers gravitating toward a more diverse assortment of technologies, including security, which was once outsourced to others.

”In a dramatic fashion we have seen a tremendous amount of growth in the CEDIA channel; we continue to put the vast majority of our R&D money into that space,” said Matt Sailor, CEO, IC Realtime. “The day of the integrator doing one task–like purely security or purely theater–is gone.”

Controlling the Connected Home

Most AV control systems manufacturers now offer a full breadth of automated technology, including lighting control, energy management, automated shades, and security to help drive dealers to succeed with more than just audio and video.

“Bringing in products and services like shades, security, and IT allows the dealer to become a one-stop- shop for their customers and also increases the complete invoice total.” said Paul Williams, Control4 VP of security and communications products.

The range of potential product categories is really up to the dealer and to what extent they want their services to reach. “Energy management, solar panels, smart appliances, HVAC systems, shades, lighting controls–all of these categories should be on the dealers’ list to become specialists of,” said Tom Barnett, Crestron director of residential marketing. “The leaders in integration will be total home technology experts. They will be able to command premium prices because custom integrators are highly customer-centric and uphold a high level of customer satisfaction. They should be able stay competitive because they can offer their knowledge and expertise through a single point of contact for the whole home, instead of a myriad of companies making subsystems work, but integrating very little.”

Read the full article published on Residential Systems

Article Published By Lindsey Adler of Residential Systems on April 3,2014

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