Welcome to the Internet of Every-Single-Thing-You-Own
The HTSA (Home Technology Specialists of America) is a buying group consisting of a number of the country’s top technology integrators. ihiji spent some time chatting with HTSA dealers during the recent HTSA conference in Nashville. Many of these companies were formed early-on as audio visual installers, but have now found themselves to be at the very tip of the spear in the fast-developing Internet of Things (IOT) space. These technology specialists get the call when residential and commercial customers want their place tricked-out with the latest in AV, automation, computing and security devices. We learned a lot speaking with this group of tech experts, helping to shed some light on the forming trends which are shaping the Internet of every-single-thing-you-own.
Here are the top 3 topics we heard:
1. Network Optimization Service Will be the Norm
There is no putting the genie back in the bottle when it comes to the IP-enablement of pretty much everything you own.
The Challenge: if your techs are not up to speed on the latest in networking, there may be a little learning curve. It will help to sign your Tech up to watch a great networking primer webcast replay here. ihiji runs a monthly series, discussing beginner, intermediate and advanced network management topics.
The Opportunity: IP connected devices and networks can let you know when there is, or might be trouble . Not only that, in many cases you can fix the problem directly from your office, without sending out a service van.
Remote network management will help to accomplish 3 business critical functions:
- Keep existing customers delighted with your service (and more importantly, referring new customers). If you take proactive action by resolving network and/or device issues, before it interrupts your client’s network service, you are eliminating the need for a support call. A customer who isn’t calling you with trouble is probably a happy customer.
- Reduce operating expenses for warranty support. This makes a lot of sense. Internet of Things integrators offer warranty support for workmanship ranging from 90 days to as long as an entire year. That means the client gets free support when anything they touched goes down. Given it takes real money every time you need to roll a truck and tie-up a technician for a support call, keeping OPEX at a minimum will be a business necessity.
- Make recurring monthly revenue (RMR). As the IOT connects more and more of the devices we all rely upon, the network is going to bear the brunt of the weight. As a result, high bandwidth requirements and the finicky behavior of some of the newer IP-enabled devices, are already starting to cause a lot of performance and uptime issues. The new normal for clients invested in the IOT will be that a network optimization service plan will be a required monthly subscription.
2. Truck Rolls are Killing my Margin
Rolling trucks sucks. This is your business and you want to keep more of that profit in your pocket. One of the most interesting stories we heard from a large luxury integrator had to do with a recent client installation including a new network, home theater and automation. The dealer took the first call from the client early on a Friday evening citing that their Netflix movie had stopped playing. The dealer then scheduled an onsite call
with the client for the following day. The client called back again later that night to report that the Netflix service had come back on, but then stopped playing again. It was at that point that the owner of the business remembered that his technician had recently installed an ihiji appliance on this property. In a matter of minutes, the dealer was able to login to ihiji invision to run the ISP speed test for the client’s site learning that the client’s Internet service provider had outages recorded at each of the two times that their Netflix service stopped streaming.
When you consider that an issue such as this one would have been particularly difficult to troubleshoot on-site by a technician, this could very well have been a very expensive truck roll. Learn more about how to estimate truck roll costs in this post.
3. What Was Once, “not my problem”, Now is My Problem
Most integrators are only including a warranty on workmanship or installation of the gear they actually installed. In the past, when your client’s receiver or LCD panel went down, you could expect that the trouble was inherent in the device itself. No problem, you installed the LCD panel; you fix it. Today, given the sheer volume of different devices which rely upon the proper functioning of the network, this single crashed video panel might only be the symptom of a bigger problem. Regardless, if you were the last one to touch the network, it’s most likely going to be your truck which rolls out of the lot.
Who Will Own the Network in the IOT Home?
The battle for the IOT is starting to be waged across every private network. The technology integrators of AV, automation, security and computing devices are competing to own the network (and the recurring revenue) in the modern home and small business. Exactly which type of integrator will ultimately win this battle is difficult to say, but one thing is certain. Maintaining a low operational cost model for network managed services will be an absolute necessity.
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