Today’s home tech professionals are the unsung heroes of the wireless age. The days where someone would come into a home, hook up a few cables, and leave a card are over.
Whether working for a major telecom, as an independent contractor, or for a small internet service provider (ISP), the home technician who is able to customize, communicate, and offer continued support is the one who will come out on top. A top integrator is a combination of electrician, IT installer and AV installer. Having an eye for clean design and a knowledge of security systems are added bonuses.
Smart home integrators have been around for decades, but usually at the beck and call of the rich. With more homes requiring more tech, and homeowners more demanding, the smart home integrator is now an important of any new home build.
According to Wired, 75% of consumers in the Internet of Things (IoT) market value seamless connectivity between devices above all else. But this isn’t necessarily easy to achieve; connectivity and Wi-Fi issues, increased complexity of devices to manage, and security vulnerabilities are all potential challenges to manage.
The good news is that this means greater opportunities for the smart home technician with a wide knowledge base and varied skillset. Integrators who can offer smart-home packages that include security, climate control, and entertainment, in addition to Wi-Fi, are in the best position to deliver seamless integration of devices.
Here some of what today’s top home tech integrators need to know today to stay ahead of the competition.
Keeping up with connectivity and trends
One obstacle installers (and consumers) face is coming to grips with numerous apps, many of which don’t work together.
“The technology that underpins the smart home is not a unified, monolithic entity,” notes UK home integrator Andrew Lucas. The tech that underpins a smart home is a patchwork of systems, platforms and protocols. These work together in different ways to meet the varied needs of properties encompassing all shapes and sizes.
As smart home technology advances, an integrator needs to know what systems work well with others. They understand how various platforms function and how they can be most effectively used in a specific property.
Knowing which devices are more secure is another added bonus. Network security remains a concern of consumers, especially as they add more devices to their home.
Sometimes an installer will be called upon to upgrade an existing legacy system. In this case, they will need the expertise needed to support various systems.
Up-to-date plastic media panels that are Wi-Fi-ready with specific design enhancements can help the customer save valuable time and money all while still providing a clean, centralized location for the home’s wired and wireless services.
Familiarity and knowledge of their customers’ needs
Each home is different and requires its own solution. The most successful installers look at each situation as unique, rather than trying a one-size (or many-sizes) fits-all approach.
Longstanding relationships offer opportunities in this regard, as technicians can anticipate needs of the homes and customers they are familiar with. The home integrator factors in concerns such as budgetary limitations of the client, desired functionality, property design and/or location, and what equipment has worked best for similar projects in the past.
In new home builds, a smart home integrator will generally liaise with several other parties, including interior designers, electricians and homeowners to ensure that the smart home system fits in with both the needs of the family and the architect’s concept for the space. Working with builders and other contractors to figure out what’s best for a home is key.
A good integrator can communicate with homeowners as well as co-workers and other tradespeople. Knowing how to translate technical terms into language the end-users can understand is a rare, undervalued skill that can make a difference in growing a client base.
As well, the ability to communicate benefits of new smart home devices, like cost savings on energy and insurance, along with entertainment and comfort, helps drive awareness and increase adoption of these systems.
Smart homes are only going to grow in complexity. The more skills you learn now, the more today’s smart home technician will be able to take advantage of more opportunities in the future.
Download our E-book on The Smart Home Installer’s Guide to Structured Wiring for Audio & Video for more on how you can meet your customers’ needs.