You’re a busy business owner who knows innovation is part of moving forward. You want to adapt, but it’s hard. It takes time that you feel like you don’t have and investments you’re unsure about. And even then, innovating comes with risk. How do you evolve and keep up with an industry and customer demands that are constantly changing?
The first step is to understand the big picture trends and focus on what your clients want and need. Pre-pandemic, clients may have considered a home network and smart appliances a luxury; now they’re a necessity. In 2012, the average number of connected appliances per household was 10. In 2022, the average number is 50 – a mind-blowing difference in the last decade (ISE Dome presentation).
Consumer demand is now driving smart home adoption, with the value of smart devices become clearer as each year passes. Research shows that homeowners are prioritizing technology based on privacy, security, convenience and cost-saving benefits. Homeowners want to go beyond having lots of independent smart appliances, too. They want everything to work together to experience additional features and lifestyle benefits with HVAC, security and lighting all connected to a powerful and secure network.
Additionally, according to Statista (April 2020), 80 percent of consumers want a single provider for all digital needs. They want the convenience of being able to call someone they trust to help them fix something when it goes wrong. They’re just not sure where to go to get sound advice.
YOU CAN BE THE PLACE TO GO FOR CONSUMERS AND EMPLOYEES
As you plan your services, consider adding smart home installations to your list. This is a great way to stay connected to your customers and make your business indispensable in a world where connection is king. Consider starting with home networking, multiroom audio and video doorbell upgrades for some of your existing customers.
Some of the best benefits to lead with when introducing your customers to smart home technology include:
- Cost-savings – lighting and HVAC controls save energy, and security devices can lower insurance premiums
- Convenience and simplicity – integration makes it easier for homeowners to manage and maintain multiple appliances and devices
- Added health benefits of wellness technology
- More comfortable and reliable work-from-home environments with a professionally installed home network
- Additional security features that go beyond traditional security systems for peace of mind
Aside from the practical benefits of a connected home, such as being able to control devices from a smart phone, there are comfort benefits as well. With a working knowledge of integration, you can create ambient experiences integrating TVs with lighting and making TVs a lifestyle device that can be used for entertainment or exercise.
After you identify relevant trends, you’ll need to expand your knowledge about smart home technology. Home networking and AV upgrades are both great places to start, and CEDIA can help. We have many resources and trainings available online, as well as in-person events called Tech Summits across the United States where you can come and see the technology for yourself. We also offer business-related content to support your business growth as you expand into smart home technology.
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU
Expanding into the integration world is beneficial to your clients and your business. Finding and retaining talent is the biggest problem in the industry right now, as you may well have felt.
Professional development in areas of interest can provide an excellent reason for talented workers to come to you and stay with you. More than half of U.S. workers say upskilling opportunities are an important reason to stay at their job (shrm.org), which means that if you can provide interesting ways to learn, you’re in a great position to keep your best workers.
The CEDIA CIT and IST certifications are the best place for you and your employees to start gaining a foundational knowledge of the integration side of the residential technology industry. We also offer hundreds of resources on our Content Hub to keep your employees feeling like they’re advancing and learning new technologies and skills.
It’s time to think about where you can take your business in the future. Integration provides an excellent opportunity to grow and become your customers’ one-stop-shop for their connected homes, if you’re ready to take up the challenge of moving into that space. When you decide, CEDIA is here to help.
Giles Sutton is SVP Success & Sales at CEDIA.