Technology Integrator Top Talent Under 40: Alex Capecelatro, Josh.ai
In a brief survey, we asked our Technology Integrator Top Talent Under 40 honoree to answer a few questions about themselves and about the industry. To see the full list of winners, click here.
Part 1: Profile Questions
Name: Alex Capecelatro
Title and company: CEO, Josh.ai
A brief description of your role there: As founder and CEO of Josh.ai, I get to work with design and engineering on product development, sales and marketing on our growth strategy, and business development on strategic partnerships and relationships.
Years in industry: 10+ years in technology, 4 years in the smart home space.
Where you grew up: New York
Where you live now: Los Angeles
Accomplishments and why those are important to you or your company: We recently launched our first hardware product, Josh Micro, which took home CEDIA’s Best New Product award. This is meaningful as we set out to design a product easy for the homeowner, desirable to the designer, and powerful to the integrator. It’s still early for us, but so far the industry seems excited about it! Other accomplishments include our natural language processing engine, the first to handle compound commands, natural utterances, and music and TV deep linking using our proprietary technology. I’ve also been privileged to speak or tech at CEDIA, ISE, CES, Azione, HTSA, ProSource, CONNECTIONS, and a variety of other industry events.
Industry awards: The most meaningful award to date has been the CEDIA Best New Product Award for Josh Micro in 2017.
Part 2: Fun Questions
What I like best about my job: We’re working in a market that’s growing fast with constantly evolving innovation. I get to work with amazing engineers, designers, and team members as well as industry partners on challenging problems that are already impacting people’s lives for the better.
What I like least about my job: Honestly, I love pretty much everything about my job. I don’t sleep enough and I’m on the road a ton, but it’s been an amazing ride so far and I’m super excited to be doing it.
Favorite pastime/hobby: Definitely skiing. I’ve been skiing since I was a kid, was fortunate to start this company on a ski trip to Aspen, and make it a point to get out every year.
Last book I read: René Girard's Mimetic Theory (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture). I highly recommend it!
Favorite movie: I wouldn’t say I have a favorite movie, but I recently re-watched A Brilliant Mind which is certainly up there for me.
Best concert ever seen: Hard to say what the best concert I’ve been to, but recently I saw Josh Ritter live which was a great show.
Who’s my hero, and why: Another tough one, so I’ll just rattle off a few names that come to mind: Richard Feynman, Steve Jobs, Banksy, Tim Gill, and Dr. Dre, all for thinking different and being pioneers in their own right.
Favorite new tech: AirPods.
If you could be anyplace else right now, where would it be and what would you be doing?: At home relaxing with my partner and our dog. These days I am on the road 3-4 weeks a month, and we have a beautiful home that I don’t get to spend nearly enough time at.
Part 3: More Serious Questions
What do you think is the major problem with the industry today, and what needs to be done to fix it?
I wouldn’t say there’s a major problem with the industry. Rather there’s an immense, but unclear, opportunity. Historically custom installs have only existed for the wealthy. Then single-purpose smart devices like thermostats, cameras, and speakers emerged in the mass market. Right now the mass market players are moving upstream while the conventional smart home companies are moving downstream. It will be interesting to see what new companies emerge, what existing companies enter the space, and what companies are no longer around a few years from now. Exciting times for sure!
What makes you believe the CI industry will get healthier and thrive during the next five years? Why?
Every new home, apartment, condo, hotel room, and office complex today is getting built with smarter technology. This technology needs to be installed, programmed, integrated, and managed. As a result, the industry is growing and the need for professional installers is only going up. That said, margins are changing, RMR is becoming more important, and new technology like voice control is changing the landscape, so dealers need to become advisers and experts and stay on top of the latest innovation.