Revisioning: Don’t Let Disruptive Innovation Kill Your Business!
Last month, in Part I, we discussed the threats to your business and the first two innovations you can can use to be disruptors yourselves. Now let’s look at the last three innovations:
3) Slay the Giants. With video streaming disrupting their industries, Comcast, ATT, ADT and Verizon have begun to disrupt our sector by marketing home automation widgets, under a recurring revenue model. Though the offerings are basic, their advertising is state-of-the-art, and the low monthly fees are appealing—at least for customers who don’t bother to do the math. Here’s how you can respond:
• Sell “integration,” not just automation. The giants sell basic, one-size-fits-all automation widgets; we tailor advanced solutions to individual lifestyle needs, and integrate across technologies. Let’s all shout this message from the rooftops.
• Feature wireless integration products, and become very skilled at making them work in difficult environments. They reduce installation time vs. wired solutions (especially in retrofit projects)—thereby reducing job costs—and make your install schedule more predictable and easier
• Continue signing high-end, product-centric projects, if you are equipped to do so and demand continues in your market. Add these jobs to your portfolio. They’ll reinforce your reputation as the local guru, and are doubly impressive when you also offer low-cost solutions.
In summation, help build—and benefit from—this new sweet spot in home integration. Positioned above the widget vendors, but well below the luxury systems of the past, this new sector will be huge, and you will be well rewarded—again!
4) Upstage the digital hub. Smartphones and tablets (with cheap apps) are threatening the custom remote control market. In the process, they’re bootlegging into the home operating systems, display devices and automation widgets that compete with our dedicated integration platforms, limit system functionality and undermine dealer profit. What to do:
• Offer consumers the best of both worlds. Specify a dedicated device for ease of use and reliability, and then offer to program their smart device as a backup security blanket.
• Program their smartphones to control basic home automation functions, but use dedicated products for more complex integration solutions.
• Explain the advantages of dedicated remotes for multi-system integration tasks—comprehensive control capacity, much longer battery recharge cycles, and freedom from the clutter and conflicts that result when home automation functions are intermingled with non-home apps.
5) Embrace Effective Marketing. Few consumers understand the difference between basic automation and true home integration. Why? Because no one has shown them the full possibilities of electronic integration, or explained that integration specialists can custom-tailor technologies to their specific lifestyle needs and desires. Home technology integrators need a dynamic, cost-effective Internet presence to accomplish this—one that goes well beyond the scope of the typical dealer website, and also:
• Tells the home integration story with rich, high-impact content
• Entices consumers to explore and learn about the wide range of emerging technologies to automate their homes
• Helps them to identify applications that fit their family and their home
• Explains how these features can be combined and adapted by specialists to meet their unique lifestyle needs
In summation, we need a website that highlights the value of specialists who can custom-tailor home electronics to make their daily lives safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable.
Several resources now available on the web—including HomeAutomationHound.com, TheIntegratedLifestyle.com
and SyncMyHome.com—tell (to varying degrees) the story of home automation. As SyncMyHome.com is the by far the most extensive, content-rich and consumer-friendly, we will focus on it here.
SyncMyHome.com: A small group of associates (including myself) have created this web-based consumer guide to home automation and integration. It tells the story of custom integration, and explains the value that technology integrators can
provide to consumers in a straightforward, non-technical way. SyncMyHome.com provides the following online resources:
Related story: Part 6: Selling Lifestyle Solutions. Part II