In 2007, the launch of the iPhone ignited one of the largest technological revolutions of our time. Consumers adopted the technology at an incredible rate, and soon, they were craving the same features and benefits of their iPhone in other areas of their lives - especially their homes.
In an effort to meet demand, members of the consumer electronics industry were called upon to forge new pathways, and to bring solutions to life. Needless to say, we answered the call. Our company Starpower, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, was one of many integrators in the consumer electronics industry to pioneer a truly connected home.
During the early years of home automation, considerable thought, time and effort were spent molding our philosophies on this emerging technology. Even more effort was put towards the development of the tools and systems required to achieve success in the space. We exercised quite a bit of trial and error. Ultimately, we learned that in order to be successful as an integrator, we had to be consistent. We knew we had to deliver reliable systems that could stand the test of time.
So, that’s what we did.
In order to deliver consistency and reliability to our clients, we knew we had to control as many aspects of the integration as possible. For us, that meant managing our client’s expectations upfront, and exercising caution when selecting the products and platforms for which we integrate.
Making Sense of all the Options
As the popularity of home integration grew over the last decade, and words like “smart home” became mainstream, we were faced with a new set of challenges. “Smart Home” products like thermostats, light switches, and door locks were introduced to the market at an astonishing rate, and we had to adapt.
We found success throughout this time, by staying loyal to the brands and products that had proven themselves overtime.
By taking a more a conservative approach to integration, we were able to offer our clients performance over feature sets. We educate ourselves and our consumers on the products we are integrating, and shy away from “shiny new objects” without first vetting their claims.
In the end, it is always about the “value” you have created for the client. We are in the business of protecting our customers from situations where they are underwhelmed by the results of their investment. It’s not good enough to make a product do something anymore. People want their life to become considerably easier as a result of their investment in home integration; it’s necessary to deliver a solution that will control their products in a way in which their life is impacted for the better.
For Starpower, this means sometimes saying “no” when asked to integrate un-vetted products into our client’s system.
Setting Customer Expectations
In a world where integrators are eager to sell customers on the idea of an integrated system with a user-experience that will mirror that of a smart phone, Starpower stands apart.
Early on, we recognized the limitations of the products and platforms available to our programmers and clients. In home automation, the products are diverse, and they lack a unified platform. The promise of inter-operability has yet to materialize. The reality is that different products are not designed to work with each other and every integrator should be wary of such claims by the manufacturers. Overpromising the performance and abilities of an integrated system is a recipe for sure failure.
We believe educating the client is one of the most critical components of a successful engagement. So what’s the most effective method we’ve found to educate our clients?
It’s simple, a test drive.
We’ve worked hard to bring home automation to life right from the showroom floor. Whether our clients are looking for single source control of video and audio equipment, to whole-home integration including lighting, home security, door locks, and window treatments and appliances, Starpower can provide a live demonstration of the technology and allow our clients to engage with a touch panel or iPad controlling the experience. It’s an exhilarating and eye-opening experience from start to finish, and it’s one of the best tools we own. Nothing compares to having the client experience the interface first hand, prior to the exchange of any money. Having the expectations set up front is key to success.
Our clients can engage and interact with a working home automation system via a live demonstration with a system design specialist at any Starpower showroom.
Looking to the Future
In 2011, we acquired luxury appliance retailer, Ed Kellum & Son, which earned us a front row seat in the appliance industry. As we look to the future, we find the world of home electronics and home appliances colliding in a way like never before.
As a result of the merger, Starpower gained a unique insight and understanding of how people want to live with their appliances alongside of the technology contained throughout the home. We are continually looking for the right jump-off points to meet the consumer’s fast-changing expectations of a “smart home”. As of right now, our integration of appliances is more about delivering a luxury lifestyle rather than integrating into appliances into a touch panel. However, it is only a matter of time, until every appliance is part of the “internet of things.”
Regardless where technology and the times take us, we can rest assured knowing Starpower will be on the front lines developing new systems and solutions to integrate our lives and our things together in perfect harmony.