How does selling control, lighting or shading now differ from this time in 2008? What has changed radically about the customer and the market—and what has changed very little in that time? And what do suppliers in the field advise integrators about how best to make the case for control, lighting and shading solutions to an expenditure-wary public? Below, executives in the discipline offer CustomRetailer’s readers commentary on these and other hot topics…
HOW THE MARKET HAS CHANGED
The desire is there among consumers to keep integrating more things and make that integration easier. The best example would be iPhone/iPod integration. As people become more familiar with certain technologies, they want to be able to use them in their control environments as well. If something comes out and it’s popular, the next step is to integrate it into the control system that might be in a residential property.
What comes as a result of the demand for more integration is more complexity, on the integrator side. As you add things, it makes it more difficult to program. So what we’re dabbling quite a bit with these days is trying to come up with ways to make it easier on the dealer side, by pre-programming and pre-packaging solutions that accommodate most of what the homeowner is requesting. And that makes it easier for the dealer because now he doesn’t necessarily have to be the programming expert. We can take on some of the responsibility for him. And that will become more important, if dealers want to get a bigger business going and be able to keep up.
2009 HOT PRODUCTS/TRENDS
Our job is generally to help support technologies like iPod and iPhone. The only thing a homeowner may not necessarily have heard of yet is the Anterus RFID tag technology which we introduced last September—a credit-card-sized tag the homeowner can wear. When he walks into the room, it can modify the room setting to whatever they prefer automatically. Each card can be modified to each person. That’s a fun one—very demonstrable. It’s probably most commonly used in the commercial arena, and we’re adapting that to the residential side.