The Wireless Install
Klipsch expects A/V-savvy wireless networking technologies to broaden the custom installation market
By Janet Pinkerton&000;&000;
For a custom installation industry so accustomed to pulling wire and generating revenues and profits from the endeavor, wireless networking technology often appears to be a threat.
Paul Jacobs, president of Klipsch Group, Inc., views wireless as a potential growth opportunity, however—both for Klipsch as a company and for the custom install market as a whole.
The potential impact of wireless technology was the subject of lively debate during Klipsch's strategy sessions, held in late 2005. "In our discussions and our strategic planning," Jacobs says, "what we continue to study in the current state of the industry is: What's the potential to do business the next year and the year after? How many new-construction homes are potentially a candidate for distributed audio, custom installation-distributed product?"
With the new-construction segment slowing—last month, the National Association of Home Builders estimated total housing starts will drop from a high of 2.068 million in 2005 to 1.84 million in 2007—Klipsch is taking a closer look at existing homes to further grow its business.
"What about the 20 million households that might be out there if wireless were a reality in some form or fashion?" Jacobs asks. "How many people in apartments or lofts may not envision themselves spending the money to do full-blown custom installation jobs?" Wireless, he says, "might open up the opportunity. What we want to do is reach the broadest audiences possible."
These days, wireless is spurring more industry marketing and application chatter about "existing homes" rather than "the retrofit market." For both the custom installer and the end user, Jacobs says, a retrofit job "is a much more difficult installation, and it's much more traumatic for the purchaser, with holes cut up in the walls and floors."