Moving Communication Systems to the Cloud and More Income to the Bottom Line

July 22, 2013

 
Panasonic’s KX-UT670 SIP phone features a 7-inch touchscreen.
Five years ago, the very thought of cloud computing seemed ominous to a field that mostly relies on creating home-based entertainment and communication solutions that truly are anchored to the home. Wouldn’t the cloud homogenize the market by simplifying solutions and catering to do-it yourselfers?

Those concerns, of course, have not only proven false, but I maintain that the custom installation market will only grow in strength as it embraces the cloud, thanks to recurring revenue opportunities that simply didn’t exist five years ago.

For instance, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) phones are opening multiple pathways to higher income for installation specialists in both the residential and commercial markets. SIP phones are more cost-effective than traditional phone systems because they can be used in both unicast and multicast sessions over one or more media streams. From teleconferencing to online video sessions, multimedia distribution, instant messaging, file transfer, and even online gaming, SIP phones allow end users to tap into their home or office wired networks (and often times, both).

Instead of managing a box on site, with all the maintenance, glitches, and general hassle that come with the job, SIP allows all of the magic to happen off-site, with only the phones, terminal adapters, gateways, and trunking services to replace ISDN lines needed in the facility. With no on-premises servers and storage and associated operating costs, end-users can rely on cloud and hosted implementations, with “pay as you grow” flexibility and convenience. Add cell phone integration, unlimited networking potential, and full camera integration, and you have a communications solution that is a no-brainer.

Phrases like “cost effective” are a double-edged sword for installers who may see SIP as possibly encroaching on sales and installations of more traditional phone systems. But, like it or not, older systems are continuing to give way to free and nearly free alternatives such as Skype video conferencing that may be convenient but are far from reliable. More important, however, is that SIP phones tap into a wired network that is in need of expansion, with new phones and capabilities added every day. Every one of our customers has heard their Capitol contacts talk about having to ramp up networking related product offerings and services, and SIP is a prime example of the lucrative opportunities that exist for professionals who are able to see beyond their tried and true selections.

Beginning with the phones themselves, products are available from such leading vendors as Panasonic that are helping to drive growth and awareness of SIP, for installers and integrators of every size. The corded systems are HD voice and PoE-enabled and conferencing capable, and select models feature two data ports and can be used with wireless headsets.

But, savvy integrators who are now SIP literate are building their bottom lines not only through hardware sales but from recurring revenue streams generated by hosting clients’ systems on site or with a third-party vendor. Plus there’s the added bonus of handling most SIP service issue without having to leave the office.

Capitol Continues Line Expansion

Capitol has added several brands to its line up in the past few months. In addition to Panasonic SIP phones, the Eagan, MN, distributor now carries Toshiba’s flagship L9300 84-inch 4K Cloud Edge LED TV, Wilson Electronics’ line of cell phone signal boosters, and, most recently, Perfect Path’s Locking HDMI Cables.

 
Curt Hayes
Perfect Path HDMI cables, which were a highlight of Capitol’s InfoComm 2013 booth, feature a patented locking connection to ensure reliable connectivity, which in turn reduces service calls and improves customer satisfaction, the company says. The premium cables have been tested to exceed 25 pounds of retention and are equipped to deliver data in 1080p and beyond. And the complete line of cables is fully compatible with the new HDMI 1.4 standard.

“Capitol is known for offering the best solutions for our customers, and Perfect Path represents true innovation in HDMI cable connectivity,” said Capitol president and CFO Curt Hayes. “The improved reliability and performance these cables deliver make them an excellent up-sell or value-add for our customers.”

“Partnering with Capitol, with its extensive reach in the residential and PRO AV market, is a perfect fit for us,” explained Eric Bodley, vice president and general manager of Perfect Path. “Perfect Path has a solid reputation with residential AV integrators and home theater installers and is seeing an increase in demand among AV professionals.”

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