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Do You Know IP?

Many residential integrators are lacking a fundamental technical skill that could be the difference between success and failure four years from now.

Many residential integrators are lacking a fundamental technical skill that could be the difference between success and failure four years from now. According to predictions from the CEDIA Technology Advisory Group, if you don’t have an in-depth knowledge of Internet Protocol (IP), then your company will be at a great disadvantage when the truly “connected home” arrives by 2016.

In a new whitepaper titled, “ESC of 2016,” a group of “subject matter experts” were asked to imagine the business and technical issues that lie ahead for the electronic systems contractor five years from now. The essential assessment was that “the CEDIA member of 2016” must be an IP-focused business that is agile enough to quickly adjust its business model to adapt to the “ever-changing CEDIA landscape.”

Why IP? Well, according to the experts, “the truly connected home” will have arrived in 2016, allowing for homes to be more interactive and intelligent. These homes will utilize wireless devices that send bi-directional (peer-to-peer) data and commands, and they will require very sophisticated, robust, and secure networks to move data and content seamlessly from permanent and mobile devices. The problem is, the whitepaper authors contend, many current ESCs lack the in-depth knowledge of IP required to design this type of connected home.

CEDIA’s senior director of technology Dave Pedigo says that the main goal of this research is to help ESCs become more proactive about their business planning. He conceded that it’s difficult to predict the future when knowledge, itself, is doubling every two and a half years, meaning that right now we only know 25 percent of what we’ll know in 2016. Unknowns like political and economic upheavals or natural disasters also could slow the pace of knowledge. Yet one thing that he says probably won’t change is the stagnation of the housing market, through the rest of the decade.

Yet, with 7 billion internet-connected devices today and 25 billion expected by 2015, the focus of the ESC should aim squarely at the “internet of things” and on gaining a complete understanding of IP by 2016. It remains to be seen if these technical skills will be applied to digital home healthcare for aging baby boomers, energy management integration for smart-metered homes, or for helping consumers manage more video calls, RFID communications, new wireless technologies, or gesture and voice recognition challenges. Whatever it is, IP will likely be at the core of all it, and now is the time to start getting your company up to speed for the future.

Admittedly, predicting the future is not easy. Yet, CEDIA’s vision of what lies ahead sounds pretty accurate. I only question how many ESCs will effectively adapt their technical and business skills enough to survive for another five years.

Are you ready? You’ve been given fair warning.