ihiji’s Remote Monitoring Products Evolve with Eye on Increasing Demand
Stuart Rench, president and co-founder, ihiji
Remote systems monitoring jumped from the enterprise IT channel into the custom integration industry less than three years ago and has been gradually picking up momentum ever since. One of the pioneers in the category is ihiji, which showcased its latest product release at CEDIA EXPO this past September. Here’s what company president and co-founder Stuart Rench had to say about this new product and the opportunities that remain for integrators selling remote monitoring technology.
How is ihiji helping make remote monitoring a viable business opportunity in the custom residential integration channel?
The remote monitoring and support category has grown slowly but organically since we entered the market in 2009. However, with the increasingly popular shift of services to the cloud the category is now poised for a boom. Earlier this year, we embarked on an outreach mission where we polled dealers of all shapes and sizes about the remote support category. What we learned is that dealers (domestically and internationally) now realize that they must evolve in order to secure their relevancy and profitability in the years to come. It has become apparent that those that embrace change and implement solutions that provide additional margin and/or facilitate better business practices will prosper, even in a down economy. Understandably, as the category continues to mature many dealers may need to rely on a “playbook” for success as well as receive more guidance and assistance in the process. Recognizing this, we are working with CEDIA and other educational outlets to help dealers obtain the skills–both technical and operational–that will help them be most successful.
At CEDIA EXPO your company introduced the INV-APP-500, a smaller, lower priced, and more energy efficient remote monitoring and support appliance. What inspired this product?
As our dealers started realizing that the ihiji invision remote support platform can be just as beneficial in a small one-room installation as it can be in a large whole-home project, our challenge became one of pricing. We recognized that the device that enables remote support simply could not represent a significant percentage of the overall project price. With this realization in mind, we set our engineers to work trying to come up with a solution that would perform to our notably high standards at a fraction of the cost. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. Not only did we hit a price point that makes this attainable for any job, but also we slashed the power requirements to only a few watts, which is 97 percent more energy efficient than a typical 1U server. To put that in perspective, the reduced energy footprint can save the consumer up to $535 on their power bill each year.
ihiji’s INV-APP-500 is a smaller, lower priced, and more energy efficient remote monitoring and support appliance intended for single-room solutions.
You recently added a new face to the company. How close are you to having all of the right pieces in place?
Much of what we’re doing today was planned some time ago, and the pieces have been strategically falling into place since before we entered the market. Now that the category has reached the mainstream, things are really heating up and evolving quickly. As we predicted it would, the associated technologies have evolved, other manufacturers have incorporated intelligence into their devices, and the benefits of remote monitoring in residential environments have become more commonly understood. Seth Rubenstein’s addition to our team is a great example. Once we understood the necessary formula to support ihiji sales, we immediately thought of him. His consultative approach and experience with D-Tools has helped us to shape and scale our efforts, reaching dealers more efficiently. We brought him on board because he is simply great at what he does, especially with his ability to walk dealers through the process of implementing a solution like ours.
What’s next on your roadmap?
We have several projects ongoing internally that are focused on the “nextgeneration” home of the future. This includes work related to a recent grant from Austin Energy to work in conjunction with the nationally recognized Pecan Street Project on clean energy initiatives. These nextgeneration services all rely on connectivity in the home. As such, we continually remind dealers, if you own the network, you “own” the home. The resulting solutions will allow dealers to quickly differentiate themselves and ensure that they stake a claim in that next-gen home. Aside from our long-term projects, we also maintain a rapid internal development cycle that brings new features and improvements that dealers have access to for no additional charge or upgrade requirements. The one thing that everyone can count on is that the ihiji “toolbox” of offerings will continue to expand.