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What’s Next?

Is the Next Big Thing worth chasing?

I’ve seen many technologies come and go. In fact, there is a shelf in my office that I have dubbed “The Hall of Dead Formats,” and it features a digital cassette (a DCC from Philips, to be exact), a Sony MiniDisc, a digital audio tape (DAT), an ironically named Universal Media Disc that was meant to only work in a Sony PSP…you get the idea. At home, I still have Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio players.

To work in technology is to play a never-ending game of catch up. No sooner do you obtain mastery over the last Next Big Thing, when a new one pops up. But some Next Big Things wind up being NoThings, wasting time and resources getting to know and perfect their installation for a very short period of time.

Part of my mission with Residential Systems is to provide business owners and integrators with new paths to profitability – new devices to carry and install that may have not registered before, or that you never seriously considered. To that end, in the short time I’ve been here, we’ve covered augmented reality, aging-in-place technologies, cybersecurity-as-a-service, new opportunities for recurring monthly revenue (RMR), and, just a few pages from here, AI and machine learning as a way to improve customer service.

That’s a lot – and, trust me, there is more to come. Naturally, no shop could manage adding all of these services, and coverage here is not necessarily recommending them. The goal is to increase awareness so you can ultimately make informed decisions on what is best for your business.

Technology moves fast and can be unforgiving. Backing the right trends can ensure longevity for your company and keep your customers happy. Choosing the wrong one can waste your resources and leave you with a lot of unhappy customers who feel misled.

So how can we minimize the risks? A good place to start is with your customers. Send out short, periodic surveys that gauge their interest in new technologies; find out how informed they are about them and what their expectations are.

From there, look globally for examples of the technology in use, and the reaction to it. This is where Residential Systems comes in. We’ll provide coverage and case studies here and online so you can see what works and what doesn’t, and how it can be applied (or not) to your covered area. We will also examine the latest trends and provide expert opinions on what the future will bring (like we did this issue with the Futuresource’s predictions for the home audio market on page 50).

The key is to work together – share what we learn so we can add it to a collective knowledgebase and make the right decisions.

Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of the cutting edge.