Like scientists, most writers form a hypothesis, or educated guess, about what their interview subjects will say in response to their questions. We love when we’re right, of course, but it’s more exciting when we’re surprised by the answers.
For this month’s cover story, I asked several custom integrators to share their “gamechanging” ideas for success in 2013. The answers I got back didn’t exactly fit my hypothesis. This being a business led by folks who proudly call themselves “propeller heads,” I had fully expected to learn mostly about changes to product lines or plans to explore new technology or market categories. Instead, most integrators described how they would improve or implement fundamental business management tools and techniques in the New Year.
Conversely, my colleague Llanor Alleyne got a lot more product details in her interviews for this month’s editorial supplement on integrating hidden electronics.
While the unabridged comments from Llanor’s feature will be posted at www.residentialsystems.com/1212, here’s just a taste of what she learned:
Josh Christian, from DSI Entertainment, in Los Angeles, said that while he still thinks it is a great idea to have hard-wired control touchscreens at key locations in a home, “with technologies such as NFC and the proliferation of smartphones, perhaps there will be less in-wall touchscreens in the future.”
Jamie Briesemeister, from Integration Controls in St. Louis, said that the Trufig line of products that allow for flush-mounted installation of electrical outlets, switches, heating/cooling grates, “is truly game-changing in that it can be used to solve a common problem in nearly every home or office: clunky wall clutter.”
Kevin Buchanan, from Home Entertainment Inc., in The Woodlands, TX, said that wireless whole-home audio from companies like Sonos and Nuvo already have been game changers. “These systems provide access and control to huge music libraries via tablet or smartphone control without the need for volume controls or keypads mounted in the listening areas,” he noted.
Stephen Tucker, from Audio and Video by Design, in Scarborough, ME, predicted that the “continued proliferation of Apple Airplay” should improve the ability of his customers to move their audio and video content, and HDBaseT-enabled devices will make it easier and “hopefully less expensive” to move video content throughout homes and businesses.
Dave Raines, of Osbee Industries, in Harrison, NY, concluded that whatever the next technology is, it has to be integrated elegantly. “Ultimately,” he said, “our clients come to trust us to make the best decisions to meet their needs–what gear we use is up to us–what’s most important is functionality and that the aesthetics of their home is not marred with electronic clutter.”