This is How I Explain Distributed Audio and Video to My Confused Clients

Last week I wrote about selling lighting control, especially as I find that is one of the hardest smart home experiences to describe to clients. Similarly, distributed audio and video is difficult for a lot of clients to grasp. We have come up with a number of analogies and features and benefits to help a client understand what it means and how it will benefit their lives.
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Last week I wrote about selling lighting control, especially as I find that is one of the hardest smart home experiences to describe to clients. Similarly, distributed audio and video is difficult for a lot of clients to grasp. We have come up with a number of analogies and features and benefits to help a client understand what it means and how it will benefit their lives.

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Audio is the easier of two to explain and for clients to understand. I usually start off by saying that it means “music in every room.” That often leads to a lot of questions, so I use a combination of the below descriptions and benefits:

-You can have a party mode that plays the same thing in every room, synced up so listening from room to room is seamless, with individual volume control for each room.

-Each room can play something different. For example, Dad can listen to the game in the den, while the kids have top 40 playing outside and Mom can have some alternative going in the kitchen. Or Mom can choose to listen to the same thing as Dad and group together the den and kitchen.

-One great example to use is when having a Super Bowl or awards show party. The audio from the TV can be played into every room, so no one misses the action. Even in the bathroom! Clearly tailor this one to what you know about the family from speaking with them and what you observe around the home. If you see a bunch of baseball paraphernalia, then it is the World Series, not the Super Bowl.

-It is much more reliable than having a bunch of Bluetooth speakers around. With Bluetooth, if you walk too far away from the speaker, your phone loses connection, and the music cuts in and out. Plus, it doesn’t tie up your phone for music, and your music isn’t interrupted by a phone call or text

I’m sure that most of you use at least some of these examples, and audio is a much easier sell. Video, on the other hand… Here’s how I describe distributed video to clients:

-For larger houses, distributed video is easier because there might be eight to 10 TVs but only four residents. I sell the concept of having a source device for each person in the home. Dad has his own cable box, with his own recordings on it and no matter what room he is in, he can watch his cable box.

-In a smaller home or apartment, it can be space saving to only have two cable boxes, Apple TVs (and/or Rokus) and Blu-ray players, instead of three or four of each.

-You don’t have to choose which rooms get which devices — everything is available everywhere. This is great for streaming devices. You can have an Apple TV for AirPlay and iTunes rentals, and a Roku or FireTV for Amazon and Amazon Prime. Plus, both boxes get Netflix, Hulu, and the other major services.

-You only need a device per person, so you only have to pay the cable company for four boxes, not eight. While the math here doesn’t really pan out in terms of cost/benefit, most clients love the idea of sticking it to the cable company a little bit!

-You can start something in one room and easily finish it in another. Just select the same source in a different room, and you will be right where you were, without having to navigate to it (especially beneficial with streaming sources, not so much anymore with whole-home DVR service.)

-I often use the analogy of a sports bar to describe video distribution, where the bartender can put the same game on any of a number of TVs, without having to have a cable box for each TV.

-If the client seems more analytical, I will equate the video matrix with an Excel spreadsheet and draw a grid on a piece of paper, with sources across the top and rooms down the left. Or, I’ll draw all of the sources on the left, a box in the middle to represent the matrix and all of the rooms on the right and draw lines to show that anything can go anywhere.

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Visual aids work wonders! I have found that drawing these out in front of the client leads to better understanding than having something already pre-printed that you bring with you. The process of thinking it through and naming the devices and rooms as their own home really helps get them invested and thinking about it more clearly.

How do you describe and sell distributed audio and video to your clients?

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