To adapt and improve upon an annoying catch phrase from the eighties, I’d like to state that "Green is Good." And although business is rough for many of us, I think a new product that launches next week from Agilewaves can give you a Green story and a positive pitch to tell your clients who may be reluctant to buy more toys from you as their stock portfolios continue to tumble.
A couple months ago, Residential Systems columnist Gordon van Zuiden wrote about growing "Green" opportunities in the custom integration channel. In that story, van Zuiden cited Agilewaves, a designer of a "Resource Monitor" module that supports Crestron and AMX. The product, which can easily integrate into a whole-house control system, is designed to continuously measure electric, gas, and water consumption of a home or business, calculate its carbon footprint in real-time, and make this information readily available on a wall-mounted touchscreen or a password-protected Web page.
On Halloween day, I received a briefing from the programming company that developed that module for Agilewaves. Austin Lowery and John Willits, of Jetson Systems, walked me through their clever development and explained to only how the piece works, but also pointed out what a great business opportunity an add-on energy-management module can be during a down economy
The concept behind the Jetson module is that it takes Agilewaves’ resource monitoring technology and ties it to a Crestron or AMX control system, allowing certain energy usage thresholds to be set that could trigger a home’s temperature to be adjusted or a hot tub to be turned down, etc. Setting the thresholds is Jetson’s concept, the custom programming on what to do with the information once you have it can come from a savvy integrator with programming skills or can be outsourced to Jetson Systems, who is obviously more familiar with the system.
In their run through with me, Lowery and Willits pointed out how Agilewaves and the module from San Francisco-based programmers can enable a custom integrator to re-visit existing clients and sell them on energy monitoring and management. Not only can the software help a client save on their growing energy bills, but it can help them feel better about the toys that they’ve already installed in their home. Lowery also noted the example of a client who perhaps purchased a full integration package, only to skimp on lighting controls or HVAC controls. Going back to visit that client with the Agilewaves package, he explained, an integrator can say, “We like for you to be able to monitor your HVAC and heating fuel usage, but without adding lighting control or HVAC control, we can really adjust lights or thermostat in response to our resource monitoring triggers.” The trojan horse of resource monitoring, in other words, can help a dealer upsell existing clients.
Some of my friends who cater to the high-end segment of the market may have once said that their type of clientele doesn’t worry about their energy bills. I would be shocked now to find anyone who is not at least more aware of rising costs than they used to be. In today’s economy, who isn’t looking for anywhere that they can save a little money, whether they’re rich or not?
I think the Agilewaves product, connected with Jetson Systems’ module to AMX or Crestron, is a great way to move forward with custom sales, during this difficult time, while helping your client feel better about themselves in the process.