From DIY to DIFM
DIY smart home products are flooding the market. Savvy electricians would be wise to learn home to use these devices as the foundation of a truly custom solution. Hannah Davies from Inspire AV reports.
We used to find that a fully integrated smart home technology system was like Vegemite. People either loved it or wanted very little to do with it.
But, with more affordable off-the-shelf alternatives flooding the market, we have seen that people are starting to dabble and expectations are high from DIY-ers looking to Google Home and Amazon Alexa to complete the jobs of a
much more sophisticated system.
This growth in DIY smart home products provides a great opening for electricians looking to get into the world of professional smart home installation.
We feel it is our job as professional integrators to work with these products but, ultimately, be the expert capable of offering a holistic approach that streamlines all systems and provides a one stop shop method of control, using the likes of Control4 or Crestron.
How do we do that? At the outset of a relationship with a client, we always speak with them to assess what they
really want from a smart home system.
Most of our clients aren’t aware of what we can do for them nor do they fully appreciate the range of elements we can integrate and control.
We seek to understand the client, the lifestyle and culture of the individual and family and then tailor our solution to their needs. Some people wish to simply control their lighting and audio but don’t realise that we can lean on technology to make those everyday little things that little bit simpler – set time zones to open blinds, raise lighting levels and put their preferred radio station on before they have even got downstairs for breakfast. Building awareness for what we can do is very much a part of that early conversation.
Those that already own what we would class as a DIY product are typically seeking a way to ‘super size’ its capability or functionality. In our view, it’s not necessarily about ‘upselling’ these products already in-situ but simply steering clients in the right direction to integrate or find solutions that achieve the same end goal they are seeking. Sometimes, this can be challenging to force a multi-faceted house to sing from the same hymn sheet, but where there is a will, there is a way!
A bit of humility helps. No-one wants to invite a professional into their home to be told the latest bit of kit they have
purchased isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (even if it isn’t!). Instead, it’s about working with what the client wants, offering alternatives where possible but, above all, embracing what’s out there.
We were the first smart home technology company to have an Alexa Skill built. This enables our clients with Amazon Alexa devices to ask for the latest information on the company, opening times or even call direct from Alexa.
Ultimately, the level of support and assistance we offer is a big differentiator. It’s what makes a professional home integrator. We can respond to resolve technical issues, as and when required, which the ‘off -the-shelf’ product option simply cannot do. Once it’s purchased, there is very little in help and support for when it may go wrong. In contrast, we provide a remote monitoring service, have a team on standby to deal with client issues on the phone, or can have an engineer pitch up on-site to take a look and fix problems at short notice.
Our customers are not just buying a product and having it installed. They’re buying a professional service. We are integrating a system that complements their lifestyle and one that we care about after the installation is completed. We know our clients, we know their families and we offer support and preventative maintenance to ensure the smooth running of their systems and lives. After 10 years in business, we’re convinced that it’s a winning approach