Maintain Profitability

With the housing boom’s cool-down and the heating up of competition for the buyer, the design/build community is seeking ways in which to differentiate themselves and capture a fair share of the existing market; a significant issue.

Through the utilization and specification of technology in the design and build processes, especially in partnering with a qualified and proven technology partner, there are numerous areas where a design/build firm can significantly differentiate themselves.

By now, most of us realize that technology in the home is here to stay. With the many new technologies that are emerging and the variations on existing products, it is hard to keep up with the changes. This is both a blessing, and at times, a curse.
So, what’s new? Well, in reality most of what’s new involves significant improvements to existing technology. The following list contains a number of subsystems that your qualified technology integrator teammate can offer:

  • Home theater
  • Distributed audio/video
  • Media and information management systems
  • High-definition television signal
  • Satellite systems
  • Lighting control
  • HVAC control
  • Window treatments
  • Telephone systems
  • Computer networks
  • Pool/spa control
  • Control systems (for all subsystems)
  • System and acoustical designs
  • Miscellaneous low-voltage applications

In addition, flat-panel televisions continue to improve while descending in pricing. The demand has driven the continuous improvement and decrease in prices for plasma and LCD television panels. They also are immensely popular because they are extremely efficient with the use of space. The strongest challenge that flat-panel televisions present is the proper installation and implementation of the device itself. This is not necessarily a “do-it-yourself” product, and your technology professional will provide expertise that will make the process seamless.

Management of video, audio and information content is becoming extremely popular. Numerous companies have developed servers and other media devices that can store significant libraries of video, music and digital photography content [see The New Media Servers]. Again, your technology professional can provide the products, setup and service that are required to provide optimal performance.

Control systems’ technology or the smart home approach to control of subsystems is very popular, decreasing in price and becoming easier for the consumer to utilize. It is important to use a technology professional when integrating these systems. Make certain you choose a residential electronic systems contractor with the appropriate skills and qualifications to provide this product and service. It is extremely important that the end users can understand and use their system simply and seamlessly.

There are many evolutions and products to consider. Align yourself with a technology professional and differentiate your way to success!

Andy Willcox is past president and founding member of CEDIA. Willcox is actively involved with outreach programs that deliver CEDIA expertise and value to other trade associations. He has 15 years in the custom electronics industry and has taught courses at venues throughout the country. Willcox is president of ProLine Integrated Systems, a company with locations in Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. ProLine is involved in high-end audio/video, home theater and residential systems integration. Willcox can be reached at