How can homeowners best take advantage of the continuing growth of smart home devices, technologies and systems? Who better to answer this question than CEDIA, the trade body of the custom installation industry. Vincent Bruno, CEO of CEDIA (left) and Dave Pedigo, CEDIA’s Vice President, Emerging Technologies (right) discuss the topic in more detail in this two-part article (Read part two here). Firstly, they focus on the DIY aspects of the smart home…
How would you describe the recent growth in smart home devices aimed directly at consumers?
Dave Pedigo: The growth has been exponential. There is something called the law of accelerating returns, which means things are changing so fast that it is almost impossible to humanly comprehend. We think that is exactly the point we are at with the proliferation of smart home devices.
Which Do It Yourself (DIY) brands and technologies have been most influential in this expansion?
Dave: We think the expansion of smart home devices aimed directly at consumers can be traced back to mobile devices. First the iPhone and then Android made an extraordinary amount of control options available to the mass market. From there, we’ve seen companies such as Nest (above), Google and Amazon leading the way in showing consumers that smart home products can be accessible, simple to use and enhance your quality of life.
What have been the challenges up until this point?
Vincent Bruno: The paradigm shift is that now there are solutions available to people at all levels and that is a great thing. There are people who will lean toward a DIY solution, but when it gets complicated, it’s not working as it is meant to or they are ready to upgrade, they will look for a home technology professional, a CEDIA member, who can be their ‘guy’.
The biggest challenge for CEDIA members continues to be a lack of recognised terminology in the industry making it hard for clients to find us. If a consumer is looking for someone to make technology in their home seamless and work for their life, the first thing they Google probably won’t be ‘home cinema’. As we continue to assert our place in the marketplace as the single point of contact for technology needs, a recognised terminology is paramount.
What has changed recently to open opportunities for the home technology professional?
Dave: Voice control has truly exploded in the market and it represents a great opportunity for CEDIA members. The companies that are creating voice control products have big marketing fire-power to reach the consumer audience.
On the industry side, companies such as Amazon, through its Alexa products (above), have been eager to collaborate with other manufacturers in our channel to curate new whole-system and whole-home solutions for homeowners. These products may initially be viewed as DIY, but they are bringing new consumer awareness to the bevy of solutions that CEDIA members can provide.
[Main photograph: CEDIA Member De Opera Domotica’s Living Cinema, a highly commended media room over £15,000 in the CEDIA 2016 awards]