Get Out Of The Dark Ages

I thought we were in the technology business?

It's a Friday night and I'm sitting here watching a little TV, and doing some light reading. I ran across an article that Jason Knott of Electronic House wrote. In the article he shares some insights from a CEDIA TALK that Julie Jacobson gave to a group of custom integrators.

That led me down the rabbit hole that is my psyche. Since I left the industry and started PRD I'm privy to the unique concerns of custom integrators across the country. One of the many concerns I here is the inability of custom integrators to sell products online due to the shackles of their dealer agreements. Never mind the fact that you can find nearly every product a custom integrator uses on Amazon.

“How do the manufacturers expect custom integrators to compete in the IoT era”?

Potential customers are being bombarded by commercials from Amazon Alexa, Ring, Nest, and they're buying them. Why? Because it's easy, and even the simplest of simpletons can set it up. Potential customers are opting for Sonos Play:1's over Connect:Amps. Xfinity gives away a remote that's IR/RF, includes voice control. Our $500 remotes don't have voice control.

"It's hard to sell quality audio to a person who walks around with earbuds in their ears all day."

I read somewhere that Google sold a Google home every 17 seconds in 2017. Wrap your head around that for a second. The damn thing looks like a Renuzit Air Freshener. The point I'm trying to make here is that people will buy anything if one of the big three makes it. Amazon, Apple, Google.

  • When the companies that you are competing against are the most powerful businesses in the history of the world. Amazon or Google could buy Control4 tomorrow with their pocket change.
  • Because you're not allowed to sell product online, it puts you at a distinct disadvantage.
  • Which leads to the next problem. Since you can't sell product online, you don't really understand what's involved.
  • Most custom integrators have let their websites become an afterthought. For years that's been okay. But is that same business model going to work 5 years from now?

    I have no friggin' clue.

    Millennials are aging and they're closing in on the target demographic. The top end of your current client list is starting to down size.

    How are you going to position yourself for the future so you have a fighters chance of competing? So, what's next?It's clear that the manufacturers are falling behind. In reality, how can you expect them to keep up when they clearly don't understand the game. CEDIA has never done much for the average integrator except cash their checks. If you're planning on retiring in the next couple of years, maybe you don't have anything to be concerned about. If you're at the beginning or the middle of your career, it might be time you start readying yourself for things to come.

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