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5.8.20 – Jason Knott  

CE Pro Podcast panel says integrators should focus on smaller, immediate voice control, video surveillance and wellness as the top potential upgrade areas.

With customers stuck in their homes for the past several months due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown, they have likely discovered potential shortcomings in their home technology. Many integrators found clients needed immediate upgrades to their home networks during the lockdown. But what are the best potential sales upgrade opportunities once the restrictions lift?

Alex Capecelatro, CEO of Josh.ai, John Clancy, vice president, residential at Crestron, and integrator Kyle Steele, president of Global Wave Integration in Southern California joined CE Pro to discuss some of the subsystems and services that will likely be in demand from customers post-COVID-19.

Among the topics covered in this CE Pro Podcast #5 discussion are:

Voice Control – “For a long time, we looked at voice control as an additional interface and not a replacement,” says Capecelatro. “The thought is that sometimes you want to grab a remote or sometimes you want to switch to a touchpad, and sometimes voice is really ideal. But now, because of the coronavirus, we are seeing and hearing of demand for voice control in more rooms and more applications than ever. An example that came up recently was one of our dealers who said their client doesn’t want to be touching the front door every time they are coming and going, so instead they are actually using their garage door entry for a hands-free experience.”

Home Offices – Home offices are going to become the norm as more workers are remote. That means demand for solid networks, video teleconferencing solutions including 4K cameras and microphones, acoustical treatments, ergonomic furniture and even effective lighting will be in demand.

Security – When unemployment rises, crime spikes. Steele says he is experiencing higher demand for video surveillance cameras in affluent areas like Beverly Hills. Both Clancy and Capecelatro discussed break-ins that recently occurred in their own neighborhoods.

Wellness – “About two years ago as a company we pivoted towards wellness,” says Steele. “We are in the middle of doing our first wellness spec home in Los Angeles. When builders, architects and developers are coming to us saying they need a wellness home, that was kind of new to us. So we really started digging into it to the point where I am going to be WELL Certified and our building is going to be WELL Certified. They are in the process of writing WELL Certification Standard Version 2 right now and if I had to guess, there are going to be some modifications to that standard based on this pandemic.”Related: CE Pro Podcast #4: Home Networks Go Mission-Critical | Building an Award-Winning Tech Support Team

Overall, Clancy believes there will be a surge that occurs immediately after the lockdowns lift, but says integrators need to be thinking about how to fill their pipelines after the surge subsides.

“In most cases, from the dealers we are talking to tell us that most projects are not cancelled, they are just postponed,” says Clancy. “So it looks like this massive crunch point that will occur when the restrictions get eased and everyone is going to go back to work to complete the projects that were not delivered. But I think there is a risk in the longer term of a drop off because new projects have not been signed for the past couple of months.”

That is why Clancy believes it is important for dealers to focus on immediate smaller upgrade opportunities.