What should integrators be pivoting towards?
Last month we shared the top five pivot opportunities for integrators during this disruptive time in the industry. But now that we've learnt how to pivot, what should we be pivoting towards? Paul Skelton reports.
1: Simulation rooms
“People are now spending a lot more time at home, so we’re entering an era where there’s going to be a big demand for simulation environments of all different types,” Peter says.
“Golf simulators have been around for a while, and now cycling is growing significantly. Today, indoor cycling trainers are essentially sold out. Solutions like those from Zwift are starting to take off.
“It’s quite difficult to make money out of actually selling that equipment; however, you can always sell ‘the environment’.
“Think about creating environments that can change at the push of a button from a high energy exercise environment to much more relaxed environment for things like yoga and meditation.”
2: The home office
“A lot of companies are now saying people aren’t going to go back to the office this year. Even when they do have the opportunity to go back to the office, they are going to allow them to work from home a lot more.
“Further, Cambridge University for example has announced that for the next academic year, there will be no ‘in person’ lectures.
“There is an opportunity here for the ‘performance home office’, or ‘performance learning environment’. And this goes beyond ‘networking’; it’s about looking at the room holistically.
“The acoustics of an office or learning environment are so important. By including some isolation, for example, you’re enabling people to work later or with more privacy.
“Lighting is also important, in particular ‘bio-adaptive lighting’. We need to make sure lighting is appropriate for all tasks, especially video conferencing.
“Finally, reliable power is essential. A simple UPS is critical.
3: The network
According to CEDIA Technology Council Member Mike Maniscalco, the network is key to everything in the home.
“I think there are a lot of opportunities for integrators to improve the reliability of the networks that they’re installing and to work alongside corporate IT departments to ensure that their employees have remote access,” he says.
“Corporate IT departments are going to struggle under the requirements of supporting their work from home workforce.
“When you have multiple people working from home as well as children studying remotely, we are putting a lot of pressure on the networks so ensuring reliability is critical.
“You also must ensure good WiFi coverage. People are finding every nook and cranny they can to find solitude and a quiet place. Making sure that they have proper WiFi coverage and throughput to those locations is critical.
“Finally, when you’re dealing with corporate IT departments, network security it of utmost importance.”
4: Consultative selling
“Consultative selling is not about selling products; rather, it’s selling you as a trusted advisor,” Peter says.
“You can sell boxes or you could be a tradesperson, but the future of our industry is in selling your expertise.
“Move beyond being a tradesperson to becoming a professional. To do so, get paid for design.
“In this industry, we tend to move straight from sales to engineering and all we ever do is specify. You talk to the customer, you go away and you produce a bill of materials with a price at the bottom. The customer says yes so you order the materials, give them to your technical staff and they go to site and install it.
“This is why there are problems – there hasn’t been any design.
“You haven’t spent that time with the customer to empathise with them, to figure out what their needs are. How can you give a customer a price to the system if you don’t know what it’s going to be doing yet?”
“Keep in mind that you are not currently in a unique situation. A lot of companies have not had revenue for three months, or have had to furlough staff, and have an uncertain economic future.
“My advice is to find some local companies and discuss how can you leverage each other’s expertise? Lighting companies, joiners, furniture manufacturers, floorers, IT support experts combined with your expertise in AV, acoustics, networks, power and control systems could help you become an unstoppable force.”
Overall, Peter says, when there is a time of crisis, there is no better time to innovate.
“Now is the time to pivot your company so that you come out stronger than ever before.”