What the hell is ‘Custom Installation’?
Whenever I tell a new contact that I work in the 'custom installation' industry, I'm usually met with glazed-over stares of bewilderment, befuddlement or any other 'be-ment' words you can imagine.
Of course, this isn't very surprising as the custom installation industry, historically, hasn't done a very good job at marketing itself.
Long ago, custom installation was the exclusive domain of the rich and famous - residences you could control at the touch of a button, dedicated home cinemas that sometimes replicated the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek (surprisingly more often than you may imagine), or houses that could 'learn' your habits and then respond accordingly, were all well outside the reach of ordinary folk like you and me.
But times have certainly changed. For as little as $50 you can purchase a virtual home assistant that can answer any question you may have… assuming it understands your accent.
Thanks to the advent of Amazon Echo devices and Google Home Assistants, the concept of home automation has entered the mass market and available to everyone. Still, these devices come with their own challenges.
How many of you have seen a commercial or TV show where somebody says, “Alexa, turn off my lights”? Most of you, I imagine. The truth is, out of the box, neither Echo devices nor Home Assistants can turn off your lights. Instead, these devices are merely interfaces that can operate as part of a larger system, assuming you have that more extensive system installed.
Now, you could go down the DIY path, and for some people, that's all they will need. The result will likely end up with a 'bitsy' system that is clunky to operate, and your smartphone will be overrun with apps that don't easily communicate with each other, if at all.
In future articles, I will expand more on Custom Installation, or 'CI', the controls, platforms, current trends, tips and tricks, and much more.
What is CEDIA?
If you are considering smart home technology for your house and the abovementioned scenario makes you anxious, then it would be worth looking further into the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA).
CEDIA is the leading global authority in the $14 billion home technology industry. It represents 3,700 member companies worldwide and serves more than 30,000 industry professionals that manufacture, design, and integrate goods and services for the connected home.
Its members are the home technology professionals that can tailor a home automation solution based on your lifestyle, desires and needs. And it doesn't have to bankrupt you in the process!
CEDIA-certified integrators have access to the most up-to-date information available to the market, developed by globally-recognised leaders in their fields. They also undergo extensive training, work closely with architects and interior designers, and can even install a secure and reliable home network so you can work from home or simply watch Netflix without the constant buffering (hint: they don't install $79 routers from Officeworks).
They can also advise and install bleeding-edge security systems, along with integrated systems. Some of these can include water leak detection systems that can automatically shut-off water supplies so your house won't flood, or energy management systems that will help you to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your electricity bill. There are even advanced 'biophilic' systems that are designed to improve your health and wellbeing at home by aligning it with nature (for example circadian lighting, which mirrors the natural path of the sun).
These are things that most of you can't do yourself, and nor can your local electrician (unless they've gone through CEDIA training which, if they want to enter this market, they should).
We'll be taking a closer look at all these types of systems and more in future articles.
Who am I?
For the past fourteen years, I was a multi-award seeking journalist and trade magazine editor in the custom installation market. In that time, I witnessed the industry move from being a niche, unknown entity to becoming what should live alongside electricity, telecommunications and plumbing as an essential service in the modern home.
More recently, I joined the team at CEDIA as the Regional Development Consultant for Australia and New Zealand. Together with CEDIA, I will now be working closely with StereoNET to help its readers better understand what is possible with custom installation when using a trained professional. There's a lot to talk about, so I hope you enjoy these articles.
For more information on CEDIA, visit www.cedia.net
Paul Skelton is the regional development independent consultant for CEDIA in Australia and New Zealand. A former journalist and magazine editor, he has 14 years’ experience in the integrated technology market.