There has always been one thing in our custom integration industry that makes it so dynamic and unique: you, the installer. You have an incredible ability to abstract, modify, and adapt to scores of situations that surface during any job.
Problems that do turn up, whether they are HDMI
related or not, become just one of the many SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) regularly practiced. DPL Labs
communicates with so many installers it allows us to learn what you do, how you do it and the time lines that are continually being chased. There have been some pretty incredible “inventions” concocted just to complete the job, some cool and others that many would consider hack jobs.
Although some of these “modifications” are truly abstract and will at the end of the day solve the issue, they are generally Band-Aids. But still, you have such an incredible skill set to figure out situations I sometimes hang up the phone and just shake my head in total amazement. Kudos!
For example, we had a very sharp integrator call with an HDMI problem. Again, it was a system that performed for a while and over a few months began to fail once every week or so. The only way this could be corrected was performing a complete system shutdown and restart. The integrator made his best attempt in trying to troubleshoot but never really found defects.
He managed to prove that the problem was related to the single Cat ATD (Balun) that was being used by replacing it with a temporary HDMI cable on the floor. Then returning two weeks later, he replaced the ATD only to return another week later with the same failure … three trips and counting.
I know many of you have been here. You have this poor installer that has to try anything to fix this thing so he can make the customer happy and stop these repetitive road calls. So now what does he do?
He dives into his abyss of abstract thinking and experience and pulls this out: He sets up the home control systems to shut off the ATD every time the system cycles. What?! Will that work? Well kind of. It is like driving from New York to Miami by way of Detroit; it’s the long way around, but you eventually get there.
Now let’s change the setting and use a person without the skill sets or knowledge demonstrated by the previous CE pro. What steps if any would he take? Consider the same scenario, only with a large retail or distributor as the point of purchase and or installation. Very few, if any, would have anywhere near the skill set in solving these complex issues with HDMI failures. How do these big companies contend with problems in the field? Don’t underestimate these outlets; they would not be around if they weren’t sharp.
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Over the last six months DPL has been approached by retail and distribution establishments to help direct them to any third-party testing agencies capable of keeping them out of harm’s way before products even get into the stores. Several questions naturally surfaced when these requests started filtering in:
- Could it be these larger stores and distributors have experienced similar failures and are trying to stock products that can reduce these disruptive problems with HDMI? Maybe.
- Could it be an exercise to establish and verify products currently on the shelves? Maybe.
- Could it be possible they are using this tactic in deciding what to sell? Maybe.
- Could it be a strategy to provide competitive products by way of their performance? Maybe again.
The real answer to all of these questions and many more is not “maybe,” but “YES.” They know they will never have the kind of skill set possessed inside your head, the custom integrator. The only problem-solving technique these large establishments have available to them is hardcore performance testing in an effort to “handle the objection before it occurs.”
Not such a bad idea when you put some thought in that direction. Now combine that with your power and unique skills, and you become an installation machine.
By the way, we did finally figure out the ATD problem described above. Write in and we will be glad to share it with you.