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Distributors Eye MCE, Retrofit Emerging Markets

MCE, retrofit projects and falling flat-panel prices will dominate landscape in 2007.


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It's been quite awhile since a distributor was merely a warehouse stocking products. These days, distributors act as key partners for integrators as they help identify new trends and help educate installers on those trends.

For 2007, distributors believe Media Center Edition whole-house controls will be the most important trend. That means distributors are busy looking at lighting fixtures, lighting control, whole-house control and HVAC management systems for dealers.

Other key trends for 2007 will include the retrofit market, multidwelling units and the "green" movement.

"Vista computers are now being shipped, but the big question is: Will the revenue model be sustainable and will the systems work properly?" says Mike Hench, president of The EDGE Group. "Also, the green issue is fairly new but it will become more important."

Hench says that his own company, Electronics Source in West Palm Beach, Fla., experienced the issue first-hand when he moved into a new facility last December. He was required to abide by a new code calling for automatic-off light switches.

"It drove the cost up because the switches are more expensive," he says. Hench says key manufacturers, like Colorado vNet, will be debuting "green" products soon with timers, not sensors. "In the past, in order to 'be green' you had to spend more. That is going to change," he concludes.

"The green issue is something that is just starting to be discussed among integrators, but it is still not quite a national issue," says Bob Gartland, president of AVAD.

"I believe the green trend will actually gain steam in 2007 in the retail mass market and then migrate into the custom market. Our specific strategy in this area will be coming later, but I still believe that few consumers will be making their decisions to purchase energy management systems based on environmental concerns."

One other trend on the mind of distributors is industry consolidation. Distributors are already starting to see smaller dealers work together on projects.

They also anecdotally report that dealers who are skilled in upselling are still earning strong revenues, but those affected by the mass merchants are struggling.

To turn that around, several distributors recommend dealers start marketing campaigns and incorporate value-add services, like calibration.

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Article Topics

News · Distributors · Retrofit · Retrofit · Distributors · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

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