Integrators Weigh in on Challenges Ahead

CE Pro 100 integrators cite new technologies, business processes and eroding margins as key concerns over next 12 months.

Jason Knott · May 2, 2011

Keeping up with the rapid changes in technology, maintaining product margins and building solid business processes are among the biggest challenges CE Pro 100 companies expect to face in 2011.

One in four companies cite technology, particularly energy management, HDMI, IT and security, as important priorities for their company. Eighteen companies point to the creation of solid business processes for installation, sales, inventory, employee management and marketing as their biggest challenge this year.

The growing concern over declining product margins continues to be an issue. In all, 17 dealers say this is the biggest threat to their success in 2011. In somewhat of a good sign, 11 dealers point to staffing for the ups and downs of the business cycle as a difficulty they face. Two other key concerns include the continued doldrums of the new-construction market and the education of clients about the value of a custom integrator versus the competition (Internet and big-box stores).

Here is what some CE Pro 100 companies had to say about the biggest challenges they face.

Housing and Economy
William Graham, Guardian Protection Services, No. 2
“The sluggish market for new construction. We continue to face downward pricing pressure in that segment. In addition, credit constraints have affected sales to our customers. Our biggest opportunity lies in the sales of interactive services to our customers — we find more and more customers demanding these additional features and service from their security products.”

Mark Ormiston, Definitive Audio, No. 12
“The collapse of the housing industry. We continue to focus on revenue channels outside of new-home construction and continually refine our operations in order to maintain profitability during this protracted recession.”

Ira Fagan, Audiodesign, No. 60
“The dramatic decrease in residential building. New construction was our most substantial area of incoming and sustainable income. Our sources for fresh clients were builders and architects that we had worked with in the past. Advertising was truly word of mouth more than anything else. Consequently, our marketing strategies have had to change to meet this changed model. We have taken on in-house marketing by a current employee and are focusing on existing homes that are going through renovation or have changed owners.”

Thomas Yesowich, Vitex Systems, No. 76
“The cost of wire, health insurance and other general material cost increases.”

Keeping Up with Technology
Mayer & Joseph Akhtarzad, Just One Touch/Video & Audio Center, No. 3
“Recognizing the products and services that satisfy our customers’ appetite for new technology, while affording them the opportunity to grow and expand their automated and integrated home/business environment as new(er) technology becomes available.”

Jeff Anderson, Aurant, No. 23
“Overall, smaller projects with a higher need for sophisticated IT services. We will address this challenge by adapting accordingly.”

Dennis Jaques, Maverick Integration, No. 25
“Our biggest opportunities are in growth categories like lighting, shades, drapes, energy management, gaming, content delivery, wireless technologies, and add-on sales. Challenges: Being able to see five years down the road while dealing successfully with what stands in front of you.”

  About the Author

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. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at

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  Article Topics

News · CE Pro 100 · All Topics
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