Don’t Write off ‘Integrators’ Just Yet

CEDIA evidently is abandoning the term “integrator” as it relates to home technology installers in favor of the term “technologist,” which resonates better with consumers. Really?

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CEDIA CEO Vin Bruno told a group of dealers recently that the trade organization for the home-technology installation channel is dropping the term “integrator” as it relates to that person that comes to your home and sets up your audio, video and home automation gear.

CEDIA’s preferred term from here on out is “technologist,” TWICE reports.

Bruno reportedly explained, “What does the consumer search for online when they want speakers installed? … Not an integrator. In order to bridge the gap between the end user and integrators, we need to speak the same language.”

So that same language includes the term “technologist?”

This one troubles me. Not that I’m married to the nebulous “integrator” moniker – of course people don’t search that term to find a home-tech installer. But they certainly don’t search for the term “technologist” either. That sounds to me like someone who tinkers in a lab.

Consumers search for an “installer.” Are CEDIA members too proud to call themselves that?

If we’re going on Google search optimization, “installer” wins, hands down.

But that shouldn’t be the point. What is it that we want to be called? It is up to us to pick a term and make it stick. It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be integrator. It can be technologist. It can be hurgmurfle.

Did anyone know what a Realtor was when a bunch of real estate agents decided to start a trade association and call themselves that? Of course not. It’s a made-up term that starts with a capital “R” and ends with a ®.

Today, that's the term we search online, and that's what we call the person who helps us buy or sell a house. Most people don’t know that the word doesn’t actually refer to a real-estate agent, per se, but to someone who is a member of the National Association of Realtors, with “Realtors” being a made-up word with a made-up code of ethics and other rules of engagement.

Could CEDIA trademark the term Integrator® and build the brand to mean a trusted or certified professional who installs or integrates technology in the home (or elsewhere)? Could they do the same for Technologist®?

It doesn’t matter what the name is. It’s a matter of what we do with it.

In the meantime, of course you continue to call yourselves integrators if that’s what you do … or “installers” if you want to capture consumer mindshare. If CEDIA can somehow build a following for “Technologist,” then … awesome.

NEXTWhat Should CE Pros Be Called?

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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