In any business, it’s important to stay ahead of the trends, and for home systems integrators, two of the biggest potential game changers are IoT and home remodeling. Consumers are increasingly adopting and integrating IoT devices into their homes, with statistics from Cisco forecasting the number of IoT devices to reach 50 billion by 2020.
Wireless in design and their communications protocols, IoT products such as surveillance cameras, door locks, thermostats and light switches are ideally suited for retrofit projects, a market that is also experiencing a big upswing.
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the annual growth of home improvement and repair expenditures will remain elevated throughout 2017, with spending levels ending the year up 6.7 percent at $317 billion.
Together, these two trends spell new marketing and revenue opportunities for home systems integrators. With plenty of IoT devices available and a growing number of homeowners renovating and remodeling, now is the time to grow your retrofit business.
Despite all signs “pointing to go,” retrofit is an area that some home systems integrators might deem too challenging and frustrating, and financially futile to fully explore. However, there are ways capitalize on this burgeoning market without completely losing your mind or risking your profitability.
Introducing Legacy Products to the World of IoT
Seemingly every home technology available to homeowners today can be monitored and controlled via the Internet, and it’s likely a top feature your clients expect you to provide as you integrate smart systems into their homes.
Despite the demand for and proliferation of IP-based smart home solutions, there are products and systems still employed by consumers today that are incapable of connecting via IP or Wi-F to smartphones, the cloud, or your own RMR monitoring service.
This “missing link” presents a huge opportunity for integrators eager to exploit the remodeling and the IP upswing. Naturally, you’ll need the right tools and technology to bring legacy products and systems into the 21st century, and according to a number of leading home systems distributors, including Home Controls, AVAD, and Allnet, Global Caché products are well poised as an easy, affordable solution to link the unconnected technologies employed in the homes of your retrofit customers to the Web-based communication and control capabilities of today.
“Global Caché products have the capability to make everything web-enabled,” says Ken Kerr of Home Controls. “Its products are the big giant key to everything and they cost so little.” AVAD manager of purchasing and planning Jeff Neilson adds, “We pay close attention to industry trends and with the transition to IP solutions, it was only necessary to find a solid platform, such as Global Caché, for our dealers.”
Futureproofing 'Old' Control Systems
Connecting smart home devices to the Internet is just one facet of bring an existing control system up to speed. You might also run into jobs where new devices will need to be connected to an existing control system, and that system might lack the appropriate inputs and outputs—be it IR, serial, or contact closure–to support these additions.
One solution to this I/O shortcoming would be to add a second control processor. Straightforward, yes, but it could cost more than your client is willing to pay.
Neilson notes this as another situation easily remedied by Global Caché’s many products, particularly those in the company’s iTach line. Global Caché’s connectivity solutions are brand agnostic, so it doesn’t matter what type of control system is currently being used. Priced hundreds of dollars less than a control processor, you’ll be able to pass along the savings to your clients, which could mean the difference between winning and losing jobs.
Tackling Tough Wiring Situations
Having enough I/Os to support the expansion of an existing control system is only one challenge integrators face on retrofit jobs. Fishing new cabling to physically connect new products to the network is another.
Rather than run cable from the system processor to a new thermostat, irrigation controller, flat-panel TV, or something else, you can drop a Global Caché box on any nearby Ethernet connection and address it in the IP side of the controller, suggests Rick Murphy, dealer development manager at Allnet.
“This saves a port on the controller, saves the potential headache of dealing with long cabling runs. RS-232 to RS-485 protocol adapters exist to extend serial cable runs past the recommended 50 foot mark, but a Global Caché device is typically more cost effective and has the added flexibility to be used anywhere there is Ethernet cable.”
Quick Turnaround by Distributors
Retrofit projects are like digging for buried treasure—you never know what you might uncover. In existing homes, these unknowns can slow down a job considerably, unless you have the right tools on hand.
“We consider Global Caché products to be one of those all-important tools,” Kerr says. “Consequently, orders we receive by 3 p.m. PST ship the same day.”
Readily available, affordable, and proven as reliable solutions for any type of installation—retrofit, new construction, simple or complex—Global Caché products can help you and your business proper no matter which segment of the smart systems market you’re targeting.
You can visit Global Caché at ISE 2017 in Amsterdam in stand 9-D190.