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COVID-19 has put an emphasis on solid home networks live never before. The growth in home offices, homeschooling and enjoying home entertainment via streaming audio and video has been remarkable.
Indeed, Sonos reported listening hours were up 48% and Dish Network reported a 50% jump in entertainment and news channel viewership. Yet, poor networks still abound. Why? When integrators allow poor cable-modem-driven networks to be the base of a home installation, it has a negative ripple effect on audio, video, voice control and many other aspects of the system.
Three industry experts joined CE Pro to discuss the situation, as well as the ramifications of crummy networks on voice control, service revenues and other key elements of the custom electronics industry.
“Historically, the networking conversation has been a difficult one, simply because the network does not appeal to any of the senses,” says Hagai Feiner, founder and CEO of Access Networks. “It doesn’t ‘sound’ good; it doesn’t ‘look’ good… there is really nothing ‘sensual’ that it brings to the homeowner.”
Feiner says COVID has changed the game. It created a situation where the homeowner is forced to live in their home 24/7 with all the family, each of whom is putting a demand on the network. That scenario has made the home network a priority.
For a manufacturer like Josh.ai, having solid networks is critical to how well its voice control system operates.
“What people tend to forget is that voice control is a control system that needs to be talking over the network to streaming music, streaming video, lights, shades and thermostats. If you have devices that are dropping off the network, it is going to interfere with voice control.”
For Josh Rich, president of Rich AV Design in Stamford, Conn., he will not do a project without upgrading the network.
“In the scope of a whole job, the network is a single point of failure. If you put in something that is not reliable, you are playing roulette with the service end of your business,” he says.
In CE Pro Podcast #19, here from Feiner, Capecelatro and Rich as they answer some important questions related to robust networks in the era of the coronavirus, including:
- What should a network consist of?
- What expertise level do technicians require to deploy networks?
- Why so many integrators still cut corners when it comes to network quality and how that can be avoided?
- How to educate clients on the value of having a strong network?
- What sort of remote network management systems should you have in place?
- How do you charge for remote network management?
- When in the sales process should integrators discuss the network with clients?
- What does 5G mean to home networks?
- What benefits does Wi-Fi 6 bring?