When I decided to move on from being a technician and pivot my career to grow in a different direction, I had no idea it would one day lead me to what the industry now calls ‘resimercial’ as a work focus. But, at the time, I did two things.
First was a gut check. Was I going to be happy and fulfilled not running productions day in and day out? After some deliberation, I realized that I could potentially find and gain more by stepping outside my comfort zone.
Second was to strategize on how I was going to make my next move. I had to look at the industry, across all the varied verticals, and figure out what made the most sense. Looking back on that now, I think I can piece together just how residential and commercial work, two categories once heavily at odds with each other, came together as resimercial.
The Rise of AV-Over-IP
One thing that became a daily challenge within my work was the rise of AV-over-IP. At the time that I was a tech, our teams were split: The AV team handled the day-to-day events. Meanwhile, the IT team was more part of facilities. It handled networking for the facility I worked within, but that team also handled a few other buildings scattered across the city.
The AV and IT teams did two different things, and we spoke two different languages. Something that became obvious to me pretty quickly was that I needed to learn IT networks if I was going to not only keep a job in AV but also continue to grow within this space.
After all that deliberating and strategizing, as well as the constant gut checks (which mostly came from fear), I finally uncovered the path that led me to my next step. I joined a premier enterprise-grade networking-solutions provider for the modern home. The company’s main focus was designing and maintaining sophisticated network solutions. I wanted to learn networking, so there was no better place to be, although I was making a shift from commercial AV to the residential side.
Residential vs. Commercial
Early in my career, I didn’t realize that the industry was so divided between the commercial and residential camps. I had been to InfoComm, and I had been to CEDIA Expo. The separation hadn’t really registered in my head, though — especially when I could attend both events and come across so many of the same core people. But the deeper I got into resi, the more I learned the differences between venue spaces and high-end homes. Some of the homes might have been big enough to be commercial spaces, but you’d face different sets of challenges than you would in a commercial environment.
That being said, the IT infrastructure fundamentals were the same when it came to signal flow and building a network. I quickly learned that many of the partners I was working with directly didn’t only do residential but also did commercial projects. In that sense, the IT part of the equation was helping to bridge these different worlds.
The Rise of Resimercial
ISE 2020 was the first show I attended where I saw Crestron and Savant on the same show floor. Some who have been in the industry longer than I have might argue that the rise of resimercial was happening before 2020. However, that show in Amsterdam was the first place I witnessed the resimercial trend for myself. You had integrators focused on both worlds, and there were reps representing and pushing brands from both markets. It was an eye-opener for me. Everything seemed less foreign — although I was in a foreign country — and it seemed like resi and commercial AV were starting to overlap a lot more both behind closed doors and on grand stages.
Shortly after the pandemic began, we started to see even more overlap. Because we all had to do everything from home, the home network now had to be built or upgraded to be more robust. Those home networks had to accommodate school, work and entertainment — not to mention all the smart-home products purchased during that time. Without a doubt, this major world event blurred the lines even more.
Where Are We Today?
Fast forward to 2023, and we’re now about to witness the first resimercial event here stateside. In September, Commercial Integrator Expo and CEDIA Expo will be co-located in Denver. This will be an opportunity for both commercial and resi manufacturers, along with their integrator partners, to build better relationships. This is an opportunity for all of us to build stronger partnerships. It’s our chance to bridge the gap between verticals and drive more business together.
When I was on the resi side, I was surprised by just how many were playing in the commercial space. Let’s not shy away from the opportunity that lies within the blurred lines between these two worlds.
Are you attending Commercial Integrator Expo and CEDIA Expo? Let’s talk! Tweet me @thesmoothfactor or find me on LinkedIn. I’d love to hear your opinion on the overall rise of resimercial and your experience taking in both worlds that week in Denver.
Alesia Hendley is a multimedia journalist, content creator and business development executive working with Sennheiser.
This article originally appeared on our sister website Commercial Integrator 08.14.23. It has since been updated for CE Pro audiences.
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