SPONSORED 28.09.18

CEDIA 2018 Expo: Responding to a shifting home technology landscape

Brad Hintz, Control4 doing design tour on showfloor at CEDIA 2018

The show has always been important for reconnecting with our dealers, and now, has become an opportunity to build relationships with designers who are entering the space.

The average consumer’s curiosity for home technology has pointed the design and build community in the direction of our channel, and CEDIA Expo. As homeowners seek the benefits of technology but want it without the compromise to their home’s aesthetic, smart home technology is now becoming part of the average new build and early design discussions for home renovations. This shift was evident at CEDIA Expo in San Diego, California last month, both in new attendees and media, and with the inaugural Design Connection Tour created with National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).

The tours were a new initiative to let designers “align with technology integrators to respond to the modern client’s desire for connected home technology” – something that Control4 has identified as important for both our dealers and their customers. We were excited to be part of the event as the first stop on the tour, with the goal of helping to educate designers on our world of home technology and, in turn, learned a lot about their perspective of our channel. Designers are interested in learning about the capability of the smart home, entertainment systems, and the elements that impact their input to the home that need coordination to ensure that their clients successfully add technology to their projects, while maintaining the integrity of their vision for décor.

“Designers are interested in learning about the capability of the smart home, and the elements that impact their input to the home that need coordination to ensure that their clients successfully add technology to their projects, while maintaining the integrity of their vision for décor.”

CEDIA Expo and Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) are always a highlight for us for the time we get to spend with our dealer base and others in the channel. Hearing their feedback on our Control4 Certified Showroom programme, new opportunities, and their enthusiasm for our new products that we bring to the show is important to guiding our forward movement.

At this year’s CEDIA Expo, we made a few debuts aimed at enhancing the current Control4 Smart Home and keeping in mind the growing trend towards homeowner personalisation and design influence. This started with our new OS 2.10.4, which includes new music services, Amazon Music and Deezer HiFi. In addition, new capability on the When >> Then platform that lets homeowners use the “Add Music” button to adjust their services, plus new ways to set up scenes for Amazon Alexa voice control.

When >> Then is an example of how growing interest in the smart home pushes us to create new experiences. As our dealers gain new customers, managing systems that need regular updates or adjustments to their scenes, playlists, and automation schedules becomes more difficult. When >> Then helps smart home management, ensuring the dealer remains in control of the programming  and smart home maintenance, but allows the homeowner to make small adjustments to their personalized automation that could otherwise burden the dealer.

Smart lighting is another example of an experience we’re continuing to evolve from design influence, and we’ve added to our portfolio with a new KNX line for the UK, Australia, China, Germany, and Singapore. The HVAC, sensor, lighting products and keypads complement the trend for home technology that the design community is becoming more involved in.

As technology and home design have become more “connected,” the conversation between dealers and designers early in the process is increasingly important for a smoother installation. Taking cues from CEDIA Expo, dealers should build their relationship with designers, architects, and builders in their community to discuss how they can collaborate within their current and potential customers’ homes, coordinating lighting scenes and keypads, automated shading, and planning for things like home theatre systems and outdoor AV.

As CEDIA Expo adapts to bridge the gap of the connected home, entertainment, and design, dealers can do the same to provide better and bigger installs and ultimately to advance their business. We’re supporting this shift both with our growing product ecosystem, and with programs like Control4 Certified Showrooms that can further grow the dealer-designer relationship.

Brad Hintze is senior director of product marketing at Control4