Trade Talk: A Simple Way into Home Control for Aerial and Satellite Installers and Electricians


By Neil Walton, CYP Europe. With the decline of RF distribution systems, many satellite and aerial installers have seen the opportunit...

Neil WaltonBy Neil Walton, CYP Europe. With the decline of RF distribution systems, many satellite and aerial installers have seen the opportunity to branch out into HDMI distribution as a viable alternative. Although traditionally, electricians have not been part of the AV world, they are increasingly being requested to install cabling infrastructure in readiness for AV distribution, particularly since the introduction of HDBaseT and AV over CAT technology. [caption id="attachment_4943" align="aligncenter" width="221"]Satellite and aerial installers are branching out into HDMI distribution. Satellite and aerial installers are branching out into HDMI distribution.[/caption] Traditionally, home automation and control has been a niche market with just a few key manufacturers offering full home control platforms. These systems tended to be complex, time-consuming and costly, combining IP, RS-232, and IR integration with big challenges in order to provide an intuitive control system. Custom installers were required to have an in-depth knowledge of all of the necessary components of any automation system, including elements such as HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning), lighting, AV, and CCTV to name just a few. Since then, it has become commonplace for most households to have access to Wi-Fi, smartphones, and tablet devices which form the backbone of the latest control system technology. This technology has significantly simplified control system integration for newcomers to the custom install industry. Suitable Training The perceived barriers for these trades are a knowledge of, and access to, the products and the confidence to install them. In reality, these hurdles are very easy to overcome by working with manufacturers who are focussed on de-mystifying the technology by providing friendly training and support. For example, CYP offers a full training and support programme aimed at guiding the installer through any project from concept to handover. We provide a free one-day 'Multiroom HDMI Distribution and HDBaseT Design' course, along with a one-day DemoPad Home Automation Control Integration course at GB£200 per delegate. These courses are hands-on workshops designed to give installers confidence when specifying and installing AV systems and control. We also have our AV Academy facility that is always open to our partners to use as a sales showroom and a space for pre-installation set-up and system testing. [caption id="attachment_4945" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Home control technology can be de-mystified through friendly training and support. Home control technology can be de-mystified through friendly training and support.[/caption] While the only qualification necessary to succeed in this field, is an eagerness to learn and the ability to understand the customer's needs, it is important that training providers offer an engaging and friendly approach in order to make the experience both insightful and enjoyable for all those who attend. Other Considerations By definition, home control is the integration of elements such as AV, HVAC, lighting, and security into one intuitive control system. It is not necessary for the integrator to be a specialist in all of these fields, but it is important to understand the need to co-operate with other engineers who may be involved with a project. Once inducted into the world of home control and multiroom AV, it is also important for new recruits to choose from products that are proven to be compatible and reliable, and to feel confident that the product supplier will provide the initial and ongoing support that may be required. Systems don’t have to be hugely expensive or very complicated to integrate and program. The proliferation of apps on smartphones and tablets has seen an increase in the expectations of end users for full home control, and products such as DemoPad Home Control allow the integrator to simply and quickly develop an affordable, easy-to-set-up, customised touchscreen-based control system. [caption id="attachment_4944" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The DemoPad Home Control product family. The DemoPad Home Control product family.[/caption] Newcomers might also consider taking advantage of other industry resources such as becoming a CEDIA member, and keeping up to date with all of the latest technological developments via trade publications such as HiddenWires. Conclusion Electricians, and aerial and satellite installers tend to be involved at the early stages of any AV install, and have realised that by expanding their skill sets, there is an opportunity to add value to their quotes by bolting on HDMI distribution and control. Any of these new trades can easily install a simple HDMI distribution system, but with some basic training, they could also offer a control system as part of the proposition. This can be anything from a four-zone AV system with control, up to a full home automation system. Looking further ahead, more products will feature network connectivity and IP control, enabling complete home control integration to become more of an affordable reality than a costly dream. Neil Walton is the CYP Training Manager for CYP Europe, and has over 25 years’ experience of training and has been working within the residential AV installation market for over ten years. CYP is a pioneer in AV and HDBaseT distribution solutions. www.cypeurope.com