PROFILE | NV Integration

years ago, they were flabbergasted by some of the basic stuff. We can tell clients that they don’t need seven different wi-fi networks in their house, or that they don’t have to disconnect their smartphone when they go to their study on the top floor to make it connect to another booster with a different name. It can blow their mind – especially if they’ve had a bad experience before.

Q: How soon should designers and smart home/AV integrators talk to each other about a project? Is it right from the very start? A: If we don’t have good communication and an aligned end goal, then you find that everyone is pulling towards their own finish line and you end up with the project being disjointed, because there are four

It’s key that we’re all pulling towards the same goal – that means you need to look at each other’s drawings, not just your own. There’s a hierarchy on a project.

You’ve probably got the project manager and the architect at the top, who are in the upper realms of the client’s opinion, then you have the interior designer and then the AV consultant who’s a few steps down. It’s a lot easier for me if I make a huge effort to reach out to the designer. I share information and nine times out of ten that’s well-


If we don’t have good

communication and an aligned end goal then you end up with the project being disjointed

finishing lines and not the one that the customer wanted.

received and it means we have a strong relationship.

Q: What questions should designers and integrators be asking their clients that are interested in smart home features? A: It’s about trying to

extract as much information from them as you can by asking open- ended questions about their likes and dislikes and who they are as a person, so you can make that smart home for them.

Q: Do you find that some designers are scared to ask the most basic questions about smart home and AV? Are they happy to rely on your advice and expertise? A: In certain instances. What’s common is that they say: ‘I’m so sorry – this is probably really boring for you and teaching you to suck

eggs’, but I always say to them: ‘don’t apologise – if you knew all of this, I wouldn’t be sat here.’

I’m very happy to talk in layman’s

terms to help them understand. Some designers are super- clued-up, some think they can do your job better than you and some are totally clueless and it’s a danger to the project!

The designer’s vision is key – if we go in with contemporary products in a very traditional home, they won’t blend in very well. I always love it when designers are open enough to share their concepts – it really helps us to see if something isn’t right. We also like to know their likes and dislikes and to see their design documentation. If we’re putting things into expensive joinery, there has to be a drawing for it. We also need to know if they’re clued-up on lighting design and controls – quite often, the kitchen or bathroom designer might also be the lighting designer. The brief and their concept are key.

Q: Are there common pitfalls to avoid when designers are working with AV integrators? What mistakes do you often see designers make? A: Too much assumption – ‘we thought it would be like this because we’ve done it like that in the past,’ or ‘I just thought all your stuff was wireless’ – and a lack of coordination. Thorough documentation is hugely important. It’s down to the designer, and the AV contractor, to make sure that everyone’s on the same page.

Q: Are relationships between designers and integrators sometimes fractious? Do you ever have to compromise? A: We’re always trying to build solid relationships with designers. I think there are compromises – it can depend on who brought you on to the project. If you’ve been brought in by a designer, you may have some allegiance to them and don’t want to upset the apple cart, whereas if you’ve been brought in directly by the client, you wouldn’t have that allegiance.

An interior designer might have a finite budget and if the AV cost spirals out of control it could impact on that. That’s a pitfall to avoid – it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault, it’s just down to the demands of the project.

 · October 2021

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