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PROFILE | NV Integration


Q: Are some designers clued-up on the smart home tech and the breadth of possibilities? Do you show them the full range of what’s achievable? A: There is a degree of that – if you don’t show someone a better system, you can’t sell it to them – but you have to be careful. Sometimes I will show someone an image on my iPad, but I’ll be almost wincing when I hand it to them across the table and


ask them what they think of it. Designers have very strong opinions – you can either lose them in a second or they might think it’s a great idea.


Q: Do you think tech brands are now considering design much more when they develop their new products? A: I think they’ve had to. There are now more products that are design-


conscious and design-friendly. I used to work for another company in London – we were referred to as the AV guys. We’d be the most hated part of the project, because architects and designers would draw their vision, rather than draw something that has all the [technology] stuff in. We’d say to them, ‘we need this here and this here…’ We were really scuppered by everyone else on the project. What we did used to be referred to as a black art – thankfully, I think we’re shaking those shackles off. The price of what we do has also come down a lot. I can remember selling touchscreens for £10,000, but they now cost £1,000. Over the past couple of years, there’s been a huge trend for simplified AV. In the 2000s, it used to be ‘the more it can do, the better’…


The designer’s vision is key. I love it when they are open enough to share their concepts


Q: What smart home trends are you seeing at the moment? A: It’s very aesthetic-led – we’re seeing an explosion in smart homes that don’t look like smart homes. At an obvious level, that means invisible speakers, but at the more extreme end we’re seeing classic-style, Forbes & Lomax dolly light switches on walls that aren’t dolly switches – they’re intelligent lighting controls that we can programme.


Turn the page for


66 RETAIL Case Study A smart kitchen from Sheffield Kitchen Outlet pg 68


Q: When it comes to the smart home, you favour a centralised, wired control system, don’t you? Why is that? A: We put everything in a ‘back of house’ room, which means all the rooms in the living spaces are cleaned. I can’t tell you how many houses I’ve been to where you ask people ‘where’s your media cupboard?’ and it’s a sweaty, dusty box with a bird’s nest of cables and it doesn’t work very well… We deliver a pre-built cabinet to a person’s house, which has monitoring systems inside – it speeds up the time it takes to do an on-site installation and it’s much more reliable. I’m such an advocate of a centralised control system – it’s best practice for our industry.


Q: How do you see relationships between integrators and designers developing in the future? A: The role of designers and integrators aren’t


going away. The high-end will always be the high-end, but we’re moving towards doing mid-end projects as well, which means we’re going to be working together more, so we need to do more to get along – integrators aren’t the enemy. As designers become more aware of tech, because they have more of it in their own homes, they are more conscious of who we are, what we do and the benefits we bring.


Retailer Profile We visit Dave Norden from Norden Group in Epsom pg 72


· October 2021


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