Smart Home & Custom Install ANALYSIS

“The future of retail lies in creating an experience”

CEDIA, the global trade association, is celebrating its 30th I 32 anniversary this year. With its training,

education and certifi c ation, delivered by experts who understand the challenges for professional home integration, CEDIA continues to support the industry today.

n this article, Matt Nimmons, Managing

Director, CEDIA EMEA, says that independent electrical retailers are a growing part of the CEDIA community, and those wanting to understand the connected home sector can benefit from its wide range of training sessions. from TVs and multi-room audio to lighting and voice control, the smart home market is about more than just individual products. Increasingly, it’s providing an opportunity for better comfort, convenience and ease of use through discrete installation, professional integration and service.

According to the latest CEDIA Size and Scope Survey, the UK market for professionally designed and installed smart home systems is worth over £8 million annually. Many consumers are buying into this smart home world by stealth. For example, they might purchase a voice-activated smart speaker and then decide to use it to control smart lighting or music in the home. In CEDIA’s view, this represents a significant gateway into the smart home. Independent retailers are in a great place to provide a valued-added service that embraces

“According to the latest CEDIA Size and Scope Survey, the UK market for professionally designed and installed smart home systems is worth over £8 million annually.”

design, installation and service as well as product sales to their customers. More and more retailers recognise this opportunity, have invested time and research to understand how their business needs to adapt and are successfully pivoting their business towards a professional smart home offering. For independent electrical retailers looking to make the move into selling the smart home and offering custom installation, CEDIA can offer fantastic technical training.

For example, our Smart Home Technician City & Guilds accredited tracks allows attendees to gain a unique overview of the smart home installation process and improve specific skills in cabling, networking, lighting, control and AV. This “product plus installation plus service sale” model offers added value to both the retailer and the customer. But, it also requires a change in the way that many independents currently do business and a fundamental change in mind-set for those who want to embrace this market the right way. The key to taking advantage of this opportunity is to find the time to research the market, get educated, and build good, mutually beneficial partnerships. CEDIA can definitely help with all of that.

Getting started

For many commentators, the future of retail lies in creating an experience. That’s certainly a trend we’ve recognised amongst CEDIA members, and one that’s paying dividends. A growing number of companies have added showroom spaces to their offices or hi-fi retail fronts

to attract customers inside for an authentic smart home experience.

This allows the customer to enjoy music and movies in a lifelike media room or home cinema environment, where they can lose themselves in their experience and enjoy control over the technology and their environment for optimum comfort. This level of investment is not for everyone but it’s amazing what can be achieved, even in relatively small spaces – and that’s part of the sales process. To help the customer imagine what they can do in their own home – be it a garage conversion, an unused bedroom or other space.

As an example, CEDIA member, Homeplay, has transformed the ground floor of its two-storey headquarters in Sunbury-on-Thames into one such Experience Centre (pictured left). It is carefully designed and separated into

different zones, reflecting a typical home layout and giving a variety of technology options that would appeal to customers on different budgets. Visitors can visualise and enjoy a typical living room, a dedicated home cinema and a more social bar and movie-watching area all in the one Experience Centre. There’s even a lobby/hallway area that shows the difference in light provided by high quality and mainstream light fittings. Being part of the CEDIA community brings you

access to great training, but it also brings you into the company of like-minded business-people and entrepreneurs, such as Homeplay, who can share practical advice on the process to help you generate business returns.

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