At a time when more and more Americans are streaming movies and TV shows from the Internet and either scaling back or canceling TV subscriptions, Comcast, Time Warner and other cable companies are starting to offer services that go well beyond TV.
At first it was Internet and phone service, but now they're getting into home automation, with packages offering security/video monitoring, energy management, lighting control, remote door locking/unlocking and more. AT&T and Verizon are getting into the act, too.
If you've been thinking about upgrading the technology in your home, you may be wondering why you should hire an independent home technology professional to install a home automation system when can just pick up the phone and call your cable company. Jeff Zemanek, vice president of sales and marketing for G2 Interactive (G2i), a company that provides cloud-based systems solutions for systems integrators around the country, says CEDIA member companies deserve careful consideration.
"The CEDIA channel, for the most part, is a group of people who care and want to do the right thing," he says. "It's not that the cable companies and other mass-market providers don't care, but they have a different mission. Their mission is to get in and get out and move on to the next house." With that in mind, Zemanek sees several key benefits to working with a CEDIA-trained home technology professional.
When you decide to hire a CEDIA-member company you enter into a long-term relationship built on mutual respect and trust. "From that first installation, if it's done correctly, chances are you're going to be with that CEDIA guy for as long as you live in your home and maybe many homes down the road," Zemanek says. "Mass-market service providers don't really build a rapport with the customer so they don't get to know your long-term needs."
There's also a lack of consistency in the service you get because you're dealing with a different subcontractor every time they come into your home. "People want to establish a relationship with someone they can trust," Zemanek says, "and they aspire to have something a little bit better, just like they would with a BMW or an Apple device. They want something better and they want that long-term relationship."
Deep Knowledge and Technical Expertise
CEDIA-trained installers undergo rigorous training to become experts in electronic system design and installation as well as product compatibility and interoperability, which is vital these days given how quickly technology changes.
"The cable companies probably do a pretty good job for what they're aiming to do, but their offering is limited and there's no scalability," Zemanek says. "When a mass-market provider says lighting control is in their offering, they're talking about putting in a simple lamp module. They're not going to remove dimmers and put in new ones. That takes up too much time. The CEDIA guy is going to create a custom lighting-control system that's tied to the security system so lights flash when there's an event - that sort of thing - and maybe comeback at a later date and put in lighting control for the whole house.
"CEDIA guys can do anything, which is why I call them 'chief technology officers,'" he continues. "They can come in and do everything from soup to nuts. They can do your networking, lighting control, shade control, energy management, audio/video - you name it. They can bring all this stuff together for part of the house or for the whole house. They're also going to keep you up to date on technology changes and advise what needs to stay and what needs to go to stay relevant in today's high-technology world. It's in their nature look at your house in an all-encompassing way and ask questions to find out what's important to you. Their custom-installation know-how stretches beyond the immediate project" so they can see the big picture and help you plan ahead and consider features that might be added in the future, including expanding into areas such as audio/video distribution or home theater.
Click here to learn more about working with a home technology professional, and visit Find a CEDIA Professional for a list of CEDIA member companies in your area.