The phrase Home Automation can be a bit of a brainful for many to process. So for clarity;
Home Automation is the integration and co-ordinated operation of multiple systems within the built environment by one master control system allowing access to the user via a wide selection of user interfaces.
Basically it can control everything. It’s simple if you know how to roll it out and simple for the user to operate or at least should be, and from the point of view of what Home Automation can do behind the scenes electronically, it’s limitless. So why is HVAC often left behind?
Installer knowledge is required on many subjects in order to roll out a successful system and Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) is just one. If I was to take an educated guess at it, I’d suggest that most Custom Installation Professionals come from an Audio Visual Background and many shy away from integration of HVAC controls because of a lack of knowledge in the area.
The beauty of it is you don’t need to understand the complex workings of any HVAC system, you just need to have a relationship with a guy or girl who does and be willing and able to interpret the important bits. It is the conditioning of most human beings to stay within the confines of their comfort zones and so many things that may be possible whether in Home Automation or otherwise remain untapped for fear of being caught “pants down”. Too often in the past I heard guys tell a client “Sorry love, I’m afraid that’s not going to be possible”. When in fact is is possible, it’s just they couldn’t be bothered putting in the extra effort. Fear is the biggest hindrance to real progress, but I wont get in to that here, that’s for another day.
Personally I like to take the installation under my own umbrella when doing a project as it ensures I maintain control of the actual work being done and the flow of information to the client- (critical). Partnering with like minded companies is the key to a successful and better service. Standing alone and telling your client that you “don’t do that” in my view is a silly move and is the key to failure. Co-operation is one of the keys to success.
So, Here’s 7 Reasons Why You Should Embrace HVAC Integration
1. Third Party Programmers
Equipment needs to speak to each other for control to work and that’s the job of skilled professionals like Extra Vegetables. These guys write the language that allows systems like Control 4 to talk seamlessly with third party equipment across the various communication protocols like IP, Infrared, RS232 etc. The skills to write the language is available to you so take advantage and offer the functionality to your clients.
2. Because you can
Your area of expertise takes advantage of the latest in technology and you have skills that other need. Why not exercise your skill set as best you can every day. Say no to no challenge no matter how difficult it may seem. Difficulty is merely an imagined less than best case scenario, appearing real. If you think something will be a nightmare then it most probably will be. Come at it with the best result in mind and a positive attitude and anything can be achieved.
3. Your Customer Wants It
Your customer likes the idea of integration of all the services in their home but they have reservations. They have been doing some research and have probably spoken to many suppliers and other industry professionals like engineers and architects. Reservations are normal but a lot of the time unfounded. It is your job to relay and reinforce to your customer the benefits and allay their fears. If you can do this honestly and consistently you will gain their trust and keep it, helping to deliver to them the system that they want without compromise. In my opinion, budget should be the only restriction.
4. True System Integration
When the intention and belief is present that there are no limits then that’s where the possibility of true integration can be achieved in a project. OK, there are other parties in the design process who will wish to stay with tradition and have HVAC independent of the overall system but if full Home Automation is on the table as a possibility then the ideal project where all systems are controlled by one master system may be possible. Granted the client will need to be convinced of the possibilities first.
5. There’s a Margin In It.
You are in business to make money aren’t you? Then you should not overlook the opportunity here. It’s not only about making money, if fact making money is not even top of the priority list – at least it shouldn’t be. I’m on for making money but not at the expense of the relationship or the quality of the job. Get pricing right at the start for a quality end result and then deliver. You will make money this way. As Earl Nightingale said…
“You can not ask the stove to give you heat before you put in the fire wood”
6. Advance Your Knowledge Base
Obviously the more you do a particular takes then the better at it you become. Advance your capabilities in your field of expertise and you will become more valuable to those who seek your services. Don’t simply remain average, there are too many average people in the world.
7. Added Value
When you are someone who embraces challenges despite being in unfamiliar territory you will begin to develop skills that many other integrators do not possess. You will begin to establish a reputation for delivering in situations where most were heard saying “No sorry it cant be done”. You will begin to stand out as more than just a supplier but as a problem solver. With all this change and advancement you will be in a position where you are bringing value to the table that others don’t. This is where real quality begins to be recognised.
Integration of HVAC Controls in Home Automation Systems is only a small element of a bigger issue. Here it is a means of illustrating the benefits of pushing yourself, and bringing your people beyond the comfort zone that can be seen so much in business every day. I see it and it’s a shame that anyone would not exploit their abilities to their full extent. Even the great JC spoke about this; remenber the parable from when you were a kid in school? The advancement of technology and our willingness to keep moving forward is what will bring Home Automation to a wider customer base and eventually to every household. As an industry we must embrace “Can Do”.