CE Pro July 2022 - 4

From the Editor
by Jason Knott
My Sad Custom
Integration Experience
" I don't
blame any
company for not
wanting to do
a small project,
but the dearth of
is inexcusable. "
BACK IN 2019 when industry veteran David
Kaplan of Bluesalve Partners was accepting the
coveted Consumer Technology Association
Smart Home Division Leadership Award, he offered
some sage advice to the crowd gathered
at CES 2019.
" Just show up, " he said, noting that the
biggest threat to the industry is apathy. Kaplan
pointed out that simply being responsive is
half the battle, giving you a major advantage
over others who are likely to be MIA.
I couldn't agree more, and my recent personal
poor experience with a custom integrator
has affirmed that point. I needed professional
installation of some smart home gear in
a newly purchased home up in the mountains.
The home is only five years old, so it is in
almost-new condition, but we have a list of
small upgrades, including some electronic
amenities. The integration needs for the home
are not big- several TVs and mounts, several
networked thermostats, a cellphone signal
booster, smart door locks, video doorbell,
exterior surveillance cameras, a home network
and a full monitored alarm system.
Mind you, the house is in the boonies, and I
was warned by a friend who also has a property
in the area that I would have trouble finding
contractors of any type. Boy, was he right! In
resort areas, it seems even the contractors
moved there for the laid-back lifestyle.
I called a local distributor who referred me
Jason Knott is editor
of CE Pro. He can be
reached at jason.knott@
emeraldx.com and
to the closest integrator. When I say " close "
it's relative ... over an hour's drive away. I contacted
the integrator via email and he called
back the next day. Impressive! Several weeks
later in mid-November he met with my wife on
the property and they walked through it. Our
timeline to get the job completed was within
six months.
" No problem, " I was told. " I will have a proposal
for you shortly. "
December passed. No proposal. January
arrived. Nothing. I emailed and left a voice4
| CE Pro July 2022
mail in the middle of the month. No reply.
February and March went by with crickets
and tumbleweeds. More emails and voicemails
Finally in mid-April, I got a proposal in an
email with profuse apologies about being under-staffed
and overwhelmed. I understand ...
every custom integration company (or for that
matter every business) is going through these
same problems. The bid was even less than I
expected (only about $6,200) for the installation
along with a long-term security monitoring
agreement to give the dealer RMR.
However, the layout was missing a few
elements, so we circled back noting some of
the omitted items. Again, it is now two months
later, and we have had no reply. Sadly, we have
officially moved on to find other options.
I certainly don't blame any integration
company for not wanting to do a small project
when it likely has a slate of much larger, more
profitable jobs on the docket, but the dearth
of communication is inexcusable. A simple, " I'm
too busy to take this project on, " would have
been appreciated.
It's experiences like mine that malign the
entire industry. The entire situation is sad and
depressing. I almost feel like CE Pro itself has
failed too when someone in the industry performs
so unreliably. But the best way to turn
these lemons into lemonade is for integrators
to share their best practices on how to better
communicate. Tell us:
What is your standard timetable for
communicating to clients whose projects
you are not taking on, and to clients
whose projects are in limbo waiting on
When there is a delay in getting a proposal
ready, do you let the client know the
Do you have a regular cadence to proactively
reach out to clients about project

CE Pro July 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CE Pro July 2022

CE Pro July 2022 - Intro
CE Pro July 2022 - Cover1
CE Pro July 2022 - Cover2
CE Pro July 2022 - 1
CE Pro July 2022 - 2
CE Pro July 2022 - 3
CE Pro July 2022 - 4
CE Pro July 2022 - 5
CE Pro July 2022 - 6
CE Pro July 2022 - 7
CE Pro July 2022 - 8
CE Pro July 2022 - 9
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CE Pro July 2022 - 13
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CE Pro July 2022 - 17
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CE Pro July 2022 - 19
CE Pro July 2022 - 20
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CE Pro July 2022 - Cover3
CE Pro July 2022 - Cover4