CE Pro March 2024 - 58

INTEGRATOR INSIDER
Channel
Don't Overlook Opportunities
in the DIFM Market
NOT ALL OF US custom
integrators are large and
established; some, like
my company, LiveSmart
Technologies in California,
are relatively new and small.
I started LiveSmart in 2015,
aiming to serve communities
in Orange County,
California. It has been an
interesting journey.
To start, we saw the prospects
of serving " the middle
market " that sits between
the DIYers and the multimillion-dollar
homes. We felt
that middle income buyers
would welcome the " do it
for me " (DIFM) approach
that LiveSmart provides.
For the first few years, we
did mostly video surveillance
systems for small
homes to larger commercial
jobs. In addition to residential,
our clients were churches,
restaurants, golf courses,
gyms and dance studios.
We wanted the home
automation part of the
business to be stronger.
However, the market was
telling us they wanted
cameras and we responded.
Occasionally we could
upsell a client to some
home automation capability,
which was truly a win-win
for everyone. In a couple of
cases, the home automation
component was the
main system with cameras
secondary. One high-end
home in San Clemente had
58 | CE Pro March 2024
80 Z-Wave light switches to
go with four Kwikset digital
locks, door/window sensors
and a Sonos system.
However, LiveSmart
is perfectly happy with
the smaller systems and
encouraging clients to " start
small and add on later. "
We maintain low overhead
costs to provide affordable
prices while maintaining
comprehensive benefits of
home automation systems,
a concept often unfamiliar
to DIYers who might only
purchase individual devices
like thermostats or Wi-Fi
cameras from retailers.
These singular solutions lack
the full potential and functionality
of an integrated
system. This should be our
main emphasis.
whenever possible.
If you find yourself in a
similar situation, I advocate
for educational outreach.
True DIYers may not be
swayed, but a broader DIFM
market awaits. This includes
maintenance contracts,
which we promote as
optional to help keep all
systems fine-tuned and
operating at their best.
" LiveSmart is perfectly happy with the smaller
systems and encouraging clients to 'start
small and add on later.' "
profitability. We'll tackle the
small- to mid-sized projects
as well as the larger ones, to
broaden the appeal beyond
the DIY crowd.
LiveSmart can customize
home automation offerings
through our own app, which
links via an API into the
HomeSeer hub and software.
Using our app allows
us to enlarge buttons and
fonts, group devices and
controls on single screens
as well as retain branding.
For example, we feature
a screen with overhead
garage door control right
by a live camera feed of the
door opening and closing.
Another is sprinkler control
with a live feed of the
garden showing the water
spray. Nothing cosmic, just
simple and useful.
CE pros understand the
To illustrate this to clients,
we will offer a couple
of examples: The first is
a simple security system
which automatically activates
indoor cameras when
the last person leaves the
home with a simple button
press. Live cameras can then
be viewed while the home
is vacant. When someone
returns, the system detects
the door has been unlocked
via the correct code entry
and the cameras are deactivated,
preserving privacy.
Another is activating
motorized shades based
on time, temperature, or
light levels, not typical
with standalone devices.
Integrating them into one
system enhances functionality,
suiting the preferences
of clients. This takes education
- and demonstrations
In 2022, LiveSmart
expanded into Northern
California's rural Sierra
region to fill the gap left
by distant services in Reno
and Sacramento. We aimed
to be the local " town tech
guy, " prioritizing community
engagement over
digital marketing to ease
technology apprehensions
and demonstrate its many
benefits. Admittedly, this is
still work in progress.
We're now taking a " dual
market " approach, with installers
in both locations and
doing their best to bring both
communities into the fold of
affordable smart home and
security systems.
GARY RUSSELL
(gary@livesmarttech.com)
is owner of LiveSmart Technologies
in California.
cepro.com
http://www.cepro.com

CE Pro March 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CE Pro March 2024

CE Pro March 2024 - Bellyband1
CE Pro March 2024 - Bellyband2
CE Pro March 2024 - Cover1
CE Pro March 2024 - Cover2
CE Pro March 2024 - 1
CE Pro March 2024 - 2
CE Pro March 2024 - 3
CE Pro March 2024 - 4
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CE Pro March 2024 - Cover3
CE Pro March 2024 - Cover4
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