Tracking the Trends
With product lifecycles whirring at a dizzying pace, specialty retailers and custom installers need to pick products that are as backward-compatible—and future proof—as possible. While West said his company tries to keep its offerings compatible with existing products—whether it’s a 15-year-old Sony XBR or a new TiVo—control systems need to make them all work together.
It’s often easier to talk philosophically about backward-compatibility than being truly future-proof. Control4 tries to future-proof its solutions by adhering to IEEE standards, which helps devices communicate on Ethernet and Wi-Fi, West said. “That way, when a new device comes out, we already talk on that transport,” he said. “Our systems are all upgradable and expandable with the new technologies that we can see right now. But it’s the ones we don’t see that it’s hard to provide any guarantees for.”
For his part, Heiblim of Altec Lansing sees the analog cutoff date on February 17, 2009, and its related wave of product obsolescence, as a golden opportunity for specialty retailers and custom installers, especially for those using price compression to drive their business. He advises dealers and installers to figure out ways to leverage the cutoff, especially during the second half of 2008.