For West's company, finding an installer who has the right mix of A/V and IT is integral, but the networking side is more important. "The challenge is finding guys who have enough experience or ability to handle everything else that goes along with home automation beyond the networking," he says. "But the networking is becoming an integral part of it. Whether they come from the A/V side or the networking side, we need them to understand networking and the subsystems."
Schwab notes there are pluses and minuses to a VARs IT background. "Their technology background is their competitive advantage today," he says. "Their shortcomings would be integrating it into other proprietary systems. These IT guys don't do low voltage stuff."
D&H has been running a digital convergence trade show and road shows throughout the year that include training sessions, for both products and new business strategies. "We're helping them prepare for selling into the home market," says Schwab. "It is a different model; a different margin structure; a different level of customer service expectation."