Preface: I live and work in the Highlands of Scotland and I’m a happily married father of one. My work history is a blend of military, commercial and residential installations. I served for 7 years as a Royal Air Force electronics technician specialising in telecommunications. My expertise in fibre optic and copper cabling meant I was involved in installations worldwide.
After leaving the RAF in 2006 I worked with a private telecom firm, project managing business telephone and data network installations. In 2008 I undertook my own self-build home project and flood wired the property with Cat 6 cable as a future ready measure and this sparked the idea of starting the Highlands’ first custom install company. Customised was founded in 2008, offering services in both residential and commercial sectors but from 2011 the business focused solely on affordable Smart Home Technology installations. I opened the Highlands’ first and only Smart Home demo rooms in Dingwall, Ross shire. I must also add that I’m a home cinema and hi-fi geek so this is the perfect blend of hobby/job!
So What Is #LiveInstall? I needed a way to reach out to potential clients whilst working as marketing is a necessary but time consuming business responsibility when you work primarily on your own. Customised’s Twitter account, @Customised has a great social media following and I wanted to use Twitter as a shop window for our work. It ticked a lot of boxes – it shows off our professionalism, our range of services, makes us approachable and gives an access all areas look at the industry for our followers.
Custom Installation is a new service in the Highlands and Customised is the only business in this sector, so I spend a lot of time educating self-builders, architects and developers. #LiveInstall has proved to be an effective educational tool to use in circumstances like this.
So What Are Your Immediate Plans for #LiveInstall? In the coming months and how it has been received by the industry, #LiveInstall is growing at an impressive rate. By late March there was 40+ Custom Installation companies using the # and a number of manufacturers are showing support for it with retweets and training and product offers to LiveInstallers. The majority of users and supporters have become involved in the last 3 months. Primarily I would like #LiveInstall to become the virtual shop window for their businesses in order for them to attract more custom, like it has done for Customised. It is also evolving into a FREE community for custom installers to network with each other out with the usual trade show and training course diary dates.
I hope it will become a platform for installers to share product reviews, technical tips, contacts, installs and business advice. Over the coming months, other social media platforms will be established for #LiveInstall and #Liveinstall’s own dedicated website will go live. A number of early adopters of #LiveInstall are heavily involved in the growth – It is a great feeling to know that this is no longer solely driven by Customised; it’s a core group creating a community.
What Is Your Perspective on the Residential Custom Install Industry and the Trends? The residential custom install industry is seeing a new wave of companies arriving on the scene led by young, social media and tech savvy entrepreneurs; they are the Playstation and iPod generation, technology is second nature to them.
The current economic climate is making things difficult for a lot of Custom Installation businesses but our services lend themselves to new build, renovation, retrofit and even commercial building projects, so build up a range of solutions for each of these markets. Homes are already packed with technology but often these devices are not networked together and not used to their full capability. A Custom Installation company can mesh these products together without a huge costs to the client, thus gaining their trust and future custom. Free home technology reviews are something Customised use towards gaining new long term clients.
Where Do You See the Residential Custom Install Market Being in Five Years Time? In 5 years’ time the industry will have experienced steady growth helped by the continual price drop in home control system technology and an increase in broadband speeds to UK homes. Smart home wiring will have become standard specification in every new building project so there will be an increase in companies offering Custom installation services, especially from electrical and aerial installers.
Current custom installation companies need to stay ahead of this competition by increasing their knowledge in IP and networking technologies and also use their heritage in the industry as a USP. Personally, I’m looking forward to the first TV by Apple, voice controlled homes and augmented reality rooms in homes replacing the traditional gaming or cinema space.