Vin Bruno Discusses Future Opportunities With Tech Legend Shelly Palmer
CEDIA’s Vin Bruno recently sat down with Shelly Palmer, an advertising, marketing and technology consultant and host of Fox Television’s Shelly Palmer Digital Living. During the eight-minute conversation the two discussed the challenges that CEDIA members face, but also the exciting future that is ahead.
With 80m millennials in the world and all growing up in a digital-first environment, CEDIA has a great foundation on which to build. All these people have grown up around technology and know how to interact with it, but they don’t necessarily know how to get the most from it. As Shelly notes: “Just because you can type, doesn’t mean you can write.”
The job of CEDIA members isn’t to confuse users with features of a device, whether it be the resolution of a screen; 4K, 1080p, 720p and so on, or the amount of ohms a speaker outputs – but the benefits of the technology. That’s why Shelly believes that an installer’s job isn’t to be an integrator or an installer at all. He believes the work any installation company should be providing is that of a solutions provider.
“Just because you can effectively hang a television or easily hook up an Ethernet cable throughout the house or throw together a closet full of AV gear that can be accessed by the client, that’s not the job. You could actually hire people for that. But that’s not the solution that the client is looking for, so if you think of yourself as an integrator or installer – you’re missing the opportunity to see yourself in a bigger context which is a solutions provider,” he notes.
“The job is to provide a solution, an end-to-end solution for a client that has a problem. The problem you’re solving is I have a house filled with technology, somewhere between 16 and 20 devices that need to connect to the public internet and possibly my LAN. You have to serve that need.”
CEDIA members should be asking clients simple questions, rather than difficult ones. Something like ‘what are you trying to accomplish with the technology?’ rather than ‘what resolution screen would you like in the living room?’. That way a solutions provider can find the technology that benefits the client rather than one that simply has a good looking spec sheet.
“The more complex the world gets and the more connected that we become the less likely that the client will be able to say oh and by the way these things need to all talk to each other and by the way I’m going to need an internal data management platform as well. I’m going to need access to the cloud for certain things but I’m going to need local access storage for others. You’re not going to find a client who can’t do that by themselves that’s going to ask you for that specifically,” Shelly adds.
“It really starts with just speaking English. A homeowner doesn’t understand the whole house audio distribution system, but they do understand that they can have their music everywhere. And who wouldn’t want that,” adds Vin.
“You can’t win by saying this has more pixels, or this has higher resolution or lower resolution. You’re speaking martian – no one cares. You care and you should know but no one buying from you cares,” comments Shelly.
“Take a lesson from Steve Jobs, may he rest in peace, while every smartphone competitor in the world was telling you about screen resolution in pixels and memory in some version of a kb, mb or gb, Steve Jobs was doing what Bose was doing – it takes great pictures, it plays music. Just benefit, benefit, benefit, benefit. And you have to trust the benefits are what’s really selling the entire system in and you have to be the trusted provider of the benefits.”
Vin and Shelly believe CEDIA members will take on a bigger role in the upcoming years as the popularity of the connected home continues to grow. Vin believes that in just a few years from now there will be 100 connected devices in the home, which will lead homeowners to require the expertise of CEDIA members as much as they require plumbers, or electricians.