Fibaro authorised dealer, iCubed has over 19 years’ experience in the design, supply and installation of home cinema and smart home technology solutions, providing smart home systems, home cinema rooms, lighting control, multi-room audio and HDTV, Wi-Fi and networking solutions and IP and surveillance to its customers.
CE Pro Eu catches up with director Iain Martin while he has a spare few minutes.
What are you up to today?
Today I have been fixing a new cinema room with a Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 system.
It’s always great to have a blank canvas to work with – this was a completely bare, newly constructed basement.
How and why did you pursue a career in the AV/Install industry?
I started with an interest in my father’s business when working Saturdays during my last year of senior school.
He owned an independent retail shop selling most electrical goods from fridge freezers to large TVs. This interest grew when I gained full time employment for a specialist retailer of higher end hi-fi and home cinema. From then on I was hooked on AV!
It’s only in the last three years I have been running my own business that my interest has grown into more than just AV. Now it’s the full bespoke home cinema and smart home projects and tech.
What project are you most proud of in your career and why?
I suppose it would one of my most recent projects which was our first Dolby Atmos dedicated cinema room featuring a 3.3m wide screen and 5.1.2 audio solution.
It’s a stunning room with stretched fabric walls, two tiers of seating and a performance that is simply outstanding.
It was that moment that provided the best client comment illustrating their satisfaction with the install: “My husband uses it all the time, and he never watched many films before!”
What is the worst thing (outside of your control) that has ever gone wrong on a project?
The room was freshly plastered and painted then a burst pipe caused a few hiccups!
As an installer, what is one thing you’re tired of hearing either on the job, or about your job?
We get asked a lot by clients why so many cables need to be run when “everything is wireless now isn’t it??”
What advice would you give new installers breaking into the industry?
I would recommend speaking to as many manufacturers and distributors as possible.
They will provide training not only on their products but on generic courses such as networks, home cinema set-up and smart home.
Also, get involved with independent forums such as #liveinstall, this is a great community of installers that are all happy to offer advice.
When it comes to an installation, what would you say is the biggest hurdle?
Integration between brands.
With the IoT (Internet of Things) increasing day by day, where would you like to see the industry in 5 years?
Most definitely, a closer relationship between the AV and construction industries. All new homes should be smart home -ready or at least pre-wired to a base standard.
You have a magic wand; what are the first three things you would change about technology?
1 – Manufacturers working to a single standard instead of trying to each create the next big thing. Blu-ray verses HD DVD for example. So much effort and tech wasted. Imagine how much further we would be if they all worked towards the same technology…
2 – Limitations on cable length.
3 – Broadband speeds.
What is your favourite piece of AV kit on the market right now?
My favourite kit has to be Elan Home Systems. My favourite emerging tech, or at least that is new to me is Fibaro with its energy monitoring.
What product/s or concepts do you think will be the next big thing in the industry?
Energy management and monitoring. Integrated energy efficiency products and monitoring into smart home solutions.
Best reaction from a client?
“It’s a million times better than our last cinema room.”
What’s the best thing about life as an installer?
The people I meet and the homes I get to see.
You can invite three people living or dead out for a pint or over for dinner (not including family and friends!) Who are they and why?
Robin Williams; genuinely funny guy.
Stephen Fry; clever but not arrogant.
Clint Eastwood; great actor and director.
You can only listen to one album and watch one film for the rest of your life, what are they?
Metallica’s Black Album and The Shawshank Redemption.
What’s a common pet peeve during a project?
Sudden changes! Either major room layout or manufacturers dropping a product.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I’m able to wiggle my ears. All other talents are on display in my job!