How to Tackle Your Client’s Technology Wish List

12/19/2017 9:11:00 AM
By Bill Lally
The holiday season is here, and everyone is making wish lists. For office spaces and large commercial projects, that means a wish list of technology that will help people communicate better, share content, save energy, and more. A long list of device and integration asks can be daunting for installers, where only parts of the wish list would fit in the realistic budget. Instead of being a hindrance to integrators, a technology wish list can be leveraged as a tool for designing successful projects.

When planning to refit a conference room, theater, or hotel, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Integrators should ask their clients for their full wish list to create the project of their dreams. If money were no object, what would you want installed? Asking for the full wish list can be steered toward a positive discussion.

Then discuss your client’s pain points: What are the grievances with your current setup that you want to avoid in the future? While there will be pieces that don’t realistically fit the client’s budget, asking what they really would like for their system leaves the opportunity for integrators to be creative and find a way to make it possible within their budget.

For example, when working on the conference systems for Hunter Roberts Construction Group’s Manhattan headquarters, integration firm Mode:Green discussed the pain points and wish list items with the team. They wanted to upgrade their old 2005 headquarters to accommodate their staff of 300 full-time employees. Ultimately, their goal was to create conference and meeting rooms that would support many different means of communication. Specifically, they wanted a system that would allow them to have full AV control across the entire office. Another top priority was having broadcast control for their training room.

At first, James Burns, chief information officer at Hunter Roberts Construction Group, believed it would be too outrageous a request, as usually only huge companies can afford this kind of broadcasting system: “That was something we were looking for, but we didn’t know how to achieve it,” he said. After having the dream system discussion with Hunter Roberts, Mode:Green set out to find options to make it would that would fit the scope of the project. They ended up finding a way to make broadcast control work within the budget, and add it to the system.

While there will be cases where something will still be too big for the current project, discussing the client’s technology wish list gives integrators the chance to seek new solutions. And, aside from blowing away clients by delivering things that they didn’t think were possibly, a wish list can also allow integrators to better plan systems for future additions.

When designing an automation system for a hotel, for example, integrators need to consider the design elements that will work alongside the system, and the hotel’s future vision of expanded features. The hotel may want to add voice assistants to their guestrooms today, but only have the budget and time to add lighting and temperature control. If the integrator discusses with them what they would have if time and budget weren’t considered, they can plan for features that the client could add later. So, in a year or two when the hotel is ready to add a new integration, the integrator can add it easily by having planned for the addition in the original system.

By knowing the “ifs” of their system, the integrator should use that information to plan the current system so that it will work with voice control in the future, by choosing hardware or software options that would allow for expansion. It makes for happy clients, as well as the possibility to repeat business for the integrator. This helps the integrator’s relationship with their client as well, as their forethought will help establish trust from their client—as it protects their investment in their original system. Having a discussion of the technology wish list from the first planning meeting can help projects reach their full potential, and integrators provide better design for their clients now and down the road.



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