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Original thread:
Post 56 made on Sunday September 2, 2018 at 16:11
Richie Rich
Senior Member
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July 2002
1,136
I think we all just have to accept the fact that like pretty much all other trades out there, we will be almost totally reliant on our labor $ as our source of revenue.

And the amount of labor we can charge for will continue to shrink as more "plug and play", consumer oriented products come onto the market.

We used to have solid margin on displays, control system equipment, lighting, speakers, source gear, networking, and surveillance systems.

Now what do we have left?
Displays: Some okay margins on boutique displays (really large, projectors, mirror, outdoors and some cutting edge stuff), otherwise video is a lost cause

Control systems: Yes, there is still C4, RTI, URC, Crestron etc. But I see fewer people wanting those sorts of things and when they do, it is like pulling teeth to get them to drop for them. And there is Harmony.

Source gear: What source gear? Streaming is pretty much it. No margin in 99% of the "little black boxes". This also makes a lot of people move away from distributed sources so forget that HDMI matrix, rack and associated equipment.

Lighting control: Other then panelized lighting, there are a plethora of companies out there selling fairly dirt cheap "smart" lighting.

Networking: Eero and other low cost plug and plays are pretty much replacing the Luxul and Pakedge stuff that I typically spec.

Surveillance: People can buy Hikvision (admittedly grey market) off Amazon for less then my cost for USA product. Can warn people about the issues but all they see are $ signs. Also: Nest

So yeah, pretty much all we have left now is speakers, some control systems and every once and a while you get lucky and land a customer that won't/can't be bothered to price shop you on Amazon or one of the many "unauthorized" dealers out there that sell for less then 5% over dealer.

It is what it is. We are quickly becoming buggy whip manufacturers in the age of the automobile or yellow cab drivers in the time of Uber and Lyft. Then again I bet the few buggy whip manufacturers that are out there do pretty well.

Add in the non stop barrage of firmware updates, everything requiring utterly perfect internet connectivity and the inherent wonky nature of HDMI and the time/costs associated with dealing with that stuff and I don't like where this is leading.

I long for the old days when there was pretty much no such thing as firmware, network connectivity wasn't even part of a system, video pretty much worked once it was established as solid and a rack full of gear (that you made money on) is what what was required to give clients the experience that they wanted.
I am a trained professional..... Do not attempt this stunt at home.


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