The relationship between home automation contractors and custom AV system integrators with pay-TV installers has often been challenging.
Frank DeFilippes, a former custom installer hired in December to head channel programs for Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), wants to change that. During his 10 years as a designer for home automation specialist Link Your House, DeFilippes described the entire pay-TV sector as an "albatross sub system of all the sub systems we'd deal with for our clients."
Speaking for a webinar event hosted by CEPro, DeFilippes said pay-TV installers would often show up late, perform sub-par work and generally make him "look bad" in front of his clients. "Most pay-TV operators don't even acknowledge our service," he said. "You either have to lie and say you're your customer, or you have to carefully coach your customer."
Dish, he said, was not immune to this dysfunction. "Satellite operators at least have retail programs, but even that's not great. They're built for high-volume sales. Most integrators like to go deep with customers and solve problems. That doesn't mean you're going to come up with 25 connects every week."
DeFilippes complained to Dish loudly and often enough while at Link Your House that the satellite operator brought him in to head its dealer program. He has pledged to "fix" the relationship between the company and integrators.
"We need to have flexible designs and architectures that support integrators and let them be successful in all sorts of environments," he said. "The company has to stand by you when you're out in the field speccing a product. You have to have support from the manufacturer, otherwise you're completely exposed."
Dish has already made moves under DeFilippes to support the custom install channel. In August, for example, the company announced the integration of its Hopper DVR set-top with control modules from home-automation suppliers AMX by Harman, Crestron, Pro Control and RTI. The integration allows these control products to automatically recognize Hopper DVRs and Joey receivers when they are placed on customers' networks, simplifying the controller configuration process for Dish's installers.The three suppliers join Control4, which released an IP module for the Hopper last year.
"We need to be custom-install friendly," DeFilippes said.
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