This week saw the arrival of the annual Essential Install Live! South show to Sandown Park in Surrey. The show is the UK's leading exhibition for the smart home installation industry and attracts global exhibitors and visitors.

This year welcomed the return of the Seminar Theatre which hosted presentations and discussions throughout both days. The variety of content delivered reflected the diversity of the smart home industry. Key industry figures covered topics such as HDMI, electrical contractor opportunities, working better with house builders and the impact of SkyQ.

One new addition to the timetable were two panel discussions hosted by revered journalist and CE Pro co-founder Julie Jacobson. Joining Julie were past CEDIA EMEA Chairman Kris Hogg from Konnectiv and Customised director Kris Gamble. The two Kris’ faced questions from the host and the audience during both sessions and in a lot of cases shared very similar views on the current state and future for the industry. Similarities in their business makeup included the use of subcontractors to cope with peaks in workload, a clear separation between home automation and home entertainment.

Kris Hogg discussed his own business success in introducing maintenance services to his client base and explained the assets required to provide a high level of proactive and reactive service. Kris Gamble revealed his role as a main contractor for technology to his clients with management and supervision of subcontractors the demand on his resources.

Both Kris’ highlighted the enormous benefits their business gains from being members of CEDIA and the outstanding benefit appeared to be the ability to deliver CPD presentations to designers of buildings and interiors. Kris Hogg enthusiastically endorsed it as a game changer for Konnectiv when they became members.

Julie raised the subject of Brexit to the panel and the audience and there was great participation from staff members from Wyrestorm, HDL Automation and Archimedia. It became evident that the recent political changes were already making an impact with price increases, staffing issues and project delays.

New technologies were discussed and the Amazon Echo hogged the limelight as expected. Voice control is an exciting interface for the smart home industry and it is starting to appear in installations of all budgets.

Customised were honoured to be part of this panel discussion and would like to send a big thank you to the Event Director David Kitchener, host Julie Jacobson and fellow panellist Kris Hogg. See you all at Essential Install Live! 2017.