Retail Observer

August 2020

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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EXPERT CONNECTION Connected-home technology is revolutionizing the residential environment — but sometimes, it can be as confusing as that jumble of wires behind the TV. NK BA called on Molly Switzer, AK BD, and Ryan Herd, "The Smart Guy" — experts in K&B design and smart-home technology, respectively — to help untangle some common home-tech myths. MYTH #1 "If your Wi-Fi is down, nothing works." The Reality: Yes, anything that requires a Wi-Fi connection to work will be less effective or fail if the Wi-Fi goes down — unless you've hired a professional to design a system that stays "smart" and still works, even when the connection fails. A pro will know the right products with back-up options for manual use, understand the best internet providers in the area to keep connectivity up, and, most importantly, ensure the home has proper power to keep the Wi-Fi performing. Consider generator systems or alternate power sources to keep the juice flowing. MYTH #2 "Smart homes compromise homeowners' privacy." The Reality: This was true at one time, and still can be, depending on how a system is built. Some products are more privacy-driven than others. Today, security is more sophisticated and there are more product options, like voice-controlled systems that work internally but don't track and report data to a large corporation. Ultimately, no system is unbreachable, but there are many steps and products available now to help build a very private experience. MYTH #3 "Using smart-home technolog y in a project hampers a designer's full budget." The Reality: True, tech takes a piece of the budget, but doesn't have to compromise design. Consumers want technology that enhances their lifestyles and looks great, too. Designers should introduce technology — and an integrator — very early in the process, so it's an expected part of the overall project and budget. Tell clients why their lives will be better with specific product solutions. Bringing tech up later in the process adds unexpected time and expenditures — and no one likes surprises in remodeling. Set expectations, educate clients about seamless design and technology options, and help them create a budget to satisfy all their design dreams. Designer Molly Switzer, AKBD, is principal of Molly N Switzer Designs LLC, a full-ser vice interior design f irm in Portland, Ore., specializing in kitchens and baths. Author and technolog y integrator Ryan Herd, known as "The Smart Guy," is owner and CEO of 1 Sound Choice LLC in Pompton Plains, N.J., focused on smart home automation and solutions. For more infor mation on membership and networking opportunities, visit

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