Interview: The next phase17 August 2011
Recent success at the Crestron International Residential Integration Awards has ushered in a new stage of development for Intuitive Homes. Established in 2008, the company has carved out a strong reputation in the ever-competitive UK CI market. Now, as MD Stephen Nevison (pictured) tells David Davies, the company is beginning to examine the possibility of international expansion to complement its burgeoning homegrown interests.
First of all, what was your response to winning the 2011 Brilliant Lighting Control and Design award at the Crestron International Residential Integration Awards?
We were delighted to have won the award, especially as it was the first project we submitted to any awards scheme. Unfortunately I was out of the country and couldn’t attend the ceremony but was delighted to receive a text message from one of our installation team saying that we’d been successful. After the initial excitement, I realised that we had a lot of work ahead of us! We’re a relatively young company and all our work has come via recommendations or referrals. I knew a Crestron award would bring increased attention and we needed to prioritise things like a new website, which we hope to launch within the next few months.
For how long have you been involved with Intuitive Homes? And what is your current role?
I founded Intuitive Homes in 2008 after working in the custom installation industry for the past 10 years. Although I really enjoyed working in previous companies, it came to the point where I felt that I was spreading myself too thinly on a large number of projects and would prefer to be more closely involved with a smaller number of installations. My current role is mainly focused on business development and client care, but I also oversee the design process and installation.
The UK CI market is extremely competitive. What, in your view, distinguishes Intuitive Homes from the rest of the field?
The most important thing to us is ensuring that every single client is delighted with their system and would recommend us. Although we’re a business and the bottom line is important, we like to ensure that our customers receive maximum value for money – and if this means completing small upgrades at our cost we will do this. For the award-winning project we installed a touchpanel in each property at no cost, to add value for the developer but also to show what the system could do and hopefully whet the appetite of the homebuyer.
We are also still quite selective about the work we will take on. If we feel that we can’t deliver what the client wants for the budget then we won’t try to cut corners. The project which won the Crestron award originated after we turned down the opportunity to tender against an M&E specification. We contacted the client and proposed a different solution, on which we were awarded the contract.
In addition, we understand that the market is not determined solely by private individuals and ensure that we can actively add value for developers.
How does Intuitive Homes’ average workload break down – eg. home cinemas, whole house integrations, etc.?
Almost all of our projects are either whole house integrations for new build properties or standalone home cinemas that are installed in existing properties. We have also carried out infrastructure wiring and lighting projects for property developers which then turn into whole house integrations when the properties are sold and we are introduced to the homebuyers.
Given the advent of lower cost alternatives, how do you see the immediate future for home control technology?
I think the fact that systems are becoming more and more affordable is fantastic as we’re able to provide an increasing number of features for the client’s money. There will always been clients who demand the very best and are willing to pay a premium for that, but over the last few years companies such as Apple have made people accustomed to simplicity and integration without having to spend a fortune. I think this introduces a whole new range of people to the benefits and possibilities of home control.
In what ways might Intuitive Homes develop/change in the future?
It’s always difficult to predict the future but I think that being a relatively small company gives us the advantage of being able to adapt and change quickly as we see the industry develop. We’re just finishing our first project in Spain and feel comfortable that we have the teams in place to provide the same level of service as we do in the UK, so fulfilling international demand is something we look to develop in future. Working in a sunny climate has its benefits too!