Gwen De Meyer’s custom install company Van Havere started, like so many, by providing all-home audio – but now delivers a complete home automation capability. For De Meyer, the initial challenge lies in not just understanding the customer’s lifestyle – but also understanding how that may develop over time, and the impact of those possible changes on the installation. He also noted how IP is transforming the custom install business: lower hardware prices make systems more affordable, but margins are smaller. There is, he said, always an external factor that will create a challenge. Often, this can be an architect whose design must be respected. On other occasions, the customer will develop an interest in home automation technology: not only is this likely to create new demands – a DVD server, for example, or a home cinema system – but also challenge the integrator to justify his choices and prices. De Meyer summarised by noting that, despite the challenges, smart homes are a growing market. He recommended that installers look to ensure that they create added value; that they focus on service, not products; and, above all, that they have fun and enjoy the challenge that each new project brings.