After the Lockdowns

Ed Wenck | May 18, 2020
When a region re-opens, when lockdowns ease – what happens? What will the “new normal” look like?
Andrew Royall of the UK firm Eclectic Home Technology sees a global trend at work: “We all sort of felt avant-garde the first time we worked from our dining room table. Then we realized that working on our dining room table with our children and the rest of the family isn't necessarily as fun as we thought it might be.” In addition to creating those work-from-home and e-learning spaces, Royall sees other segments coming into demand. “More and more people will have done their own cooking. More and more people will have found exercise that doesn't involve a gym. How do we make those connected spaces provide the best possible experiences?”
Steve Moore, who heads up Steve Moore Consultancy (and was the founding Chairman of CEDIA UK) feels that security – both the physical and cyber-varieties – will be in huge demand. “Interestingly, during the lockdown, it's been the lowest level of home insurance claims ever in the industry – because people are in all the time,” notes Moore. “I fully expect the burglary claims to go up when everyone’s allowed to leave their homes.”

“Engineering will be the core of what our industry supplies, not products. And all of that was underway before the pandemic hit.”

Another trend: the integration of a home’s outdoor spaces in the age of social distancing. “We've seen a growth in outdoor work,” says Moore. If you see some of the great products that are out there in terms of outdoor audio, outdoor networking, outdoor lighting control -- that's been growing steadily in the last few years. But I think we'll really see it take off.”

Accelerated Trends
Wim de Vos of the Spanish firm Genesis Home Technologies sees an uptick in demand for better entertainment experiences, especially since many predictions include future lockdowns. The conversations he’s having with his clients bear it out: “We have customers already thinking about what's going to happen this winter because most likely we will be obliged to stay in another 30 to 45 days when the second wave hits.”
There’s a bigger picture that de Vos has been monitoring. “I looked back at CEDIA’s research and reports from last year and the year before. There were trends there: more robust networking, cybersecurity, and so on, that haven’t changed at all. The only change? Those trends are accelerating.
“If you're in travel, tourism, hospitality, so many other businesses, there's a total shift and you really have to pivot completely to stay alive. I think in our industry, most trends that were on their way are just magnified, and that means systems need to be better documented and better engineered. Network systems will become bigger, therefore more complex service will be more important,” he adds.
“Engineering will be the core of what our industry supplies, not products. And all of that was underway before the pandemic hit.”