An Integrated Vision: Joe Whitaker on Leading the CEDIA Design Tour
Written by Danielle Karr on October 30, 2018
We sat down with Joe to ask him about how he became a top integrator, what his experience was like leading the Control4 CEDIA Design Connection Tour, and his overall thoughts on smart home technology.
How did you get started in the technology field?
About 20 years ago, I got a call from a buddy who had been an integrator awhile. He said to me, ‘Hey, you’re good at network-based technology and need someone like you to get my company going. Would you be interested in coming on and helping?’ In one year it went from three employees to 13 employees, and that’s when I realized that if I could help with starting a company, then I could start my own. And so I did. I looked at where I saw flaws in the technology or in the sales process, and I built my business around solving those. I then came into contact with Control4 and was impressed with how they were focusing on the living environment—it wasn’t just a one-trick pony. It could do almost everything. I was ahead of the curve in those early days, not a lot of people were looking at technology as solutions like I was, and I could see the potential in using Control4 product. I could see then that it was the future. Now that I’ve been in business for a few decades, I am pleased to say that I am still excited and confident about the future of professionally integrated smart home technology.
When you were invited to lead the Design Connection Tour, what were your thoughts?
When the PR firm White Good called me and said they wanted to do the tour, I was excited for the opportunity to give the designers a glimpse into my life when it comes to choosing and integrating products. I wanted to show them new brands as well as the bigger brands and how they can all incorporate together, from smart toilets to TVs in mirrors to connected ovens and fridges. Every single one of the brands I picked worked with Control4—even before I knew Control4 was sponsoring the Design Tour—because I wanted to provide designers with the comprehensive technology experience I use in all my projects. Control4 allows so many things to work together in one comprehensive system, so it just seemed natural to present that complete home automation experience. I was so happy when I learned Control4 was the main sponsor because there were so many unique announcements from Control4 this year alone, like Intercom Anywhere, the Certified Showroom program, and more. That particular sponsorship worked really well with the idea of an innovative tour.
What questions surprised you most on the Design Tour?
I was very surprised when the designers were asking me about network security and hacking. It was a really great opportunity to get technical with them in a way I hadn’t expected. Some of the other great questions were about how to best incorporate speakers into designs and how to get more education on home automation. I shared with them how important it is to find a trained, certified smart home technology professional, and to make sure the expert has the same level of certification that designers pride themselves on. Designers need to have a partner that can play on their level while providing industry-specific expertise.
In your opinion, what is the future of home automation?
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