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Are the Manufacturers to blame for the Industry's Flaws?

Manufacturers decided a long time ago that making a product that truly works great and provides a value to everyone is a bad business design. Making a product that is problematic is a profitable model. They can repair it. The can improve it each year and then sell it's upgrade in three years.....

After going back and forth on other blog site with an individual about the industry and it soon to be demise if we don't clean it up; I came up with this:

Manufacturers decided a long time ago that making a product that truly works great and provides a value to everyone is a bad business design. Making a product that is problematic is a profitable model. They can repair it. The can improve it each year and then sell it's upgrade in three years. We are stuck with this and our just trying to give our customer the best value for his money.  And this service I feel that I am really good at.

He replied back with a reponse that I was being comical and making fun of his post.  Therefore I responsed with this in further explanation:

You think that I was being funny but in my experience this is the truth about "most" manufacturers. You name a product line and a product and I can probably name more negatives of the device than positives. I have sold AMX control products for over 15 years. I have been forced to sell Crestron due to the demand. And Crestron continues to come out with more and more devices in a software application and iDevice/Android based market. Any company that feels they can have a catalog of great products is flawed.

But back to products and its issues, let pick a good example....HDMI! It has been pushed down our throats by the manufacturers. Without it you don't get 1080p, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and HDCP…etc. I love how some threads said that HDMI has made things easier. This is definitely hogwash. What is so easy about it? The connectors fall out. It was not designed to go long range. It was not designed to be terminated or created in the field. It is ever changing with new features that products don't even support (Deep Color, Ethernet, etc.). It is a money making deal for them (HDMI alliance) but a pain in the butt for us. We have to take training on it, we have to learn about how it works, we have to buy testers to verify it, and we have to buy display kits to trouble shoot it. It is just a wire. Yes, the video is better and the audio is cleaner and now we are down to one wire where in the old days (3-4 years ago) we had to run five wires (component video and analog audio....or four with digital), but with analog wiring troubleshooting was simple. Your main concerns were whether the wire was shorted or the green, red, and blue were in the wrong connectors.

This is just an easy example of one component of our industry. Now let’s bring in control. We are required to combine numerous devices to complete multiple tasks either combined or separate in order to meet the customers’ needs and demands. Not just one device but multiple devices. We have to make them play nice in a fashion that is easy, quick and dependable in a world of undependable devices.

Don't get me wrong...I love this stuff but sometimes you want to scream. I have tried to reach out to the manufacturers but as I see it they are monitored by their selling force which their jobs are to sell no matter what. To them these devices are the best ever made whether they have a clue of what they do or not. Not until you are faced with the issues and deal directly with the support team (if qualified) you get some honest feedback as to their mistakes. If I had a dollar for each time they told me that they had never seen that issue before. I would not have to get up tomorrow and do it all over again. Either that or my research and development check comes in for all the equipment that I have tested for them.

You play the game. Our job is not easy. We are not doctors or teachers. But we are in an environment where technology plays a big part. So you have to be committed. It is a puzzle and we have to solve it. This is custom. The customer does not always want to know how it works but wants it to work. The manufacturers continue to make new stuff without ever fixing the old stuff. It usually released too early and they fix it along the way. This is called firmware upgrades. Linksys is famous for this too.

So I just stick with what works. We test it and verify it either in the office or in the field. Sometimes we get burnt but we explain to the customer or fix it on our own and usually eat the fix. We spend lots of hours, troubleshooting the system in order to create reliability again not always getting paid, but pride ourselves in a job well done. It is also ever changing. We install the perfect system and then the new widget comes out and they have to have it. Now the true R&D begins. It is so new…no support yet from other manufacturers or instructions on how to incorporate it. We just go to work.

I agree it would be nice if we could get at least some of the big players (manufacturers) to step up their game but this is asking a lot from only one small fish in a big ocean of others who continue to sell, sell, sell without any remorse. But I will keep up the fight……..      

Let me know your thoughts...


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Comments (5)

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