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Is Retrofitting Worth it for Integrators?

Whether it’s a home or a commercial property, retrofitting can be a good idea. By attaching new technology to existing devices, automation systems or appliances, homeowners and business owners can experience benefits like energy savings, reduced operational costs and efficiency gains through retrofitting.

What is Retrofitting?

Retrofitting means installing or providing a device or feature in a home or business that was not wired or installed during construction. Retrofitting solutions allow homeowners or business owners to retain the convenience of keeping original technology while updating it with new devices that offer a significant return on investment.

Why Retrofit?

Many of your customers likely have legacy systems or they want the latest and greatest technology in their home or business. Rather than replace entire systems, retrofitting offers a less expensive and less intrusive solution for your customers. Retrofits also represent an opportunity to gain substantial business, especially in commercial settings. Some customers may need to outfit multiple locations, requiring that the work be done in phases, which offers you a chance at significant ongoing business with that customer.

Retrofitting for Residential Customers

In order to retrofit new smart home devices in an older home, there are several things to consider before doing so. A basic Wi-Fi network may not be able to support the addition of such devices. Some older homes have thick walls or other obstacles that can diminish Wi-Fi coverage even if extenders and repeaters are used. In this case, a smart system that creates an internal mesh network, which relies on frequencies other than those used by Wi-Fi, can be installed.

However, if your customer is willing to undergo retrofitting their wiring, this too provides you with a substantial revenue opportunity. Why go the route of retrofitting wiring versus going with a mesh network? Newly installed wiring can help to conserve energy and provide greater reliability and performance. For example, by upgrading from Cat5 to Cat6 cables, you can provide your customer with the ability to use as many devices as desired in the home and greater reliability and device performance.

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Additional retrofitting opportunities come from commonly requested smart home devices like thermostats, video doorbells, speakers, outdoor lighting and more. In any case, it is important to keep in mind the aforementioned challenges with older wiring, so be sure a wireless mesh network can support multiple devices in the home and if not, new wiring will need to be installed along with their new retrofitted devices.

Retrofitting for Commercial Customers

Many of the benefits for homeowners in retrofitting are also realized by commercial building owners. Through the use of smart thermostats and automated heating and cooling systems as part of a retrofit, many business owners experience significant energy savings and reduced operational costs, just to name a few of the benefits.

A substantial retrofit opportunity for both residential and commercial customers lies with wireless security systems. Because a wireless intrusion system doesn’t require having to pull wire from a control panel, except for power needs, you can quickly install new wireless devices, saving you time and your customer money. There are also some environments that are impossible to wire, so a wireless security system is the ideal option.

Wireless security systems also make future expansion simple. Installers can easily add new protection points, like motion sensors, to the platform. This offers significant economic benefits and adds value to the overall system. Plus, the reliability of wireless devices today is far superior to what they were many years ago.

Another commercial retrofit opportunity includes access control systems. Customers often want to expand the current system to accommodate more users or upgrade to one with added features and capabilities, like touchless solutions and mobile credentials. Or some companies may want to replace their magnetic strip system with a proximity card reader, as an example. There are many retrofit opportunities in access control that can yield additional revenue.

Due to changing fire safety codes or insurance requirements, retrofitting fire safety equipment is a popular choice among commercial building owners. Business owners can bring their facility up to code by retrofitting fire alarm communicators, fire control panels, voice evacuation systems and more. With the right equipment and fire safety plan, your customers can safely welcome employees each day and bring their systems up to code.

Commercial customers might also wish to upgrade their video surveillance systems. By migrating from Analog CCTV to IP dome cameras that connect via a LAN, customers can view footage from multiple locations at a time plus experience better image quality, resolution and much more. Such a simple change can dramatically improve the ability for your customers to safeguard their facilities via an effective video surveillance system.

Regardless of the type of retrofit, such projects present significant revenue opportunities for installers. Through retrofitting, you can offer your customers a simple, affordable solution while upgrading them to the newest technologies.

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