We offer 3 lines of products: Enterprise Laptop Procurement, WiFi services and ‘the Internet of Things.’ Intuitively, this name suggests the inter-connectivity of devices. In the case of Fireshot, it goes deeper than that. Hence, we sat down with our Regional Director, Geoff Hughes, and Project Manager, Laura Bustos, to find out more.
What is the Internet of Things?
Geoff: The Internet of Things is a multitude of devices connected to each other.
But, for Fireshot, it represents the grouping of 2 of our marque services.
The first one is the design of audio distribution. Sonos is our preferred distribution for this.
The second product in the IoT group is lighting design and our preferred solution for that is Philips HUE. Philips HUE is made by a company called Signify, out of the United Kingdom.
These 2 platforms are built upon our enterprise WiFi solution, for which our preferred solution is Ubiquiti‘s UniFi range of enterprise WiFi products. These 3 things together build our IoT offering.
The reason for which we have chosen to name it IoT is that it is a natural expansion point. It allows us to answer positively when clients say, ” ok, you’re doing WiFi, you’re doing audio, can you also do another idea that I have?”. If it is within our power, we will help them to achieve that additional goal as part of the project. In that way, it is about the excitement of learning new things, of serving the clients so that they have the convenience of one supplier.
But, we are realistic at the same time, if it is really outside of capability to do it and we don’t feel that we can do it, we’re not going to do it. Instead, we’ll recommend a partner who can.
Why should people opt into this system?
Geoff: Traditionally, the problem that a lot of our clients face is that they’ve been using the free routers that they get from their ISP for the last 5 or 10 years and they haven’t really looked into detail the opportunity to own their own network after the Fibre arrives at their house.
But once one realizes that owning their own network opens up a world of possibility for their lifestyle and convenience, it becomes incredibly exciting not just because of the much faster download speeds, but more importantly, the reliability because one’s coverage is now whole house, seamless WiFi on one WiFi network main.
Having built that strong reliable base, the next layers become much easier to achieve and much less buggy. If you have bad WiFi, your Philips HUE and Sonos sound systems may not work properly. On the other hand, once you opt into the system of Fireshot WiFi, all the systems that you invest in after that will be perceived as more reliable because you will not have any dead spots.
How does one go about opting into this Smart ecosystem?
Geoff: It is like a reverse triangle. Investing in good WiFi is the first step. Once you have this fundamental base layer, you can begin investing in your lifestyle products, like HUE and Sonos. Once you have invested in those 2 core things, which are your ears and eyes, you can then start to automate those products with sensors and timing to fit your lifestyle.
One thing that is hard to imagine but very easy to enjoy is how much pleasure you can get from walking into a room that responds to your presence with audio and lighting when previously, you only had the choice of turning the light either on or off. Now, just walking through the room gives you a response automatically and it is absolutely delightful!
What feedback are you looking for from clients after the set-up is completed?
Laura: I’m looking for them to be impressed at the ease, accessibility they have and the increase in quality of life.
Geoff: One of the reasons I love working with fast and exciting technology products is the excitement with which the handover is greeted. When you’re walking through a house for handover with clients, you’re experiencing their delight in every room with the speed, with the stability. It is absolutely fantastic.
Typically, we are helping clients to upgrade from…a free router that had an ok speed but not a good range…to a whole house that is fast and reliable. They are essentially upgrading their lives. It is a privilege to be there at that exact moment of upgrade.
Is there any one client or one project that stands out to you in particular?
Geoff: It is not the individual projects that I remember. It is each individual reaction i get from each client that keeps me jumping out of bed every morning. I actually don’t jump out of bed every morning. It’s just a metaphor. But really, it is the reaction from our clients that drives me and fuels me to do the next design and try to iterate it and improve on it to learn.
The relationship i build with all my clients is quite intimate because we are talking in confidence about their lifestyles, their friends, their family and so, it is a great privilege to speak with them in confidence about this and to see it come true.
Assuming someone doesn’t have any contact or knowledge of IoT? How can he get started?
Laura: He can get started by investing in a good router and if needed, depending on the number of data points in their house, they may need to invest in a network switch (particularly, the UniFi network switch with POE).
Geoff: Laura’s right. The beauty of the way that we work is that it is on an inclusive basis. We don’t want our clients to feel obliged to spend all their budget in one go with Fireshot. We want to build a long-term relationship.
Our clients have a very different range of income and expenditure but what we’re offering all of them is the same long-term objective. If you’re on a budget, you should follow Laura’s advice: start with a high quality UniFi router, one entry level Sonos One with voice control and a starter pack from Philips HUE. These 3 products, outside of consultancy and design, might all add up to approximately $1000+.
With this, you get all 3 of our departments with one solution. You’ve got a good router, the experience of Sonos is one room and the experience of lighting in up to 3 rooms.
As you hit success milestones in your own life and career, you can upgrade and build on that platform. Like what Laura says, you can get the UniFi switch and the UniFi APs. You can add more Sonos speakers in the bathroom, in the garden and Philips HUE around the house and throughout till you may even end up spending a $100 000 or more.
Is this just for home owners?
Laura: No, all these things can be taken with you when you change residences. If you want to install HUE lighting, you can most likely use some of the bulbs in your light fixtures. When you leave, you can take those bulbs with you and your equipment also does not stay in the house. It comes with you. Wherever you move to, you will have your router or your WiFi access points.
Geoff: That’s right. The whole point is this is that it is a lifestyle investment that goes with you. Whether you’re renting or whether you’re going to buy a property in 5 years time, the time to start investing is now, particularly if you’re moving in 5 years time. Because, that helps you figure out how you’re going to design your home in the future, as opposed to waiting, designing it and then realizing that you have to change it.
Then, is it only for residential or can you also use it for corporate solutions?
Laura: Oh, it’s especially useful for corporate institutions. it helps create a better atmosphere for your workers. they are less frustrated with network issues. Having a good sound system and good quality audio will help with meetings and conferences.
Geoff: There are 2 other interesting things to mention about audio. One, as Laura said, in the conference room, instead of having everyone huddled together over the one laptop screen or the speaker phone of someone’s personal mobile, which makes your company seem average and small, a good audio system can enable everyone to sit in comfort down the length of the conference table.
It is about productivity as well. This is also backed up by related research. Research shows that offices that were deadly silent were less productive than offices that had background music or disturbance by design. This is because people were more willing to ask a question of a colleague if their question could not be heard than if they knew that everyone could hear what they were asking as they might be exposed for not knowing the answer. So, essentially, your business becomes more productive when there is audio in the background.
Is it expensive to maintain the system?
No, typically, the products we’re installing come with a manufacturer’s warranty and Fireshot will typically provide a 14-day free support window. Beyond that, the products are very stable so it is very unlikely that you’re going to experience downtime or issues once you’ve been trained in these intuitive interfaces that the manufacturers are making.
Who do you think needs the Internet of Things the most?
Laura: I personally think that consumers have the most access to it and it is the workplace that is falling behind in the use of the IoT. They are the ones that need to come into the future with everybody else and have the technology that everybody else is using everyday.
Interested in becoming an IoT user? Please call us at +65 6801 4555 or email us at email@example.com for a quick consultation.