Showhome Magazine speaks to Mark Swift, Managing Director of Home Hub Installations
Can you introduce me to Home Hub Installations and the services that you offer?
Home Hub Installations have designed a standard platform suitable for any sized home to distribute Audio, HDMI video, streaming services, Telecommunications and Internet technology in every room. So that the purchaser can access all of these services anywhere they wish around the home.
The company provides the complete service from “first fix” and “second fix”, right through to educating the customer on the merits of the system and providing guidance on how devices can be connected.
Home Hub Installations also wall mount televisions, supply and install complete home audio systems, CCTV, aerials and satellite dishes. This means that the homeowner can access the internet, watch HD TV, stream television services, listen to music and use telecommunications in any room of the house. The platform is also compatible with 3G/4G mobile networks.
The company was formed by Nick Carter and I. Nick Carter is a chartered surveyor who has worked in both the commercial and residential property industries. I have an IT background with a specialist knowledge of structured cabled networks.
What was the idea behind Home Hub Installations?
I knew with my experience in working with telecommunications technology in commercial environments, that the same technology could also be adapted and used in the home. I used this knowledge to design and install home networks in residential properties for Nick.
Whilst Installing this networking technology within Nick’s properties, Virgin Media and Sky engineers were amazed at how easily and quickly it was to connect their services to the home platform. Since we had already built the necessary cables into the fabric of the house, there was no need for them to drill any holes or run intrusive cables around walls. They simply connected their supplies at the data cabinet.
What does the installation process involve?
The installation process involves running a network of various cables from a central data cabinet to faceplates in locations chosen by the purchaser in every room in the house.
Service providers such as Sky, BT and Virgin Media connect their supplies to the data cabinet. The services can then be distributed around the house through the platform of various cables that we have provided.
Our platform enables the full potential of sophisticated and modern devices to be realised throughout the home and enhances the lifestyles of the home owners. Our platform enables the home to be a much more efficient place to live and work for every resident.
Whilst some devices use wireless (Wi-Fi) connections, they all work faster and more reliably when using a hard wired connection. Our home platform is not a substitute for Wi-Fi, however Wi-Fi should be seen as complimentary to the cabled system. Devices which work best whilst hardwired, such as computers and games consoles, would use the home network, leaving the wireless bandwidth free for more portable devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
The home platform also includes coaxial cabling which television services such as Sky, Freesat, Freeview and Virgin Media can be connected, meaning that the home owner can watch TV in any room.
The home platform also includes speaker cables concealed within the ceilings in every room. If the purchaser wishes to install ceiling speakers, then it is literally as easy as cutting the hole out of the ceiling and connecting the speakers to the cables. Bose, Sonos, NuVo plus many other zone amplifiers can be installed into the cabinet to run all of the audio requirements.
And why are technology and efficiency becoming increasingly important factors in a new home?
Homes are becoming increasingly sophisticated communication and entertainment centers and homebuyers expect them to incorporate many modern devices with ease.
With constant advances in internet speed and home technology, it is also becoming increasingly important to home owners that their devices function quickly, securely and seamlessly. This is best achieved if users are able to operate their devices through a structured cabled platform.
How will home builders benefit from your services?
Houses with a Home Hub installation become much more desirable as they are attractive places to live and work. As I have explained, having Home Hub Installations’ faceplates throughout the home gives unlimited options as to where you could place televisions, phones, computers and other devices. As lifestyles changes, so can the use of the rooms within the home. By having the Home Hub Installation, the faceplates which are situated through the home can be used for whichever purpose the homeowner decides.
Installing services from BT, Sky and Virgin Media becomes much easier and quicker. The incoming supply just plugs straight into the data cabinet. There is no need to run any cables for these services as all necessary cabling is already in situ, concealed within the walls and under the floors. This means there is no need to retrofit cables in ugly surface mounted trunking which can be costly and unsightly.
What makes Home Hub stand apart from its competitors?
We provide a complete service: Our platform allows for any service provider (Television, Phone, and Broadband), HMDI distribution, Audio system, Internet technology, CCTV and much more to simply “plug & play” in any room. We also advise the home owner on what devices they can use in order to benefit their lifestyle.
How do you ensure that you meet the specific needs of each and every customer?
Because the platform can be configured in so many ways, just by patching cables at the cabinet it really does not matter what the customers’ requirements are.
The Cabinet is a standard 19” rack front, by adding shelves, HDMI distribution equipment you can keep all of your video devices and distribute HDMI over Cat6 to all of the televisions within the home. You can also select the device you wish to watch and control it with a remote control.
Looking at a snap shot of data from 13 sites, out of 64 customers 44 customers have completed and 17 of them added HDMI distribution hardware. Whereas only 3 added ceiling speakers. Out of the remaining 20 customers 11 have requested HMDI distribution hardware against 1 customer choosing ceiling speakers.
How do you ensure that your services are future proofed?
By using the network, coaxial and speaker cables that we do, we are at the forefront of the “Connected Home” the cables are tried and tested and work with all technology.
The configuration of cables that we have identified means that if in the future you wish to change your service provider telephone, TV or broadband service, then they simply change the connection in the data cabinet.
A Home Hub Installations platform provides you with the ability to connect your current devices but is designed to be compatible with the next generation of gadgets.
Reports predict that in the future, new services will be accessible in the home besides TV, internet and security including healthcare, energy smart meters, home automation, education and e-government. The home network will provide you with a means of accessing these services.
How has Home Hub grown and where do you see it going next?
The company has evolved through its working relationships with house builders. The company will continue to grow and evolve through these relationships. We have a very high customer take up rate across the sites that the platform is available on.
We also have great relationships with a numbers of suppliers of devices which can be plugged into their network. As a result we are Bose Pro Partners supplying and installing surround sound systems and televisions and Wyrestorm, the market leading company supply high definition matrixes which enable HD TV to be streamed around the home.
The devices which can use our platform are limitless and we will continue to build relationships with suitable distributors and manufacturers in order to increase our product offer to the benefit of the homeowner of the future.