Global Wave Integration is showing how integrators can differentiate themselves in competitive markets by doing so in one of the most competitive of all. As evangelists of cutting-edge home wellness technologies with a unique operational approach, the team caters to luxury clientele in the Southern California market, using their recently bought showroom as the staging floor for many turnkey solutions.
For Kyle Steele, it’s an exciting opportunity to work with those who can pursue cutting- and bleeding-edge innovations in the realms of wellness technology. But as president of the company, he knows it’s taken more than just embracing new and emerging technologies in the fields of health and wellness, it’s the innovative approach he takes when managing his team that makes it all possible.
Small Squads With Big Personalities
In approaching their projects, Global Wave deploys small squads among the company’s 15 employees “to live on a project and then come back and do the next one,” Steele says. It’s how the integrator has tightly honed its processes and techniques, kept morale high and fostered top-notch service for its VIP customers, to the tune of roughly $5.7 million in custom revenues in 2020.
Collaboration and cross-training embody the rogue wave spirit of the company, and the democratic nature of its operations could be considered another differentiator for the company. As Steele notes, despite borrowing the practices from larger industry suppliers, its not one he often sees taken in the CEDIA channel.
Another strategy that has paid off in positively impacting operations and perfecting the teams, Steele notes, is that Global Wave implemented personality profiling in its hiring practices. Like a great pro basketball team, great scouting goes a long way and establishes the foundation.
As someone who is actively engaged with the integrator community attending tradeshows and conferences, participating in online panels and peer-to-peer networking groups and more, Steele says he tries to spread the word about Global Wave’s approach to hiring and piecing together his groups.
“We know how to structure our teams and they work very well together because we know their personality types, and I think that alone goes a long way.”
“It’s the biggest thing, and I preach it wherever I go: it’s personality types,” he says.
Employing a ‘Living Lab’ to Test Bleeding-Edge Tech
On the technology side, having a practice court, so to speak, for beta testing emerging technology is crucial, which is what led to Global Wave recently buying its own showroom building.
“We look at this showroom building as a living lab, because with new technologies we bench test everything here,” Steele says. He adds that Global Wave employees’ houses have also taken that role as home living labs, also fueling its “Imagination Driven” tagline. The company can more easily grasp how solutions will fit into its customers environments.
Within the showroom, there are now entire demo areas decked out with Ketra human-centric and colorful lighting, Barco projection mapping/digital canvases, aging-in-place tools and more alongside high-performance home theater, automation and other showcases.
Global Wave is also working with the International WELL Building Institute on certification for its showroom building. He says the company has received “innovation” points with its clean air/clean water solutions, and is working to try and earn credit for using Sonnen’s intelligent battery storage/ backup as “clean power.”
“We’re working with them to get that actual part of the standard, because we have solar and we want to showcase the whole [sustainable] chain where we have solar, battery backup, energy automation tied into our giant Crestron display dashboard of air quality, how we’re managing the power, how we’re off the grid,” Steele explains.
One curious fact Steele adds is the unfamiliarity of even the most trendy clients in Southern California when it came to wellness technology like HCL.
“Circadian rhythm? Don’t say that, they don’t know what it is,” Steele says with a chuckle. He says recently an architect came to the showroom and was blown away, unaware of what was possible or that an integrator can sell something design-related like high-end shade fabric.
Home Health Tech Next Untapped Opportunity
Beyond wellness, Steele believes the custom industry is very well positioned to impact the aging/living-in-place category. He says the initial interest came from a client walkthrough of an 8,000-square-foot, award-winning project in which Global Wave had decked out a custom Crestron panel with various widgets popular at the time like monitoring traffic and weather and early voice capabilities.
“She said, ‘It would be really cool if this touchpanel could give me insights on something like my health,’” Steele recalls. “I thought, wow, that’s really powerful.”
The wheels started turning on combining voice commands, automation, sensors, alerts and the like to facilitate today’s increasing demand for aging-in-place health tech that he feels is a huge untapped integrator opportunity.
The overall effect of embracing emerging tech could help Global Wave grab some of that money other integrators are leaving on the table. Steele can envision sister companies focused on each as one potential method the integrator can address these growing opportunities and feed a central core of service and RMR. FutureCare, a name for the home healthcare sister company, would take a path Steele is familiar with having taken it to creating Global Wave, and he sees three others including wellness and education.
“All of these companies will have the same kind of structure, and that core is key,” he says.
Another version of this article originally appeared on our sister site CE Pro.