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Open the door and relish new, smart home world

According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 37% of South Africans own a smartphone. But for Nick Caripis, founder and CEO of BNC Technology, the next big thing in innovation is going to be the smart home.
Open the door and relish new, smart home world
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"I love the environment," he says. "It's growing and evolving, so now is the right time to be involved.

"The industry was shaken up about eight years ago, and the new breed of company is more dynamic. Some are still stuck in the old ways, and they are dying a slow death. But the future looks bright. Every home will soon have our technology."

For Caripis, the need for an integrated home is evident. With one control system from a single supplier, mundane tasks will be taken care of and homes will "come alive", allowing people to do what they want, where they want, and when they want.

"Full integration - one system to control the entire home - is a key positive trend," he says. "We've been specialising in it for years. It's new to some guys; they aren't getting it right, and their clients are paying for it. That's why you need a good, reputable, certified company to support you and service your system."

BNC Technology specialises in upmarket home-integrated technology. This includes home cinema, home automation, networking, audiovisual solutions, and integrated security.

The company caters to entrepreneurs and business professionals established in their lives and careers. And if the project is suitable, it will conduct business anywhere in the world.

"Getting the architects, electricians and interior designers to change their mind-set is sometimes a challenge, but once they see our work or showroom, they start following our guidelines," he says.

"We offer a CPD (continuing professional development) affiliate course for architects, called Designing Integrated Future Ready Homes, to improve their basic knowledge of our industry. We also provide them with templates to simplify their designs," Caripis says.

Caripis is used to convincing others to follow the recommendations he makes.

After working as a waiter from the age of 17, his first real job was as a salesman for an audiovisual company.

He concedes he was terrible in this position, and didn't make a cent in sales for eight months.

"I wasn't sure why they kept me on," he laughs. "There was no formal training on the technical side or sales side. So, I approached my boss to allow me to complete a sales course. I negotiated that they reimburse me if I hit a certain target. They gave me a six-month target, which I achieved in three months."

The company couldn't keep up with all the sales Caripis brought in. Quality slipped, clients became upset, and the company battled to pay overheads. It was then that Caripis moved on so that he could "do it better".

"In the beginning, I wanted to be in control of my own income and make a lot of money," he says. "But my focus changed in 2008, and it was then that I wanted to be the best in the industry. Since then, my business has evolved to what it is today."

It was when BNC Technology "started taking things seriously" in the second year of operation that the business became profitable.

Since then it has been short-listed for two top business awards, and consistently makes the yearbook for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association, a global body made up of more than 3,500 member companies worldwide.

"It shows that our work is constantly at the top of our game for Africa and Europe," Caripis says. "To do this in such a short space of time is a testament to my team's work and commitment."

In March 2015, BNC Technology opened a showroom that allows consumers to see, hear and touch the technology the company can install in clients' homes. And although last year's profits were down because of that investment, Caripis has since seen a boost in the number of clients, and is confident about the future.

"We work hard," he says. "And business is good. We have double-digit growth year on year, and we keep reinvesting in our business.

"We're focusing on streamlining our processes and improving our client experience and service. You can never stop improving," Caripis says.

The company's plans for the future include expanding its international footprint - not necessarily by opening overseas branches, but by doing work in other countries.

As well as uplifting the industry standard and raising the skill and level of work performed, Caripis also wants to continue investing in his staff of 12, so that the company remains "small, streamlined, efficient and profitable".

"People are not just staff," Caripis says.

"Our company is family and we invest heavily in our people. Impacting lives - more than just financially, but helping them be better people - will help the community in the same way."

Source: Business Day


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