Technology is the driving force in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. While “cyber-physical systems,” described as involving new capabilities for people and machines, was a hot topic at the recent World Economic Forum annual meeting in Switzerland, on the home front we already know how much technology has become embedded in our everyday lives. Navigating the fast-paced evolution of home tech, Sheryl Heller and Mike Avery of GeekHampton in Sag Harbor help consumers understand not only what is trending, but how to make tech for work them.
From smartphones to televisions, sounds systems to security, there is a strong trend in integrated technology that makes multiple products support one another. “What is very important now, for music, is that the products support Airplay,” explains Heller, citing products like Sonos and Bang & Olufsen. “This means that you can open up your iPhone and find some music to play from Apple Music, Spotify, or Pandora, to name a few, and pick the speakers you want to send the music to and you are off and listening to your favorite tunes.”
Home security systems have evolved, placing control directly in the hands of the consumer. Ring video doorbells allow for people to see who is at the door and speak to them, while also recording the interaction and saving it to the Cloud. Video quality has improved in home security, as well as the ways in which one can access video. Consumers can watch video through an iOS app on their phone or on the computer, checking up on their homes and even watch pets in real time. Because of demand, prices have gone down, making it more accessible to the masses.
Though GeekHampton sells smart locks and likes the idea of the product, they find people are a bit more hesitant to give up keys to their homes, despite having already given them up for their vehicles. This may soon change however technology evolves and people continue to integrate it into nearly every aspect of their lives. Smart thermostats and smart pet products are other big sellers at GeekHampton.
Not all of this technology is in every home and there is still a lot of room for growth, say Avery and Heller. “Home automation is a giant field that is getting bigger all the time,” Avery shares. “Lights, shades, locks, heat, smoke detectors, and sprinklers are all available to be integrated into your home or office. The main thing people are looking for is reliability. Does it work every time I ask or tap it to turn on the lights? Does it unlock the door when I arrive home with my phone? Certainly, the product needs to have the features people want but even if it has amazing features, if it isn’t rock solid in terms of reliability what good is it?”
Heller and Avery first fell in love with Apple products in 1995 when they ran an online gourmet food store. After returning to Long Island from San Francisco, they founded Twin Peaks Geeks to provide on-site technical service and tutoring to Apple users. Their business evolved, and became GeekHampton in 2008 when they grew to a retail storefront and service center.
Understanding changing technology and educating their clients, many of whom are long-term and some they have known for decades, is what motivates Heller and Avery. Through sharing their genuine love of technology, customers walk away with confidence in using the products that are designed to make life easier. It is important to understand both the customer — their work, families, art, hobbies, etc. — and how and what technology works for them.
“We understand where our customers have been with technology, what they’ve used in the past and how that worked for them,” Heller and Avery say. “We have a sense of their comfort level with technology and whether the user-interface of the device app is going to be a stretch for them or something they can easily pick up. We don’t just recommend things because they are new and novel, we recommend what we think will truly enhance what they want to do with their life.”
GeekHampton offers one-on-one and in-store lessons for all of their products. Educating their customers on how specific technologies work is essential in them getting the most out of their devices. The staff has an in-depth knowledge of all the devices they themselves use, and they have a common goal to make everyone feel less overwhelmed by technology.
GeekHampton is located at 34 Bay Street in Sag Harbor