By September 16, 2016 Read More →

Are you ready to future-proof your business?

By Marie Parry, marketing director, Scolmore Group

The days when electrical installers would spend most of their time on simple rewiring projects is becoming a thing of the past. With advances in technology continuing to drive the electrical industry, and homeowners and businesses looking to add energy-saving and security features to their premises, electrical installers are having to up their game to keep up, and home automation and security requirements are high on the agenda.

As well as ensuring they have the right products and stock levels to meet the demand, wholesalers can play a role in helping educate and offer advice on the right products and solutions for the job and keeping their customers abreast of the latest developments in this sector.

The whole area of wiring installations continues to evolve, with the key word today being modularity. The focus is now on combining flexibility and functionality and incorporating multiple modules into one plate – media modules, USB ports, HDMI outlets – and ultimately being able to create bespoke installations to suit individual requirements.

The huge growth in ownership of portable electronic devices – smart phones, tablets and E-readers – and the plethora of leads and adaptors required to keep these devices charged means that today’s technology is reliant on USB charging. This led initially to the development of USB charging modules and has now resulted in USB ports being integrated into one and two-gang electrical sockets – eliminating the need for bulky chargers, whilst freeing up plug sockets. These are ideal retrofit products, which have enormous application potential for homes, offices, schools, hotels, education, leisure outlets and transport interchanges. Of course housebuilders and developers are now fitting these as standard in all new builds.

Modular wiring’s flexibility means that there is no minimum project size and it is easier for contractors to take on bigger projects than they might otherwise do. From single room solutions to the largest multi-million pound new-build hospitals, systems can be either retro-fitted or newly installed to provide users with safe, reliable and convenient power and lighting services.

Energy efficiency

The demand for environmentally friendly products continues to be a major issue, with both homeowners and business operators keen to use whatever means they can to improve the environmental credentials of their properties. This can be as basic as replacing lamps with energy efficient LEDs, right through to the use of individual and central controls for lighting and other electrical products.

The huge growth in home automation is being driven by the rapid advance in technology, which is bringing intelligent automation systems to a growing number of homes and work places, allowing control of everything from lighting, communications and entertainment.

The largest sector for home automation is now retro-fit, where home owners are keen to add wireless security and energy saving features without having to alter the wiring or disrupt the decor. A system like the Click iNELS Radio Frequency Wireless Control System, is ideal for both refurbishment and new build projects and can be used by electricians to update an existing wiring system.

Because of its flexibility it can be easily installed into any property – with a whole house installation taking on average no more than three days. This makes it a very attractive proposition for electrical installers who can offer it to their customers as an entry-level smart home solution. Wholesalers are in a prime position to help sell the benefits of this system, for example, highlighting its ease of installation and energy-efficiency properties.


Estimated to be worth in the region of £2 billion, the UK security market continues to grow apace and presents electrical contractors and wholesalers with a tangible opportunity for diversification. At 50%, CCTV accounts for the biggest slice of the security market and represents a significant opportunity for expansion for installers, who will already possess the necessary skills to operate in this complementary sector.


The development in technology means more sophisticated, yet simple to install CCTV systems are being brought to the market. AHD (Analogue High Definition) is the latest technology and it has been embraced by ESP, for example, with the HDView CCTV collection.

This makes the retro fit market a real opportunity too – upgrading a customer’s older CCTV to HD will take minutes as all the cabling can be reused.

Operating within a marketplace which is constantly changing, means that it is vital for electrical installers to keep up to date with the latest legislation, technologies and customer requirements. With these changes, comes opportunities and by adapting the broad range of skills they already possess, installers are in a prime position to embrace these challenges and guarantee a secure future for their businesses. Manufacturers too are playing their part in educating installers, contractors and wholesalers and driving the sector, by offering training courses to help develop their knowledge, confidence and skillset.