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Customization Comes Home

Steven Miller, president and CEO of BTI Infosystems Services in Union City, Calif., entered the digital SOHO/home market by virtue of the "wow factor."

BTI would implement a hot wireless solution, hang a cool plasma display, install the latest videoconferencing system, or feed a new remote service to one of its corporate clients, who would inevitably say: "Wow, do you think you can do something like that in my home?"
And few products elicited a more enthusiastic "Wow!" than BTI's custom servers, the cornerstone of the company's SOHO/home solution.

"When we first walk into a home, the client is so excited that we're giving them a fully equipped, secure home office that they start asking about plasmas, distributed A/V and how that can all tie into the home network," says Miller. "The customer sees what we can offer and says, 'You know, I've been thinking about these other products.' It takes off from there."

This wow factor is driving integrators' sales of custom PCs and servers, tied to a full networking solution, into small offices and homes across the country. The reasons have as much to do with the integrators as the end user. For the integrator, custom systems generally earn 20 to 30 points more than branded systems, are fully scalable and accept a steady stream of cutting-edge off-the-shelf components. Intel's new 915 and 925 chipsets, designed to support Dolby 7.1 surround-sound audio and high-definition video; Advanced Micro Devices' 64-bit architecture; and the general release this month of Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition OS will dramatically increase custom-system sales into the home, they say.

On top of all that new technology, custom systems allow integrators to create their own warranty and service programs, which lead to closer customer relationships.

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