High maintenance: spotlight on AV in Sweden

Firms in Sweden have become household names by using their technical innovation as a selling point.

Nial Anderson speaks with a systems integrator to find out what is on the horizon for the AV market.

The Swedes have a reputation of punching above their weight with technological innovation.

We have them to thank for inventions such as the three-point seatbelt, pacemakers and ultrasound, while their recent creations such as Bluetooth and Skype have revolutionised the way we communicate.

With a number one ranking in the Global Innovation Index last year and an enviable recovery from the global recession one would expect a relatively thriving market in Sweden for AV.

With five employees and a yearly turnover of more than €1m, Fremlab is a good example of a small Swedish firm existing on regular diet of corporate assignments and the occasional large, landmark project such as the Helsingbourg Arena (as featured in InAVate’s January issue). In the current economic climate the size of a business matters and smaller is better, according to Carl-Fredrik Malmgren of Fremlab.

"When I speak to my suppliers some say ‘lucky you that has lots of work’ because they have other customers who are complaining," he said.

"What’s good for us is that we’re small. 50% of our business is sales and installation and the other 50% is rental and when it’s slow on one side it can be busy on the other so it keeps us going.

"We do the jobs very close with the customer to keep the quality high; when you get too big you lose the quality and we’ve seen so many examples of how it can happen."

Sweden consistently scores very highly on international indexes regarding quality of life and levels of human development. For high earners building their own homes an integrated AV system can be a way to stand out among a standard of living that is already enviable compared to other Western nations. Malmgren believes that providing light and audio control systems in new build, high end properties is an exciting market with very big potential for the future.

He said: "If you build a new house for half a million pounds and you put in a kitchen for €28,000 then why not put in a lighting control system that costs only €12,000? In the project it’s a very small amount and in the end you have a home that is very unique. As well as controls for the lights you can control the TV, the sound system and have speakers in every room all controlled by the iPad.

"We have done two houses so far. When they have friends in that house they say ‘oh wow, I want to have that, too’ and then the talk has started."

To read the rest of this article open your free digital edition of InAVate here.

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