As spring rolls into summer, a lot of New Zealanders are thinking about upgrading the tech in their homes. It's a great way to use the money we saved by not travelling internationally this year and many of us put together long shopping lists during those boring lockdowns.
But the choices these days are daunting - especially if you want to do something to turn your house into an automated 'smart home' and don't know where to start. Even buying a TV is more complicated in 2020 than ever before, thanks to all the state-of-the-art new technologies in them.
All the apps and YouTube videos in the world can't compete with an actual human expert. Nor can they guess exactly what will work best for your unique home.
Noel Leeming's Tech Solutions offers a service to help you make the perfect decisions for your home tech upgrades and they make it as easy as possible. They know we're all busy people, so you don't have to go anywhere to get this service - they'll come to you.
Whether you're looking to upgrade your kitchen appliances to give you more time back with family, reimagine your entertainment space to create more memories at home, or find better ways to work smarter from the home office, the service offers tailored one-on-one advice from the comfort of your home.
And it's free.
One of their expert consultants like Gerry Kumar in Christchurch can pop over, have a chat, go around your house with you and then give you a range of options.
"The team in our stores help customers out a lot, but they're not able to see what the customer's home is like and everything that's already in it," says Kumar.
"With TVs, people might be wondering if a 55-inch is too small or too big and where it could be mounted. I have a customer who was looking at a 65-inch TV, but ended up getting a 77-inch because it fit her wall a lot nicer and they were sitting over 7m away from the TV. It made sense to go to that size, but she wouldn't have gotten the right TV without my help.
"But it's not just size and positioning - we're looking at where your windows are, where the lighting is, how you're watching your TV, what you're watching on it, thinking about all of that and also trying to get a TV that fits in with the aesthetic of your room as well."
The consultant can also investigate what sort of audio system, casting devices and so forth that you currently have, whether the new TV would be compatible and what sort of cords you'd need to go with it.
If that all sounds like it's only for major upgrades - they're happy to help with the little ones too.
"One of my customers was on a tight budget - she told me she had $1200 and wanted a TV to fit on a specific part of her wall," says Kumar.
"We looked at a few different options but worked out a deal for her which was a 43-inch TV, installed with a mount on the wall, which worked out to be $980."
At the other end of the spectrum, a consultant can entirely kit out a home, including arranging Noel Leeming-certified electricians to help with more substantial installations.
With a new home build, Gerry says he's recently gone through architectural plans with a customer and is completely packing their new house with smart items. That means proximity sensors everywhere to automate electronics how he likes, a full smart security system, virtual assistants to plan everything out and even wake him up earlier if bad traffic means he might be late to a morning meeting.
Partly due to the old saying about a free lunch, people might be suspicious of this service sounding too good to be true. But Noel Leeming simply wants to be better than any of the other tech retailers in New Zealand, so you don't want to buy from anyone else.
If you get a free consultation and then for whatever reason don't want to buy, there's no obligation to purchase anything.
"I've come to your house, developed a solution and given you a quote - but that quote is a checklist," says Kumar.
"In six months' time, we might have a sale come up and if you like I can call if the items on your checklist have gone on sale."
The Noel Leeming service doesn't end after you've bought the items - if you're having trouble with anything they can talk you through it over the phone.
"If you have any tech issues after installation, we do have a helpdesk you can call to sort it out,” says Kumar.
"That's part of the end-to-end solution we're offering - we want to come into your house, have a chat, get to know what you want and how we can do it best, then come in and install it, take away your old items for disposal, then help you with any problems with your new ones."
Noel Leeming's Tech Solutions home consultations are not yet available nationwide - but in areas where their experts can't personally pop around to your house, they do offer the service over the phone or online using Google Meet.
Whether it's upgrading your kitchen, home office, entertainment set-up, smart home devices, household appliances - if you're considering upgrading the tech in your home, trying out this free consultation service is a no-brainer.
This article was created for Noel Leeming