â€œThis is a perfect opportunity to showcase what we do in our builder division, and it just so happens we have several women who work in the builder division,â€ declared Laura Kaplan, the advertising director for CPI Security Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
The security company is participating in a 60-episode television series called â€œHomemakersâ€ beginning April 11 on the Turner South cable channel, which is seen by 7 million subscribers in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
Instead of simply remodeling or redecorating an historic home built in 1905 in the NoDa (N. Davidson St.) district of Charlotte, the house, which had been condemned, was gutted down to the studs. This allowed CPT to demonstrate its low-voltage wiring and security capabilities along with installation of surround sound, audio and intercom systems, smart wiring, plasma televisions and even a central vacuum system.
â€œWe were able to go in with the female contractor and designer and decide what actually had to go in,â€ Kaplan related. â€œWhat is great is when youâ€™re not looking at having to deal with wires over sheet rock, you can put so much inside the walls and it makes for a cleaner looking home.â€
CPI also helped select the security system from GE Infrastructure, Security, an exclusive real-time response system. â€œGE engineered this for us,â€ Kaplan maintained. â€œThis is not offered to other companyâ€™s customers. 80 percent of our customers are real-time response customers.â€
The system has microphones and speakers built into it so the central station can talk in real-time with those in the house from any room when an alarm goes off.
â€œThis is cutting-edge for helping police, fire and medics with false alarms, which the industry is riddled with,â€ Kaplan pointed out.
It was GE who referred the showâ€™s producers to CPI. Kaplan investigated the production company and the building, which is located in an eclectic neighborhood being renovated with loft conversions, and was able to suggest other vendors to get involved in the project.
â€œAlthough this is very time-consuming to put together, I explained to the people how important it was, and it just evolved from there,â€ she explained.
CPI trades its labor for interviews with its employees on the television show, a hot link and logo on the Turner South Web site and a listing in the programâ€™s credits. The materials are donated by the suppliers.
Donations for tours of the house go to a local battered womenâ€™s shelter. The home also can be used by CPI to demonstrate its products and services.
CPI will be featured in two to three episodes of the series, which began broadcasting in April. The home will serve as a base of operations for additional projects throughout the year, Kaplan noted. The company also plans to put video clips from the show on its Web site, www.cpisecurity.com.
Because approximately 85 percent of the companyâ€™s business is residential and located in North and South Carolina, the show is a good advertising and publicity fit. CPI, which has field offices in Raleigh, Hickory and Winston-Salem, N.C., also runs its own 24-hour central station for its base of 50,000 customers and does intrusion, fire detection, video surveillance and access control.
â€œYou have to think really hard about how much time is spent on this project, but weâ€™re workhorses here, and so far weâ€™ve gotten some news and publicity from it,â€ Kaplan pointed out.
â€œI found it to be very empowering as a woman to see that I can do this work myself and I donâ€™t have to wait for my husband or boyfriend,â€ Kaplan explained about the showâ€™s appeal. â€œThere are so many applications to this program and the things they are going to be doing, thatâ€™s why it was so interesting when they came to me with this.
â€œThe craze of the extreme home makeover has had such a huge effect on programming on TV, I felt this show could possibly turn into something interesting like that, and so we wanted to get in on the ground floor,â€ she asserted.