IGS and its founder were recently profiled in community magazine, Life on the Green, giving a little background to why Bill Simpkins established the company and why he chose this part of Texas! Read on to find out why one family decided to take the ambitious leap to move 5000 miles and set up a home technology business.
From Gil Scott Heron to luxury homes in Houston
Bill and Anna Simpkins moved from the UK to The Woodlands in 2014, with six suitcases and their two year old daughter. With their respective professional backgrounds in technology and marketing they wanted to set up a smarthome technology business to serve the luxury market and Houston presented the perfect opportunity.
Bill began his career in the entertainment industry, working as an audio and lighting designer and engineer for well-known artists such as Moby, The Prodigy and Gil Scott Heron. He gained a solid reputation as a perfectionist, always learning about the latest technology, and staying ahead of the curve remains a priority for him today.
While his wife Anna built her career in marketing communications, Bill moved into the commercial world, designing systems for international nightclubs in London and Sydney, universities and major hotel groups before moving into global video conferencing, working with some of the largest corporates in the world on technology integration projects. It was this combined experience that gave him a deep understanding of the level of professionalism, high quality and service needed at the heart of any successful operation. Establishing a home automation solutions business, where he could design systems around the very latest in world class technology, was a dream he wanted to fulfil.
“We had visited friends in The Woodlands five years earlier, so were familiar with the area and what it offered to families in terms of schools and amenities,” explains Bill. “We also knew that the types of connected home technology solutions we wanted to design and install would be popular, particularly with so many families relocating and either building new homes or remodeling existing properties.”
More than five years on and IGS Homeworks employs an extremely experienced technical team, has designed custom technology solutions from more than 150 homes in neighborhoods in The Woodlands and Woodforest, and in exclusive golf resorts such as Bluejack National. In 2017 IGS opened a dedicated experience center on FM2978, where clients try out the very latest in lighting, video, audio, security and energy management technology for themselves.
The team works with builders, architects and interior design team from the outset, designing a custom system for each home. The client experience is critical to business success and, with a plethora of products available for homeowners to choose from, understanding their lifestyle, how they move around their home and connecting their living environment together to enhance daily life is the goal.
Keeping it simple
Bill continues: “People want to easily control their home using a simple device no bigger than an iPad mini, and do so much more than just turn the lights on and off. We can design systems where the shades lower automatically during the hottest hours of the day, which in turn means the AC doesn’t need to work as hard. We can also harness the sun’s energy and store it in a battery, which can then be utilized during outages. We install security systems, design state of the art games rooms and think outside of the box when it comes to our clients’ dream homes. Some want to create a sports bar in their homes, while others want their outdoor space to sound as good as a live concert arena when they’re throwing a party! It’s our job to find the best products to create the best ambience.”
In January this year IGS launched its dedicated commercial division, IGS Workplace, in response to growing demand from businesses, churches and community spaces for connected technology solutions. And in addition to growing the business, the Simpkins family has expanded too, with the arrival of twin daughters in 2017!
Reflecting on taking the step to relocate and set up a new company, Bill says: “Moving from the UK was a huge undertaking, but we did our market research thoroughly. With Anna’s experience we knew how to promote a start-up business without needing to invest too many marketing dollars and word of mouth has been fantastic in terms of growing IGS further. We’re so pleased we made the move here and we’ve met some wonderful clients on our journey so far.”