VOLUME 20 NO.7 | JULY 2019
Spotlight on Power Management Selling Lossless Audio Custom Distributors Guide
Get Well(ness) Soon Product Review: Control4 Smart Home OS 3
CEDIALine CEDIA Talks at Expo 2019 Check out these free education sessions from leading industry experts taking place on the CEDIA Expo show floor. By Ed Wenck
10 Dave Donald’s Business Book Club Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy, Retired) Little things that can change your life...and maybe the world. By Dave Donald
12 The Strategist 5 Reasons You Need to Get More Online Reviews Think you have enough online customer reviews? Think again. By Tim Fitzpatrick, Rialto Mobile Marketing
14 In the Field Selling Lossless Audio When good enough isn’t good enough. By Henry Clifford
16 Back to Business A Big Bet What SnapAV’s acquisition of Control4 means for the future of our channel. By Jason Griffing
42 Going Forward Legrand View Having acquired a number of companies with strong residential ties, Legrand | AV lays out its goals.
gear 34 Resi in Action Simple Living It is set-and-forget luxury for this ELAN-automated home in Sarasota, FL.
36 Review Control4 Smart Home OS 3 A walk through Control4’s most significant improvement to the system to date.
features 18 Riding the Wellness Wave By Anthony Savona Delos looks to the custom install market to introduce a new level of service for clients that revolves around enhancing their health through improved air, water, and light quality.
22 Spotlight on Power Management By Resi Staff Some examples of this up-and-coming product category.
25 Custom Distributors Guide 2019 By Karen Mitchell Evolve or devolve. Strengthen your relationships with integrators. Keep on keeping up. Those are the messages from top distributors to others in their lane.
By John Sciacca
on the cover
Jan Vitrofsky, owner of HED South in Hollywood, FL, holds the Delos DARWIN control tablet. Photo by Sonja Garnitschnig.
Editor’s Letter.......................... 4
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Join the online Residential Systems community on LinkedIn (groups/ Residential Systems), Twitter (resisys), and Facebook (facebook/ resisys). And visit www.residentialsystems.com to join our Forums and read the interactive, Digital Edition of this and past issues.
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Residential Systems July 2019 Volume 20, Number 7
DAVE DONALD An industry veteran with over 35 years in the CI biz, Dave was on CEDIA’s founding Board of Directors and was instrumental in building the industry through his work with several manufacturers.
TIM FITZPATRICK Tim Fitzpatrick is the president of Rialto Mobile Marketing. He helps small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more ideal clients, and make marketing easier with consistent, repeatable results.
HENRY CLIFFORD Henry Clifford is president of Livewire, an integration firm in Richmond, VA. He also serves on the CEDIA Business Working Group and writes a bi-monthly blog for www.residentialsystems.com.
JASON GRIFFING Jason Griffing is the director of partner development at OneVision Resources and the co-host of weekly home technology podcast found at HomeTech.fm email@example.com
KAREN MITCHELL Karen Mitchell is a freelance writer based in Boulder, CO. She has written about the AV industry from both sides now — residential and commercial — for several years and still finds it most intriguing and fast-paced.
JOHN SCIACCA John Sciacca is a principal with Custom Theater and Audio, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In his free time, he blogs prolifically about the CE industry. johnsciacca.webs.com
Residential Systems (ISSN# 1528-7858) is published monthly by Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036 Periodical Postage Paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: send address changes and inquiries to Residential Systems P. O. Box 1067 Lowell, MA 01853. Subscriptions: US: 1-yr $56, 2-yr $100; Canada: 1-yr $104, 2-yr $196; Foreign: 1-yr $156, 2-yr $300. Back issues are $8. Copyright 2019 by Future US, Inc.
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Waking Thoughts BY ANTHONY SAVONA Are you getting enough sleep? Without having any way for you to respond immediately to this query, I am going to assume “no.” That seems to be a safe guess, as, according to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly seven out of 10 Americans say they experience frequent sleep problems. The Foundation also says that 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems. Mind you that “chronic” and “intermittent” combined cut a pretty wide swath, so it’s no surprise the numbers are large. Perhaps the reason why so many of us toss and turn at night is because we are sleeping wrong. Prior to the advent of evening lighting systems from oil, gas, or whatever other means — when nightfall meant you stayed close to home for safety and because there was not much else to do — our ancestors subscribed to a polyphasic sleep pattern, or segmented sleep. This pattern involved four hours of sleep, then a natural waking to two hours of mild activity such as reading or visiting neighbors, then four more hours of sleep until morning light. Once the electric light bulb came around and provided a world of things to do after dark, segmented sleep went the way of the horse and buggy, and a monophasic sleep pattern — which is a solid, uninterrupted rest — became the norm. Some experts believe that segmented is more natural for humans, and we are forcing ourselves into a solid slumber, hence the large number of sleep problems. We are told that eight hours per night is the prescribed amount, which is hard enough for most of us to achieve just from the day’s commitments, let alone any technological distractions. And there are plenty of those — televisions, home theater systems, cell phones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems, and so on — many of which we install and/or make it easy for families to enjoy. So technology giveth and technology taketh away. But now we may be able to provide some relief. An exciting evolution in AV and smart home technology is occurring as it moves from comfort, convenience, and entertainment to include health and wellness as part of the
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electronic package. In this issue, we look at overall home health and how custom installers can have an impact on our customers’ lives through air and water filtration, as well as natural lighting and other possibilities. A company named Delos is doing just that with its DARWIN system, which promises sleep improvement by using automated lighting and shading to re-create natural light patterns and re-align with circadian rhythms. Not only is circadian disruption believed to be a major cause of sleeplessness, but it also is suspected in other ailments such as lethargy and anxiety. This has the potential to be a welcome and life-changing service that we can offer to clients. And perhaps you’ll even sleep better knowing that you are providing your clients with a better quality of living.
Find me online... firstname.lastname@example.org residentialsystems.com twitter.com/resisys groups/Residential Sytems facebook/resisys
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Stewart Filmscreen Debuts New Website Stewart Filmscreen has created a reimagined web experience at stewartfilmscreen.com. Now customers can dig deeper than ever before into Stewart Filmscreen’s offerings with a host of new options, tools, and content. At the heart of the experience are the Screen Finder capability that allows users to find the perfect screen for any project and the Configurator Price Quote (CPQ) tool with builtin drawing and quote capabilities that speed up the design process for integrators. Designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate, the new site is packed with quick-access menus and original content. Visitors can sort through all
CEDIA Encourages Participation in its 2019 U.S. and Canada Size and Scope Survey
35 of Stewart Filmscreen’s options by using filters for screen type, image width, mounting method, masking options, or special features. Once a product is selected, visitors can learn more about each product and its ideal applications, see it in a gallery of real-life installations, and access a printable brochure. The brochure includes technical information, fabric options, and — for the first time — the base MSRP specific to that product. In addition to individual product pages, the site offers a screen material comparison tool of its 30 different screen materials.
Sonos Adds the Google Assistant Sonos has announced that clients can use voice with the Google Assistant built-in to Sonos One or Sonos Beam, or with a connected Google Home product, to easily start a song, queue a
TV show, check the weather, and control the smart home. The free software update is now available in the United States. Support in the U.K., Germany, Canada, Australia, France, and The Netherlands comes in July with additional countries to follow on a rolling basis over the coming months. The Google Assistant is Sonos’ second built-in voice assistant. Customers on Sonos will have the ability to choose an assistant for each individual speaker, with multiple voice assistants on a single system. With the Google Assistant on Beam in the living room and Alexa on the Sonos One in the kitchen, start a song with the Google Assistant, ask Alexa what’s playing, and vice versa.
Atlona Appoints SnapAV as Exclusive U.S. Distributor Atlona has appointed SnapAV as its exclusive distributor for the residential AV dealer community. Effective immediately, SnapAV and its regional distribution partners will represent Atlona’s complete range of AV products throughout the United States. The appointment represents an evolution of a long-standing Atlona and SnapAV alliance that has made certain Atlona products available in SnapAV’s inventory. Atlona has elected to expand the relationship based on SnapAV’s nationwide footprint, and the companies’ shared emphasis
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on customer service and technical support. In addition to SnapAV’s national presence, the distribution model for Atlona products will include their regional partners: Allnet, serving upper mid-western U.S. regional dealers MRI, serving north-eastern U.S. dealers Volutone, serving dealers in California and Nevada, and Hawaii SnapAV will also serve all regional dealers through its national distribution model.
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The 2019 CEDIA Size and Scope of the Residential Technology Systems Market survey is now open for participation from home technology companies in the U.S. and Canada. Results will feed a report that will detail trends and provide an indepth picture of the home technology industry. Participants will receive a copy of the report (a $1000 value) and be entered in a drawing to win a grand prize (valued at $3000) of a CEDIA Expo VIP Experience, which includes airfare (up to $500), a hotel stay of up to five nights, ground transportation to and from the Denver airport, front-row seats to the CEDIA keynote, and a CEDIA Training Pass. Three runners-up will receive an Osmo Pocket compact smart camera ($349 value). The 15-minute survey, which you can connect to at cediasizeandscope.com, is intended for professionals in the United States and Canada. Participants do not need to be CEDIA members. CEDIA is using a third-party to conduct the survey and has no access to your responses, and individual responses will be released only in combination with all survey responses. The survey will close on July 31, 2019, and preliminary results will be shared at CEDIA Expo in September.
Original Paradigm Co-Founder Purchases Paradigm, Anthem, and MartinLogan Scott Bagby and John Bagby have announced the successful purchase of Paradigm Electronics, Anthem Electronics, and MartinLogan Loudspeakers. Scott Bagby, one of the original founders of Paradigm Electronics, continues as chairman and assumes the role of CEO. John Bagby, who has been active in many areas in the business over the last several years, takes on the role of managing director. Paradigm, Anthem, and MartinLogan have a history of quality products and a commitment to the industry. Industry partners across all three brands can expect a renewed commitment on ease of doing business, focusing on enhanced training and support. In 2005, Shoreview Industries, a private equity firm out of Minneapolis, acquired a controlling interest in Paradigm with Scott continuing with a minority position. Together they created SVI Holdings, which then acquired MartinLogan Loudspeakers a short time later. With the purchase of the three brands completed last week, Shoreview Industries has exited the business.
CEDIA Talks at Expo 2019 Check out these free education sessions from leading industry experts taking place on the CEDIA Expo show floor. BY ED WENCK
Join CEDIA at Expo 2019 (Denver, September 10-14) for CEDIA Talks in booth 1301 to hear from top industry minds on critical topics that affect the home tech industry today and what to expect tomorrow. Only 20 minutes long, these free CEDIA Talks will offer crucial insights on emerging trends, new technologies, and strengthening business practices. Thursday, September 12 10:00-10:20 AM From Fire to Photons Presenter TBD Explore the exciting evolution of lighting from filament lamps to LEDs and the protocols that propel it. 11:00-11:20 AM Will Direct LED Replace Two-piece Projection? Michael Heiss, Principal Consultant, M.Heiss Consulting Some pundits are saying that the size and quality of emerging direct-view LED displays may mean the “end of projection.” Perhaps, perhaps not, as both technologies will likely remain viable into the future. Which is best in a given application? 2:00-2:20 PM Mass Sensorization Christiaan Beukes, Owner, Artcoustic SA/ Sphere Custom Design This is a short and sharp, but human, perspective on daily interactions with “harmless” technology, the constant grapple for subconscious control of our information, our wallets, our lives, and the subtle, “smart” subversion of our perceptions. Friday, September 13 11:00-11:20 AM DC Microgrids and Power Quality in the Home Ken Erdmann, Owner, The Erdmann Group LED lighting, USB power, and PoE are just a few culprits creating problems for power systems in the home. Non-linear loads are creating terrible harmonics that affect power quality and efficiency. What is going on in the world to help solve these problems? We’ll talk all of this and new, emerging battery technologies.
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1:00-1:20 PM Go Hyperlocal: Own the Neighborhood, Own the Town (Save on Truck Rolls) Julie Jacobson, CE Pro & Bigger Things, Emerald Expositions Hyperlocal social platforms like Nextdoor (and soon Google and Facebook) allow neighbors to engage, recommend, and spread the word to adjacent communities. Let’s discuss how custom integrators can win the neighborhood. 2:00-2:20 PM WiFi 6 Nathan Holmes, Technical Trainer, Access Networks The introduction of WiFi 6 will bring not only speed and capacity benefits, but a complete renaming of the WiFi standards we know. Saturday, September 14 10:00-10:20 AM What Does AI Actually Mean? Rich Green, Owner, Rich Green, Ink Peter Aylett, President and CTO, Archimedia This session will define the important terms, and explore how the next decade will see a gradual shift towards the previously sci-fi reality of Broad General AI, and how this will affect the experiences and solutions that we’ll be delivering to our customers in the future. 11:00-11:20 AM To Infinity & Beyond: The Scope Creep of Our Business Christiaan Beukes, Owner, Artcoustic SA/ Sphere Custom Design Yesterday, we were wiring for RF technologies and the coming of HD. Today, we’re figuring out multiple streaming technologies. Tomorrow? Taking a glimpse at what is to come can give us a solid foundation for how we could adapt to better cater to the client of tomorrow.
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1:00-1:20 PM Augmented Reality and Spatial Computing Rich Green, Owner, Rich Green, Ink In a few short years, every aspect of our daily lives will be transformed by the Spatial Web. Objects, rooms, buildings, and vehicles will have spatial URLs that allow us to interact with layer upon layer of dynamic data made decentralized and secure with open operating systems that are authenticated by our personal, rule-based blockchain systems. This short talk will tease you with the Spatial Web, aka Web 3.0, and how it will change everything. 2:00-2:20 PM Where is the Video Train Headed? Michael Heiss, Principal Consultant, M.Heiss Consulting Video displays have gone from CRT to plasma and then to LCD, QLED, and OLED, and now DirectLED and microLED. Projection systems have gone from bulky three-tube CRT systems to laser illuminated systems, and now to laserdirect as well. This talk will briefly review the current state of video displays and where it is going in the future. 4:00-4:20 PM Cinema Grades, CEB22, CEB23, and Designer Facts Peter Aylett, President and CTO, Archimedia CEDIA already has a range of recommended practices and other resources that define best practice. 2019 will see all of these updated, and three new exciting ones added to make up the complete picture to define performance grades, engineering specifications for products, and design best practices, then bring all these together with comprehensive guidance notes. n Register at cediaexpo.com
Make Your Bed by Admiral William H.
McRaven (U.S. Navy, Retired) Little things that can change your life ...and maybe the world BY DAV E D O N A L D
Having had the opportunity to sit at the feet of several military leaders, I have discovered some interesting commonalities. At a certain rank, the air gets rather thin. Many can serve and experience a modicum of success in the military, but there are a rare few who have the ability and integrity to lead thousands into battle while considering the value of the individual lives of those they command. The author is one of those men. William Henry McRaven is a retired United States Navy admiral who spent 37 years in the Navy and last served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command. This book is based on a commencement speech he delivered to the graduating class of the University of Texas in 2014. In it he outlines 10 lessons he learned from his Navy SEAL training, and explains how following these principles can change an individual and change the world. Principle #1: Make your bed. A simple and seemingly unimportant task serves as a catalyst for accomplishing great things. Any of you who understands the process of making a tight military corner in sheet and blanket, leaving a crisp, smooth surface on which a quarter will bounce high enough for the instructor to catch it upon inspection, can begin to understand McRaven’s point. Begin your day with a task completed. Not only accomplished, but done to exacting standards. He goes on to explain how this simple act was a comforting standard that followed him throughout his life. As McRaven moves through the other nine principles there is great wisdom and insight brought to bear that applies just as effectively in business and personal life as it does to military training. His clear and concise description of the principles and their application is delivered with just the right amount of military precision and effective storytelling to make this a very enjoyable read. Chapter Three is one of my favorites, “Only the Size of Your Heart Matters.” Here he relates a story of an early morning swim. Gathered on the sand with flippers, mask, and snorkel, the trainees were being inspected by an instructor. One of the recruits was only 5-foot 4 inches and the instructor started in on him. “You’re a tiny little man. Are you sure you really want to head out into that water? Those waves are over 8 feet tall and may very well snap you in half! You should think about quitting right now before you get hurt.” The recruit looked at the instructor and said firmly, “I will not quit, sir!” The instructor leaned in and whispered something in his ear.
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The recruits were all ordered into the water. An hour later, McRaven dragged himself out of the surf to find the short recruit had beat him there. He asked the man, “What did the instructor whisper to you?” The recruit smiled and returned, “Prove me wrong,” he said. It’s these types of experiences that make this book so real and impactful. Hard lessons learned by hard men in impossible circumstances. Men who dedicated their careers and their lives to being the best in the world at what they do. Men willing to put their lives at risk to fight for what they believe in. The culmination of this book is summed up in the title of the last chapter, “Never ever quit.” Standing at attention on the first day of training with the full complement of 150 potential SEALs ready for anything, the instructor barks, “Today is the first day of SEAL training. For the next six months you will undergo the toughest course of instruction in the United States military. You will be tested like no time in your life. Most of you will not make it through. I will see to that.” The instructor shouted with a gleam in his eye. “I will do everything in my power to make you quit!” He emphasized the last three words, “I will harass you unmercifully. I will embarrass you in front of your teammates. I will push you beyond your limits.” Then a slight grin crossed his face, “And there will be pain; lots and lots of pain. “But if you don’t like the pain, if you don’t like all the harassment, then there is an easy way out. Just reach up here and ring this bell three times. Ring the bell and you don’t have to get up early, ring the bell and you don’t have to endure the long runs, the cold swims, the obstacle course. Ring the bell and you can avoid all this pain. “But let me tell you something,” continued the instructor, “If you ring this bell you will regret it for the rest of your life. Quitting never makes anything easier.” Sure enough, at the end of training only 33 of the 150 recruits were left standing. This book is filled with real-life inspiration, toil, and hardship. Its principles will serve you well regardless of the challenges you face. McRaven’s final words are incredible: “Know that life is not fair, that you will fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden, and never, ever give up — if you do these things, then you can change your life for the better... and maybe the world.” n
5 Reasons You Need to Get More Online Reviews Think you have enough online customer reviews? Think again.
TheStrategist Your online reviews will be an incredible force in building the trust part of this equation.
You’ll improve your search engine rankings. According to a 2018 study from Moz, online reviews account for 15.44 percent of the Google Local Pack (the map search results) ranking factors, and they account for 6.47 percent of the local organic search ranking factors. No one thing will catapult your business to the top of search engine rankings; it’s a combination of elements, and online reviews must be part of it.
Word-of-mouth referrals are incredibly important to your business, right? If your business is like most system integrators, the answer to this question is an emphatic “yes.” Online reviews are like word-of-mouth 2.0, and if you haven’t focused on getting more of them, then you need to. Why? Well, let’s jump into five compelling reasons why you need more online reviews.
You gain valuable insight into your business. One of the first concerns people ask me when I mention online reviews is, “What if I get a bad review?” My answer is always the same, “That’s great!” Bad reviews are great for a few reasons. 1. Bad reviews lend credibility to all your positive reviews. No one expects you to be perfect, and if all your reviews are five stars, people will start to wonder whether your reviews are real. 2. Bad reviews allow you to make the situation better. What’s worse, the customer who is vocal about their complaints or the one who tells everyone behind your back? The one complaining behind your back is a killer, and you won’t even know it’s happening! When someone expresses their displeasure, they are giving you the opportunity to fix it. If you take the time to read both your positive and negative reviews, you will start to understand why people love doing business with you, what problems you solved for them, and where you can improve. This is invaluable information for your marketing and your business.
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You can easily differentiate your business from the competition. I just did a search for home theater installation in three different markets. Tim Fitzpatrick is the president of Rialto The majority of integrators I found in Mobile Marketing (www.rialtomobile.com). He the search have less than 10 reviews. spent 10+ years in the consumer electronics Think about all the past clients you industry as a partner in a distribution company before getting into marketing haven’t requested reviews from. Don’t consulting and digital marketing. He helps you think you can get more than 10 small businesses differentiate themselves reviews pretty quickly? from the competition, work with more ideal clients, command a premium for their I know you can! When you have products and services, and make marketing more reviews than your competition easier with consistent, repeatable results. (and a high-quality rating), there is a much higher likelihood you will get the call first.
Online reviews help build trust and confidence. When people see and read the comments of past clients who have had a great experience, it helps reinforce their belief that you can help them. We all choose to do business with people we know, like, and trust.
You can generate more leads. Did you know that 68 percent of consumers are more likely to use a local business with positive reviews? All of the reasons I’ve listed above have culminated to this one. In the end, your marketing efforts should result in the growth of your business. Online reviews will generate more leads for your business and will be the gift that keeps on giving. Do you see how online reviews can really help your business? I hope so! Now what? Now it’s time to get more reviews. The first task you need to check off your list is to implement a step in your after-sales process to request a review from every customer you work with. You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to leave you a review. This can be as simple as sending out an email with links directly to your Google My Business review page (or the other review channels that are important for your business) after you complete a job. Get started today, and I guarantee you will see your online reviews grow month after month. n
“One of the first concerns people ask me when I mention online reviews is, 'What if I get a bad review?' My answer is always the same, 'That’s great!' Bad reviews are great for a few reasons.
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Selling Lossless Audio When good enough isn’t good enough. BY HENRY CLIFFORD
I traveled to San Antonio in early May for the ProSource Spring Conference. It’s a fun event where our vendors bring all their latest toys to show off. This year saw demo rooms from Focal/Naim, ARCAM, JBL, Klipsch, Origin Acoustics, KLH, Polk Audio, and many more. The amount of killer sound on display was amazing, and I came away with a singular message: good enough isn’t good enough. In a world where many are happy to listen to the tinny warbling of Amazon’s Echo Dot, there are still plenty of thirsty customers yearning for amazing sound experiences and superior equipment. I listened to demo after demo in Henry Clifford is president of Livewire, an integration firm in Richmond, VA. He San Antonio, always with the same also writes a bi-monthly blog for www. music. All of the speakers I auditioned residentialsystems.com. sounded great, and it got me thinking. How much of our day to day is spent delivering killer demo experiences for our clients? Not much, it turns out. Our business (and I’m sure I’m not alone) is increasingly about single-room audio/video solutions with speaker bars and very little true surround sound anymore. Does it have to be this way? Of course not. We’re in charge of our own destiny and whether or not we ask a client if they might be interested in something better in the family room or maybe a dedicated listening setup in another room. The truth is, we don’t ask, and we could easily make that change. If today’s consumers are all about experiences, what better offer exists in our world than the escape of true high-fidelity sound? We’re planning to focus on three key areas in our business based on San Antonio’s aural extravaganza:
of our industry. We all have our strengths. I may not know much about wine, but I know what good wine tastes like. All that said, it’s a good idea to understand the fundamentals even if only as a basis of comparison. Your customers will appreciate the plain talk. Common Music Bit Rates: Apple Music: 256 kbps Spotify: 96–320 kbps Pandora: 128–256 kbps YouTube Music: 128 kbps SiriusXM: 128 kbps Tidal: 1411 kbps CD: 1378 kbps Vinyl: 650-1030 kbps (equivalent for comparative purposes only — vinyl is analog only) As you can see here, “one of these things is not like the other.” Tidal is hands down the best quality streaming service (by a factor of at least 4x) out there and the only one we should be using to audition high-quality sound systems. Tidal is like listening to your music in widescreen after hearing AM radio content for the last 20 years. By understanding the quantitative difference between the streaming music most people listen to and what’s possible, it’s easy to have a conversation about quality using examples customers can understand.
Understand It If you’re like me, maybe sometimes you feel like the dumbest guy in the room when hanging around some of the more audiophile members
“High-quality sound has taken a backseat to convenience for too long. We finally have a blend of both with services like TIDAL and can reach out to more than just the audiophile niche.
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Control4's new Smart Home OS 3 offers MQA support — read the full review on page 36.
Show It Before we put a $30,000 projector on display, we didn’t sell $30,000 projectors. After installation we magically began selling better projector gear. The same holds true for great sound systems. It’s not enough to only have a great pair of speakers on display, they have to be backed up with solid interconnects, amplification, power conditioning, and great sources such as vinyl, Tidal, and a player capable of decoding high-resolution audio content formats. Consider selecting a turntable brand to carry for vinyl lovers. Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials all share a passion for vinyl for reasons ranging from nostalgia to a “cool” factor associated with current artists releasing their albums in 33 rpm format. Do records sound better than CDs or high-fidelity streaming? Just like many great debates, there seem to be more questions and opinions than answers. It’s a great opportunity to offer all three and ask which the client prefers. Imagine being able to demo the re-release of U2’s Joshua Tree album on vinyl, CD, and Tidal. Does “Where The Streets Have No Name” sound better on one vs. the other? What a great place to have a conversation with a customer about music. Make sure to have a wide array of physical media available for demo or ask your customers to bring in their own. There’s no better opportunity to help a client than in the context of the music they love. It’s not about you.
Believe In It If you and your staff don’t buy into the jawdropping awesomeness of lossless sound, you’re never going to sell any solutions to clients. Our clients read our enthusiasm and buy into it. If you have a killer sound system at home, in your car, and at your office, your stories about that system will make their way into conversation. I have a set of Polk Audio Stereo Dimensional Array (SDA) speakers sitting behind my desk at Livewire. They’re huge and look like they belong behind the desk of someone who owns a technology business (never mind the fact my wife would never permit them inside our house!). They sound amazing. There’s nothing like occasionally sitting back after work, turning on “Mixed Up” by The Cure on Tidal (in MASTER quality, thank you very much) and floating away. It’s an experience RESIDENTIAL SYSTEMS
you can’t forget, and once you’ve had it, you want more. My experiences with lighting control, multiroom audio/video, and home automation were similar. Once I had it installed in my house, I couldn’t shut up about it and customers started picking up what I was putting down. High-quality sound has taken a backseat to convenience for too long. We finally have a blend of both with services like Tidal and can reach out to more than just the audiophile niche. Think of selling these solutions as an AND versus an OR.
The next time you go to offer a Sonos PLAYBAR single-room solution, ask the client if there’s an area where they might want a 2-channel setup with a Sonos CONNECT ported into a fantastic amplifier and some tower speakers. Control4’s new OS 3 supports high-resolution audio and decodes MQA content. Companies like Mofi make great turntables to play all the vinyl available down at the trendy new hipster record stores. Imagine attaching one of these new 2-channel systems to 20 percent of your new sales at an average $5000 ticket price. For every 20 sales, you’re now generating an additional $20,000 in revenue. Over the course of one year, that could really add up. Lossless audio listening experiences are a great reminder of why we got into this business to begin with. Nothing beats a great listening experience, and your customers will be excited to buy in to your newfound passion. n
A Big Bet What SnapAV’s acquisition of Control4 means for the future of our channel. BY JASON GRIFFING
The recent news of SnapAV’s acquisition of Control4 sent shockwaves through the industry. There’s been no shortage of M&A activity in our channel over the last couple of years, but nothing quite on the scale of this one. As the final details and regulatory approval are ironed out, many are asking what the blockbuster deal means for the industry. It is natural to focus on the potential for fallout in the months ahead. How will current product lines be affected? What impact will this have on future business? What about support for existing deployments? These are all, Jason Griffing is the director of partner of course, valid questions. But they development at OneVision Resources and should not come at the expense of a the co-host of a weekly home technology discussion about the significant longpodcast found at HomeTech.fm term possibilities of this deal. The joining of these two companies has the potential to dramatically alter the professional home technology channel. The synergies between them are clear. Both are well-established. Both have been vocal and steadfast in their commitment to the professional channel, eschewing straight-to-consumer offerings. Both are committed to driving continued growth, efficiency, and profits to their dealers. And both will gain significant upside from joining forces. SnapAV has long been on a mission to become a true one-stop shop for home technology pros. The acquisition of Control4 allows them to plug what has, to date, been a gaping hole in this strategy — the control system. Not only does Control4 bring a robust set of existing solutions to the fold, but also an extensive array of product
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BacktoBusiness and software development resources. Pair these core competencies with those of SnapAV — dealer centricity, speed to market, industryleading e-commerce, and the massive financial backing of their parent company, Hellman & Friedman — and you have a potent combination. Make no mistake, however. The teams at SnapAV and Control4 have their work cut out for them. Integrating companies following an acquisition is an inherently difficult process. In the months ahead, countless difficult decisions will have to be made, each of which will impact employees, dealers, and customers alike. In the end, there will be winners and losers. But given Control4 and SnapAV’s respective track records, there’s no reason to assume the process won’t be handled with deference to those affected. In an email to their dealers, Control4 CEO Martin Plaehn states that the company will, “(1) aim for seamless transitions, (2) support current products in the field, and (3) look to offer products that will be more compelling and easier to install and support.” The smart home as a whole has seen unprecedented growth and evolution over the last five to 10 years. The increased awareness this has created is driving more consumers into the market, many of whom are seeking professional guidance as they rapidly become disillusioned by the false promise of DIY. Many dealers are opting to mindfully observe these trends while they keep their focus exclusively on the high end and/or grow wallet share through expansion into new categories. But others are seeking strategies to scale their businesses by tapping into this growing market or by streamlining their operations within the context of their current target market. For these dealers, the combination of SnapAV and Control4 will offer an attractive option. Success at scale requires one thing above all — efficiency. And that’s what SnapAV’s acquisition of Control4 is all about, both on the dealer side (a virtual one-stop shop) and on the supplier side (pooling of talent, resources, and R&D efforts). The number of mergers and acquisitions that have recently taken place in the CEDIA channel is a sure sign of a maturing industry. Among all of the M&A activity, however, SnapAV’s acquisition of Control4 stands out. The combination of hardware, software, services, and distribution SnapAV/Control4 can provide represents a new breed — not just a provider, but a platform for growing the channel. Only time will tell what this merger ultimately looks like and what impact it has on the growth of this channel. But one thing is for sure: the move represents a bold vote of confidence in the health and longterm potential of the professional home technology channel. n
Delos looks to the custom install market to introduce a new level of service for clients that revolves around enhancing their health through improved air, water, and light quality. By Anthony Savona We have always presented customers with the allure of a better life through technology — through shared AV experiences, through convenient and simple home control, through security and peace of mind, and so on. Those are all valid ways to improve a client’s daily life, but we are on the precipice of being able to give them not only a better home life experience, but a healthier, possibly longer one, too. Wellness is certainly not a new concept — it’s
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not even new in technology — so there is already an understanding of what it means to clients. However, years of unfulfilled promises and fraudulent claims have left consumers justifiably wary. But a company named Delos is looking to change all that with a residential product named DARWIN. And it is using the custom integration channel to do so (as well as as builders and interior designers).
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Meet Delos Delos debuted in 2009 with the goal of providing a healthy environment for the places we live, work, sleep, and play. After seven years of research and initiating dialogues with thought leaders in the building sciences and health sciences, it launched the WELL Building Standard in 2014, and the International WELL Building Institute to deliver it. The WELL Building Standard is a global rating system focused exclusively on the
The Delos DARWIN automatically controls the lighting in the home so that it mirrors the sun. Photos: © Delos Living LLC. Used here with permission.
The Delos DARWIN control tablet. Photo: © Delos Living LLC. Used here with permission.
ways that buildings, and everything in them, can improve people’s comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance health and wellness. In 2015, Delos teamed with the Mayo Clinic to launch the Well Living Lab, which researches how indoor environments can contribute to health and well-being. Delos then turned its focus to residential environments. “I think there was a natural evolution [to the home] because the company is focused on using health sciences to improve the environment that we’re spending 90 percent of our time in — predominantly commercial spaces and in homes,” says Anthony Antolino, chief commercial officer at Delos. “Americans are thinking about how their homes can
You meet with a customer and somebody asks you what’s cool and new in technology. And the response should be, ‘How about solutions that help you improve your and your family’s well-being? How about having it done passively without you needing to do anything? How would you like having your home respond with cleaner air and water, and have the lights help you maintain hormonal balance during the day and at night before you go to bed.’
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perform better for them. It’s on their minds, but they don’t know how to activate their home in a way that can be a catalyst for improving their health and well-being.” Based on its more than seven years of research, Antolino adds, Delos “will help mitigate the environmental concerns in the home across air pollutants, water contaminants, and the impact that light has on our bodies by incorporating circadian lighting.” When Delos approached the commercial space, they worked mainly with builders, architects, and designers, but while those pros also fit in the company’s approach to the residential side, the CI channel is poised to play a significant role. “Integrators are spending an enormous amount of time in the home, and their businesses have evolved from from doing high-end audio/ video to full technology integration,” says Antolino. “It was a natural fit for us to empower the integrators to bring a valuable solution like home wellness to their customer base.” To navigate the world of residential integration, Delos needed a consultant who knows how CI pros think and work. They found that in Jan Vitrofsky, owner of HED South in Hollywood, FL. To call Vitrofsky a veteran is an understatement — he has been in this business for almost 40 years. He has seen his share of trends come and go, but he believes wellness is one that will come and stay. “The concept of wellness in the residential space has surfaced because people are becoming more aware of all the different things associated with health,” says Vitrofsky. “More and more people are seeing the term. For instance, Whole Foods is about wellness, and when you go into Whole Foods, you’ll see marketing and branding associated with wellness. You go into an Equinox gym and they’re talking about wellness. You go to a spa and they’re talking about wellness. Consumers are becoming more aware that there
Jan Vitrofsky, owner of HED South in Hollywood, FL, and pictured here with his son, is an industry veteran who believes so much in the potential of wellness in his business that he is working with Delos to integrate them into the custom channel. Photo by Sonja Garnitschnig.
are things that can be done to have a better quality of life.” Vitrofsky acted as a representative for Delos in the system integration market. He is also a member of the HTSA, and he brought Delos CEO
Integrators are spending an enormous amount of time in the home, and their businesses have evolved from from doing high-end audio/video to full technology integration. It was a natural fit for us to empower the integrators to bring a valuable solution like home wellness to their customer base.
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Paul Scialla to HTSA’s Fall Conference last year to introduce the community to the concept of selling and installing wellness. The reaction was a line of members waiting to talk to Scialla after his presentation. Vitrofsky understands the excitement. “We’ve been selling shading and lighting forever, so there really hasn’t been a fundamentally new offering or narrative to speak with customers about other than what room do you want music and what room do you want the TV,” he says. “This is a whole new dynamic. This is a whole new thing for this channel to talk about.” How It Works The Delos product designed for the luxury home market is called DARWIN Premier. While Delos offers a few levels of product and service, DARWIN Premier operates at a level CI clients
have come to expect. “DARWIN is a home wellness intelligence network, so it is a combination of proprietary software developed by Delos and third-party hardware that is carefully curated from the best in the market across air filtration systems, water filtration systems, circadian lighting, and a number of other solutions,” says Antolino. “We find products that we think will help create an environment designed to improve the human condition, and we have an internal lab team put them through very rigorous review to make sure that they meet criteria based on the latest science. If they do, then they go into our product database and can be used when specifying a project.” DARWIN can operate as a standalone system, or it can work with an existing Crestron automation system, with integration with other platforms such as Savant arriving soon. “We’re intended to be the wellness layer inside a smart home automation system — or, in the absence of a smart home automation system, then we can stand alone and inform the wellness products that are important to the clients’ lives,” adds Antolino. With DARWIN Premier, Delos will work with the integrator or architects and designers to integrate the DARWIN network without making alterations to the layout and design plan. The company requires access to the schematics, but will design a system that works with all the existing ducts and electrical systems — something sure to make those camps happy. The CI Connection As a product, it is clear where DARWIN fits into the residential integrator’s wheelhouse — it involves areas already covered by the industry, including automation, shading, and lighting. But does it make business sense? Vitrofsky certainly thinks so. “You meet with a customer and somebody asks you what’s cool and new in technology,” he says. “And the response should be, ‘How about solutions that help you improve your and your family’s well-being? How about having it done passively without you needing to do anything? How would you like having your home respond with cleaner air and water, and have the lights help you maintain hormonal balance during the day and at night before you go to bed.’ “And all of this for a very small delta shift in price of what you would already be doing to do your home.” Well, when you put it that way.… However, Vitrofsky does admit that wellness is a tough
Determinants of Health
1. Report on the Environment - Indoor Air Quality. (2018, July 16). Retrieved December 10, 2018, from https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/indoor-air-quality#note1 2. NCHHSTP Social Determinants of Health. (2014, March 21). Retrieved December 10, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/socialdeterminants/faq.html#a Copyright ©2019 Delos Welltek Australia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
benefit to demo to a client in a showroom. “It’s difficult to demonstrate other than going into a place that has the air filtration in it, where you would notice the difference immediately,” he says. “And if somebody pours you a glass of water from a filtered tap, you could taste how great it is. But for the most part it’s just verbally describing it to them to get their interest, except for maybe the lighting portion, which you can demonstrate — you could show somebody the circadian lighting and let them know how it is essentially mimicking the sun. That’s very effective.” Also effective is presenting the perk that DARWIN Premier clients receive: membership to the Mayo Clinic Preferred Response Program, which provides 24/7 remote access to worldrenowned Mayo Clinic medical experts, contacts to the global network of Mayo Clinic physicians and alumni, pre-trip planning services (which include travel health risks and immunizations), global medical evacuation services, and an inhome medical kit. As further incentive for integrators to begin selling DARWIN systems, Delos has a certified dealer program. “It is constructed from a financial perspective to work with the channel so that the integrators can buy the solution and enjoy market rate margin such that they can then resell it to their end users,” says Antolino. “We’ve got a very specific program for them and we are training new companies every single month. We have a two-part training program: the first part is sales and marketing training for the sales teams; in the second part, we empower the integrators to become product experts on the DARWIN
system, including product installation and commissioning.” As far as maintenance goes, the DARWIN software can be updated remotely. The water and air filters will require annual replacements, which can be part of a larger recurring monthly revenue plan that provides additional access to the customers. Being Part of the Wellness Wave Both Antolino and Vitrofsky believe that once customers get a taste of what a wellness ecosystem can do for them, they will never not have one, which leads to plenty of opportunities for custom installers in a variety of installation types and budgets. According to Antolino, the Delos plan is to one day have a wellness system in every home — not just luxury ones. “Our mission as a company is to help improve the health outcomes of all,” he says. “Our product suite is designed and developed in a way that can be sold to mass market at the entry level, right through to the mid-market and up to the ultra-luxury residences.” Vitrofsky believes that wellness will become a part of every installation he does. “If offered at a price point they can afford, nobody is going to say no to solutions that help provide a better quality of life,” he says. “Right now we’re dealing with the early adopters in the upper end of the category, but as technology moves very quickly, we’re going to see a shift where this becomes part of everybody’s life.” Or, as Antolino puts it, “A home is not smart unless it’s healthy.” n
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Power Management Some examples of this up-and-coming product category. By RS Staff Power is typically handled well before the integrator gets involved in a job. Still, it is a key contributor to the overall quality of the system, and is more frequently coming into discussion with clients. In fact, the HTSA recently identified energy management as an area of growth for its members. Not surprisingly, Joe Piccirilli, managing partner and founder for Rosewater Energy Group, agrees: “The question becomes how can integrators get involved earlier in the project planning process.” he says. “One way is to become a power quality and energy management expert. Once you have established your knowledge on power protection, quality, and management, you are brought in at the electrical design phase of the project. And you are given a higher priority for space and budget allocation. “By engaging the client in a conversation about power quality and the effects of poor power quality on the equipment in the house, and through presenting a high-quality, whole-house, panel-level solution to those problems, you have established yourself as the power and energy management expert for the entire project,” Piccirilli continues. “Because your solution covers more than the equipment you typically install, you are granted early access to space and budget.” Here are some of the latest product introductions designed to keep your systems humming (but without hum…).
which provides a faster search engine to find customers, locations, and devices; and Advanced ADMIN, which allows users to manage access rights for individuals as well as groups.
BlueBOLT 2.0 Providing integrators with new tools to manage installations and opportunities to generate recurring revenue, Nortek Security & Control introduced BlueBOLT 2.0 IP Power Management at the recent InfoComm in Orlando, FL. This is a major update to its real-time, cloud- and LANbased control and monitoring platform. BlueBOLT can be paired with Panamax and Furman power conditioners, which are also brands under the Nortek umbrella, to deliver the power protection, performance, and management for projects. The BlueBOLT IP power management platform reduces service calls with remote reboots of problem devices; maximizes network health with scheduled power cycles; and self-heals network devices — all managed from anywhere with an internet connection. BlueBOLT 2.0 includes a new UI and additional features such as Watchlist, which enables tagging of high-priority locations and devices; Super Search,
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Middle Atlantic Products Premium+ PDU with RackLink Middle Atlantic Products’ Premium+ PDU with RackLink is a power distribution and management solution. More than power distribution, the Premium+ PDU features RackLink, Middle Atlantic’s remote management system. RackLink allows integrators control either locally or virtually through third-party AV control systems, cloud platforms, RESTful API, and SNMP for flexible management. In addition, it’s developed around Raritan’s XERUS platform, a proven solution for secure networks Available in horizontal rackmount and compact models, the new solution provides under/over voltage, filtering, and surge protection with Middle ILLUSTRATION: ELECSTASY/GETTY IMAGES
Atlantic’s Series Protection (SP). It also provides accurate power monitoring and logging for current, voltage, watts, and power factor at the outlet level. This system insight enables integrators to understand exactly what any AV system is doing at any moment. Helping to curb the problems that heat and humidity in the rack can create, it features enhanced environmental monitoring capabilities with up to 32 individual sensors that can connect to a single unit to keep tabs on temperature and humidity. RoseWater Energy Group HUB SB20 Energy and Storage System We couldn’t start this article with a quote from Joe Piccirilli and not include his product! The HUB SB20 Energy and Storage System is an all-in-one residential and light commercial power quality solution that integrates three industrial-grade capabilities into one ubiquitous platform to serve the complete power quality needs of an entire premise. The HUB SB20 outputs 100 percent pure sine wave power to protect and enhance the performance of all home and office electronics. It also features an uninterruptible power supply with zero transfer time and a large amount of battery backup and industrialgrade surge protection. The HUB SB20 replaces point-of-use UPS strips and boxes with an integrated wholehouse backup plan. The HUB SB20 provides a seamless backup plan for any household. Users can stay connected and online during power outages and shortages with the HUB SB20. The Savant-Racepoint Connection Savant has partnered with sister company Racepoint Energy to provide their clients with a custom-designed, turnkey energy microgrid. Microgrid technology is designed to provide home owners with energy independence during grid outages. Racepoint Energy, combined with Savant’s control platform, takes microgrid technology a step further by being able to dynamically manage all electrical loads and rethink how energy is delivered, measured, managed, and consumed. Racepoint Energy provides design, engineering, and commissioning of solar, generator, and battery systems. Integration with Savant gives users smart energy control, including complete dynamic environmental control of climate, lighting, and other electrical loads. A Savant and Racepoint Energy system is designed to connect to all circuits, allowing the user or conditional logic to determine which modes or devices are needed based on current consumption, pricing, and/or onsite energy capacity. Choices can be made and adjusted using the Savant Pro App and Savant Central Management. Sense Intelligent Energy Monitor The Sense intelligent energy monitor installs in the home’s electrical panel and uses machine learning to automatically sense the electricity in the house, tracking it in real-time. In the Sense app, homeowners can tell how much energy they are using and how much it costs. They can check energy usage by day, week, month, or utility billing cycle. Sense lets the homeowner set goals, track progress, and get alerts at
specific billing or usage levels. Sense also learns the energy “signatures” of appliances so that it can track their usage and energy consumption in real time. Homeowners can see how much electricity they’re using, what time their kids got home, or when a basement light comes on. Sense identifies patterns in your energy use to help customers be more efficient, informed, and secure. Sense integrates with the Phillips Hue lighting system, so you can track and control Hue lights, and also with Alexa using IFTTT, so your clients can ask Alexa to check on their homes.
SurgeX Defender Series The SurgeX Defender Series line includes the SX-DS1011i, a 10-amp/230volt plug configuration with 11 IEC outlets, and the SX-DS-1611i with a 16-amp/230-volt plug configuration with 11 IEC outlets. Designed with patented Multi-Stage surge suppression technology, the Defender Series line protects AV equipment from electrical transients that can cause harmful system disruptions with three-stage protection and filtration that virtually eliminates normal and common-mode electrical noise interference that can cause frequent reboots and downtime. The SX-DS-1011i and SX-DS-1611i models provide comprehensive power protection and conditioning in a compact, shallow, and rack-mountable form factor, with each model at 8.5 inches/22 centimeters deep and taking up only 1U of rack space. Torus Power PB 5 Toroidal Isolation Transformer Torus Power’s PowerBlock PB 5 toroidal isolation transformer is designed to power and protect TVs, projectors, receivers, and source components in compact AV systems. Ideal for isolating digital components from analog equipment, the PB 5 is designed for residential and light commercial applications. The PB 5’s surge suppression and noise filtering through proprietary narrow bandwidth technology (NBT) allow AV components to deliver a high-quality performance. Audio has a lower noise floor, better dynamics, imaging, and bass, and video is notably crisper with brighter colors, deeper blacks, and a more compelling overall image. PB 5 PowerBlock units use a 5-amp toroidal isolation transformer to physically decouple the equipment from the power supply, delivering a lower noise floor and cleaner power for AV systems. n residen tial sy stems.com | J U L Y 2 0 1 9 | R E S I D E N T I A L S Y S T E M S
CUSTOM DISTRIBUTOR GUIDE 2019 From the Editors of
SUMMER 2019 DISTRIBUTORS GUIDE CUSTOM DISTRIBUTOR GUIDE 2019
By Karen Mitchell
volve or devolve. Strengthen your relationships with integrators. Keep on keeping up. Those are the messages from top distributors to others in their lane. Distributors must continue to evolve, says Dennis Holzer, executive director, PowerHouse Alliance. “The good news is that, between reps, factory people, and our presence at CES, InfoComm, ISE, and CEDIA, we are well established in all our territories. We’re always — and I mean every day — looking at new products and adding them where they make sense, staying on the forefront of all categories.” That task is heightened now because tech is moving at such a fast pace. “I’ve been in this business for a while, and I don’t think today’s definition of convergence comes close to what we thought it was years ago when it didn’t even include security,” he adds. “We all knew that cutting the cord was coming, but not at this speed and not to mention what our phones can do now. So we don’t have a choice; our dealers rely on us, and time is money. If they can’t depend on us, we don’t get their business.” The hard truth, explains Kevin Kelly, president and CEO, Stampede, is that if you are a distributor of commodity products that can more easily be purchased online, then you are probably not evolving as a business partner of today’s residential resellers. “That’s a fact that the industry is just now coming to terms with, and it’s going to play an even more important role in coming years,” he says. “The future belongs to high value-added distributors who can bring pre-
sales support, system design, education, new technologies, and better business terms to the table to help resellers grow their business.” Stampede’s own marketing approach hasn’t changed so much as it has evolved, he notes. “More resellers in more parts of the country need to be able to see, touch, and experience the new products and technologies that can help them to differentiate themselves from online retailers. And we’re enabling them to do all of that by increasing and expanding the number of local and regional marketing events we stage all across the U.S. and Canada. We’re replicating the national tradeshow experience in dozens of local events that combine exhibitions, training, presentations, and networking into a single experience that can have big business impacts for integrators in that area.” Stampede also is constantly expanding its North American network of warehouses and upgrading its logistics and IT infrastructure to better serve more customers, more quickly than ever before, Kelly says. “We are committed to providing our customers with what they need and when they need it to complete installations for their customers.” At PowerHouse Alliance, Holzer says the approach brings a change in the way they go to market. “We’re still wholesale, staying true by selling to licensed dealers and not crossing the line to sell to consumers,” he says. “We have changed the format of our warehouses to add bulk areas of from 2500 to 5000 square feet where a dealer can come
in and go up and down rows of product. We still have everything we carry there, as well as a lot more product; they may see 20 TVs, for example. “This is working out well for dealers,” he notes. “Our busiest times are early in the morning and again from 3:00 to 6:00 PM. So a dealer can come in at 7:00 AM and get what they need for a job that day, or they can come by later for a project on the following day.” This requires PowerHouse facilities to have all “just-in-time inventory” on hand. But these product-filled aisles may serve to jog the memory for dealers as they walk through, reminding them of items they may have forgotten until they were on a job. “We have a product specialist at each of our 39 locations to assist any integrators who come in with blueprints or plans and need help with specific issues,” Holzer notes. “And we use end caps in the aisles for new categories and products, highlighting them on a monthly basis.” PowerHouse also distributes its own house brand, A2V, which currently includes AV racks, TV mounts, HDMI, and in-wall, in-ceiling and outdoor speakers, as well as subwoofers. “This is what the market has dictated,” Holzer says. “We’ve developed these products that are made exclusively for us, working with tier one brands. These products have every possible certification and are available at a low price.” RELATIONSHIPS The all-important integrator/distributor relationship factor is huge, Holzer explains.
PHOTO: MINT IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES
WHAT’S IN STORE The issues of future competition and evolving technology are actually linked, Kelly says. “We believe that commodity distributors are having difficulties differentiating themselves and, frankly, are dinosaurs,” he says. “Many of them have already deprioritized the industry’s categories and more will likely do so in the coming years. If you can’t add value, your future is limited in this business.” Stampede, he notes, will continue to grow and expand because it adds the value that its integrator customers need. “And a cornerstone of that value is new technologies,” he adds. “We are constantly identifying and evaluating new technologies; studying how they can be integrated within our product portfolio to actually help drive sales of traditional products and solutions even as they create the new categories of the future.”
The business is maturing with convergence becoming reality, Holzer says. “I believe there will be a slimming down of vendors. We’ve seen audio consolidation and some distributors buying manufacturers. Some of that will continue. We need be on top of our game more than ever because it will be a bumpy ride as consolidation continues. There is a fine line of diversity, and by that I mean that where you once called a guy in to install a home theater, now that install
CUSTOM DISTRIBUTOR GUIDE 2019
“This is because our dealers, more than ever, depend on us to be there for them,” he says. “As factories have fewer people, the categories have increased at warp speed; dealers rely on us to get the information to them so they can turn around and get it to clients.” The goal, he adds, is to have at least one training per location, per month, sometimes a “counter day” on Fridays with a manufacturer. “In the summer we’ll get the grill going so dealers can meet with a manufacturer in that setting. We know that dealers are on the clock, so all our locations offer products within one day and we can UPS product anywhere in the country. In many locales we can offer same-day delivery.” Residential integrators are looking for new ways to beat back the thread of online retailers who only compete on price, Kelly says. “That’s where Stampede comes into the picture, playing an increasingly important role in helping integrators add higher value, higher margin technologies, and solutions that can’t be easily replicated online,” he says. “We help them to add value to their customers by moving them away from the mainstream, where they can’t compete profitably, and to the upstream business opportunities that provide real value to their customers and profit for their business. This is only going to become more important to them in the future.”
may be dependent on streaming, on the network. Not all dealers are trained in all the categories; now they need to be.” Keeping up, he concludes, will require much more from them at a higher rate of speed. “PowerHouse is up to the task,” he says. “We need to make sure that we continue to ask our integrators about their needs. We have tremendous loyalty from them, but they need to complete their jobs. So we need to be best at what we do every single day.” n 27
CUSTOM DISTRIBUTOR GUIDE 2019
As the industry’s leading distributor of security, AV, and low-voltage products, ADI Global Distribution provides the service, solutions, and support needed to help your business grow. ADI represents hundreds of top industry manufacturers and offers thousands of items in stock every day on its website, mobile app, and in more than 100 North American branch locations.
• United States • Canada • Puerto Rico
Brands Distributed: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
22 Miles AKG AMX AtlasIED BenQ Bogen Bosch Audio Bose Pro BSS Crown DBX ElectroVoice Genesis Cable Hikvision Hitachi Pro InFocus JBL Commercial JBL Pro LG Electronics Luxul Nady Systems OEM Wire Optoma
• • • • • • •
Philips Planar Platinum Tools QSC Quam Nichols RDL Revolution Acoustics • Samson Technologies • Samsung Pro • Sharp Pro • Shure • Speco AV • Tascam • URC • Vanco • ViewSonic • Wbox TV • West Penn Wire • Williams Sound • Wilson Electronics …And more!
Contact: For more than 25 years, ADI has been distributing the latest technologies and value-added services to residential and commercial dealers of all sizes, offering the brands you want at the prices you need. ADI has been an indispensable business partner by remaining committed to its customers and supplier partners and continuing the tradition of building and maintaining long-lasting relationships. ADI’s complete line of solutions includes: • Video Surveillance • Residential & Pro AV
•Communications • Fire • Intrusion • Access Control • Central Vacuum • Smart Home • Networking • Power • Structured Wiring • Tools & Hardware • Wire & Cable. Learn more at adiglobal.com
63 Old Country Road Melville, NY 11747
Rob Aarnes President ADI Global Distribution
In the US: For orders, call 1.800.233.6261; US Systems Sales & Support: 1.800.234.7971 In Canada: For orders, call 1.877.234.7378; Canadian Systems Sales & Support: 1.877.797.4226 www.adiglobal.com
CUSTOM DISTRIBUTOR GUIDE 2019
The PowerHouse Alliance is established as a respected national consortium of 11 regional distributors who provide quality name-brand, cutting-edge, high-technology products to dealers and custom installers/integrators across the country.
Individually, each PowerHouse member is invested in their territory, bringing local events, a knowledgeable team, and its own warehouse locations and online ordering. Each month, they also host trainings to give dealers the tools to take on new lines and products from top and emerging brands, with support from the team as they do so. United as part of the PowerHouse Alliance, members bring all dealers the diverse lineup of over 250 brands available, in over 850,000 square feet of fully-stocked warehouse space in 39 locations nationwide. Any location is a one-stop shop for dealers, with stock of products spanning the spectrum of home theater, consumer electronics, IT, security and commercial electronics, from brands including Samsung, Hikvision, Apple, 2GIG, Ubiquiti, Yamaha, Just Add Power, Luxul, KEF, and many more. The PowerHouse Alliance also offers high-quality speakers, subwoofers, accessories, mounts and racks, and more, with high margins from its own house brand, A2V. The group continuously evaluates new technologies and vendors to add to its roster, bringing strong relationships with key manufacturers for added benefit, and purchasing in bulk as the size of the group brings the best prices for dealers. In addition to deals, PowerHouse Alliance supports dealers and integrators with an industry-leading A2V rebate program. When a dealer’s previous quarter’s purchases exceed $500, they qualify for an automatic 10-percent rebate the next quarter. The rebate program includes purchases of any combination of A2V product with no minimum or limit on quantities, from HDMI cables, speakers, mounts and racks, and more. “PowerHouse is always growing, surpassing our goals, adding locations, hosting events, and expanding into new categories and new products, including our own A2V line, all with the knowledge, support, and pricing that benefits our dealers,” says Dennis Holzer, PowerHouse Alliance executive director. “As a group we truly cover all
Regions Covered: • Nationwide
Warehouse Locations: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Anaheim, CA Atlanta, GA Austin, TX Bloomington, MN Buford, GA Canoga Park, CA Chanute, Kansas Charlotte, NC Chesterfield, MO Clifton, NJ Dallas, TX Denver, CO Elk Grove, IL Garner, NC Glendale, CA Grimes, IA Houston, TX Indianapolis, IN Las Vegas, NV Lenexa, KS Los Angeles, CA
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Miami, FL Nashville, TN New Berlin, WI Northbrook, IL North Highlands, CA North Hollywood, CA Omaha, NE Orlando, FL Jupiter, FL Miami, FL Newell, WV Plainview, NY Plainville, CT Portland, OR Salt Lake City, UT Scottsdale, AZ Seattle, WA St. Louis, MO Sylmar, CA Union City, CA
Brands Distributed: 50 states; for vendors looking for national fulfillment, we have also created price efficiencies such as allowing members to fulfill distant orders more cost-effectively by using an authorized partner’s closer warehouse. We’re opening up additional opportunities with larger retailers, buying groups, and custom installers/integrators.” To make product stocking simple, effective, and profitable for dealers, PowerHouse offers categories with reoccurring income streams, prepaid freight options, same day delivery, rewards programs, and members who have expertise across our product lines. PowerHouse has the experience in bringing ease, product diversity, support, and expertise to dealers across the United States, to support them no matter the job type or size. Holzer adds: “Our dealers recognize we are a one-stop total solution offering a great experience anywhere in the country.” Members of The PowerHouse Alliance are: 21st Century, Garner, NC; Audio America, Jupiter, Fl; CED, North Brook, IL; Davis Distribution, Newell, West Virginia; ECD, Houston, Texas; EDI, Portland, OR; KOA CCTV, North Hollywood, CA; Mountain West, Salt Lake City, UT; Pioneer Music Company, Chanute, KS; Sierra Select, North Highlands, CA; and U.I. Supplies, Clifton, NJ.
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2GIG A2V Apple Aruba DaLite Digital Watchdog Eero Hikvision Intellinet Just Add Power JVC KEF Luxul Middle Atlantic Nortek Platinum Tools Polk Audio Russound Samsung
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Sanus Seura SoundFire SoundTube SunFire Ubiquiti URC Vanco International Vizio Reference Series • Wyrestorm • Yamaha/Yamaha Commercial • Zigen …And 200+ more * Not all lines available in all geographic territories
Contact: Dennis Holzer, Executive Director 412.531.2068 dholzer@ powerhousealliance.com www.powerhousealliance.com
CUSTOM DISTRIBUTOR GUIDE 2019
When it comes to succeeding in today’s changing and evolving custom installation industry, dealers have a choice: play it safe and stay with the pack, or jump out ahead of the herd and ride with Stampede, seizing the opportunities that new technologies present and turning them into long-term revenue streams for their business.
Stampede always turns conventional wisdom on its head, pioneering the commercialization of innovative new technologies, platforms, products, and services that make CE systems much more effective — and profitable. Now, Stampede is part of the technology division of DCC plc, a global leader in distribution and a constituent of the FTSE100 Index on the London Stock Exchange. As such, Stampede remains the world’s leading value-added distributor of integrated AV/IT technology solutions that help resellers meet the expanding technology needs of end-user customers in dozens of commercial vertical markets in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Stampede provides a regional network of nearly 20,000 resellers with the broadest range of traditional pro AV solutions from more than 150 manufacturing partners, and leads the way in the creation of the new product categories and related training and support programs that are unleashing the business opportunities of the future: unmanned aerial vehicles, drone video systems, augmented reality, virtual reality, IoT, unified communications, and lowcost videoconferencing. Through its wholly owned subsidiary Just Lamps, Stampede also offers the world’s largest selection of replacement projector lamps. Stampede helps turn ideas into commercial realities that create new revenue streams while adding value and profit to traditional systems. The continued adoption of drones by businesses around the world has become the industry’s number-one new revenue generator. Forward-looking Stampede un-
derstands the urgent need to present the full capabilities of this new technology. So, in addition to drone hardware, Stampede offers a variety of different drone accessories and add-ons, like sensors, video downlink compressions, GPS, and live conferencing capabilities. Resellers can also tailor command and control aspects to a market, with control categories such as personal, portable, xed, video data management, archiving, storage and retrieval, and live video data sharing. From traditional AV products to cuttingedge new technologies and services, Stampede is the one and only high-value added distribution partner ready and able to provide you with the complete solution to take your business into the future.
• • • • • •
United States Canada Latin America Europe Asia Australia
Brands Distributed: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
3Doodler 3M Aerialtronics American Audio Amplivox Atlona Audix Bose Professional Brightsign C2G Canon Casio Christie ClearOne Da-Lite Denon professional Diamond Lamps DJI Draper Dynascan Elmo Enclave Audio Epson Flir HuddleCam Incase Incipio InFocus Joan Key Digital Klipsch Kramer LG Lighthouse Lumens Mantel Mount
• Marantz Professional • Maxell • Middle Atlantic Products • Mustang Professional • NanoLumens • NEC • Onelan • Onkyo • Optoma • Panacast • Peerless-AV • Philips • Phoenix Audio Technologies • Planar Leyard • Polk • Premier Mounts • PTZ Optics • Ricoh • Samsung • Sharp • Sonos • Soundcast • Starboard Solution • Tapit • Unmanned Vehicle Unv. • Vaddio • VDO360 • Vidyo • Yamaha …And many more
Contact: Kevin Kelly, President and CEO 716.817.1711 email@example.com www.stampedeglobal.com
Simple Living It is set-and-forget luxury for this ELAN-automated home in Sarasota, FL. Over the last half-century, most new home appliances have shared the same goal: to save time and simplify home life. From dishwashers to single-serve coffee makers, menial tasks are now largely handled by machines. Today, as one couple recently discovered in Sarasota, FL, the ELAN home automation system can integrate home technologies to offer a simplicity of living that was once unimaginable. “This was the client’s first smart house, and their main objective was to create a living environment that is intuitive and able to learn their routines and adjust settings automatically, with little interaction required,” says Mark Van den Broek, owner of Sarasota-based SmartHouse Integration. “Through the ELAN system, we developed schedules for the home’s lighting, climate, and music systems, so the owners hardly ever need to flip a light switch, set a thermostat, or change a music source. It is truly automated to their lifestyle and daily schedules — it doesn’t get much easier than that.” In the evening, the lush, tropical central courtyard lights up, the LED lights in the fountain and the “living wall” waterfall turn on, and reggae music plays to set a relaxing mood. All of this requires zero action by the homeowners. Then, when it’s time for the kids to study, their study room lights turn on. When it’s bedtime, the master suite lights activate and the main floor slowly dims to dark. Climate settings are also scheduled to adjust throughout the day, guaranteeing that the home is always comfortable and ready.
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“And there are major benefits beyond the scheduling,” Van den Broek asserts. “For instance, if the security system is set to ‘away’ mode at night and some motion outside breaks the system’s virtual trip lines, the upstairs lights turn on, then the stairway lights turn on, then the lights on the affected side of the house turn on. It gives a true appearance of an occupied home. Any security events during the daytime trigger an email that’s sent to the owner instantly.” In addition to virtual trip lines and email
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alerts, the security system uses ELAN IP cameras to monitor and record the home’s exterior. Even the driveway gate is connected and controllable through the ELAN system, with easy access through the ELAN mobile app on any device. Door stations provide video and audio at each entrance, which can be viewed on any ELAN device. Inside the home, ELAN in-wall touch panels and ELAN remotes provide always-on, instant control — especially handy for audio and video functions.
ResiInAction The audio and video is simplified, as well, with all content centralized and accessed through the ELAN interface. That means the family can play their favorite music or TV show in any connected room with easy control from any control device, anywhere in the home. The ELAN 12-channel amplifier and an ELAN S1616A multi-zone audio controller deliver audio to SpeakerCraft AIM inceiling speakers. Video is also distributed from the central equipment rack, using an ELAN GMV88 UltraMatrix HDMI switcher. “Centralizing control and equipment is crucial to this family,” says Van den Broek. “In a home this beautiful and carefully designed, it was absolutely necessary that no wires or boxes clutter the living space. With ELAN we created an invisible smart home solution that completely changes how the family interacts with the home, but doesn’t intrude on the ambiance or decor.”
In addition to the lighting, security, climate, and media controls, the ELAN system also integrates with the pool controls, motorized window shades, intercoms, detection for carbon monoxide, smoke, heat or water leaks, and outdoor motorized lanai screens. The pool monitoring system automatically sends an email to the pool cleaner when service is required. The homeowners never even have to think about it. The brain of the system is the ELAN gSC10 controller, which, like all the central rack equipment, is protected by a BlueBOLT-enabled Panamax power conditioner that ensures clean, reliable performance of all equipment, plus protection from power surges. Luxul
networking equipment provides reliable housewide WiFi, while ELAN integrates the Lutron HomeWorks system for lighting and window shade automation. The smart home system is Flagship-certified with a 5-year warranty on all ELAN and related Nortek Security & Control products. “This incredible home needed an equally incredible technology solution, and we delivered that with ELAN,” Van den Broek concludes. “With ELAN’s ability to add new functionality, and the extra fiber optic wiring we installed to all TV and network access points, this is a future-proof smart home that will dazzle the owners and guests for years to come.” n residen tial sy stems.com | J U L Y 2 0 1 9 | R E S I D E N T I A L S Y S T E M S
Smart Home OS 3 BY JOHN SCIACCA
Kudos Totally free to all Control4 EA-series system owners; vast improvement in personalization; sleek updated look and design
Concerns Not compatible with certain legacy components; Favorited lights and shades just on/off, no dim
Product Specs 4 Totally free update to Control4 system owners 4 Designed to work with all EA-series controllers and T3-series touchscreens
There are essentially three things that comprise a modern automation system: hardware, software, and interfaces. As technology evolves and improves, companies regularly update one or all of these items to ensure systems stay up to date. For more than 15 years, Control4 has focused on professionally installed solutions, and, over that time, the company has steadily improved its offerings across the board, guaranteeing that its systems offer both dealers and end-users the best experience possible. Some key milestones in the company’s software updates include: The addition of FLAC audio support with OS 1.82 (March 2010) Adding native TuneIn support with OS 2.4 (April 2013) Improved native Rhapsody streaming and Composer Express with OS 2.6 (September 2014) Adding native Pandora, Tidal, and Deezer streaming, AirPlay support, and highresolution audio handling with OS 2.8 (October 2015) Integration with Amazon Alexa voice control, an officially supported Sonos
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driver, and homeowner-editable “Wake” and “Sleep” settings with OS 2.9 (September 2016) Adding native support of Spotify Connect, iHeartRadio, and SiriusXM streaming, introducing Intercom Anywhere and homeowner When/Then customizations with OS 2.10 (September 2017) Native streaming of Amazon Music and Deezer HiFi, and a homeowner “Add Music” feature with OS 2.10.4 (September 2018) It’s also important to remember all of these were totally free upgrades for existing system owners, adding features and benefits to help them get more out of their existing systems. I take this walk down Control4 memory lane to put this next statement into context: Control4’s new Smart Home OS 3 is the company’s most significant improvement to the system to date. According to Charlie Kindel, Control4’s senior vice president of products and services, a true smart home OS needs to have robust infrastructure that is reliable and purpose-built for that function, and that unifies devices (lighting, comfort, security,
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4 Offers considerable amount of user customization for the ideal experience 4 More than 1000 enhancements to Control4’s experience 4 Supports MQA audio streaming from TIDAL and local library
entertainment) while providing users with choice and simplicity in operation (mobile, handheld remote, touch screen, keypad, and/or voice control) and needs to have privacy built-in by design. All of this while facilitating professional installation and support and offering homeowner personalization. Welcome to Control4 OS 3! Installation The process of upgrading an existing system to OS 3 is relatively simple and performed just like every previous rollout. Also worth noting is that several older components will not be compatible in systems running OS 3. This is due to OS 3 no longer using Flash, something that has been used since OS 2.0 dropped in June 2010. (Undoubtedly, Steve Jobs is smiling somewhere in agreement, saying, “Told ya so.”) The most significant products impacted are older Control4 HC-250 controllers (which launched almost seven years ago and have been replaced by the EA series) and any Control4 touch screen interface prior to the current T3-series, as well as the original Speaker Point. Having any of these components in a project will “block” a system from upgrading, so it’s a good time to start having that, “Let’s talk about upgrading you to some new hardware…” discussion with customers. (HC-800 controllers can be upgraded to OS 3, however the on-screen display will no longer function.) Once installed, you’ll notice a totally new look and feel to the Control4 experience. But, to be honest, at first, I was a little underwhelmed. Why? Two reasons. First, I primarily use my handheld SR-260 remote control to interact with my main viewing/listening room, and pressing the red “4-button” to access the new on-screen UI revealed it has been a bit pared back with OS 3. While in the past the on-screen display provided a near-identical experience to using a touch screen or mobile device — giving access to lighting, shades, HVAC, security, and every other device in the system — OS 3’s on-screen display primarily presents Watch and Listen activities, along with access to any security cameras. Or so I thought until I discovered the new Favorites feature. But, more on that in a bit… Second, my beta software release (the largest in Control4’s history, by the way), didn’t initially come with any notes or features doc, so I was left to my own devices to poke around a bit and try to discover new things. And as someone who has used the iOS and touch screen interfaces for years, I didn’t really know what I was missing until I saw what I had been missing. But once I did… Glorious! And you know that “My God, it’s full of stars!”
scene from 2001? Okay, maybe not quite that level, but close. So, let me walk you through my top ten favorite OS 3’s highlights, of which there are more than 1000 enhancements. Top 10 Favorites: 1. Favorite Rooms Previously finding the room you wanted to control in a project could be a bit cumbersome, especially on a large job where you hit the room name tab, then scrolled down through the list of rooms in the project until you found the one you wanted, hoping you don’t accidentally pick the wrong one, wait for it to load, and then start over again. Now, you can easily Favorite frequently used rooms and then just swipe left/right through to whichever interface — phone, pad, touch screen — you are using. It’s fast and brilliant. 2. Favorites Similar to being able to Favorite a room, now you can Favorite an activity — a lighting scene or specific light, a music service, playlist, or album, a camera, a watch activity or specific channel…basically anything you have access to. When Favorited, these activities show up as tiles on the Room Screen of your interface, giving you instant access to your most frequently used actions, and saving four or more button presses. Also, remember when I said the on-screen display was limited to basically Watch and Listen? Virtually anything that you Favorite is also accessible, giving you on-screen access to those functions as well. My only nit with Favorite buttons is that any Favorited lights and shades offer only binary control via the on-screen display — they either turn on or off; you don’t have any access to dimming or partial opening. Actually dimming or adjusting requires going into the lights or shades tile. 3. Customization OS 3 kicks homeowner customization up multiple notches. Beyond selecting from a list of pre-generated background wallpapers for any room, you can now add your own image. Take a picture of your kitchen to use as the wallpaper for your kitchen. Or take a picture of your wall finish so your screen totally camouflages into the wall. Or find an image of that ideal “Home and Gardens” kitchen of your dreams and use that. Whatever, the choice is now totally up to the homeowner, and doesn’t require dealer programming. Also, feel free to rearrange the order of your icons or delete ones you don’t need. Want Apple TV or even Netflix to be the first icon? Fine. Also, remember that Favorite Rooms I mentioned above are per device. residen tial sy stems.com | J U L Y 2 0 1 9 | R E S I D E N T I A L S Y S T E M S
So, you might have one set of favorite rooms on your phone, and another on a touch screen, other family members can have theirs, etc. 4. Gesture Control One of my biggest complaints with navigating something like a cable guide or Apple TV interface — or really anything that requires D-pad control — with a touch screen is that you constantly need to look back-and-forth between the screen in your hand and the screen you are trying to control to make sure your finger hasn’t drifted away from the button you want to press. Now, with Watch activities requiring D-pad control, a new Gesture Pad function lets you swipe the screen up/down/left/right and tap to enter. This is the absolute shizz when it comes to navigating with a touch screen and one of my favorite and most used features now. 5. Slider Volume Another of my favorite features? That we have finally moved away from the tap-tap-tap of the tiny volume +/- keys to adjust the volume, because OS 3 now offers a fast and easy slider — with level feedback! — to quickly dial in the level. Also, you can tap left or right of the current level to adjust in 1 dB increments for fine-tuning. #LOVE 6. Active Media Bar If any media is playing when you open a Room Page, you’ll see that front and center along with some basic navigation controls, room power, and volume slider. It’s a quick way to immediately see what is happening in a room and jump into controlling it.
7. Sessions Kind of similar to the Active Media Bar, Sessions offers a quick way to see what media is playing throughout the house. Clicking a Session opens the Media Sharing screen to easily add or remove rooms to a current session, with both audio and video sharing supported based on the distribution capabilities of the system. This also offers a quick way to adjust volumes all around the house, either individually by room, or globally. You can also easily turn off an entire Session, say, housewide music, while leaving another alone — like not disrupting others in the house that may be watching a movie — or use one button to turn off all media sessions at the same time. 8. MQA Support Lest you think OS 3 launched without any music upgrades, think again! Ever since the launch of its EA-series of controllers, Control4 has been striving to position itself as a high-performance audio distribution company. The first step was supporting high-resolution audio files in up to 24-bit/192 kHz quality. Now with OS 3, the company adds native support for streaming high-resolution MQA (Master Quality Audio) encoded music. This is a feature typically found in high-end dedicated audio gear like Meridian, Mark Levinson, dCS, NAD, Aurender, PS Audio, etc. and is something my $4500 preamp doesn’t even offer! This includes streaming better-than-CD quality music through Tidal Masters along with any MQA-encoded music in a local collection. This also unlocks a new “Tidal Masters” tab in your Tidal browsing window, making this the definite go-to music streaming service for discriminating Control4 listeners. 9. Filtering Ever flip through screens of a project looking for which lights might be on, which shades might be open, or if any locks are unlocked? Wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to be able to filter these views so you could just see these items? Yes, it would. And OS 3 lets you easily filter to quickly see what is going on, either in a single room, across the entire house, or just active devices with a single tap. 10. Programming Shortcuts There are a few new tweaks in Composer Pro specifically designed to make integrators’ jobs easier while programming a system. First, Composer now automatically checks for newer versions when logging in, so you’ll be sure to always have the latest version of Composer. There is also a new fast access tab to key programming controls (Else, Delay, Stop, Break, Or, And) to quickly drop into custom programming without needing to click back and forth through tabs. Another great add is a comment box that lets a programmer add some explanation as to why some specific programming was added, helping other installers that follow behind. Finally, a Programming Summary offers a quick view of all room programming in the System Design tab. This is just a rundown of my favorite features, which doesn’t even cover the improvements to how OS 3 handles security, comfort, shades, pool/ spa controls, and more. All of which add up to an overall greatly improved and killer Control4 user experience. And the very best part? IT’S TOTALLY FREE! And it’s available RIGHT NOW! Control4’s Smart Home OS 3 offers tons of upside and upgrade potential for both dealers and homeowners alike and positions the company to continue as a leader in the automation and entertainment category. n
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New Crestron Partnership with Domotz Crestron has announced a new strategic partnership with Domotz, Inc. The integration of the Domotz suite of products with Crestron smart home systems will empower Crestron residential systems integrators to remotely monitor their customers’ systems and better assist them. Crestron will be selling the Domotz Box solution directly to residential dealers. The Domotz and Crestron solution includes the Domotz Pro Mobile app, Domotz Cloud, and Domotz Network Agent. It enables integrators to remotely: view all Crestron and thirdparty devices live on the network; monitor network performance in real-time; receive customizable alerts and reports; detect and troubleshoot network and IP device problems in real-time and preemptively resolve them; power devices on/off or reboot; make programming and configuration changes; and perform network diagnostics, maintenance and upgrades. For more information, visit crestron.com/Partners/IntegratedPartners/Domotz.
Savant Field-Configurable Echo Style Keypads Savant has introduced a new keypad family that adds field-configurability from three to six buttons along with the ability to configure backlight color. Available in both low voltage and line voltage versions, Savant’s new Echo style keypads can control lighting and more within the Savant control ecosystem. Savant Echo style keypads are available in ten different button configurations and three finishes, and have been engineered to be easily read from standing height. Echo keypads are designed to fit in a standard-sized opening, making them compatible with an array of decorative faceplates to suit any décor. Adding further customization, the backlit engraving can be set to one of nine different colors. A built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusts brightness based on the amount of light in the room and includes Wake Mode to increase backlit button brightness when a person approaches. For more information, visit savant.com.
Denon DRA-800H Hi-Fi Stereo Network Receiver Denon has announced its first stereo network receiver with wireless music streaming and 4K HDMI capabilities, the DRA800H. Featuring a newly designed L/R symmetric stereo power amplifier design, the Hi-Fi stereo receiver delivers audio fidelity from a variety of sources while a full-featured HDMI section with 4K Ultra HD support offers the latest 4K and HDR video passthrough capability, ARC (audio return channel), and the full suite of custom installer features, including smart remote management. Boasting AKM 32-bit D/A converters, the DRA-800H features high-resolution audio decoding with multiple lossless file types, including ALAC, FLAC and WAV at up to 24-bit/196 kHz. The DRA-800H features five HDMI inputs and one output, which support 4K Ultra HD 60 Hz video, 4:4:4 Pure Color sub sampling, High Dynamic Range (HDR10), Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), 3D, and BT.2020 pass-through support. The DRA-800H works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Josh.ai, and Apple Siri. For more information, visit usa.denon.com/us.
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Josh.ai Now Works with Barco Projectors Josh.ai continues expanding the power of artificial intelligence in the home by partnering with Barco. The partnership will enable homeowners to use Barco’s high-end residential projectors in tandem with Josh.ai’s voice and app interfaces. After connecting to the network, Josh.ai auto-populates the Medea, Balder, Loki, and new Bragi Cinemascope projector models. There is no limit to the number of projectors in one home, which increases the possibilities for custom installers. The configuration of HDMI inputs is visibly diagrammed in the Josh. ai portal, resulting in a seamless setup process. Once the system is completed, homeowners are able to walk from room to room and naturally ask their Josh Micro to turn on any desired content. For more information, visit josh.ai.
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Residential Systems Vol. 20 No. 7
NewProducts Yamaha Unveils Two New Soundbars with Built-in Alexa Voice Control July 2019
residentialsystems.com FOLLOW US twitter.com/resisys facebook/resisys CONTENT VP/Content Creation Anthony Savona firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Llanor Alleyne, Dennis Burger, Sam Cavitt, Henry Clifford, Dave Donald, Tim Fitzpatrick, Ted Green, Jason Griffing, Anthony Grimani, Karen Mitchell, Todd Anthony Puma, John Sciacca, Heather Sidorowicz, Gordon van Zuiden Production Manager Fred Vega Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban Design Director Walter Makarucha, Jr.
Yamaha has introduced two new soundbars, the YAS-209 and YAS-109, both with native Alexa voice control. The YAS-109 features built-in subwoofers that deliver rich and deep bass in a compact size while the YAS-209 includes a separate wireless subwoofer, providing flexible placement options and even more expressive bass. The built-in Alexa feature provides volume lowering capabilities, which automatically decreases the volume of movies or music to help receive a voice command. The included remote contains a dedicated button to initiate Alexa control. In addition, Alexa can be muted, when desired, or turned off completely when the soundbar is powered down, based on user preferences. These soundbars incorporate Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround decoding, as well as DTS Virtual:X. Both soundbars feature Yamaha Clear Voice technology, which improves the audibility and clarity of dialogue in movies and TV shows while maintaining overall sonic quality. The feature especially shines during action scenes and live sports programs when background sounds might otherwise overwhelm dialogue and narration. For more information, visit usa.yamaha.com.
Stewart Filmscreen Redesigns Luxus Projection Screen
ADVERTISING SALES VP/Market Expert, AV/Consumer Electronics, Education & Pro Audio Adam Goldstein, email@example.com, 212-378-0465 SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to residentialsystems.com and click on About Us, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 1067, Lowell, MA 01853. LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS Residential Systems is available for licensing.
Stewart Filmscreen has announced the re-engineering of its popular Luxus Classic Model A, Retractable Below Ceiling Screen System. Redesigned from the ground up, the all-new Luxus features a sleek, customizable housing, a quieter motor, and an easy-to-access screen assembly that can be field serviced in a matter of minutes. Customized with every order via the new Screen Assistant Configurator Price Quote (CPQ) tool within the dealer login at stewartfilmscreen.com, Luxus is available in completely seamless widths up to 13 feet 3 inches and in a wide array of materials to fit the exact installation and application needs of any corporate, education, or residential project. For more information, visit stewartfilmscreen.com. n
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residen tial sy stems.com | J U L Y 2 0 1 9 | R E S I D E N T I A L S Y S T E M S
Legrand View Having acquired a number of companies with strong residential ties, Legrand | AV lays out its goals. At last year’s CEDIA Expo, Legrand | AV announced the creation of Residential Custom Integration Business that was dedicated to supporting custom integrators in the home technology space and that brought together the company’s brands in infrastructure, networking, and AV systems, including Chief, Da-Lite, Luxul, Middle Atlantic, Nuvo, On-Q, QMotion, Sanus, and Vantage. Here, Scott Gill, president of Legrand | AV, gives an update on the company’s progress and provides a preview of its plans for the future. RESIDENTIAL SYSTEMS: What is Legrand’s strategy regarding the companies it acquires? SCOTT GILL: We generally look for businesses that are leaders in specific product segments. The product segments we target are typically attractive because of growth opportunities or because they align strategically to our existing business — or, ideally, both. The best references on businesses for us to acquire come from our integrator customers. We want to make sure that the acquisitions we make add value to our dealers. In terms of integration, we first want to understand what makes a brand or business special to our customers. Then we build our integration plan around that. Sometimes it makes more sense to combine the new business with other activities within Legrand, and in other cases we take more of a stand-alone approach. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all strategy. We want to tailor our efforts to whatever will bring the most value to our dealers. With the wide variety of brands and products Legrand now offers, what is the benefit for integrators to stay within Legrand brands when building a project? Working with Legrand | AV Residential Solutions means integrators can do one-stop shopping with a trusted manufacturer. That’s because our brands address three major areas of need for residential integrators: infrastructure, networking, and AV systems. Integrators can build a strong foundation with our infrastructure and networking brands, then couple it with our AV solutions to transform smart homes and deliver a truly exceptional AV experience for homeowners. Besides one-stop shopping, there are many other benefits, especially when compared to working with a smaller individual brand: Design services, such as the Luxul Customer Assurance Program, for robust network infrastructure. Field support and in-person training when a dealer enters a new product category. Builder demand generation, with a specialized team creating specifications and pull-through for our installation partners. Multiple shipping locations for faster in-stock service. Expert technical support across a variety of product areas. A collection of specialists with deep knowledge in their categories.
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S Y S T E M S | J U L Y 2 0 1 9 | r esiden tial systems.com
Strong training teams and design services backed by online training, collateral, tools, and configurators. Local support in every U.S. territory. How does Legrand plan on educating the industry about each of their offerings and how they can work together? One of the fundamental elements that differentiates us from competitors is our focus on education and training. Not only do we have a hands-on sales team for whom training is part of the job, we also have a dedicated training team that can both educate about individual product brands and provide broader solutions training on how those products complement each other. We offer in-person trainings, webinars, online training, and certification events, and we’re launching a Legrand | AV sales app featuring all the brands to use as both a training and a sales tool. In what ways is Legrand reaching the channel? Recently we segmented our sales department into various teams to better serve various types of customers. Channel sales, account sales, and solution sales each have their own focus, but the teams come together to make working with Legrand | AV simple for channel partners, buying groups, and integrators. The Channel Sales team coordinates distributor activity with 20 territory sales managers on the Account Sales team to increase frequency of touch to monthly, quarterly, or biannually, depending on priority and size. The idea is to make it simple for the territory sales managers to engage with authorized distributors. The Channel Sales team creates and executes account plans for the top 40 distributors, providing a territory distributor playbook, distribution training, and know-how to help territory sales managers and/or regional sales managers proactively manage distributors. The Account Sales team has extensive customer programs and support tools to help buying group dealers grow their businesses. There’s a design services team to assist with scope of work and billing of materials, and a technically proficient training department to make sure integrators are knowledgeable and efficient at the job site. The Account Sales team is also working with the Channel Sales team to establish a national program that will benefit customers such as distributors and specialty retailers at the local level. Finally, the Solution Sales team is there to educate top-tier integrators about and inspire them to use Legrand | AV Residential Solutions. Solution Sales gives integrators a single point of contact and a direct line of communication to get the advice they need, from the initial project consultation to completion. Through system design support, on-site project support, engineering services, value engineering, and help identifying synergies within the Legrand | AV product categories that could line up with project needs, we provide efficiencies in planning and project management that help integrators increase profitability. n
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