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How Best Buy Inspired AudioVisions’ Showroom

AudioVisions' staff uses a scripted tour in its new "experience center" to ingeniously unveil "invisible technology" for clients.


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For most integration companies, the ability to seamlessly weave functional technology into a room’s aesthetic design is illusive. For many, it’s downright impossible.

Why? Well, because most integrators are technology geeks who only have a vague idea about elegant interior design and architecture.

AudioVisions’ new 2,800-square-foot showroom in Lake Forest, Calif. might just be the first and only showroom (aka “experience center”) in the country where design and technology live in perfect harmony. There are no:

  • Noisy front projectors dangling awkwardly from the ceiling in the middle of the room
  • Gaudy flat-panel displays hanging lonely on a wall
  • Obtrusive wall clutter to control glaring lights
  • Ugly acoustical treatments
  • Boxy mega speakers or subwoofers to stub your toes against
  • Monolithic racks filled with receivers, amps and processors in plain view

To both the trained and untrained eye, when you enter the building it simply appears to be a beautifully appointed residential space, including a kitchen, family room and foyer. So where is the technology? It’s there, but it has been so discretely blended into the environment that even a technophobe client will feel at ease.

The only visible hint of technology is a Crestron touchpanel on a wall flanking the kitchen and breakfast nook. Every detail of the experience center has been meticulously planned to allow AudioVisions’ technical sales staff (aka systems designers) to conduct a carefully produced, step-by-step 45-minute “capabilities tour” for clients.

As the tour unfolds, clients are surprised and wowed by invisible technology that, in some cases, they are standing right next to but don’t know it’s there. The company’s seven-page, 137-bullet script was developed as a team effort, painstakingly crafted and refined by AudioVisions’ sales and marketing departments working closely with the executive team.

“The goal of the project was to clearly demonstrate the company’s brand promise: To enhance and simplify our client’s lives,” says AudioVision president Mark Hoffenberg. “Our vision was to create an experience center with comfortable ambience, a unique use of space, simplicity of operation and creative application of technology.”

Building the Dream

AudioVisions, which was acquired by Best Buy in 2005, maintains its headquarters in a 20,000-square-foot facility in Orange County, Calif. But this is a world away from retail. The facility is located in an industrial and technology park. There is no cash register and no wall of TVs. The company bought the building eight years ago and previously had a smaller footprint vignette-style showroom in it.


  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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