Integrator Teams with Mobility Store to Help Seniors Live Independently
Henry Clifford, LiveWire, Richmond, Av.
A wide swath indeed! Livewire has found an unlikely new partner in Mobility Supercenter, purveyor of stair lifts, wheelchair lifts, ramps and other products that help people get around.
With a full-time salesperson camped out in one of the Supercenter stores, Livewire sells home automation solutions for people with disabilities. A kiosk in the store showcases home control with assistive technologies such as sip-and-puff, voice and button devices.
The partnership was born in the Virginia Council of CEOs, where Clifford and Supercenter chief Kaye Crenshaw struck up a friendship. A collaboration made perfectly good sense, according to Clifford.
“They’re an integrator in their own right—converting stairs to ramps, installing chair lifts, etc.,” he says. “There is a lot of similarity because we’re both in home services.”
The first order of business was for Livewire to handle some veterans affairs work for returning soldiers who required home controls modified for their needs. Upon investigation, Clifford discovered that “the durable medical equipment world was using ancient technology. They’re really into X-10 and other older, Luddite products.”
Even the terminology for assistive home control devices is archaic (and arcane). The bridge that links assistive input devices with third-party controllers – Control4 in Livewire’s case—is called an environmental control unit, or ECU. Livewire usually relies on the Primo ECU from Possum, purchasing the product and other assistive devices mainly from AbleNet.
Generally, Livewire submits bids to Mobility Supercenter, which is then free to mark up the products and services as part of a complete mobility solution.
Mobility Supercenter currently has three stores, with additional locations in the works.
“Our plan is to go where they go, build this book of business,” Clifford says.
For manning the first store, he hired someone from outside of the industry with just the right sales touch, Clifford explains: “We wanted someone who had maybe a caregiver’s personality, rather than someone who came from Glengarry Glen Ross.”
LiveWire Assistive Technology display at Mobility Supercenter