SpeakerCraft Kills Nirv Multiroom AV/Control System

After four years, Nortek subsidiary SpeakerCraft drops Nirv home automation/multiroom AV system based on CobraNet. Layoffs ensue.

Nirv one-wire audio, video, home automation system

By Julie Jacobson
April 30, 2012
SpeakerCraft -- a subsidiary of Nortek, Inc (Nasdaq: NTK). -- has abandoned its Nirv multiroom audio, video and control system after spending four years on the project.

Nirv was to be a whole-house A/V system requiring only a single Cat 5 cable to deliver content and two-way control using CobraNet networking technology. While home automation was a key element of the original system, announced in 2009, SpeakerCraft backed off of that feature to focus on multiroom audio and video.

“Nortek is working very hard to better integrate all of its brands,” SpeakerCraft president Jeremy Burkhardt tells CE Pro. “We found that there was just too much overlap between Nirv and [sister company] Elan.”

Elan Home Systems, acquired by Nortek in 2003, has its roots in multiroom audio and video and is gaining traction with its latest home automation system, G!.

Burkhardt says, “Elan is selling a lot of product, so it makes sense to direct dealers to G!”

Nirv never shipped in quantity; it was released only to a handful of dealers.

“They will all be made whole,” Burkhardt says, indicating that SpeakerCraft will take back products and reimburse affected dealers for any expenses incurred around the Nirv line.

The same can be said about SpeakerCraft’s own personnel. There will be layoffs, Burkhardt says, but “they will be taken care of.”

Burkhardt is personally contacting all affected dealers, reps and other parties. “The most important thing is to be a good corporate citizen and we have never strayed from that mission,” he says.

As for SpeakerCraft, Burkhardt tells us to expect more products around its core audio business. Wireless will be a big push going forward.

Nortek just wrapped up a meeting with the presidents of its home technology group, including SpeakerCraft, Elan, Niles, Xantech, Linear, Panamax/Furman and Gefen. Nortek sold its lighting-control division, LiteTouch to Savant earlier this year.

In 2010, Nortek rolled Niles, Elan and Xantech into a group called Linear AVC (Audio Video Control) but SpeakerCraft was not included in the roll-up.

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