Q&A: Pro Control GM Mike Everett
Mike Everett, general manager of Pro Control, a division launched by RTI, discusses the differences between the two companies.
Veteran control manufacturer RTI recently launched a division, Pro Control, which focuses on cost-effective solutions around remotes, control processors and advanced software with wizard-based PC programming.
So what distinguishes Pro Control from RTI? CE Pro talked to Mike Everett, Pro Control’s general manager, to find out.
Can you explain how RTI differentiates the Pro Control brand?
RTI has a product lineup designed to deliver sophisticated solutions to fit projects of any size and complexity. Pro Control is designed for lower-priced solutions for smaller-scale projects consisting of a few rooms. The control market narrowed over the last few years with the departure of Philips’ Pronto line and the Nevo line from Universal Electronics Inc.
This, along with changes in the marketing strategies of competitors at the lower price points, left dealers looking for alternatives for these installations. We offer simplified programming software for two remote control models, each with an optional matching processor and the ability to integrate the customer’s iPad, iPod and other mobile devices.
Does Pro Control have its own sales and support staffs? What are ways dealers can get training?
Pro Control is staffed with its own customer service and technical support teams. However, we do share a product training staff with RTI, and conduct training at tradeshows and on-site with our distributor partners. We offer live webinars, and record them so that dealers can watch them anytime online. Every integrator has access to our programming software, but they are required to first register at ProControl.com.
What are ways dealers can show remotes to clients without the client asking if their iPads can do the same thing?
When integrating a consumer’s iPad and iPhone, the first thing the homeowner will do is get excited about how cool it is. It does everything the remote will do. However, what it can’t do is allow operation by feel, and it may require many steps and page swipes to perform simple tasks. In addition, a smartphone or iPad battery is a limitation because it may be out of juice by the end of the day - right when the homeowner is ready to sit down and use it. If the iPad is being used for web surfing or the client is in the middle of playing a game, it’s easier to grab a remote to make quick adjustments to the TV. Dealers who point out these benefits typically have success in placing traditional remotes into the project.
How are dealers using the products for commercial installations?
Pro Control has been popular for boardroom and conference room applications. Using the Pro24.z remote controller or an iPad, clients can control the room’s air conditioner, drop the projector screen, turn on the video projector, open and close the shades, adjust the lights, and adjust the audio. Settings can be automated so that one button press can achieve the desired settings for watching a presentation, after which another button press will restore the room for a meeting by opening the shades and bringing back up the lights. Our processor can even be programmed to shut down the entire room every day to ensure that components aren’t mistakenly left powered on.
If a dealer wanted to simplify his vendor relations, how would Pro Control fit into the equation?
Dealers that carry both Pro Control and RTI will have offerings starting at a few hundred dollars. They can step up to RTI when the project is larger, the needs are more complex, and the budget is more relaxed. The programming software for the two brands has similarities and their technological story is the same. This greatly simplifies the process of training employees on programming and installation.
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