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Interview: Why Mike Anderson is Closing, Reinventing 3vNet

One year after buying Colorado vNet from Russound, Mike Anderson is closing 3vNet home automation business, launching Automated Control Technology Partners; wireless audio coming soon.


Kiss 3vNet goodbye; say hello to Automated Control Technology Partners, Inc. ... “We’ve budgeted almost $2 million to keep it [3vNet support] going so no one gets hurt. Hopefully we get that goodwill returned,” says CEO Mike Anderson.

Former Russound executive Mike Anderson bought Colorado vNet from his former employer one year ago, but he is closing that business, now called 3vNet, and reinventing the home automation technology under a new company called Automated Control Technology Partners, Inc. (ACTP) ... not 4vNet.

“I wouldn’t say it [3vNet] didn’t work out, because the technology is really very good and we’re leveraging the technology in new product lines,” Anderson tells CE Pro.

The foundation of the original Colorado vNet platform “wouldn’t let us go where we thought,” he says. “We thought starting from a blank slate was the best solution.”

We asked Anderson if lawsuits (allegedly) inherited from Colorado vNet founder Bill Beierwaltes factored into the corporate restructuring. Beierwaltes failed to pay back the city of Loveland, Colo., which had provided more than $1 million in business incentives in exchange for Beierwaltes’ bringing jobs to the area … which he didn’t.

Anderson responded, “No comment.”

A clean slate is just what the industry ordered, according to loyal vNet rep firm Balaton, based in Sterling, Va.

“I think this time it sounds like they just might have a clear page to get to the next level of product without the baggage of old,” says Balaton president Steven Zaboji, who vows to continue supporting Anderson and the team. “As long as I think there is reasonable capital, a good line and good people, then I will make the investment as a rep to develop a market. That strategy hasn’t failed me.”

Indeed, Anderson’s group is “good people” in Zaboji’s mind: “They’re honorable people with integrity and they’re capitalized.”

RELATED: The End of vNet: Owner to Discontinue, Launch new Home Automation Co.

Rather than bailing on its existing customers – as many vendors are wont to do – 3vNet has been supporting dealers from the get-go and will continue to do so through the end of 2013.

“We’ve budgeted almost $2 million to keep it [support] going so no one gets hurt,” Anderson says. “Hopefully we get that goodwill returned.”

New Products Coming

3vNet really hasn’t sold much product, nor shipped anything new, since Anderson bought the company last year. 3vNet mostly has been in “service” mode, saving all the new goodies for the new company ACTP.

The company employs a new team of hardware and software engineers who aren’t “tainted” by the legacy system.

This summer, during Infocomm, ACTP will demonstrate new products that should be shipping at that time.

Although the new products borrow from existing vNet technology—most notably lighting control, distributed audio and energy management—Anderson says the new company will exploit technologies that the predecessor companies never implemented.

“They weren’t using the technology that had been patented,” he says. “I’ve got 16 patents and only one of them has ever been touched. It looks like I’ll have eight or nine new ones.”

Anderson is being coy about the new line, but he says wireless audio distribution will be part of the mix.

He also says that the new system is even easier to configure than the already-simple-to-program vNet line.

“You as someone who has never seen the system before can have it running and programmed in half a day,” Anderson says of a solution with four audio zones, 20 light switches and a thermostat.

Seasoned CE Pros can install it in less than an hour, he claims.

Colorado vNet Packs 70-Watt Amp in Elegant Touchscreen for Multiroom Audio (9/10/06)
Colorado vNet Adds Security, Climate, Camera Control to Lighting & Audio System (8/25/07)
Colorado vNet Gets up to $705,000 to Stay in Loveland, Colo. (2/08/08)
Colorado vNet Retrenches, Despite ‘Record Orders’ (11/03/08)
Colorado vNet Secures Funding, Plans Expansion (5/26/09)
Who Would Buy Colorado vNet? (9/26/09)
Russound to Acquire Colorado vNet (10/05/09)
Colorado vNet Closes Again, Probably for Good (12/29/10)
What Went Wrong with Colorado vNet? (12/30/10)
Colorado vNet Here to Stay (2/18/11)
Russound and Colorado vNet Finalize Structure, Ready New Products (4/22/11)
Russound Sells Colorado vNet (4/25/12)
Colorado vNet Renamed 3vNet (6/18/12)
Why on Earth Did Mike Anderson Buy vNet? (7/5/12)
The End of vNet: Owner to Discontinue, Launch new Home Automation Co. (4/8/13)
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Article Topics

News · Product News · Audio · Distributed Audio · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Lighting · Energy Management · Wireless A/V · Wireless Audio · Vnet · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

3 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by lbaltz  on  04/09  at  11:45 AM

The obvious, unaddressed question here is whether there will be legacy hardware support for the existing deployed vNet systems. 

We can’t blame Mr Andersen for the mess so many people are in, but we can ask for his advice/ best recommendations for people who have tens of thousands of dollars invested in a vNet system that is going away. Let’s remember these systems are not like TVs that can be easily swapped out.  The vNet home’s entire A/V/Lighting infrastructure is built around their somewhat unique wiring scheme.

Should our clients with vNet systems buy whatever inventory is available now to protect themselves in the event of future failures?

Will the new line of products be able to replace vNet equipment that fails without an extensive system rebuild?

Some honest, reality based comments and suggestions for existing clients would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by lbaltz  on  04/09  at  11:59 AM

More Info here:

Please delete if its not cool to link to another publication.

and here:

Posted by Smith92648  on  04/09  at  02:36 PM

Simple solution: Have Jeremy B. announce he is buying it. Include bold warnings to reps and declarations of world domination. Add legal intrigue by discussing non-compete clauses from prior dramas. The PR clones will blog the story to death, the faithful will post dripping praise of the Big Dork and the the exposure will save the brand. You’re welcome.

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