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Business Resources

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to Discuss 3D Content
Unless you have clients who are serious soccer fans or their children really love Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, they're probably wondering what's the point of all these 3D products.

It seems like a new 3D movie is hitting their local Cineplex every week, but the local cable provider still hasn't added any 3D channels to the 700 they're receiving. But you still have to find ways to present quality 3D demos to them.

The manufacturers seem to be taking a Field of Dreams "if you build it, they will come" approach to 3D home entertainment. The televisions, and even some projectors, are arriving swiftly with the requisite eyewear, as well as Blu-ray players and A/V receivers that support the format. But there are only a handful of viewing choices - not including PC games developed to be 3D-ready - available through traditional manners.

DirecTV Leading the Charge
"Everyone is talking about some form of 3D, and…
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Posted by Arlen Schweiger on 09/29 at 09:17 AM
News, Business Resources, Events, CEDIA, Permalink

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Economist: Strong Consumer Spending to Return in 2014
There's good news and bad news on the horizon, according to leading economist Alan Beaulieu of the Institute for Trend Research who spoke at CEDIA Expo 2009 as part of the Niles Audio Business Dynamics Seminar.

Beaulieu says that while the U.S. economic recovery is underway, the recovery will be slow. He says the bottom of the trough, in terms of 5 leading economic indicators, will be February 2010, and there won't be a "re-dip" or double-dip recession.

The Institute for Trend Research says on its Web site that "we forecast economic indicators with 96% accuracy." Beaulieu made the following predictions:
  • The economy will be slowly improving in 2010, but unemployment will remain high
  • Credit will flow more freely, and inflation will be 3 percent by the end of the year
  • The economy will be on the upswing in 2011, and inflation will spike to 6 percent and interest rates will rise dramatically
  • Business…
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Posted by Jason Knott on 09/12 at 08:43 AM
News, Business Resources, CEDIA, Permalink

Friday, September 11, 2009

How Bad is Business? It Sucks
Coming to CEDIA Expo 2009 is a time for integrators to get excited about new business opportunities.

The trouble is that before the show even started, I was bombarded by several integrators telling me how bad business is. It sucks.

One very successful integrator told me this fall is going to "make or break" many custom retailers in his market. He said many companies in his area have already been through massive layoffs and don't have anymore to cut.

"They have one foot in the grave and they don't even know it," he says, "because they are continuing to conduct business as usual."

Other guys are telling me lessons they have learned, including not to rely on contracts with homebuilders, but make all contracts directly with the homeowners, using builders only for access to the account.
Read more
Posted by Jason Knott on 09/11 at 09:05 AM
Blogs, Business Resources, CEDIA, Permalink

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sony Advance Exchange Warranty Policy Good for Dealers
Will the announcements of new custom-friendly programs from Sony ever end? Apparently not.

Sony is making a new dedication to the custom channel in the form of: The latest announcement covers a new Advance Exchange warranty policy. There is nothing more frustrating for integrators in the field than dealing with an angry customer whose system has a glitch. You want to get it fixed fast. Many times, your ability to please that customer comes down to how quickly you can get a replacement unit, especially when it’s under warranty. Dealers need to be assured that their requests for replacement units will be heeded quickly.

In the past, resellers of Sony ES receivers had access to a comprehensive Advance Exchange warranty policy. Sony is now making that policy available to a multitude of equipment aimed…
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Posted by CE Pro Editors on 09/08 at 07:53 AM
News, Business Resources, CEDIA, Permalink

Friday, September 04, 2009

Sony Debuts Dedicated Service & Support Team
On the heels of its newly announced distribution strategy, Sony is also introducing a significant technical support program for integrators and consumers.

Vendors who have enjoyed success in the custom channel have, historically, spent significant resources supporting integrators with:
  • Education
  • Fast and knowledgeable technical service
  • Quality customer service for consumers who support integrators
Strong service and support policies have primarily been characterized by smaller, private manufacturers who only have a small nucleus of dealers to handle.

Until now.

Sony is making a newfound dedication to supporting the custom channel. And it's not just a list of new product SKUs or lip service in a brochure or on a Web site. The company is bringing education and technical support for custom installation companies to the forefront of its Sony Home Audio and Video division.

The most conspicuous parts of the program are two new toll-free technical support lines:…
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Posted by CE Pro Editors on 09/04 at 07:13 AM
News, Business Resources, CEDIA, Permalink

Universal Remote Control to Open App Store
If you can use iPhone's App Store, you can use the new Toolbox store from Universal Remote Control.

A leader in remote control technology, URC is now offering dealers the chance to share their home-grown applications on the company's dealer-only Web site, urccontrolroom.com.

Dealers have been developing their own URC templates, sounds, integration modules, animations and applications for years. And they may never recoup the costs of developing these apps. Now they can sell them to other URC dealers for any price.

URC keeps a small percentage of the sale to operate the store.

Marketing director Jon Sienkewicz says that apps will range from free to $500 or more, "and I suspect many will be in the $0.99 to $9.99 range."

The company will also offer hardware, including replacement batteries, charger bases and cables. All financial transactions are being handled through PayPal.

As with the original app store, URC's Toolbox will…
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Posted by Julie Jacobson on 09/04 at 05:54 AM
News, Product News, Business Resources, Universal Remotes, CEDIA, Permalink

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Simply Reliable Turns Proposals into Control4 Programs
Control4 dealers: How would you like to design a project and create a proposal … and then import the system directly into Control4's Composer programming software.

That's the premise behind a new application from Simply Reliable, developer of proposal and design software for custom installers.

The company's SmartOffice is a popular project management application that takes dealers through initial customer contact, the proposal process, design, project management, labor integration, accounting and billing.

The only thing it doesn't do is program a system for you … until now.

"It would sure be nice if we could take everything we have in quotes and push it right into the [Control4] box," says Simply Reliable's Tom Coffin. "You build the proposal, press 'yes,' and it gets loaded into Composer."

And that's just what Simply Reliable has done.

Control4 drivers are linked to products in the SmartOffice software. Just click the…
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Posted by Julie Jacobson on 09/01 at 06:50 AM
News, Product News, Business Resources, Control Systems, CEDIA, Permalink

Friday, August 28, 2009

Firefly Design Group Introduces Online Portal for Streamlined Interaction with Custom Installer
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Firefly Design Group, a premier engineering and marketing firm in the custom electronics industry, has launched a new online portal used to increase the efficiency of communication and project management with custom installation professionals. Accessible from any location and available at no charge to Firefly Design Group clients, the Firefly Design Group Portal, designed in partnership with designecentral, provides an easy-to-use central dashboard where custom installers can easily order services, organize project materials, upload documentation and project specifications, and receive communications and materials from Firefly Design Group.

“As Firefly Design Group has continued to evolve, we realized that in order to truly serve the documentation and project management needs of the custom installer, we have to streamline the communication process,” said Ron Callis, president and founder of Firefly Design Group. “In addition to offering a central platform where installers can upload and receive documents, and communicate with the team at Firefly Design Group, this online portal helps increase our clients’ efficiency by reducing the…
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Posted by CE Pro Editors on 08/28 at 05:40 PM
Business Resources, Press Releases, CEDIA, Permalink

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What CE Pros Want From CEDIA Expo 2009
We asked integrators what they hope to see at CEDIA Expo 2009, Sept. 9–13 in Atlanta. The answers ranged from "a replacement for Pioneer Elite" to "it's not worth attending."

Here's a sample of the responses:

Searching for Products

"Things like HDMI 1.4, 4K and 3D [TV] will be shown there and I'm looking forward to seeing and learning about those technologies." - Ken Erdmann, Erdmann Electric and CEDIA chairman

"We are not interested in expanding our lines of products, unless we find something to solve a problem like HDMI over Cat 6 that works well and economically. We're watching the IP category; watching what Control4 is doing; looking for unusual accessory add-on type things; watching the iPod, iPhone category; looking for cool low-cost solutions to try to expand our client base; paying more attention to in-wall subwoofers; the hard-drive category is getting flooded but we are considering not doing anything in it because of so…
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Posted by CE Pro Editors on 08/19 at 06:09 AM
News, Business Resources, CEDIA, Permalink

Monday, August 17, 2009

What to Expect at CEDIA Expo 2009
CEDIA CEO Utz Baldwin
The past year has been difficult for the entire custom installation industry. That's why the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) has revved up its efforts to help.

CEDIA is working with vendors to make sure they maintain a presence at CEDIA Expo 2009 in Atlanta from Sept. 9-13 and is exploring new markets, like commercial, for its members.

CEDIA CEO Utz Baldwin briefly outlined some initiatives the association has in place and gave a glimpse into the upcoming Expo.

How would you characterize the state of the custom industry?

Many business owners have told me revenues are down as much as 40 percent. I believe that those Electronic Systems Contractors (ESCs) [who] had solid processes in place and tracked their pipeline will weather the storm and many will capitalize on the situation.

Unfortunately, those who were solely dependent on new construction or…
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Posted by Jason Knott on 08/17 at 06:50 AM
News, Business Resources, CEDIA, Permalink

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