News

Colorado vNet Closes Again, Probably for Good

Russound tried to rescue the home automation/multiroom audio vendor after its "abrupt closure," but couldn't make it viable in the short term; handful of vNet employees to continue R&D.


Russound CEO Charlie Porritt with Russound owner Maureen Baldwin, celebrating the acquisition of Colorado vNet in October 2009.
Julie Jacobson · December 29, 2010

Colorado vNet is shutting down, and this time for good. Probably.

The home automation, multiroom audio and lighting control company announced today that “it is winding down operations and will discontinue the Colorado vNet product line.”

Founded in 2002 by Bill Beierwaltes, Colorado vNet started life as a lighting control system, and then expanded into multiroom audio and whole-house control. The company, based in Loveland, Colo., closed its doors in mid-2009. In October of that year, certain assets were acquired by Russound, a leader in multiroom audio systems.

Russound CEO Charlie Porritt says vNet will “cease shipping products come March [2011] and keep a group of employees at Colorado vNet to focus on R&D.”

He declined to say how many of the Loveland team would remain at the company.

Petro Shimonishi, VP of sales and marketing for Colorado vNet, recently took on the additional role of VP marketing for Russound and may continue in that role.

Russound Opts Against Selling vNet

Did Russound try to sell Colorado vNet before ceasing operations? Not really, Porritt tells CE Pro: “We really see value in the intellectual property.”

What Went Wrong with Colorado vNet
Rep suggests “there must be a deeper, darker story here,” but we don’t think there’s anything sinister about the (second) collapse of home automation vendor. [Read]

Chief among the valuable technology is the IP-based decentralized architecture of the vNet ecosystem. No central processor is required; intelligence resides in the system keypads.

Porritt hints that Russound may incorporate some of the Ethernet-based communications into its own, notoriously analog multiroom audio systems.

“We need to move away from the old analog mix and move to digital,” he says.

vNet holds several patents for distributed control systems, user interfaces and more. (Click here for links to Colorado vNet patents)

While it seems evident that Russound will adopt some of vNet’s audio technology, it appears less likely that the company will add home automation to the Russound line.

Shimonishi says, “Whole-house control and automation will be a key growth factor for the industry;” however, she stops short of suggesting that it would be a key growth factor for Russound.

“Russound as a brand is very well known for multiroom audio,” she says.
 


  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics


News · Colorado vNet · Russound · All Topics
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