Colorado vNet Here to Stay
Home automation firm Colorado vNet is back 'stronger than ever' with an iPad app this time; dealers willing to give the Russound-owned company another shot.
In one of the strangest CE sagas ever, Russound has decided to resurrect Colorado vNet. Again. For good.
The company says there was such an outpouring of love from dealers of the high-end home control brand that they had no choice but to bring it back.
In a letter to dealers, Russound CEO Charlie Porritt announced this week, “COLORADO VNET IS BACK - STRONGER THAN EVER! We’re moving forward with the product line and have some exciting developments in the works.”
If you missed the drama, Russound acquired vNet in 2009 after founder Bill Beierwaltes closed the business. Then Russound closed vNet “probably for good,” as we wrote in December 2010. Earlier this year, a Canadian distributor said vNet was back, but Russound denied such nonsense. Now vNet is back … probably for good.
Doesn’t Russound think they’ve run out of chances with their dealers and reps?
“Well, we would have had we not gotten the response from the dealer base that we did,” Porritt tells CE Pro.
After Russound announced last year that vNet would cease selling products and just focus on R&D, “we got an overwhelming response from our dealer base asking us to continue selling and developing on the Colorado vNet platform,” says Porritt.
Integrators, Reps Seem Ready to Return
Indeed, the dealers we interviewed really like vNet’s lighting, IP-based audio distribution and modest control capabilities. They seem willing to pick up the line again.
“We have multiple projects to support,” says one East Coast integrator who asked to remain anonymous. “We’ll need more information before we spec. the system again in new homes. We are waiting to see latest pricing as well.”
The dealer, who has completed seven “medium to large” vNet jobs, explains, “We were early adopters and did well with the system as an alternative to Crestron as the recession began to affect our business.”
Since vNet had no iPad app, however, the solution became more expensive than higher-end home automation systems, according to the dealer: “The vNet touch amp was the nicest panel under $4,000 until the iPad came along so that was a main strength they’ve lost.”
He adds, “We can now sell Savant/Lutron cheaper than vNet audio/lighting. That could all change if we started using in-wall iPxx devices for vNet control.”
Other than that, the dealer says, “Overall the system has been pretty reliable.”
vNet says it has an iPad app in Beta testing, as well as a media streaming solution.
Will vNet be rolled into the Russound business? Nope.
“The technology may trickle down into the Russound brand at some point,” says Porritt, “but we will continue to develop Colorado vNet platform and keep Colorado vNet as a direct-to-dealer brand in the U.S. with limited distribution and develop new technologies on that brand first.”
Letter to Dealers
Dear Valued Partner,
COLORADO VNET IS BACK - STRONGER THAN EVER! We’re moving forward with the product line and have some exciting developments in the works.
You requested an IP-Based digital music streamer and an iPad application for easy integration and we have it! We are actively seeking authorized dealers to be part of our beta test program for those new products.
You can continue to specify, order, and sell Colorado vNet products. Place your order today. It’s easy—just email email@example.com.
We are also continuing to offer our Best-In-Class technical support services. Should you require technical assistance, please contact our tech support team via telephone at +1 888.864.0303 or +1 970.203.3737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be making future product announcements as we move forward. Please feel free to show this letter to your prospective clients and assure them that product availability, service and support shall continue.
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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 email@example.com
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