When CEDIA and the custom installation industry was first coalescing in the late 1980s, it was primarily a conglomeration of many lesser-known niche manufacturers serving the market with unique solutions. Yet one well-known brand, Sony, has been there since the beginning partnering with integrators and other suppliers.
“Sony realized very early that its products have to work well with others partners and platforms that are used widely in the industry,” says Jeff Goldstein, head of sales for the CI channel for Sony. “It’s always been our goal to stay very connected to the companies that provide these platforms and services that integrators use.”
That cooperative spirit has remained in place at Sony for decades and continues with vigor today. Sony has an entire team in place that meets nearly weekly to focus on developing and maintaining partnerships with other suppliers. Often the compatibility conversations start at the sales level or bubble up through Sony’s dealer advisory group, both on the consumer side of Sony’s business as well as through its Professional AV division.
In the area of control systems, Sony has several ongoing partnerships in place, including:
Sony has attained Preferred Partner status with Savant, which is particularly valuable for integration of its displays and projectors. The partnership means there is a deeper level of driver development in place for the Savant platform that means when an integrator deploys a Sony component within the Savant ecosystem it is a seamless process.
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It’s vital that Sony stays connected to Snap One/Control4/OvrC solutions, not just as they are released but also during the product development process. Partners like Snap One get early access to Sony products to make the new solutions are tested with their control drivers. That forethought enables Sony to deliver a system that is user friendly and compatible from the outset.
In addition to having technical partnerships in place, Sony also has key cooperative relationships in place on the marketing side. The company works closely with One Firefly on a co-marketing program for its Diamond dealers that targets existing customers.
Sony also has a marketing partnership in place with Kaleidescape, including a limited-time offer that provided a $1,000 discount on any qualifying Kaleidescape media server in conjunction with the purchase of any Sony TV or projector with an MSRP over $4,995.
In another recent announcement of out–of-the-box thinking, Sony and D-Tools announced an exclusive partnership that provides direct access to Sony’s product specifications and real-time pricing through TechData, exclusively from within the D-Tools Cloud environment.
Sony does not just focus its partnerships on leading industry players, but also makes connections with lesser-known solutions and platforms.
Goldstein says Sony seriously considers all cooperative relationships. In some cases, the initiation of compatibility among products is resolved in a quick conversation for a niche product. For the major platforms, Goldstein says Sony likes to stay deeply involved.
“And there is more news to come,” says Goldstein. “We are getting ready to make some announcements on new products and partnerships.”