SnapAV started out selling peripherals like loudspeakers and TV mounts. But the company has morphed into something much bigger, with major product developments around the smart home. At CEDIA 2016 this week, the company is announcing OvrC Pro, which product manager Kenny Kim calls “one of the most important initiatives in the company’s history.”
OvrC was launched a couple of years ago as a service to help integrators monitor and manage their customers’ smart power strips remotely. And then their home networks. And then their surveillance cameras. And now, with OvrC Pro, virtually anything on the network.
And it’s not just IP things on the network. It’s end devices that connect to IP things … like ZigBee light switches in a Control4 system (soon).
“We have drivers for URC and Control4,” says SnapAV chief product officer G Paul Hess. “Those devices talk to our cloud like any SnapAV device, so now we have visibility to the control processors to see the status and reset remotely. The next step is to expose the devices connected to them.”
For that, SnapAV has a helping hand from the folks at Houselogix, a developer of home automation drivers for … wait for it … Control4 and URC. SnapAV acquired the firm earlier this year for this very expertise.
Other companies do a good job of monitoring home networks and other connected devices today. But SnapAV has a few unique tricks, starting with the fact that it owns so much of the ecosystem, from the cloud service to many of the end devices … all the way to its highly vaunted dealer support infrastructure.
The thing that really distinguishes OvrC Pro from the others is this: “We’re making a commitment to dealers to help them generate service revenues,” Kim says.
Integrators haven’t figured out how to do that yet.
“To me, looking at all data, there’s a growing importance of the network,” says SnapAV president Adam Levy. “The network is a key driver of system reliability, or lack thereof, so there’s a responsibility to be accountable for it long after the install.”
Indeed, integrators need to be accountable, but they also need to make money from that ongoing service. How do they do that when the service is often remote and there’s nothing tangible to the customer?
The answer is to give the customer something tangible. Help them understand what they’re paying for, month after month, year after year.
Consumer App: OvrC Home
What SnapAV is giving the customer is an app called OvrC Home that lets end users see what’s happening in their homes, from the status of their devices to the health of their network. There’s a tech-support element as well.
“Let’s say a client tells you their cable box keeps locking up,” Kim says. “You can set up a command to let them reboot the box themselves. In real time, you set up a macro through OvrC and the ‘Reset Cable’ button just appears on the customer’s user interface.”
That is a service that customers can relate to and, ultimately, pay for, SnapAV insists.
“We’ve heard dealers struggle to sell intangible services that customers don’t understand they need to pay for,” Kim says. “OvrC Home is client-facing. There is an immediate benefit to the consumer.”
Because the consumer is actively engaged with the product and the service, the likelihood is that they’ll keep on renewing.
There’s something else. OvrC Home comes with a box that comes with a price tag. About 100 dealers have been testing the product and the service, successfully selling both the box and the service, usually for a price that includes two years of service.
“The reason they’re successful in selling contracts,” Kim says, “is that they’re putting something in the customers’ hands. We package the solution as a service-in-a-box. It’s designed in a way that dealers can add it as line item. We wanted to let dealers sell how they’re selling today.”
There’s a whole marketing program that comes with OvrC Pro as well. Special collateral and other marketing materials targeted at end users are available to help push the service.
It’s not a trivial matter for the company, which has spent more than $10 million on the initiative, not just for the technology development, but the support infrastructure as well.
In surveys, SnapAV has found that 82 percent of its sizable dealer base expect more revenues from ongoing services over the next four, with a third of those dealers expecting “much more revenue.”
“We have a conviction that this is the right time,” Levy says. “The offering we have, and the company around it, is really important. We think we can actually deliver the promise of getting money through services.”
So here's a question: Will SnapAV go the next step and actually provide the remote service for dealers? Take consumer calls and fix networks before the client knows there's a problem?
Levy wouldn't say yes, exactly, but he did note: “If you look at things SnapAV is good at, service is up there. I think we’re in a really good position to be a managed service provider.”
NEXT: Stay Tuned for More details on OvrC products and services live from CEDIA 2016.
Visit SnapAV at CEDIA 2016, Booth #2110