People & Places

January 11, 2022 · HTSA Announces 3 New Members; Names CATalyzing Communications as PR Firm

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), a custom industry trade consortium of residential technology retail and custom integration specialists, has welcomed three new members to start 2022, the group announced.

The additions are Chelsea Audio Video of Beaverton, Ore.; Integrated AV of Edmond, Okla.; and Opus Audio Video Control in North Haven, Conn.

Chelsea Audio Video has been providing service and expertise to customers for decades and is lauded for their dedication to customer satisfaction. Integrated AV offers a wide range of services to their clients (and chatted with CE Pro about getting into outdoor lighting and audio on the CE Pro Podcast), including HVAC and backup generators, in addition to top-shelf home automation and AV integration. Opus AVC, established in 1990, specializes in multiroom music and video systems, home theater, lighting and shade control and security integration.

HTSA also announced the appointment of CATalyzing Communications, Inc. (CCI) as its PR and social media firm of record effective January 2022. CATalyzing has been a key marketing resource for HTSA since 2016 having contributed HTSA engagement initiatives plus exclusive HTSA dealer and vendor content for all platforms.

“We welcome our three new members who are joining at the ideal time to enjoy HTSA’s ever-evolving programs, market leading training and services, and the many new benefits we have planned for the coming year,” says Jon Robbins, executive director of HTSA.

“Leveraging our unique foundation of ideas and activities coordinated with CATalyzing Communications, our initiatives for the year are set to be even stronger and more compelling than ever. We are energized, enthusiastic and fully embracing 2022.”

HTSA ended 2021 by releasing a new Building Client Loyalty Playbook to assist dealer members’ progress and success. Created by Keith Esterly, chief learning architect, the resource was so well received, HTSA had a second production run in the same month, the group notes.

HTSA dealer members now span 40 states with 150 showrooms across the U.S. and Canada.

More HTSA News: Control4 Recognizes HTSA Members with Partner Awards

January 6, 2022 · Eaton Joins Samsung SmartThings Platform

With a growing number of connected devices in homes everywhere, homeowners can use intelligent technology to become smarter energy consumers. Eaton and Samsung are accelerating this opportunity with a new partnership to extend the home energy management and monitoring capabilities of Samsung’s SmartThings Energy platform. Eaton will integrate its smart circuit breaker technology into the SmartThings ecosystem, enabling homeowners to use data from connected devices throughout the home to make better decisions about their energy use. 

“A key strategic goal of our Home as a Grid approach to the energy transition is enabling a future where homes can be both users and producers of energy,” says Matt Alexander, vice president, marketing, commercial and residential distribution solutions division, Eaton.

“This begins with our smart circuit breaker technology, which helps homeowners better understand, manage and monitor their energy usage. We’re thrilled to join Samsung’s SmartThings platform and extend this innovation to SmartThings users.” 

As part of the collaboration, users of the Samsung SmartThings Energy platform can leverage Eaton smart circuit breakers to expand their ability to monitor and gain insights into energy use from connected technology beyond Samsung devices throughout their homes. Additionally, Samsung SmartThings users can enroll in utility demand response programs where available to allow for more effective and efficient control of energy loads to help reduce their overall reliance on grid power. 

“We are excited about the role that Samsung SmartThings is playing in helping to define the path for consumers to take an active part in energy management and carbon reduction,” adds Samantha Fein, vice president of business development and marketing, Samsung.

“Through our strategic partnerships with the most innovative leaders in the energy sector, such as Eaton, we will continue to expand our platform to address both consumer and builder needs in critical areas like real-time energy monitoring and EV charging, to help drive the future of home energy management.” 

More news from Samsung SmartThings: Aladdin Connect Works with SmartThings

January 5, 2022 · MetraAV Names Nebraska Furniture Mart its Retailer of the Year

MetraAV has named Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) its first-ever Retailer of the Year for 2021. This accolade is presented to recognize a retailer that has shown a strong commitment to a successful partnership and exceptional sales growth throughout the year. 

“NFM goes above and beyond to help improve our marketing and retail presence for MetraAV products sold within their stores and website. We’ve mutually benefited from a partnership reinforced by open communication and strong support to succeed in providing their customers with the best home theater solutions,” says Jessy Crabb, general manager of MetraAV.

This is the first of what will become an annual award presented from MetraAV to show appreciation to a retailer based on sales growth, support, and overall commitment to the brand’s partnership. 

“On Behalf of NFM, I’d like to thank Metra for awarding us the 2021 Retailer of the Year. We are honored by the recognition. We would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our entire Home Theater teammates – our success relies on their dedication, level of expertise and enthusiasm towards a world class selling and shopping environment. Our partnership with MetraAV assists us in creating a positive and informative experience for our customers throughout their shopping journey.  NFM looks forward to our continued partnership,” says David Otte, electronics division merchandising manager of NFM.

Nebraska Furniture Mart was founded by Rose Blumkin in 1937 in the basement of her husband’s pawn shop in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1983, investor Warren Buffett purchased a majority interest in NFM and made it part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. 

More news from MetraAV: Metra Home Theater Group Changes Name to MetraAV, Rebrands to Expand into CI Market

January 5, 2022 · Samsung Joins Home Connectivity Alliance (HCA)

Samsung Electronics has announced its membership in the Home Connectivity Alliance (HCA). Samsung says the HCA is an industry trade group that includes leading manufacturers from the smart home space that aim to promote interoperability and greater safety.

Samsung Electronics is a founding member of the HCA along with Arçelik A.Ş., The Electrolux Group, Haier, GE Appliances and Trane Technologies. The alliance brings together leading manufacturers of connected devices to enhance the compatibility of smart appliances across brands.

“We are pleased to have Samsung as one of the founding members of the Home Connectivity Alliance,” says Yoon Ho Choi, president of Home Connectivity Alliance.

“It is the support of global manufacturers like Samsung that makes HCA uniquely qualified to establish interoperability guidelines for long-life appliances and systems in the home, ultimately delivering safe, simple and elegant consumer experiences.”

As part of the alliance, Samsung will work with other member companies to develop shared guidelines for cloud-to-cloud interoperability, accounting for data security and consumer safety requirements.

For Samsung users, having the company a member of the Home Connectivity Alliance means the ability to operate and control appliances from other brands through its smart home platform SmartThings to make it simpler for consumers to integrate legacy and new devices into their connected homes. Alternatively, consumers will be able to access Samsung devices from other HCA member applications.

“As digital technology becomes more embedded in everyday life, we at Samsung believe that it’s essential to bring greater openness to our smart home ecosystem and empower consumers with more options to create truly personalized home experiences,” comments Chanwoo Park, executive vice president and head of IoT business group at Samsung Electronics.

“We are excited to work with other members of the HCA and will work to make home lifestyles easier and smarter with meaningful innovations in smart appliances and connectivity.”

Building on the partnerships fostered through the HCA, SmartThings will continue to deliver innovations that push the boundaries of smart devices, enabling more consumers to enjoy the benefits of connected living. From smart kitchen features to automated home cleaning and clothing care, SmartThings’ open platform brings together a wide range of cutting-edge devices and services to offer a holistic smart home experience.

The global electronics company boasts that simplifying everyday life through digital technology is at the heart of its smart home innovations. Samsung emphasizes that it is committed to working with other members of the Home Connectivity Alliance to drive the future of smart home technology and deliver meaningful innovations to users.

More news from Samsung: Samsung’s 2022 TV Lineup Includes MicroLED, Neo QLED Products

WiCT 2022 Legacy Awards winners

December 22, 2021 · Women in Consumer Technology 2022 Legacy Awards

Women in Consumer Technology (WiCT), an organization that promotes the advancement of women in the consumer technology industry, has announced the five recipients of its 2022 Legacy Awards. The annual awards program honors women who are changing the landscape of the consumer technology industry through their leadership across all sectors including trade associations, manufacturers’ representation, connected health, and manufacturing.

Winners will be recognized during the in-person annual CES networking reception on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. Location to be announced. 

“We’re excited to gather in person once again and reignite our shared passion for working in and supporting women in the consumer technology industry,” states Carol Campbell, founder of Women in Consumer Technology.

“Adding to the excitement is our 13th year of conducting the Legacy Awards. Every year our new inductees and their dedication to the industry never cease to amaze me.” 

Meet the Women in Consumer Technology 2022 Legacy Awards Honorees:

Jackie Black, Director, Membership, Consumer Technology Association
Jackie Black is Director of Membership at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Black leads CTA’s Future of Work initiatives, CTA’s 21st Century Workforce Council, and the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition. She is a passionate thought leader on workforce topics, frequently speaking and writing on new ways employers can attract, hire, train, and upskill Americans in the tech industry. Black joined CTA in 2012 and served as the corporate secretary. She has a B.A. in American studies from Emory University and an MBA from the University of Maryland Smith School of Business. 

Trayce Blake, President, Studio Décor
Trayce Blake is a business owner with an entrepreneur’s vision and years of expertise who adds comprehensive design-build fundamentals to her role as a designer and manufacturers’ representative. Her rep firm, Studio Décor, established in 2006, is renowned for its expertise in blending disciplines and achieving exceptional results by applying its unique design and architectural perspectives in harmony with well-matched product lines. In addition, Blake and her team at Cinema Décor consult, design, and install a dozen home theater projects a year. She lives in Huntington Beach, California, and enjoys sport fishing and cruising to Catalina with her husband, three grown children, and friends. 

Laura Mitchell, CEO, GrandCare
Mitchell has over 15 years of experience in aging, connected health technology, and remote monitoring for seniors. In 2005, she co-founded GrandCare Systems, a leading RPM, social engagement, and telehealth platform for the aging and disability industry, where she currently serves as CEO. She has also launched weekly aging and technology webinars, co-founded and co-chaired the Aging & Technology Alliance (AgeTek), and started the business development and marketing consulting agency, LMCLLC.us. Laura has been featured in Forbes, listed in Dealerscope Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 and 2021 Top 5 Health Innovators in Wisconsin, and was awarded the 2014 Connected World women of M2M and the 2011 Mary Furlong’s Silicon Valley Venture Summit Flame Award. She recently relocated from Wisconsin to Southern California to open a West Coast branch of GrandCare. 

Janyl Yousefpour, Vice President of Partner and Customer Marketing, Snap One
Janyl Yousefpour is the Vice President of Partner and Customer Marketing at Snap One. She has been part of the team for six years, and in her current role, she is responsible for partner acquisition and growth strategies, loyalty and specialty programs, as well as customer and international marketing. Before her time at Snap One, she was a senior vice president at Bank of America, where she oversaw customer acquisition and portfolio growth strategies for co-branded credit card travel programs. 

Woman to Watch: Brittany Mier y Terán, Partnership and CI Channel Manager for North America, Somfy
Since 2016, the WiCT Advisory Board has been tasked with identifying the up-and-coming women in the channel as candidates for the annual selection of the Woman to Watch. Noting that it looks for the same qualities as Legacy Award honorees, the group selected Somfy’s Mier y Terán for showing leadership, initiative, passion and industry engagement.

More news from CE Pro: ISE 2022 to Host Extensive Thought-Leadership, Training Schedule

December 21, 2021 · QSC Promotes Jatan Shah to President and COO

QSC has announced the promotion of Jatan Shah to president and chief operating officer. In addition, Joe Pham has been named chairman and CEO. 

“Jatan has made a tremendous impact on QSC and the AV industry, working smartly with leaders across QSC to build new capabilities, increase scale and guide many strategic initiatives to success across our growing multi-national organization,” says Pham.

“His persistence, patience, and vision have not only guided our company but also our people to become stronger and more resilient. Jatan exemplifies the company’s core values, which guide our thinking and actions, and is the ideal person to help lead QSC into its next chapter of success.”

Jatan Shah joined QSC in 2010 as chief financial officer and has since taken on additional responsibilities in various aspects of the business. He most recently served as executive vice president, chief operating and technology officer, where he led product strategy and development, operations, finance, and IT. In addition, he currently serves as an AVIXA board member working to shape the future of the association and the pro AV industry. Prior to QSC, Jatan Shah held senior positions with McKinsey & Company.

“QSC is an amazing place to collaborate and create. With some of the most capable and ground-breaking technology in the industry, combined with a talented and innovative group of individuals, we have been able to bring new products, solutions, and services to market,” says Shah.

“As we enter a new year, I look forward to continuing work with Joe, our executive team and founders to deliver on the promise of QSC, to capture new opportunities for our employees, partners and customers, and continue to help guide our company and business as we explore the many new opportunities ahead of us in the markets and applications we serve.”

More news from QSC: QSC Meeting Room Solutions Zoom Rooms Certified

Indiana Lang FIBBR

December 21, 2021 · FIBBR Hires Indiana Lang as U.S. National Sales Manager

FIBBR, a global manufacturer of fiber-optic HDMI cables, has announced the appointment of Indiana Lang as its new national sales director.

The connectivity company says that Indiana Lang will draw on his years of market experience in audio/video sales and custom integration to build FIBBR’s U.S. sales network, and will work closely to appoint dealers and representatives.

“I am excited to be supporting an innovative and industry-leading company,” says Lang.

“I look forward to assisting in expanding their U.S. sales and operations.”

Joe Zhang, product manager of FIBBR, adds, the company is looking forward to working with Indiana Lang to grow its business in the United States.

“We are thrilled to partner with Indiana. He has excellent knowledge of the market, and will be critical to the growth of FIBBR in the US. We look forward to supporting his efforts to significantly grow the business in the coming years.”

Companies interested in discussing FIBBR should contact Indiana Lang by e-mail at emptoraudio@gmail.com.

More news from CE Pro: CE Pro Podcast #86: Our ‘Video Guys’ Pick Their Best of 2021

December 15, 2021 · Platinum Tools Names TMG Western U.S. Manufacturer’s Rep

Platinum Tools, a manufacturer of preparation, installation, hand termination, and testing of wire and cable products, has announced it has named Ontario, Calif.-based Thomasson Marketing Group (TMG) its new representative for the Western U.S., effective immediately.

TMG will handle Platinum Tools’ full line in Calif., Ore, Wash., Ariz., Nev., Idaho, Mont., Wyo., Alaska, and Hawaii, and the appointment will support the manufacturer’s ongoing growth objectives.

“As Platinum Tools continues to grow and add new products and lines to our catalog, we needed a partner with great relationships, great complimentary lines, and a knowledgeable sales and marketing staff to handle our varied and expansive customer base throughout the west,” says Andre Perkic, regional sales manager, Western U.S & Canada.

“TMG fits the bill with a long and successful history. We are excited to get started with them.”

Established in 2003, Thomasson Marketing Group is a sales and marketing firm that provides manufacturers representation and consulting services, while delivering high-quality products and solutions to the low voltage electronics industry.

“Platinum Tools provides a great compliment to the TMG Portfolio allowing us to add innovative high quality cable termination, testers, tools, and datacom installation hardware to our systems integration customers,” adds Jordan R. Thomasson, President of Platinum Tools.

More news from CE Pro: Crestron CEO Dan Feldstein Discusses His Goals, Microsoft Rumors, Supply Chain

December 14, 2021 · ProSource Elects Walt Stinson, Bill Janka as Board Executives

ProSource, a national audio, video and integration buying group, has announced changes in its board of directors leadership, electing Walt Stinson as chairman, and Bill Janka as vice-chairman/treasurer.

The transition of leadership is effective immediately. Stinson succeeds Murray Huppin, former chairman, and Janka succeeds Stinson, former vice-chairman/treasurer. 

“I have loved serving as the Board Chairman over the past 10 years, and I am looking forward to continuing to contribute to the success of ProSource as an officer of the Board,” says Huppin, CEO of OneCall.

“Walt has been my partner as Vice-Chairman, and I am excited for the great initiatives he will bring to the group as the new Chairman. Bill is a CTA leader and an outstanding addition to the ProSource Board as Vice-Chairman/Treasurer.” 

“The ProSource Board is filled with outstanding entrepreneurs and innovators,” comments Walt Stinson, Chief Executive Officer at ListenUp. “I am looking forward to serving as Chairman as we work together to develop and grow the capabilities of our organization. On behalf of the entire organization, thank you to Murray for your strong leadership over the past 10 years, and congratulations to Bill, who succeeds me as vice-chairman.” 

“It has been a privilege to serve on the ProSource Board over the years, and I continue to be inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation of our members,” notes Bill Janka, President and CEO at Mission Audio Video. “I am looking forward to working with Walt and this dynamic Board to grow and expand upon the rich offerings ProSource has developed for the membership. I see a bright business future for the ProSource membership, and will relish being part of that in the role of Vice-Chairman/Treasurer.” 

“The ProSource Board of Directors provides the organization with strong leadership representing decades of industry experience,” adds Dave Workman, CEO and President of ProSource.

“The organization is very fortunate to be guided by the talented executives that have been elected to serve the membership with their focus on the many initiatives dedicated to their success. We welcome Walt as our new chairman and Bill as our new vice-chairman/treasurer. We are also delighted that Murray will continue to serve as a ProSource Board member.”

More news from ProSource: ProSource Trains Its First 25 Lighting Technology Certification Level 2 Members

December 14, 2021 · Ivory Egg to Distribute Nortek Control Proficient, Xantech Products in New Zealand

Nortek Control has announced the selection of Ivory Egg as its newest distributor covering the New Zealand sales territory for the Proficient and Xantech brands. Founded in the U.K. in 2004 and establishing New Zealand operations in 2015, Ivory Egg is a prominent supplier for the commercial, marine and residential custom installation markets in New Zealand.

Ivory Egg will carry a wide range of Proficient speakers and subwoofers and Xantech IR products for integration customers seeking these Nortek Control brands in the region.

“We chose Ivory Egg because New Zealand is a very important market for us, and Ivory Egg is the dominant supplier in the country,” says Horacio Morales, director of International Sales for Nortek Control. “Ivory Egg provides complete, popular product lines and offers expert knowledge to ensure trouble free deployments backed by exceptional support. We are especially pleased to be working with them in this growing market.” Committed to offering “best-of-breed” solutions, Ivory Egg offers a comprehensive portfolio that integrates perfectly into the automation and smart home sector and complements these Nortek Control product lines, the distributor notes.

“We are seeing a significant increase in demand for high-quality AV products in New Zealand as consumers look for connected home solutions,” says Romesh Anandaraja, managing director, Ivory Egg New Zealand. “Bringing the Proficient and Xantech product lines to the New Zealand market will give Ivory Egg customers a broader range of high performing and great value AV products than we have previously been able to offer.”

More Nortek Control News: New Nortek Control CEO Outlines Future Vision