Professional A/V Year in Review-An Industry Perspective

Professional A/V Year in Review-An Industry Perspective


When most of us think about evolution we think in terms of slow change over decades or even centuries. When we see change in front of our very eyes, that’s something else. Some might even call it disruption. This would be an apt description of what has gone on in the AV industry over the last couple of years but especially in 2017. Disruption can be unnerving and even scary to some as the status quo changes, but it also can be exciting and the harbinger of positive and exciting things to come for those with vision. Let’s take a 10,000-foot view at some of the changes in 2017 that have accelerated far beyond what we think of as evolution.

From an overall perspective, the Pro AV industry has evolved in somewhat of a traditional sense from local to regional to national and most recently, global in scale and scope. Separating the headline stories of 2017 “mega-mergers” and acquisitions from the realities of the industry, the majority of the Pro AV industry output is still local and regional in nature and can be characterized as small to medium-sized businesses. The headlines do rightfully note the expansion in M&A of companies like AVI-SPL and Diversified and nearing the $1 billion a year mark, unthinkable a few years ago. This depicts a trend at the top end but does NOT mean that the local and regional companies will go out of business. On the contrary, this means that companies of all sizes need to shift their paradigms (change with the times) in order to compete. This requires a new perspective of markets, products and services, as well as business practices, leading ultimately to differentiation answering the question, why buy from us. If we look at the expanded AV universe, according to industry research and forecasting, there is plenty to go around and credible reasons that each type and size of business can and should succeed and grow.

Recognizing the existential changes in the industry, InfoComm in 2017 has now changed its name to AVIXA. Regardless of what you may think of the new name, it describes and defines change. As a side note, we are not talking about technological changes – a few added lumens, nits, or pixels. We are talking about true systemic CHANGE. The acronym itself demonstrates this… AV for audiovisual, IX for Integrated Experience, and A for Association. It recognizes and proves that we are in the first stages of moving away from selling what I call widgets (hardware, simple boxes) and into the realm of solutions and the integrated experience.

Just as the overall AV industry has changed, so have the manufacturers and distributors that serve it. On the manufacturing side, the biggest news was the finalization of the acquisition of Harman by Samsung. This adds audio (consumer, professional, and automobile), and remote-control technologies to a massive list of Samsung display offerings among a myriad of other technologies. While not as large, the acquisition of Milestone by Legrand is significant as well. Legrand, a giant in lighting controls, home automation, electrical and low-voltage infrastructure, now adds screens, mounts, and PTZ cameras to their mix. The point to these examples and several others as well, is an expansion of solutions a given manufacturer has to offer. Tie this together with an expansion of what an AV integrator has to offer along with the new verticals they can serve, and you will see the future of Pro AV. Once again, it is about tactics and vision.

We would be remiss not to mention the changes we have seen in the sales and distribution of AV products. While some manufacturers still sell directly to integrators with their own sales staff or through independent reps, an increasing number have chosen to use distribution. This allows for more coverage of the integrator channel and in many cases, better ROI in terms of the sales expense.

Distribution used to receive a bad rap as simply order takers, but in many cases, this too has changed. Speaking from personal experience having been called upon as an industry educator, several noted distributors have mandated that their sales associates get certified in digital signage with the Digital Signage Certified Experts (DSCE) and Pro AV with the AVIXA Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certification. You are now able to speak to a person who is qualified from an industry perspective and many have taken specific courses provided by their vendors aimed at better serving their client base. In addition, most distributors have product experts and technical staffs on board and many employ outside sales teams that call directly on AV integrators, not unlike what manufacturers used to do back in the day. This is a tangible migration toward full service, total solution distribution.

What we are seeing most clearly in 2017 is the concept of adding value in the sales and distribution channels and ultimately to the end users. We must look beyond the hardware that is sold and see what things we can provide that will solve problems for our clients. Today, a display is a display and in some senses a commodity but when you add a mount, media players, switcher, distribution amplifier, etc. to the mix, you have a total solution. But sometimes that is still not enough to provide differentiation.

Another way is to add value is in the form of services. This may fall under the heading of a maintenance contract or a full set of managed services for an enterprise. Another example is the utilization of partnerships as a service. A partnership between a service provider and an integrator, brings a level of expertise that the integrator alone may not have in house. For example, in 2017 Premier Mounts introduced a new division called Premier Dedicated Solutions (PDS). This group focuses on partnerships with integrators offering design and integration services. The concept of outsourcing and partnerships is relatively new to the Pro AV industry, but these services expand what a company can offer in terms of overall value.

This could not be a review of the Pro AV industry without a cursory shout out to some things techy in nature, so here goes.

A big contributor to everything we do is the availability of what is called big data. It has been a huge topic for the past few years when it started as a popular buzzword. We now have access to mass quantities of gathered data and we are in the midst of the learning curve in terms of how to address and use the resource. It can help us in everything from planning better medical treatments to executing better marketing and sales campaigns. In 2017, we began to see advancements to humanize big data, seeking more empathetic and qualitative bits of data. It now becomes our job in Pro AV to find these resources and suggest ways of presenting them in a more visualized and accessible way. It is the raw material of modern communication.

Speaking of communication, 2017 marks the year that digital signage goes mainstream in Pro AV. It is now widespread, and many integrators have dedicated people and some even have divisions focused on the segment. Why you ask? It is because digital signage, and their content management systems (CMS) are all the rage in nearly every venue that we serve. It is no longer limited to an adverting medium in retail or quick serve restaurants. It is one of the fasted growing verticals in corporations (still the number one venue in Pro AV) and education (number two in Pro AV) with employee and student facing networks and communications. Digital signage has rapidly evolved into providing an overall set of communication tools. If big data is the raw material, then digital signage in one form or another, is becoming one of the primary vehicles to deliver it.

From a “pure” technology point of view of course we are still inundated with mentions of the cloud but that has been surpassed in 2017 with acronyms such as IoT (internet of things). The Internet of Things refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems. Technology consulting firm Gartner projects that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide this year, up 30 percent from last year. And Gartner forecasts that number will grow by more than three times, to nearly 21 billion by the year 2020. As you know, we used to speak (endlessly) about the convergence of AV and IT and ponder when it would come. I hope those that have hung back will now join the new world order.

Looking at hardware advances in 2017, most would agree that the most visible elements (pun intended) are the new versions of display technologies that we now have at our disposal. There has been a growing acceptance of 4K UHD, but it is the promise of the combined benefits of high dynamic range (HDR) in both source materials and displays becoming more pervasive that is most exciting. If we just look at what the human eye can see in terms of color space, current HDTV (Rec.709) lets us see approximately 36% versus 4KUHD—with HDR (Rec.2020) at 76%. If we match 4K created content and a 4K UHD display, the outcome is exceptional.

While content is king, it is the ability of the display to show the content that delivers the goods. In flat panel displays we see the battle between quantum dot LCD technology (popularly known as Samsung QLED) and organic light emitting diode technology or OLED (touted by LG). Each type of technology has its advantages, but the common denominator is that both provide an outstanding image that must be seen to be believed. As the kids might say, we have entered the era of awesomeness in picture quality!

On the two-piece display system side, we have advances in both projectors and screens. There have been numerous 4K products coming onto the market in 2017, but the big story is the migration from traditional lamped based technologies to solid-state illumination. The benefits are significant in that we get longer life than a lamp and reduce the total cost of ownership. Also, the solid-state illumination does not have noticeable color shift over its life of >20K hours. The equally big story of the year in projection, is ambient light rejection screens. They come in various models, configurations, and performance attributes, but they all seek to address the issue of ambient light washing out the image. When done properly it almost looks like magic.

The final technological shout out for 2017 is the growth of direct view LED and fine pitch indoor displays specifically. Most of the major display companies have jumped on this bandwagon with many more “want to bees” that you have never heard of standing in the wings. The sweet spot is from 6MM down to 1.5MM dot pitch. Yes, there are smaller dot pitches under 1MM available and while they are certainly interesting, their pricing and availability keeps them from being mainstream (so far). When we get below 2.5MM down to 1.5MM the images get very interesting. Of course, they are seamless and bright, but it is the video handling capabilities that stand out. Several of the leading suppliers are even capable of handling HDR with 16-bit color processing. For the naysayers out there, this is not a fad, and this is coming to a Pro AV distributor and integrator sooner than many may think.

These are my overall industry thoughts for 2017 with a little technology thrown in for good measure. It has been a stellar year by most accounts marked by trends and events that will surely shape our future. Some may think of these as disruptive but as noted in the beginning, this can be a positive thing fueled by excitement and learning new things and finding new ways to conduct your business. History tell us that most important things have transpired in periods of what could have been called disruption. As I always like to say, the only constant is change. We need to embrace it, learn from it, and apply those lessons to our daily lives. Disruptive? Not for those that see the opportunities and seize the moment. This is the new Pro AV industry of our times. Enjoy your participation!

Your Complete Guide to KMB Clients at CEDIA 2017

CEDIA 2017. This year’s event brings us to sunny San Diego for the largest U.S. gathering of home technology professionals and one of the biggest shows of the year for the residential AV industry, or #AVTweeps, as the social sphere calls the collective “us.”

Follow the #AVTweeps hashtag as well as #CEDIA17, #KMBClientNews, and #KMBClientWins, for all the excitement live from the CEDIA show floor and after hours events September 7 – 9, 2017. As we take to the social channels—and hit the show floor of the San Diego Convention Center—keep reading for the CEDIA news you need to know.

While we’ve been planning and preparing alongside our clients for CEDIA all year, as the show nears, it’s hard to contain our excitement. Alas, we can hold our silence no longer. Fortunately, we don’t have to! The news is distributed. The press kits are live. And the KMB CEDIA Overview is published below.

Make sure to follow @KMB_Comm on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook and connect with us on LinkedIn to see the breaking news and live photos from the CEDIA show floor.

Read on for all you need to know!

Logo for Azione Unlimited - KMB

Azione Unlimited

Azione Unlimited, the audio-video industry’s only education and buying group made up of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers, will have a wide-spread presence at CEDIA 2017, both in its membership and with the attendance of its president Richard Glikes.

Fresh from announcing the winners of the Azione Unlimited Motivational Contest via Facebook Live, Richard Glikes will be cheering on the Azione members nominated for the prestigious CEDIA Americas Award. Of the 14 U.S.-based CEDIA Award Finalists, nine of those nominated are active Azione members.

Winners will be announced at the CEDIA Awards Celebration in San Diego on September 6 on the deck of the U.S.S. Midway (an amazing bit of history that you absolutely should visit! One of our very own team members spent a lot of her teenage years on the carrier). Prior to the awards, Azione will host a members-only cocktail party on the San Diego Waterfront, giving members and opportunity to relax and mingle before the show floor opens Thursday. 

Logo of D-Tools Logo, makers of System Integration Software

D-Tools – #3035

D-Tools enhances the System Integrator platform annually to maintain its standing as the go-to, end-to-end tool for integrators, designers, consultants, and home technology professionals. This year brings a number of added features and upgrades designed to help integrators increase productivity, streamline business processes, and improve engagement with their customers. The new Mobile Quote 2.0 offers enhanced functionality, and a new cloud-based customer portal improves customer engagement, while more third-party integrations are just some of the many platform updates CEDIA attendees can experience live. The new Business Intelligence engine and the Project Wizard give integrators more of what they need to enhance productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

Experience the new features that help SI 2017 streamline business functions, allowing for an optimized work flow from quote to finish and witness a preview of D-Tools’ Cloud Platform during a Preview Party being held in D-Tools ‘ booth #3035 on Friday, September 8, at 3 pm.PT. R.S.V.P. for the reception and get a chance to win an iPad pro here.

Logo for Datasat Digital - KMBDatasat Digital Entertainment – #3335

The acquisition of Datasat by ATI made exciting news at the end of July, and the announcement of a demonstration touting the combined power of ATI, Theta, and Datasat makes CEDIA attendance even more of a must for integrators. Long the reference standard for high-end home theater audio, Datasat products will be present in more than just the ATI booth: PMC, RBH, and the Dynaudio suite are also using Datasat’s acclaimed products, demonstrating how Datasat can boost performance and deliver an immersive and emotional entertainment experience.

Additionally, Datasat will be showcasing the RS210i and LS10 Digital Audio Processors, now with DTS:X onboard, in booth #3335.The RS20i is a versatile, customizable, and feature-rich processor that now supports DTS:X, a well as Auro 3D and Dolby Atmos, providing accurate sound reproduction in any environment. It also provides Dirac® live room optimization technology, the most advanced impulse response correction available. Calibration by Datasat’s engineers takes the sound in any application to the next level of immersion and excellence.

Experience Datasat during CEDIA in booth #3335.

Logo for Fortress SeatingFortress Seating – #4600

Fortress Seating offers the most comfortable booth at any show, with stylish luxury seating in a variety of configurations and models. Remember, what you see at the booth is only a small representation of Fortress Seating’s offerings. Fortress models are custom-designed and built-to-order with the customer’s choice of accessories, fabric, and features, including motorized seats that adjust height for the perfect sightlines or the new Smart Chair technology that turns any seat into the smartest device in your home.

On display in booth #4600 during CEDIA, you can view the Smart Chair technology in action, the ever-popular front-row solution Lotus Chair, and the contemporary, European-styled Odeon, a Sheba Kwan exclusive. Also check out the exciting AirFlo, a sleek re-do of the retro sensation.

While you’re in San Diego, Fortress Seating recommends a visit to The LOT commercial cinemas with locations in La Jolla and Liberty Station. Recently outfitted with Bijou model chairs, you can’t watch a movie in more comfort.

Logo for ihiji - KMB PRsIhiji – #3329

Ihiji celebrates CEDIA 2017 with the introduction of a new RSM platform, a hardware appliance that is robust and flexible, third-party integrations and additions to the Ihiji Vendor Insights Program (VIP). Ihiji ProVue is the union of Ihiji’s two award-winning products, Invision and ServiceManager, focusing on a powerful yet intuitive solution for lifelong customer service and support of smart home and connected devices. The CEDIA launch of Ihiji ProVue allows technology professionals to remotely monitor, manage and support client’s technology in a completely refreshed user experience. The new APP-750 remote systems management appliance is designed to accommodate both Ihiji Invision and ProVue licensing plans, including the Invision Lite service level, which provides for remote management with no additional per-site monthly fees.

In addition, Ihiji Co-Founder, VP of Product, and 2016 CEDIA Training Volunteer of the Year Michael Maniscalco will lead five different Learning Labs and Workshops during the show.

Stop by Ihiji booth #3329 at CEDIA for more information.

KMB - Logo for Leon SpeakersLeon Speakers – #5300

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Leon Speakers bursts into San Diego (in a refurbished 1967 Airstream Trailer, no less) to unveil a variety of brand new products that both prove their commitment to the high-fidelity audio market and their passion for developing groundbreaking, custom AV solutions.

Leon’s SEVEN series is the company’s flagship speaker line that provides audiophile-quality performance in a minimalist, contemporary design. Using world-class, exclusive components and high-end, handcrafted materials, the new SEVEN series will offer models ranging from soundbars to architectural surrounds, to the brand new Timbre SEVEN bookshelf speaker.

To keep the celebration going outside of the Show, Leon’s President & Founder, Noah Kaplan, will participate in one of his signature “live painting” charity events, and the company will also host a private cruise around San Diego Harbor for their dealers and industry partners, which will feature a live “Leon Loft” performance by the popular Nashville duo, Johnnyswim.

Visit Leon in booth #5300 to see the SEVEN Series and more.

Meridian Audio LogoMeridian Audio – #4329

Meridian Audio has been crafting elegant, moving audio experiences since 1977, and with the introduction of two new controllers and more in CEDIA booth #4329 this year, they extend their decades-long reputation for audio excellence.

Proudly introducing the new 251 powered zone controller and the 271 digital theater controller, Meridian not only expands its popular 200 Series but also gives technology integrators the ability and confidence to deliver the most exceptional immersive home cinema and musical experiences to their customers.

Designed to integrate any analog or digital AV processor with Meridian’s renowned Digital Signal Processing (DSP) loudspeakers, the 271 controller offers premium performance options as streaming, especially the streaming of high-resolution audio, grows more and more popular.

The 251 is a two-channel, compact Powered Zone Controller that is enabled for high-resolution audio, including MQA, acting as an integrated amplifier. Offering support for Sooloos and Roon, the 251 is an incredibly flexible solution for integrators dealing with jitter, poor-quality sound, and messy codecs. Suitable for a wide variety of applications, the 251 pairs seamlessly with a broad range of analog speakers. A 4K streamer also makes its debut, plus more that’s not to be missed.

Hugo Fitzjohn, Meridian’s Technical Education Manager, will be educating attendees on behalf of CEDIA with the training session “Making the Most of Hi-Res in the Theatre” on September 7.

CEDIA attendees are invited to join the Meridian team in celebrating the company’s 40th Anniversary with a drinks reception and networking on September 8 from 3 to 5 PM, PST. To learn more about high-resolution audio, new products, and Meridian’s complimentary Design and Specification Service, stop by booth #4320 any time during show hours.

Logo for OneVision ResourcesOneVision Resources – #3329

OneVision Resources, a leading provider of smart home service solutions, seeks to educate and enrich the CEDIA community with CEDIA workshops and the introduction of an e-book, The Insider’s Guide to Remote Systems Management: A comprehensive analysis of modern RSM Platforms for Technology Managers.

At CEDIA booth #3329, the OneVision executive team will, additionally, share insights into service-based business models. When OneVision launched its white label services in 2016, it revolutionized the smart home experience for integrators and consumers alike by providing instant, high-quality, 24/7 support.

OneVision will showcase its new and enhanced offering, the fastest, most cost-effective way to provide smart home clients with a world-class service experience. OneVision provides RMR marketing engines, ticketing software, advanced notification, and on-call management tools helping integrators generate recurring revenue while avoiding the burnout and frustration that often comes with the territory of providing exemplary service to customers.

Additionally, with the introduction of the OneVision Partner Development Group, OneVision is developing the first-of-its-kind playbook on how to convert any home technology business into a service-first company. These tools help OneVision Partners deliver an unparalleled service experience, which leads to improved profit margins and generates RMR through premium support memberships.

Stop by booth #3329 to see how OneVision is reshaping the industry with a service-first culture and offering.

RAYVA company logoRAYVA – #1537

Since RAYVA launched earlier this year after debuting its offering during CEDIA last year, the team has been reimagining home theater design and installation with turnkey, pre-engineered luxury home theater packages. This year brings an expansion of their turnkey theater packages, as well as additions to their design offerings, all with the goal of providing home technology professionals with a fast & easy way to sell and integrate home theater systems to earn generous profits.

RAYVA’s new Diamond and Titanium systems offer higher-end complements to the current Gold and Platinum systems, while the Illuminations and Origami designs are stunning new additions to RAYVA’s collection of exclusive, curated design options.

All RAYVA turnkey theater packages include professional acoustical design and engineering by the CEDIA industry’s top acousticians and AV experts, equipment calibration, and parts warranty per manufacturer specifications for each component.  RAYVA also simplifies the sales effort by providing the support home technology professionals need to ensure a successful home theater installation. Dealers can earn a generous commission on the sale of the home theater as well on its installation because RAYVA’s turnkey packages provide them with a proven, repeatable, predictable process for the sales, design, and installation.

In turn, dealers can offer luxury theaters that immerse, entertain, and exceed their customers’ expectations.

RAYVA is also offering educational sessions at CEDIA, as well as the official launch of their new blog for home technology professionals, their customers, and anyone passionate about entertainment, and a “Show Us Your Plans” promotion. Read here for more information and visit RAYVA at booth #1537.

Logo for Award-Winning Stewart Filmscreen

Stewart Filmscreen – #5329

This year at CEDIA, Stewart Filmscreen launches three new screens, while showcasing several other award-winning models. The  Gemini™ dual roller ElectriScreen, designed to provide the best image in all viewing environments, as well as the Balόn™ Borderless and Cascade™ all make their residential debut, while others like Phantom™ HALR™ and Cima® serve to remind the integration community of what’s possible. Demonstrating an unyielding commitment to meeting the ever-increasing demands of the marketplace with a contemporary approach to screen design, Stewart Filmscreen will once again showcase its legendary quality and performance.

Attendees are invited to visit Stewart Filmscreen in booth #5329 at the San Diego Convention Center, September 7- 9, 2017 to experience the latest innovations in image fidelity and visual excellence. Additionally, The Next Generation of Stewart Filmscreen leadership invites CEDIA attendees to celebrate 70 years of innovation and excellence on Thursday, September 7, from 3 to PM for a party in booth #5329, where visitors can enjoy craft beer, creative cocktails, and stunning projection screens.

Logo for Torus Power

Torus Power – #4749

Torus Power will showcase the latest in power products and educate attendees about the difference isolation transformers can make in any application when sound quality and image fidelity matter. From two-channel listening rooms for the audiophile to home theaters and even pro audio applications like recording studios, Torus Power toroidal isolation transformers are designed to power, protect and improve the quality and performance of electronic systems.

In today’s listening environment, where high-resolution audio represents the pinnacle of performance, Torus Power isolation transformers elicit the best quality out of high-end components. Follow hashtag #HiResPower on Twitter and stop by CEDIA booth #4749 to experience what makes power transformers different from power conditioners, and find out how the award-winning TOT AVR, AVR and AVR2 lines, along with the WM Series, can improve image fidelity and audio quality in any system.

And also…

KMB Client HTA Logo

Home Technology Association

A new and forward-thinking third-party organization designed to complement CEDIA technician certification by independently certifying integration firms, the Home Technology Association launched last week. The HTA seeks to recognize the top 10 to 15 percent of integration firms in any region through a rigorous 60+ point evaluation and certification process.

The goal is simple: to educate and empower consumers to make more informed home technology buying decisions, and to then connect them with the most appropriate HTA-Certified integration firms to facilitate their projects. For more information, check out the podcast they participated in on Convergent AV, read the write-ups in CE Pro and Residential Systems, and then, shoot an Email to Josh Christian to learn more:

Does Your Client Say Thank You for the Experience?

The experience, we talk about it, we even place the word “exceptional” in front of it. As someone who has been among the commercial integration space dealing mostly with corporate and education, I know for sure that two things are certain – no two clients are the same and no two client’s needs are exactly the same as well.

Jeremy Caldera, CEO at IAS Technology and Chair of the InfoComm CTS Certification Steering Committee, stated in his blog The User Experience Is More Valuable Than the Technology how the user experience is all encompassing and different for everyone, and user experience (UX) is about how a person feels when they use a technology system that “we the integrators have installed, but it’s not just in the usability itself.”

He continues, “For so many years the audiovisual industry has focused on the technology, however just how does this particular piece of gear make things easier for our customers?  How can we simplify our customers’ experience, along with keeping them loyal and coming back for more.”

The experience in any aspect of technology and business must be pleasing to the person who we refer to as the end user. User, user experience. What many have to realize in any step along the way – sales, design, project management and more – is that there is someone at the tail end of the project expecting the best experience in terms of the scenario that best fits their requirements and overall needs. No attempt at satisfying the customer can even begin without a comprehensive needs assessment.

Jeremy goes on to say, “The user experience is commonly confused with the user interface, or touch panel/control pad, the parts of the room that control the equipment.  The most common mistake is made when integrators attempt to simplify their touch panels or add new cool technology to enhance the user experience.  While these things will help deliver on the generally accepted belief that all systems should be easy to use, they will not always make an experience great.  The overall experience is about standardization, ease of use, uptime, training, and the belief by the user that the systems will always work.”

While many seek to achieve standardization, two factors here are a given in any integration – focus on uptime and proper training. Ease of use is partially in the eye of the end user, however, the integrator must strive to tailor the system to that particular client – as it’s been pointed out how no two clients are the same. One should never assume an end user’s understanding, period.

It appears that you still hear the stories of customers who are not overall ecstatic with the outcome of their system installations. This is not a blanket statement by any means, as there are those out there who do focus on quality in every way. Should integrators, however, be striving to provide an extraordinary outcome for all of their clients?

Maybe. If we preach the exceptional experience in this industry as has been customary over the last several years, maybe it should be carried out to be an extraordinary experience. When you look up exceptional, there’s extraordinary as a top synonym.

OK hold on. So integrators should go out of their way to be exceptional, extraordinary and even remarkable? For anyone who says maybe this is a little out there, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that the end user is expecting exactly this. The question is, can the integrator always provide it?

Well, that’s where certain variables come into play. I have always gone on record to state that there has to be a certain interactivity and, in the true sense of the word, collaboration between the integrator and the client. Both sides must look to work together to achieve “the goal” of a proper overall solution for the situation. The integrator can dot all of the i’s and cross the t’s, however, the client must be a key player in the equation.  Believe it or not though, the onus does end up falling on the integrator there as well to make sure this interactive collaboration is properly achieved.

Now that the onus has fully fallen on the integrator (with the manufacturer coming through on all ends as well), what’s the goal? An exceptional, extraordinary experience?

Let’s reel it back a bit here and agree that while striving to make it exceptional, it’s truly about the user experience, and if delivered in all the best ways possible, expect that thank you from the client – which then nine times out of ten hopefully becomes the most desired result, a long-standing customer considering you as that “trusted” source.

Me at Barco

With over 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, The Final (AV) Word and The Show Corner. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers.

Technology & Business Summit Expansion Adds New Events in New York (Long Island) and New Jersey (MetLife Stadium)







Technology & Business Summit Expansion Adds New Events in New York (Long Island) and New Jersey (MetLife Stadium)

Approachable, hands-on displays, an education-focused format, and keynote speech by Amazon executive Dan Quigley combine at this manufacturer rep driven event 

August 16, 2017 – Orange County, CA – The Technology & Business Summit, an education and networking event hosted by independent manufacturers’ rep firms in the home technology industry, continues to expand its presence. Adding dates in New York and New Jersey to its Fall 2017 schedule in addition to events earlier this year in Texas, Southern California and Florida, the Summit supports technology integration professionals. The event provides the opportunity for AV integrators and installers to truly get to know their regional manufacturers’ rep firms in an intimate setting while taking advantage of educational opportunities that can yield increased profits for those who attend and implement what was learned. 

The Technology & Business Summit 2017 consisted of the following events:

·       Houston, TX & Dallas, TX – April

·       Los Angeles, CA & Irvine, CA – May

·       Fort Lauderdale / Coral Springs, FL & Tampa, FL – May

·       NEW: Long Island, NY – October 3

·       NEW: East Rutherford, NJ – October 5 – Special Venue MetLife Stadium

·       NEW: Atlanta area, GA – November (Date TBD)

Independent Manufacturers’ Reps Collaborate to Support Their Dealers

The Tech Summit is largely driven by the collaborative efforts of multiple Independent Manufacturer Rep Firms in each territory. This year’s hosting rep firms are:

·       NY/NJ: Atlantic Integrated, Bach Sales, Big Apple Technology, DMC Enterprises, DSG Metro, J&G Audio Sales, NY Marketing Team, Sapphire Marketing, Specialty Sound & Vision, Thea AV, (Others to be confirmed) 

·       Texas: Bell & McCoy, Dobbs Stanford, Elite 3 Pro, Integral Marketing Associates, Lucas Sales, Marketing Concepts, Momentum Sales, Sage Solutions, Summit Sales

·       Southern California: AV Partners, ByDesign Vision & Sound, Calwest Marketing, I Rep Green, Morris Tait Associates, Paul Collins Group, ProWest Sales, Studio Décor, Sutherland AV Marketing

·       Florida: AMI Sales, C&E Marketing, Higher Fidelity, High Note Sales, LK & Associates, LP Hench Company, Orion Integrated Systems 

Technology & Business Summits feature an exhibitor showcase with typically nearly 100 different brands on table top displays and skilled factory staff who are present to answer questions and demonstrate products. “Our talented manufacturers’ reps drive the Tech Summit and it is rewarding to see the collaboration, as well as growing dealer participation,” says event founder Mark Cichowski. “Exhibitors see the value in the events and have asked us to expand into more territories. We are proud to bring the Tech Summit into cornerstone markets such as NY/NJ in October, and Texas earlier this year. We are doing something different for a venue in New Jersey and are excited to be holding the Tech Summit at MetLife Stadium, home of the NY Giants and NY Jets. We work to continually evolve the event wherever we can.”

Attendees and exhibitors enjoy a networking lunch within the venue, giving them even more face-to-face time with representatives, and the opportunity to spend the entire day at the event.

CEDIA Partnership Helps Deliver Excellent Education Opportunities
The approachable, hands-on displays and the Technology & Business Summit’s brand-agnostic, education-focused format provides valuable tools for dealers who attend. The Tech Summit is proud to have CEDIA as an ongoing education partner, enabling cutting-edge seminars from top presenters. Seminars for 2017 include:

·       Service Plans Are Easy, Execution Is Hard – Joseph Kolchinsky, One Vision Resources

·       Make Quickbooks Work For You – Susan Sipe, Salez Toolz

·       The Evolution of HDMI & The Future Of Fiber – Eric Bodley, Future Ready Solutions

·       Next Generation Networking – Michael Maniscalco, Ihiji

Keynote by Amazon’s Dan Quigley
New this year, Dan Quigley, Principal Technical Product Manager for Alexa Whole Home at Amazon, presented at the Tech Summit’s first-ever keynote address at each event: Building a Smarter Home with Alexa. Dan will be presenting in NY/NJ as well. In his keynote, Quigley demonstrates how advancements in speech recognition not only create new, user-friendly experiences for customers, but provide additional profit avenues for integrators who design, install, and service smart home systems. 

“Dan’s Keynote at the Tech Summit this year drew amazing crowds, some standing room only. His cutting-edge content was right on target and broadened the understanding of voice control not only now, but what is coming in the future. He exposed opportunities for dealers to grow their business in ways that they may not have already thought of,” says Cichowski. “Dan’s in-depth, insider knowledge totally fit the bill.”

“When it comes to DIY and voice control, no single entity brings up a more controversial conversation than Amazon Alexa, the AI system embedded in Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot technology. The technology is disrupting so many areas; we can barely get our minds around all the facets that affect our industry. But one thing is certain: Once they embrace it, dealers can learn how to profit from it,” says Frank White, an integral part of the team at Integrator Network, the company that organizes and manages the Tech Summit.

For More Information
To learn more about the Technology & Business Summit in NY/NJ, or to register, visit:

About the Technology & Business Summit
The Technology & Business Summit is a cooperative effort between multiple Independent Manufacturer Rep Firms based in various territories. It is a business development event to benefit integrators and exhibitors of all sizes.

Event Contact:
Mark Cichowski, Integrator Network

(949) 472-4141

Media Contact:
Katye (McGregor) Bennett, KMB Communications, Inc.
(425) 328-8640

Stewart Filmscreen Sponsors Drunk Unkles NSCA Education Foundation Charity Concert During InfoComm17

Logo for Award-Winning Stewart Filmscreen




Stewart Filmscreen Sponsors Drunk Unkles NSCA Education Foundation Charity Concert During InfoComm17

The Drunk Unkles’ annual InfoComm kick off concert and party to be held at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Orlando on June 14th

TORRANCE, CA, and ORLANDO, FL—June 8, 2017Stewart Filmscreen®, the only two-time Academy Award®-winning manufacturer of projection screens and projection screen materials for the audiovisual industry—will once again sponsor the charity performance by industry rock band The Drunk Unkles to raise money for the NSCA Education Foundation. The concert will be held the first night of InfoComm, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at B.B. King’s Blues Club on International Drive in Orlando, Florida. Doors open at 8:30 PM and The Drunk Unkles take the stage at 9:00 PM.

Logo for Stewart Filmscreen Sponsored Drunk UnklesNow, in its 12th year, the concert, party, and networking event, “Rockin’ with the Drunk Unkles,” is a must-attend InfoComm tradition that draws legions of AV industry professionals, including dealers, consultants, distributors, manufacturers, exhibitors, and members of the press. “Stewart Filmscreen is proud to once again sponsor NSCA’s Drunk Unkles event at InfoComm. More importantly, we appreciate the on-going passion and commitment to the advancement of the professional audio-video industry,” says Shannon Townley, President & CEO of Stewart Filmscreen. Proceeds from the event go to the NSCA Education Foundation to help provide instruction to commercial electronic systems and AV professionals, as well as scholarships for students training for a career in the low-voltage commercial electronics industry.

Tickets to the Drunk Unkles concert and party are available, prior to the concert, at Stewart Filmscreen’s InfoComm booth #3121. While there, attendees are encouraged to view and experience Stewart Filmscreen’s line-up of Next Generation, 16K+ screen materials and projection screen solutions.

About Stewart Filmscreen®
Headquartered in Torrance, Calif., with additional manufacturing and satellite sales facilities in Ohio and Singapore, Stewart Filmscreen Corporation has been the consistent choice of discerning clientele around the world for more than 65 years. The only Academy Award®  winning manufacturer of projector screens, screen materials, and specialty optical coatings, aesthetic-conscious architects, consultants, systems designers, and homeowners rely on Stewart Filmscreen for the perfect combination of superior image integrity, flexible design, and dedicated support; and we consistently deliver. With unparalleled ISO 9001:2008 manufacturing capabilities, Stewart can custom engineer a projection screen solution to meet nearly every need. Proprietary material science and innovative manufacturing methods allow Stewart to produce some of the most optically immaculate screens in the world, ultimately delivering an immersive experience that is unrivaled in the marketplace.

Simply put, if a screen can be imagined, Stewart Filmscreen can deliver it.
All products, product names, trademarks and registrations mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

Media Contact
Katye (McGregor) Bennett | KMB Communications, Inc. | (425) 328-8640


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Taste of Texas at CEDIA 2016

Taste of Texas at CEDIA 2016

BBQ, Beer, Texas-sized steaks, and Tex-Mex. Not to mention wine from any of 51 unique wineries scattered throughout the Hill Country, from Austin to Fredericksburg and Lampasas to New Braunfels. How can you go wrong?

At KMB, we’re never ones to shy away from a delicious meal and perhaps a glass or two—especially when our dogs are barking after a long day at CEDIA. Where will you find us grubbing and sipping this year in Dallas? Read on to find some of the best restaurants near the convention center that are sure to titillate your tastebuds, Texas-style. Meet you there at show close!