Azione Unlimited Signs Seven New Dealers in Fourth Quarter

KMB client Azione Unlimited

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Buying group’s growth sparked by profitable new programs and innovative initiatives 

Chester Springs, PA (December 18, 2017) – Azione Unlimited (AU), the audio-video industry’s only education and buying group made up of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers has just signed seven new dealers. New members include renowned names in the home technology industry such as Stereo Exchange and cyberManor.

As Q4 2017 draws to a close following a year of unprecedented success, Azione Unlimited welcomes the following companies into the organization:

cyberManor – (Los Gatos, CA) cyberManor follows a “best of breed” integration philosophy. Owner Gordon van Zuiden and the cyberManor team are expanding their business by building partnerships with Azione brands that align with the company’s standards of excellence.

Evolve Technologies – (Dallas, TX) Evolve Technologies entices consumers to “Enjoy more. Think less.” Placing the focus on user-friendly home technology systems, owner Joshua Allred and the Evolve team seek to employ Azione’s first-of-its-kind marketing tools to better convey the technology experience to consumers.

Front Row Audio Video – (Lawrence, KS) Front Row Audio Video has been providing home theater, home automation and AV systems design and installation since 2005. Owner Patrick Cain looks forward to further aligning with Azione brands as it continues to provide exemplary service and creative solutions.

Sound By Design Inc. – (Amarillo, TX) Sound by Design Inc. specializes in home theater, home automation, lighting fixture control, and security systems. Carrying top Azione brands, the company will benefit from the networking opportunities and volume pricing offered to Azione members.

Stereo Exchange – (New York, NY) Founded in 1984 by David Wasserman, Stereo Exchange is one of New York’s oldest and most highly regarded audio, video, and home theater retailers. The multi-award-winning AV firm looks forward to exchanging ideas with Azione members as it faces the challenges of a highly competitive region.

System 7 – (Boston, MA) System 7, led by owner Gerry Lynch, is comprised of licensed architects, tech gurus and project managers. They’re partnering with Azione vendors to create their unique technology systems, which utilize best practices and processes from the architecture industry.

Tech Automation, Inc. – (Troy, MI) With an emphasis on the smart home technology experience, Tech Automation, Inc. designs and installs audio, video, lighting and control systems in any size home. Owners Sean Hawley and Michael Perry seek to grow their firm by taking advantage of Azione’s marketing initiatives, special pricing, and networking opportunities.

New dealer member Gordon van Zuiden says he is already seeing the value of membership. “Joining Azione in the latter part of 2017, we have already enjoyed the benefits of being part of the group. cyberManor is building a new pre-wire showroom and Azione’s vendors have agreed to support us in this effort. The employee handbook and the templates Azione provides are both needed and a great assistance in this effort,” said van Zuiden. “We are looking forward to our first Azione membership conference in Philadelphia next year to meet with our fellow members. We’re especially anticipating the great keynotes that Azione has built a reputation for delivering at their events.”

“What do you get when you add high profile companies with superb principals to an organization? You get stronger and smarter,” said Azione Unlimited President Richard Glikes. “With Dave Wasserman of Stereo Exchange, Gordon van Zuiden of cyberManor, and Gerry Lynch of System 7, you have three of the best minds in the business. Combine that with young bright dealers eager to grow, like Tech Automation, Front Row Audio Video, Evolve Technologies, and Sound by Design and one begins to understand the power of an integrator-based group all pulling in the same direction. Azione Unlimited is focused on building the best team of vendors and dealers with being ‘Perfect Partners’ as the ultimate goal.”

About Azione Unlimited
Azione Unlimited, the education and buying group for integrators, is a consortium of like-minded custom installers, home technology professionals, and vendors. The organization helps its members achieve greater levels of prosperity, technical acumen, and sophistication in running their businesses and serving customers. Founded by industry veteran Richard Glikes and headquartered in Chester Springs, PA, the organization is celebrating its fifth year. In addition to two high-energy, information-packed conferences per year, Azione provides its members with a host of benefits, from product discounts to educational middle management meetings, and marketing tools. Learn more at AzioneUnlimited.com. Follow on social media: Twitter @AzioneUnlimited or Facebook.com/AzioneUnlimited.

All products, product names, trademarks and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved. 

Media Contact
For interviews or media tours, please contact Katye (McGregor) Bennett of KMB Communications, Inc. by phoning (425) 328-8640 or emailing katye@kmbcomm.com.

Azione Unlimited Launches RMR Program To Simplify Service Contract Sales

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Azione Unlimited Launches RMR Program To Simplify Service Contract Sales

New turnkey recurring revenue models provide growth opportunities for Azione dealers

Chester Springs, PA (October 26, 2017) – Azione Unlimited (AU), the audio-video industry’s only education and buying group made up of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers announces the introduction of a Recurring Monthly Revenue (RMR) program for its members. A committee comprised of Azione members developed a turnkey set of plans, best practices, and programs for dealers looking to generate RMR from service contracts.

For three months Evan Marty and Stuart Rench of Ihiji, along with Haley Patterson and Bryce Nordstrand of Access Networks, met with 16 dealers of varying demographics in multiple small group sessions. Based on these findings and their expertise, Azione Unlimited is providing dealers with a blueprint for a successful RMR program.

The Azione Unlimited RMR Program features:

  • Pricing models that include 10 different service package options
  • Dealers can select the packages that best meet their clients’ needs
  • Marketing materials for print and web that includes contracts and package details

“We have been working on devising a plan that would be universal in pricing and scope while being easy to adopt for the better part of two years. With the help of our vendor partners and team members, we have a program that can be tailored to each dealer’s specific client based understanding the nuances of each trading market,” says Azione Unlimited President Richard Glikes. “Dealers will choose a ‘good- better- best selection,’ that being three plans of the ten that have been formulated. In addition, contract language and market materials will be provided to ensure high quality and excellent adoption. This final process was conceived with the objective being ‘What is right for the client.’”

About Azione Unlimited
Azione Unlimited, the education and buying group for integrators, is a consortium of like-minded custom installers, home technology professionals, and vendors. The organization helps its members achieve greater levels of prosperity, technical acumen, and sophistication in running their businesses and serving customers. Founded by industry veteran Richard Glikes and headquartered in Chester Springs, PA, the organization is celebrating its fifth year. In addition to two high-energy, information-packed conferences per year, Azione provides its members with a host of benefits, from product discounts to educational middle management meetings, and marketing tools. Learn more at AzioneUnlimited.com. Follow on social media: Twitter @AzioneUnlimited or Facebook.com/AzioneUnlimited.

All products, product names, trademarks and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

Media Contact
For interviews or media tours, please contact Katye (McGregor) Bennett of KMB Communications, Inc. by phoning (425) 328-8640 or emailing katye@kmbcomm.com.

Home Technology Association Presents Benefits of HTA to Azione Unlimited Members

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Home Technology Association Presents Benefits of HTA to Azione Unlimited Members

Buying group members learn what it takes to get their company HTA Certified

Santa Monica, CA (October 9, 2017) – The Home Technology Association, the first Independent organization to educate and empower homeowners in their technology purchases, recognize exceptional businesses, and elevate the technology integration industry’s status and stature with a rigorous third-party certification process, will present the benefits of HTA during a special session of Azione Unlimited’s upcoming Amalgamating Assembly in Austin. Josh Christian, HTA Director of Certification, joins a prestigious list of guest speakers that includes representatives from IBM Watson, Google, and Morgan Stanley.

Azione members will gather at the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, October 11 – 13, 2017 to learn about wealth creation, business process improvement, and more. During the HTA session, Christian will describe how industry-wide, third-party certification standards for integration firms can elevate the home technology industry and simplify smart home sales.

Aligning with Azione Unlimited
After a successful launch in August, the HTA has aligned with organizations like Azione to educate and inspire their members to realize the benefits of HTA certification. With 17 integration firms already HTA-certified in Southern California, the HTA has branched out nationwide to recognize the top 10 to 15 percent of integration firms across the U.S.

Announcing his support and endorsement of the third-party certification, Azione President Richard Glikes says, “This distinction is a tool Azione members can use to legitimately distinguish themselves from the competition and position their own company above competitors in terms of technical knowledge, expertise, and exemplary service. Chefs have Michelin stars, autos have safety ratings, diamonds have GIA certification, and now the best integration firms have HTA certification.”

Integration Firms Realize Benefits of HTA Certification
Azione member and HTA-certified integration firm Cantara is already enjoying the benefits of certification. “Using HTA, I was recently able to separate Cantara from another bidder that had less experience on this scale of a project. This allowed a discussion about skillset rather than proposal price,” says Cantara’s Jason Voorhees.

“HTA helps get the discussion started with the clients on what a professional System Design, Installation, and Service of the System really means. It validates our work and helps us stand out from the crowd of possible choices, and gives the customer piece of mind in choosing the correct integrator.”

Urging Azione dealers to apply for HTA certification for their companies, Glikes, who serves on the Board of Advisors for HTA and helped craft the standard, concludes, “Josh Christian joins a superb line-up of guest speakers. I’m certain once our members hear what he has to say, they will embrace the opportunity to become HTA Certified.”

About the Home Technology Association
The Home Technology Association (HTA) was formed to create a preeminent standard of excellence for the Custom Installation (CI) industry. HTA Certification is a rigorous-to-achieve standard that homeowners, builders, architects, and interior designers can rely on to find the very best residential technology integrators for their projects. Technology integrators who have passed the demanding 60+ point vetting process that focuses on exemplary customer service and aftercare support and a positive business reputation will be HTA Certified and recognized as part of an elite group of dedicated, highly skilled firms. The stringent criteria was developed by industry veterans, which were refined by the HTA Board of Advisors, which includes top executives from Sony, Lutron, Crestron, Control4, Savant, and more.

The mission of the Home Technology Association is to raise the bar in the CI industry by giving exceptional integrators a prestigious third-party endorsement they can use to differentiate their offering and ultimately, win more projects. Not only does this drive more business to the integration community, but it also ensures consumers have consistently great technology experiences. The result will be a dramatic transformation of the reputation and overall presence of the integration community and those who serve it. Learn more by visiting HTACertified.org and by following the Home Technology Association (HTA) on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

All products, product names, trademarks and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

Media Contact
For interviews, editorial appointments, or media tours, please contact Katye (McGregor) Bennett of KMB Communications, Inc. by phoning (425) 328-8640 or emailing katye@kmbcomm.com.

Azione Unlimited Increases Focus on Lighting Fixtures and the Lighting Category

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Azione Unlimited Increases Focus on Lighting Fixtures and the Lighting Category

Azione members realize benefits and recognize new opportunities to establish deeper roots and increase profitability with the installation and maintenance of indoor and outdoor lighting

Chester Springs, PA (October 10, 2017) – Azione Unlimited (AU), the audio-video industry’s only education and buying group made up of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers announced today that the group will enhance its focus on the lighting fixture category. Azione Unlimited and its members already enjoy a successful partnership with Coastal Source and Colorbeam North America and will soon add other brands to complement and broaden this valuable offering. Azione dealers and their customers will have the best assortment of indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures available in the custom installation channel.

With eroding hardware margins and as other smart home categories drift further into the DIY arena, lighting fixture sales and installation represent a sustainable and profitable opportunity for home technology professionals. Azione Unlimited recognizes this and as part of its commitment to building up the category for the group will provide extensive training on the sales and installation of lighting fixtures to its dealers, helping them secure a strong foothold in this rapidly growing and highly profitable category.

“If you told me 10 years ago Azione Unlimited would be selling shades and that the category would take off the way it has, I would have laughed out loud. In a similar sense, I see lighting fixtures being another defining ‘pivot point’ in our progress that satisfies the needs of our members as well as their discerning clientele,” says Azione President Richard Glikes. “The lighting category is a differentiating, margin-rich opportunity that we’re taking full advantage of.”

Azione Unlimited members and the media can learn more about this exciting development and profit opportunity it represents during the Amalgamating Assembly this week at the Sheraton Austin (Texas), Oct. 11 – 13.

About Azione Unlimited
Azione Unlimited, the education and buying group for integrators, is a consortium of like-minded custom installers, home technology professionals, and vendors. The organization helps its members achieve greater levels of prosperity, technical acumen, and sophistication in running their businesses and serving customers. Founded by industry veteran Richard Glikes and headquartered in Chester Springs, PA, the organization is celebrating its fifth year. In addition to two high-energy, information-packed conferences per year, Azione provides its members with a host of benefits, from product discounts to educational middle management meetings, and marketing tools. Learn more at AzioneUnlimited.com. Follow on social media: Twitter @AzioneUnlimited or Facebook.com/AzioneUnlimited.

All products, product names, trademarks and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

Media Contact
For interviews, editorial appointments, or media tours, please contact Katye (McGregor) Bennett of KMB Communications, Inc. by phoning (425) 328-8640 or emailing katye@kmbcomm.com.

Azione’s Captivating Cast of Fall Conference Speakers Include IBM, Google, and Morgan Stanley

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Azione’s Captivating Cast of Fall Conference Speakers Include IBM, Google, and Morgan Stanley

Topics include Cyber Insurance, Wealth Creation, and Business Process Improvement

Chester Springs, PA – (October 3, 2017) – Azione Unlimited (AU), the education and buying group for custom installation and home technology professionals, announces a superb lineup of guest speakers for the Amalgamating Assembly, including experts from IBM, Google, and Morgan StanleyCyber insurancewealth creation, and business process improvement are some of the many topics that will be covered at the conference, to be held Oct 11-13 in Austin, TX.

IBM Watson’s Worldwide Business Development Lead Sujit Shankar will kick off Azione’s Amalgamating Assembly with a timely, relevant, and informative keynote speech titled: “Jarvis-Not Just for Tony Stark. Artificial Intelligence and Home Automation.” The presentation will undoubtedly spark attendees’ imaginations as Shankar explores the present and future of smart home design.

The Amalgamating Assembly also includes the following insightful presentations:

  • The Future of the Intelligent Home: Google Assistant and Google Home with Mark Spates, Google’s Product Lead for Smart Home and IoT capabilities across Google Assistant and Google Home.
  • Trends in U.S. Retailwith Kevin Sherwood, Senior Vice President of Client Development for The NPD Group’s Retail Business Group.
  • Cyber by the Numberswith Kevin Sneed, CEO and President of US Pro Insurance Services
  • 9000 Hours with Tim Costello, CEO and President of BDX, Inc.
  • A Winning Formula to Maximize Your Financial Successand other financial-focused small group meetings with Brad Stanek, Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley.

Azione Unlimited’s guest speakers offer extensive expertise in market trends, upcoming technologies, and business operations to help dealers sell more effectively and run a more profitable business. “We carefully crafted the programming for our Amalgamating Assembly, handpicking our guest speakers from multiple fields and disciplines to inspire our members to think big as we head into 2018 and beyond,” says Azione President Richard Glikes.

During the fall conference, Azione will debut the VR Studio, a collection of virtual reality headsets running VR Showroom software, developed by BDX, Inc., a digital marketing technology organization for builders. Dealers can demo this revolutionary software that allows users to experience how technology will look and function in a home while moving, virtually, through each room.

Additional programming includes two-and-a-half days of panel discussions, informative presentations, roundtables, one-on-one meetings, networking opportunities, as well as a team-building event.

“It’s been a year of enormous growth for Azione and our members,” says Glikes. “It’s an exciting time to be part of this industry, with the adoption of AI and VR as business tools and the expansion of smart home technology to the masses. The Amalgamating Assembly is all about our members—dealers and vendors, alike—coming together to inspire future growth and collaboration.”

Follow #AzioneAustin and @AzioneUnlimited on Facebook and Twitter for live coverage of the event, photos, and recaps.

About Azione Unlimited
Azione Unlimited, the education and buying group for integrators, is a consortium of like-minded custom installers, home technology professionals, and vendors. The organization helps its members achieve greater levels of prosperity, technical acumen, and sophistication in running their businesses and serving customers. Founded by industry veteran Richard Glikes and headquartered in Chester Springs, PA, the organization is celebrating its fifth year. In addition to two high-energy, information-packed conferences per year, Azione provides its members with a host of benefits, from product discounts to educational middle management meetings, and marketing tools. Learn more at AzioneUnlimited.com. Follow on social media: Twitter @AzioneUnlimited or Facebook.com/AzioneUnlimited.

All products, product names, trademarks and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

Media Contact
For interviews or media related inquiries, please contact Katye (McGregor) Bennett of KMB Communications, Inc. by phoning (425) 328-8640 or emailing katye@kmbcomm.com.

Azione Unlimited’s Impressive Mid-Year Missive Indicates Monumental Growth

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Azione Unlimited’s Impressive Mid-Year Missive Indicates Monumental Growth

Azione 2.0 initiatives have driven significant revenue growth and business acumen for the group and its members, suggesting an even more prosperous future

Chester Springs, PA (September 5, 2017) – Azione Unlimited (AU), the audio-video industry’s only education and buying group made up of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers, reports that the group and its members have experienced significant growth thanks in great part to this year’s Azione 2.0 initiatives. Dedicated to educating and inspiring membership to grow its business acumen, Azione held three distinctly different meetings, concluded its first-ever Motivational Contest, launched an Azione Slack channel, and formed new member partnerships.

Azione 2.0 was launched in 2017 with an emphasis on enhanced communication, member education, and growth. “Buying groups should be about growth and delivering profits to dealers and vendors, but all too often aren’t. That’s exactly why Azione was formed. Our members are equal partners who work together, driven by loyalty and camaraderie,” says Richard Glikes, President of Azione Unlimited.

The organization has already delivered that and more in 2017, with vendors and dealers alike writing their best May ever in 2017, month-over-month, and with June 2017 representing the group’s best month ever in its five-year history. “In growth dollars, across all our brands, we are up well over 30 percent now,” says Glikes, noting that maintaining Azione’s unique model contributes greatly to that success.

In addition, he says, an “accumulation” philosophy towards sales, promotions, incentives, and information, has also played a role in members’ growth. “We want dealers to pile it on our vendors, rather than slice the pie different ways,” says Glikes. “Together, we can all grow the size of that pie.”

All of the programs, meetings, and initiatives introduced as part of Azione 2.0 focus on that goal, whether it is webinars focused on the business aspects of integration or the motivational contest designed to encourage dealers to try new brands within the Azione family.

New Partnerships Equal Exciting Opportunities
Supporting existing members doesn’t mean Azione isn’t open to new vendors. The organization has formed partnerships with iconic companies, including McIntosh and Sonus Faber. Additionally, through a new partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Azione is offering members lease deals on Mercedes Sprinter cargo vans, including substantial savings off MSRP.

“It is thanks to our member Audio Dave, of Boston, that we’ve formed this relationship with one of the nation’s largest Mercedes-Benz dealers. This partnership exemplifies the power of our group and the strength of our membership,” says Glikes. “We invite all Azione members in the region to take advantage of this generous offer to refresh their fleets with newer models.”

In addition, Azione Unlimited member Steinway & Sons Pianos is offering Azione partner dealers substantial commissions on Spirio high-resolution player pianos. “Azione dealers help fill clients’ homes with music and entertainment. Visualizing a player piano in the space before a home is built ensures a location for what is destined to become a classic focal point in any luxury residence,” says Azione Unlimited President Richard Glikes.

Motivational Contest a Tremendous Success
For Azione, this also means packing events full of one-on-one sessions, small group meetings, keynote speeches, and team-building activities, as well as trying new methods to motivate members. The Motivational Contest, for instance, proved to be a tremendous success, with the winners announced during a well-attended Facebook Live session.

“The contest was a home run,” says Glikes. Each Azione vendor added an average of nine new dealers as a direct result of the 5-month competition, culminating in nine couples winning trips to Turks & Caicos. “At our vendor meeting, those in attendance reported that they are wholeheartedly in favor of doing another contest in 2018. There will be even more ways for our members to win,” says Glikes.

Three Meetings, Many Perspectives
Adding more winners to the Motivational Contest was just one insight Glikes gleaned from the highly successful series of three separate meetings held between the Spring and Fall Conferences. Glikes made some changes and additions to the upcoming Amalgamating Assembly Fall Conference in Austin as a direct result of feedback he received in the meetings.

The series kicked off with the Middle Managers’ meeting, to be renamed “Key Leaders” next spring, which included interaction between six vendors present and key operations personnel from a number of Azione dealers.

The second meeting, Prescient Planning, was the organization’s annual vendor meeting. “That meeting was pure, positive electricity!” says Glikes, noting that he expected it to be a five-year planning meeting but, instead, turned into an assessment of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.

The third meeting, The Science of Selling, was very well attended and will expand into a series of sales seminars in 2018, again, with the goal of driving growth and profits for Azione members.

“This trio of really interesting meetings has re-shaped the way we think about things,” says Glikes. Azione will wrap up the year with the Amalgamating Assembly, to be held at the Sheraton Austin at the Capital October 11 – 13, 2017.

About Azione Unlimited
Azione Unlimited, the education and buying group for integrators, is a consortium of like-minded custom installers, home technology professionals, vendors, and service providers. The organization helps its members achieve greater levels of prosperity, technical acumen, and sophistication in running their businesses and serving customers. Founded by industry veteran Richard Glikes and headquartered in Chester Springs, PA, the organization is celebrating its fifth year. In addition to two high-energy, information-packed conferences per year, Azione provides its members with a host of benefits, from product discounts to educational middle management meetings, and marketing tools. Learn more at AzioneUnlimited.com. Follow on social media: Twitter @AzioneUnlimited or Facebook.com/AzioneUnlimited.

All products, product names, trademarks and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

Media Contact
For interviews, editorial appointments, or media tours, please contact Katye (McGregor) Bennett of KMB Communications, Inc. by phoning (425) 328-8640 or emailing katye@kmbcomm.com.