Azione’s Key Leaders Share Ideas, Learn Strategies at Annual Conference

Azione Key Leaders

Chester Springs, PA – (May 30, 2018) – Operations managers, COOs, and other high-level managers will gather to learn new strategies, connect with top vendor members, and share success secrets in Chicago, June 4 – 5, at the second annual Azione Key Leaders Meeting.

Aligning with the 2018 theme “Perfect Partners,” the Azione Key Leaders meeting acknowledges the multiple facets of running a residential AV and smart home technology integration firm and the importance of the folks on the ground to the organization’s overall success. The Key Leaders meeting provides stakeholders—people other than company owners and CEOs—the chance to experience the many benefits of Azione membership, including the camaraderie characteristic of the group’s Spring and Fall conferences.

Attendees Learn from the Best During Roundtable Discussions and Presentations
Attendees will start Day 1 with a roundtable discussion by dealers, for dealers, discussing today’s biggest challenges and brainstorming ideas to meet those challenges head-on in a world where both technology and the economy are constantly changing. A second roundtable will have dealers candidly exploring their greatest successes of the year so that others may learn and embrace new ideas.

Later in the day, Brad Whitehead will kick off his first of two presentations, “Implement EOS to Get the Most from Your Business.” Whitehead is the principal of VX Strategy, a management consulting firm specializing in organizational development, strategic planning, and tactical execution. The Entrepreneurial Operating System is a methodology for managing a business by focusing on its key components, maintaining alignment and cultural health, and simplifying daily operations through standard language, process, and communication rhythm.

Meeting Encourages Integrators to Embrace New Ideas
On Day 2, Whitehead will build upon the theme of embracing new ways of thinking and business strategies with the presentation: “Embracing and Thriving on New Ideas – An Operational Imperative.” During this session, conference participants will learn how to be the agent of change in their organization, and glean ideas, actions, revenue opportunities, management tools and more.  

Both days will include presentations from the event’s sponsors, Azione vendor members: Samsung, AudioControl, Access Networks, Savant, Integra, and SurgeX. These vendors will take the spotlight for 45 minutes each, showcasing their latest products and discussing sales strategies.

Building on Last Year’s Success
“The response at last year’s meeting was phenomenal, with dealers and vendors sharing tips and tactics candidly, with the best interests of the custom integration industry front-of-mind. We have an intense schedule this year, packed with high quality educational content, thought-provoking roundtable topics, and networking opportunities that we are sure will excite and inspire attendees,” concludes Glikes.

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 sixth 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.

 

 

Azione Unlimited’s Lucrative Lighting Initiative Illuminates Impressive Opportunities for AV Dealers

Highly progressive and profitable lighting category gives Azione dealers another opportunity to “own the home” 

 Chester Springs, PA – Azione Unlimited has officially launched its lighting agenda, creating an easier path for member dealers to enter this highly lucrative market. With new vendor partnerships and turnkey programs to integrate lighting packages as part of any smart home project, Azione is helping dealers tap into tremendous opportunities in the burgeoning residential lighting category. Working with lighting designers and architects to sell and install custom lighting allows dealers to use their expertise to improve the overall technology experience in a customer’s home, while discovering a new avenue to expanded profits.

Azione partners with Wolfers Lighting to Provide Turnkey Lighting Solutions to Dealers
Wolfers Lighting, a Boston-based lighting distributor, officially joined Azione in April 2018 as a vendor member, is uniquely positioned as a comprehensive partner in the Azione lighting program.

Dealers will have access to state-of-the-art lighting showrooms, a dedicated team of lighting designers to expertly lead projects, and an exclusive selection of lighting brands vetted for performance with control systems and distributed to dealers through Wolfers, such as Light & GreenTech Element, and Tech Lighting. Through the Wolfers program, dealers can choose from more than 300 residential lighting products, from downlights to decorative LEDs.

“These are highly technical systems, and lighting designers and manufacturers alike need the help of expert AV integrators to incorporate lighting with lighting control in today’s homes,” says Jennette Kollmann, lead lighting designer at Wolfers. “When you’re talking about decorative LEDs, down-lighting, human-centric and tunable white systems, there is no room for error. That’s where Azione dealers come in, working with our designers to make lighting an integrated part of the total smart home experience.”

“The lighting fixture and design business is complicated with many variables and potential pitfalls for novices to painfully encounter. Fixtures are parts and pieces. This is not like installing a 6 ½ inch speaker in a ceiling. Design requires knowledge of ambient light in the space, color temperature, beam spread, spacing and many more variables,” says Azione President Richard Glikes. “This is why our partnership with Wolfers is so compelling. They will vet, manage, advise, and deliver fixtures that we can hand off to electrician with confidence. Their vast array of solutions come from years in the business. This is very cool, easy, and necessary.” 

Variety of Unique Lighting Vendors Complements Program

Dealers can also purchase a variety of unique lighting from direct vendor programs, including new vendor member LumaStream, which offers a series of low-voltage LED lighting systems for residential and commercial applications. A complete solution approach that allows integrators to specify and install the entire system, LumaStream offers architectural LED lighting solutions that are both modern and energy-efficient. Dedicated to providing outdoor lighting that defies the elements, Coastal Source offers a range of architectural and landscape lighting. Savant is also offering an array of smart lighting solutions that dealers can explore with their clients.

Illuminating Opportunities at Azione Philly 
Azione Unlimited and its membership, made up of dealers and vendors who are equal partners in the buying group, explored the myriad of possibilities within the lighting category during several enlightening sessions held during its Spring Conference, “Philosophically Phocused in Philadelphia.”

Kollmann, with support from Wolfers’ Gerry Lynch and Steve Brand, held a workshop teaching the basics of lighting design and sales, while discussing topics such as RGB lighting as a growing trend in homes, tunable white, and automated lighting control options. In a series of small group meetings, vendors Savant, Light & Green, and Wolfers shared how members can leverage the educational opportunities and buying power of Azione to expand their focus on lighting.

Azione Members Attending Lightfair International

As a demonstration of the group’s dedication to the lighting category, several Azione members will attend Lightfair’s Trade Show in Chicago May 8–10, 2018, including Wolfers, LumaStream, Light & Green, and Coastal Source. Lightfair is the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference. Attendance at the show gives Azione members an opportunity to stay on the cutting edge of lighting products and lighting design as it promotes these new initiatives to its members.

“Lighting is one of the most important, fastest growing initiatives for our dealers. Based on the high-level of interest we saw at our Spring Conference, we are putting together a lighting training for interested dealers. With the support of Wolfers and the brands they distribute, our dealers can tap into this market armed with knowledge and with very little risk,” Glikes concludes.

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 sixth 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.

Azione Unlimited Appoints Séura CEO and SurgeX Sales Director to Serve on the Board

Gretchen Gilbertson and Jimmy Paschke join Azione board to represent the membership and help guide the group’s future

As the terms of two esteemed board members expired in March, Azione Unlimited announces the appointment of two new members. Effective April 1st, Gretchen Gilbertson, CEO of Séura and Jimmy Paschke, director of residential sales for SurgeX replace Jason Sloan of Dana Innovations and George Walter of Rayva. Sloan and Walter have held board positions since 2011.

Azione’s unique — and mutually beneficial — business model strategically positions dealers and vendors as equal members. As such, both are represented equally on the Azione board, which is comprised of five vendor members and five dealer members.

“It’s an honor to be elected to serve on the board of a visionary organization dedicated to strengthening relationships among custom retailers, integrators, and manufacturers,” says Gretchen Gilbertson. “Azione has adopted a refreshing philosophy to be different. I’ve valued its unique approach to solving problems together and commitment to driving profitable growth for all its members. I’m eager to work together with the board and management team to deliver on Azione’s compelling mission, and I hope to bring a passionate commitment and insightful perspective to the team.”

Jimmy Paschke shares a similar sentiment, saying “I’m proud to serve on the board of such a prestigious organization, singularly devoted to the growth of the CI industry and the success of its dealers and manufacturers. I look forward to strengthening relationships with Azione dealers and connecting with our membership at a deeper level to educate and inspire the Azione member community.”

Responsible for helping guide the future of the group, the Azione board is appointed by the membership, and each appointee serves a 3-year term.

 “Jason Sloan and George Walter were talented board members, integral to Azione Unlimited’s growth and accomplishments over the past seven years and they deserve all our thanks. It’s been an honor to have them on our board,” says Azione President Richard Glikes. “As we enter a new chapter, it’s exciting to have Gretchen Gilbertson and Jimmy Paschke join the board as the next stalwart stewards of Azione’s success.”   

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 sixth 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.

Azione Unlimited and Perfect Partners Prepare for ‘Philosophically Phocused in Philadelphia’ Spring Conference

 

Buying group members express excitement for experience rooms, panel discussions, and after-hours networking events

 

Azione Unlimited gears up for its ‘Philosophically Phocused in Philadelphia’ Spring Conference announcing a leading roster of panelists, including Google Home, Sonos, and Josh.ai; engaging Experience Rooms; and extensive networking opportunities between the organization’s “Perfect Partners.” 

Azione welcomes members to the Sheraton Society Hill in historic Philadelphia from April 23rd – 25th.  With an in-depth focus on business philosophies and new technologies such as voice control and artificial intelligence, over 250 attendees will have numerous opportunities to collect insights, share ideas and make connections to help increase profitability and achieve even greater success in 2018 and beyond.

Exploring Emerging Technologies in ‘Experience Rooms’

The Spring Conference introduces Experience Rooms, interactive spaces providing immense opportunities to connect with Azione vendors and try out products, seeing and hearing features, performance, as well as technologies. Vendor members are working together to present 12 unique Experience Rooms, designed to educate and inspire, including representatives from new Azione partners AtlonaAudioQuestJames LoudspeakerSmartCareLyngdorf AudioSonos and Google Home. Dealers will rotate to every room in groups of 12, providing deeper engagement and more meaningful supplier relationships.​

“The industry is shifting to an ‘experience-first’ philosophy, leveraging new and emerging technologies to showcase how today’s products change the way we work, play, and live. Azione Experience Rooms reflect this philosophy, putting our vendors’ products directly in the hands of those who integrate them, giving dealers actionable takeaways about specific brands and their offerings, along with the chance to connect with the manufacturers in a relevant setting,” says Richard Glikes, President of Azione Unlimited, the audio-video industry’s only education and buying group whose equal membership is comprised of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers.

Learning Opportunities on the Industry’s Hottest Topics’

Jeremy Glowacki, NewBay Media Content Director and Residential Systems Editor, and Jason Knott, Senior Editor for Security Sales & Integration and CE Pro magazines, will moderate educational panel discussions, including: 

How Will Voice Recognition and Artificial Intelligence Change the Custom Install Business?

This panel brings together new vendor members Google Home and Sonos, along with Josh.ai for a discussion led by Knott. Daniel Clarkson, Business Development for Google Assistant, Andrew Vloyanetes, VP of sales for Sonos, and Alex Capecelatro, Josh.ai co-founder and CEO, will discuss what smart home integrators should know about the latest advancements that change the way we interact with technology—and how technology interacts with us.

How Architects, Interior Designers, and Lighting Designers Interface with the

​ Audio Video Integrator and Each Other​

Moderated by Glowacki and featuring Tim Lucci of Peter Zimmerman Architects; Rafael Novoa of Rafael Novoa Interior Design and Jennette Kollman lead lighting designer for Wolfers, this panel will focus on how these three key trades—architecture, interior design, and lighting design—interface with audio-video integrators and each other. 

Presentations and Workshops Explore Critical Business & Technology Topics

Dealer presentations and workshops, as well as small group meetings, provide Azione members a unique opportunity to learn from their peers to better understand, resolve, or prevent the more pressing challenges faced in the field today.  

Dealer presentations will tackle topics including:

·    Digital cinema and content for the high-end residential application

·    Showroom experience with your co-operative vendor base

·    Buying your real estate

Dealer workshops presented by industry experts will discuss:

·    Measuring and analyzing key performance indicators

·    Making the most of your marketing budget

·    Generating recurring monthly revenue

·    Successfully entering the lighting market

Vendors and dealers will meet over a variety of small group meeting discussions, such as:

·    How to sell performance

·    What’s new in commercial and how to get involved

·    Creating the right vendor mix/matrix

·    How to grow from $1.5 to $4M

 

Discovering Philadelphia’s History, Culture & Fun

Azione evening events are always designed with fun, relaxation, and connection in mind. On Monday, attendees will enjoy cocktails and dinner at The Olde Bar, Iron Chef Jose Garces’ restaurant housed in Philadelphia’s landmark Old Original Bookbinder’s setting. Tuesday brings dinner and music at Philly’s renowned World Café Live. AfroBear, a local soul-ternative rock band opens the evening; followed by main act Hack Monet, a band led by Dealer Member Luke Germain. A post-dinner Azione Jam Session is planned, in appreciation of our industry’s many talented musicians

Taking place right in the heart of Philadelphia’s Old Historic District, the conference is situated right in our nation’s’ most historic square mile, home to The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the new Museum of the American Revolution, the National Constitution Center and many more sites. Members will have free time to take a walking tour together or explore these iconic sites on their own.

“Philadelphia is city brimming with fascinating history and a vibrant culture,” says Glikes. “We can’t wait to welcome our members to an energized spring meeting full of education, networking, philosophical discussions, and activities, altogether offering much opportunity to instill deeper camaraderie.”

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 sixth 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.

Google Home and Azione Unlimited Bring Voice Control Home

Google Home and Azione Unlimited Bring Voice Control Home

As the newest Azione vendor member, Google Home provides products, training, and support to dealers embracing the latest trends in artificial intelligence

Forming a terrific team within the CI Channel, Azione Unlimited is pleased to announce its newest vendor member, Google Home. Through its vendor membership, Google Home will provide products, training, and support to the organization’s 190 leading dealers. Azione is the audio-video industry’s only education and buying group whose equal membership is comprised of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers.

Three Voice Control Products, More Than One Million Possibilities
Initially, the Hardware and Sales Partnership division of Google, Inc. will offer three products to Azione members: Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max, all powered by the Google Assistant.

Delivering high-quality audio and voice-activated personal assistant services, the Google Home portfolio is well-suited for both custom integration and DIY projects, easily integrating with more than 1,500 smart home devices from over 225 brands. Users can access more than 1 million actions to help to organize households, tackle everyday tasks, and present entertainment in a whole new way. Features include searching via Google; Voice Match; playing music, including via Bluetooth; music streaming via Spotify, Pandora and other popular services; hands-free phone calls; and local business search.

Meet Google Home at the Azione Spring Conference
Representatives from Google Home will attend the 2018 Azione Spring Conference, Philosophically Phocused in Philadelphia, to be held April 23-25. They will introduce dealers to the new Google Home product line and program. Azione will also be featuring a speaker from Google’s Partnerships Development team at the conference, sharing thoughts on present and future trends in voice control, AI, and whole-home integration.

“Azione provides our vendor members access to established dealers whose thriving integration businesses provide exposure to affluent homeowners and early adopter technology enthusiasts,” says Azione Unlimited President Richard Glikes. “As our members embrace the latest voice control technologies, we are thrilled to have Google Home there with tools, resources, and profitable solutions to help dealers usher in the future of smart home interaction.”

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 sixth 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.

 

High-Performance AudioQuest Announces Alliance with Azione Unlimited

High-Performance AudioQuest Announces Alliance with Azione Unlimited

AudioQuest’s cables, power products, DACs, Preamps, and headphones are now available to Azione dealer members

Forming another significant partnership to better support the CI Channel, Azione Unlimited announces newest vendor member AudioQuest. Now, AudioQuest cables, Niagara power products, and DragonFly DAC/headphone amp/preamps — all AudioQuest brands — are available to Azione’s network of 190 leading dealers. Highly differentiated, Azione is the AV industry’s only education and buying group whose equal membership is comprised of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers.

“We have watched with great interest as Azione has grown to become a sophisticated organization that includes many of the strongest and most performance-conscious dealers and integrators in the country,” says Shaun Schuetz, Vice President of Sales, Americas. “Azione dealers are our retail peers, a group with which we closely identify. Joining Azione will be a bit like joining the family business—a carefully curated dealer-driven family with the proven ability to adapt and develop in-step with where the market is headed.”

 Azione and AudioQuest share a similar value system of superior differentiation, personalized service, and the support of a diverse yet tightknit community that fosters education, connection, understanding, and confidence.

“A great vendor is comprised of fantastic people, exceptional products, compelling marketing, and continued communication,” said Chris Smith, Chief Operating Officer for Cloud9 Smart. “AudioQuest is a truly impressive company which demonstrates all of those traits in spades. The team at Cloud9 Smart simply couldn’t ask for a better addition to the Azione vendor portfolio.”

AudioQuest representatives will attend Azione’s upcoming 2018 Spring Conference, Philosophically Phocused in Philadelphia, to be held April 23-25. There, dealers will have opportunities to learn more about AudioQuest’s mission, product line and program.

“AudioQuest’s high-performance offerings allow our dealers to better serve their core, affluent client base, who demand the best audio performance and advanced thinking in cable, power, and headphone accessory design,” says Azione Unlimited President Richard Glikes. “We’ve strategically welcomed several new ‘Perfect Partners’ in what has been a landmark first quarter – Google Home, Sonos, James Loudspeaker, Lyngdorf Audio and SmartC​are. The addition of AudioQuest certainly continues this exciting momentum for Azione and opens up much opportunity.”

For more information about AudioQuest, please visit its website: www.audioquest.com or call (949) 585-0111.

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 sixth 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.