Capitol’s InfoComm Strategy
While two principal focal points – Toshiba’s new line of Ultra HD 4K Smart TVs, including its 84-inch model, and the Panasonic SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Ethernet-based telephone system – are expected to draw integrators to the Capitol booth at InfoComm13 in Orlando this June, the company’s president and CFO, Curt Hayes, said Capitol is really a solutions provider, not just a product provider.
“That’s been the ‘connect the dots’ for Capitol,” said Hayes. “We are one of the only distributors in the country that does both panels and telephone systems, so when you get to a conference room [project] or any kind of structure like that, we really have all the pieces.”
Hayes said those cloud-based products, and others of that ilk, make sense for Capitol’s target customer, who typically does a broad spectrum of both residential and light-commercial installations in secondary and tertiary markets. The company addresses needs in “areas where the residential integrator becomes the commercial integrator. He’s doing the sports bar, the house of worship, and conference rooms. They’re asking for solutions. They need to figure out how to put 20 or 25 vendors together in a job. And that’s what our salespeople do. We have been sales engineers since the early ’90s; we’ve always designed systems for our customers, and it’s easy for us to see what fits together and what works together for specific applications.” Capitol’s lines of phone systems, panels, projectors, screens, speaker systems, alarms and energy management products like Panamax’s BlueBolt fill the fill, he said.
Capitol is also bullish on anything wireless, Hayes said, and is looking to add product lines that provide its client base with a wider spectrum of installation choices in that arena. “That kind of technology, whether it be in a residential or a commercial environment, makes sense. You can do so much from an installation standpoint if you can go wireless. It gives integrators all the flexibility in the world.”
The company offers what Hayes termed as solution-based two-day trainings in its headquarters once every month, and typically draws around 50 dealers each session. Capitol has already held training and certification sessions on the new SIP system at the end of 2012, and plans five offsite trainings at this fall’s CEDIA Expo that will cover SIP, basic phone systems and IP-based cameras.
Hayes said he is optimistic about the health of the custom market, based on his observation that “we’ve seen a lot more cable and wire being sold in the last few months. That should indicate the housing market is getting a little bit of a tick. It’s a good sign. You read about how tough mortgage money is, but it’s a different time, and we all have to figure out how to do business in a different time.
“You have to be really good at what you do, and you have to do what you say you’re going to do. You have to ship on time, and you have to have product available and help design systems, and provide all the pieces to help dealers be better businesspeople.”