ADA (AUDIO DESIGN ASSOCIATES)
Richard Stoerger, Vice President & COO
PRODUCT/TECH TRENDS: Multi-room A/V is like a slow-moving ship because, unlike home theater, significant advances ease into trends over time. For example, video distribution and two-way metadata have been around in ADA’s world for 25 and 19 years, respectively. Today, distribution of video is a hot button in estate installations while text feedback makes it possible to remotely navigate entertainment options from the largest touch-screen to the smallest keypad. Neither development is new or groundbreaking, but both have evolved into today’s “hot buttons.”
THE MARKET: If there is one thing that has helped make multi-room A/V more usable, fun and easier to sell, it is positive text feedback from the devices we play. In the old days, this was, at best, text information confirming the radio station or perhaps a computer device that synchronized to a CD changer and let you remotely navigate a hundred or so discs. In just the past few years, metadata can be mined from iPods, music-servers, satellite and HD Radio. Furthermore, the technology is available at multiple price-points, making multi-room A/V that much more attractive to a broader market segment.
PRESENTATION ADVICE: My greatest issue with the entire multi-room A/V industry is that we push features and interfaces often at the expense of what this technology really offers with respect to lifestyle. For example, as an industry, we push multi-zoning so that everyone can listen to what they want, when the real beauty behind a multi-room system is that it gives you the ability to have music follow you throughout your home and grounds. We also push source components and buttons on people when most folks listen to one or two sources (satellite or regular radio and iPod or CDs) and want it simple.
Personally, I am a big believer in our dealers providing their potential customers with an experience that will cause the client to aspire to “do it right.” This will mean demonstrating your A game and letting the customer hear the differences in the electronics and speakers you offer as well as the look, feel and function of the control interface. High-end customers understand “quality,” and not just in cabinets, countertops, tile, upholstery, furniture, cars, etc. Having the ability to demonstrate multi-room technology as a lifestyle “must-have” will elevate your sale to better products that in addition to improving profit, generally provide a solution that has less failure, enhanced performance and superior value.