15 Minutes With: Commercial Division, OmniMount: Branching Out
Hal Truax: We have a new LED-centric mounting SKU: the LED-P75. It won an award at CEDIA EXPO and we did a quick-installation demo that was one of the highlights of our activities at our booth. It offers dual-mode technology. It can be installed in the wall, which means it can be flush and have no profile, or it can be installed on the wall, if you have a situation where the wall is concrete, or lath and plaster that an installer would dare not cut into.
It has a very elegant look, it’s extruded aluminum, all anodized, and it’s a very sleek and sexy finish, just like the new panels, which it complements. It’s installable, start to finish, in seven minutes or less.
We also showed a couple of other LED mounting solutions. With thinner panels, the idea is to get the panel closer to the wall and “hang it like a picture.” The SKUs we introduced to tackle mounting the ultra-thin panels are wire mounts that we call suspension mounts. There’s LED-W60 that holds up to 60 pounds and LED-W120 that holds 120 pounds. The suspension mechanism is made out of aircraft-quality components and cable, and it’s very strong. That gets the panel just about a half an inch off the wall, and it’s very simple to install.
Integrators are looking for two things: to get the panel closer to the wall so that it looks like art, and to get it up easily and get it right the first time. So with most of our mounts, we offer installation templates in the boxes. With competitors’ mounts, you often have to hold this heavy piece of metal up against the wall while trying to level it and mark the wall at the same time. With our [mounts], you just level the template, mark all your holes and drill with the template on the wall. It’s much speedier. The faster integrators can do their job, the more profitable they’re going to be.
Also, style and aesthetics are our hallmarks. Our products don’t look as though they were fabricated in a metal shop. We’re very consumer-centric, and just as our furniture has a lot of style to it, we take the same approach with our mounts.
CR: How does your business divvy up between commercial and residential? Which areas specifically are growing more rapidly for you, and why?
Truax: It’s about 25 percent commercial and 75 percent residential now, with the commercial side growing rapidly. Many integrators have crossed over to light commercial. Also, about 70 percent of the new products we’re developing and have in the hopper right now are commercial-targeted.
We’ve also just hired a government/hospitality sales manager and we’re increasing our staff on the commercial side. We’re cognizant of where the growth opportunities are. We’ve done a lot of large commercial venues, like stadiums, as well. Some residential guys only get into light commercial, but our target will be across the board to include things like public transit and large-venue commercial.
We have also had mounts that have lent themselves to hospitality as well, but more recently, we focused on a furniture-type model that mounts on a credenza or a desk in a hotel room, and that is very secure. That’s brand new for us; it’s called the HM1. We have a couple of other offerings coming down the pike; it’s our first real targeted approach at that channel.
We’re also focusing somewhat on digital signage, with some ways to universally secure CPUs in the field, whether they are on mobile carts in schools or up on an electronic video board in a restaurant or mall.
CR: Are there any new initiatives you’ve taken toward “greener” products and sustainability in aspects of your manufacturing and packaging?
Truax: We have one line of six models where we’ve reduced the amount of metal required—the OmniLite line, and it’s packaged with all post-consumer-recycled packaging and printed with soy-based ink. We’re going strong with those and with six SKUs we believe we cover the needs of the market.
CR: Are there any new dealer merchandising aids or other supports you’re making available, going forward in 2011?
Truax: We’re strong in P.O.S. design; that’s an area that is always evolving for us. Also strong is our Dealer Resource Center (DRC) on the web. It offers high- and low-resolution images, storyboards and all kinds of sales sheets. The DRC is new in that the information there is accessible from no matter where an integrator is; it’s highly accessible in the field by mobile devices.
CR: Would you synopsize the ways in which you re-evaluate, refresh and update your website?
Truax: We have updated both the pro and regular sites in the last year. They both have a new look and feel, a new backbone, and they’re faster and mobile-friendly.
CR: What future product development directions can you speak about?
Truax: We always continue to try to be aesthetically pleasing in our product development, and we’re heading to some new form functions in some of the things we’re doing—some things that just won’t look like the other guys’ mounts, and that will be very ergonomic. Expect some cool things from us very soon. There will be some introductions [in the next month or so].
CR: Give us your take on the future direction of the custom installation discipline as we move forward in 2011 and beyond. What other major changes are likely to shape the way CIs do business—and how can OmniMount help them be ready for further market shifts?
Truax: For the custom installation scenario, the big change for the CI is that there really is a convergence of IT and CI right now. They have to be agile and embrace this new technology to keep the business so that it doesn’t gravitate to the IT side. There’s a lot of network solutions and streaming technologies, and the guys who are willing to change are going to do very well.
We’re doing all we can do to help the CI by continuing to give them relevant products that mesh well with the new panels and by offering them profitable products, and a brand name that’s got value in it. CR