Win, Lose or Draw
Bose is going direct to builders. What does it mean to you?
By Janet Pinkerton
The news that Bose was experimenting with selling direct to builders set off industry alarm bells in late summer. The company initiated a pilot project selling direct with three major developers—with Arvida in Florida, Shea Homes in Phoenix and CENTEX in San Diego. On Oct. 1, Bose and Arvida formally unveiled their alliance, announcing the availability of Bose BUILT-INvisible home entertainment systems as an option in Arvada's Victoria Park development in DeLand, and Artisan Park, in Celebration. All new homes in the developments will be "Bose Ready"—a trademarked phrase—with the entertainment system options engineered for each floor plan and the necessary wiring installed in-wall. The Bose BUILT-INvisible systems will include proprietary ADAPTiQ audio calibration technology for customizing the sound to the room where the system is installed. Arvida also will offer Philips flat screen and plasma high-definition televisions, in addition to the Bose systems, as a part of the total home package.
According to an Arvida spokesman, the first phase of the alliance, which lasts through March 31, 2005, encompasses approximately 300 homes in Victoria Park and 180 in Artisan Park. The spokesman added that, if both Arvida and Bose continue the joint venture throughout the more than 10 years it takes to build out both developments, there will be an additional 3,500 single family homes, 700 plus town homes and 300 condominiums that will be Bose Ready. "We are extremely pleased that Arvida is the first developer in the country to form a home entertainment business alliance with Bose, by far the most respected name in home audio systems," said Ed Hill, president of Central Florida Operations for Arvida, in a statement announcing the builder's alliance with Bose.
The idea that Bose, with its massive marketing machine and multiple distribution channels, is selling direct to the nascent builder market has made many an integrator—not to mention A/V manufacturer—stop to think, "Is this good or bad for my C-business?" Clearly the initiative is causing waves throughout the industry, and in this case, there are those that question which boats Bose's rising tide will lift and which might capsize. In a series of interviews conducted prior to the Oct. 1 Bose/Arvida announcement, CR found some surprising and not so surprising cheers and jeers around the industry.