Rebecca Day

Rebecca Day
Virtually Speaking

The Rewards of Google Optimization Ambiance Systems • Clifton Park, N.Y. Ambiance directs prospective clients to its web site, an action it deems as much a part of the sales process as providing references. “We use our web site as a resource in the midst of a sales transaction,” says Co-Owner and Vice President Jennifer Leidig. “We always encourage prospective customers to check our web site, read the articles there about us, and read the recommendations from other clients about how we are to work with.” Leidig extensively researched web design, keyword searching and usability before going online. She surveyed customers, marketers and

Look Good, Sound Good, Live Good

In his 16-plus years in the custom installation business, Dave Tovissi too often found himself competing with interior designers, both for clients’ budgets and for space on the living room wall. So when he joined Criteria of Naples, a Florida-based integration company specializing in home theater, whole-house audio, lighting control and home automation, he embraced the company’s mission of bringing interior design and electronics integration together under one roof. “Criteria had just purchased an interior design firm called the Home of Fine Decorators, and they hired me to bring the two companies together to bring interior design and electronics into one palette of selling,” says Tovissi,

Beyond Installation

Most people who venture into the exotic world of Gramophone in Timonium, Md., probably say they’ve never seen anything like it. The 15,000-plus-square-foot space showcases four home theater scenarios at budgets from $15,000 to $150,000. Another section of the store features a five-room digital home that promotes lighting control, home automation, motorized shades and LCD TVs built into bathroom mirrors. Then there’s the standard retail setting, with TVs, receivers and speakers spread out along the wall. The store has told this three-part story since 1998, although the products and styles have changed along the way to keep up with changes in both home fashion

Hot Technology That’s PrettyCool

With plummeting margins on flat-panel TVs and stepped-up competition on the installation side from high-volume retailers, CEDIA dealers are looking to protect their profits with products and services that big-box retailers can’t provide. HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling) control is one of those product/service categories that could take on a larger role in the custom electronics picture going forward. It may not have the glamour or glitz of a flat-panel TV, but installers can use HVAC as an attractive option in an overall home control package. The good news is that the benefits of HVAC are relatively simple to explain. When pitched, homeowners can