May 2007 Issue


10 Do’s and Don’ts of Marine Installation

In the words of Criteria Marine President Dave Tovissi (Dania Beach, Fla.) and Electronic Integrations Owner and President Jeff Wheeler (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): • Know that there are rules of marine etiquette. For example, if the owner’s on the boat, you might be allowed only to walk on one side of the boat. You might have a certain type of uniform that must be worn; you might have to go around in socks or barefoot to avoid tracking around dust. Be meticulous in your installation habits, because there are other, crucial subsystems on the boat, which include navigation, radar, GPS and communications. If your

A Taxing State of Mind

Earlier this year, Peter Tribeman contended his company, loudspeaker manufacturer Atlantic Technology, was “the canary in the coal mine” when he protested the state of Washington’s levying of a business and occupations (B&O) tax against the Massachusetts-based vendor. Atlantic Technology doesn’t have a physical presence in Washington, nor does it have any employees in that state. Yet Washington assessed its B&O tax because Atlantic Technology sold products into its state through TaylorLong & Associates, a Vancouver, Wash.-based manufacturer’s representative. “If no attention is brought to this issue right now, states might view any company shipping goods to dealers in their state as an excuse

Advisory Notice: “It’s All in the Training”

In order to translate that sage advice (offered by my mother), I turn to yet another, perhaps better-known, sage—none other than Aristotle. “Education,” he said, “is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.” Amen to that! I recently asked a sampling of manufacturers about their line-item budgets. Without exception, their responses emphasized how much they budget for dealer training. With that in mind, we’ve set our sights on becoming the resource for locating and accessing your training opportunities. I’m not just talking about technical training, either. Our goal is to offer a broad spectrum of training schedules provided by manufacturers, buying groups, industry associations

Affairs of State

It isn’t sexy, yet it has direct and significant implications for every CEDIA member, and is one of the organization’s most important activities. It’s CEDIA’s Government Affairs and Public Policy team, comprised of a small group of volunteers and staff. We work tirelessly to protect the interests of our members. We’re currently engaged in these initiatives: Trouble in the big city. New York City delivered an official interpretation of its building code that essentially prohibited anyone other than a licensed electrician from installing any lighting control systems, parts or components, eliminating virtually all CEDIA members from touching lighting controls in the Big Apple. Philadelphia,

All Is Not Lost in the Video Market

The rapid decline in flat-panel pricing continues, and it seems like there’s no bottom in sight. Or is there? If you could prod some of your customers into buying more highly-featured sets, the average price might actually go up. A salient question arises, then: What do you really know about your customers and their true motivations for buying new TVs? Only a relative handful of enthusiasts—the early adopters, the HD DVD/Blu-ray enthusiasts, the gaming freaks—truly understand the benefit of HDTV technology. For them, the value of high-def is apparent. It’s a no-brainer for them to pay more for a 1,080p set than for a 1,080i set.

All Things to All Architectural Speakers?

THE PROBLEM: You handle numerous brands, sizes and models of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, so you need to stock and maintain inventory of each model’s unique speaker bracket. Sometimes your guys forget to load them onto their trucks when they head out to a job; sometimes, when your guys get to the site, the client has decided he’d prefer a different speaker model or size and the truck has to turn right around back to the warehouse and get the right brackets. All in all, it’s a hassle. THE SOLUTION: How about a universal speaker bracket? A tiny Missouri company named EZBracket is offering

Frank Talk About Training

There’s a ton of training offered in our industry. CEDIA EXPO, EH Expo, PARA conferences, private consultants, vendor trainings—tons of training. You could spend a week each month attending some training event or other. And with all the training available, you’d assume we have the smartest, most efficient, best-run industry around. But we don’t, because we are our own trainers. Most of the information shared in our business comes from people within our business. I’m just as guilty; I’m preparing a strategic finance seminar for the next CEDIA EXPO. While this insularity is not entirely bad, you have to wonder where some of the

HES Survives, Thrives Amid Retail Purge

The BrandSource/AVB and Home Entertainment Source (HES) March Madness Summit convened this March in Dallas amidst a slew of reorganizations, store closings and layoffs among high-profile electronics retailers like REX, Tweeter, Circuit City and CompUSA. HES General Manager Jim Ristow said the strife amounts to a positive for his membership. “The vendors believe in us,” he said. “They look at us as a national retail entity. We are their only national alternative to the big-box stores for premier electronics.” Outgoing HES president Bob Cole, president of World Wide Stereo in Hatfield, Pa., said both vendors and retailers “share the same concerns. It’s a very

So an ESC, a Builder, an Interior Designer and an Architect Walk into a Ballroom Together…

The electronics guy was spouting all kinds of fascinating, bewildering, futuristic, visionary stuff about carrying “presence” from the home out into the world, Web 2.0, and virtual alter egos who buy shoes for homeowners. The builder, a practical and successful professional, couldn’t help but chuckle while good-naturedly reacting, “I don’t know anything about what he just said.” The interior design expert, a true-blue urban sophisticate, made no bones of her disdain for the overuse of cell phones, the quaint concept of “family time” gathered around TVs above fireplaces, and any visual hint of electronics gear in the home whatsoever. The architect, perhaps the most methodical and holistically-aware

Sounds Great, But How Does It Perform When It’s Off?

Sprucing up your showroom? If you want to carry loudspeakers from Artcoustic, don’t even think about carting in a nice green plant. No palm for you, no ficus, no fancy bamboo. Honestly, the vendor doesn’t trust you’ll remember to water the thing. It sounds extremely picky, but such fussiness is the product of research, careful thought and common sense. A scraggly plant is in fact a bigger turn-off to Artcoustic’s target market than a technical malfunction is, says John Caldwell, co-founder of StJohn Group, the distributor of design-oriented home entertainment products that represents Artcoustic in North America. “A dead plant to a design-conscious woman—that’ll drive

Tales from the Galleys

Marine installation is truly a specialist’s specialty. It means working in squeaky-tight spaces while trying to fit square-peg products never meant for ocean use into round holes—sometimes, quite literally. Add the unrelenting factors of time, temperature and the other violent variables, and the complexity grows exponentially. It’s not for the faint of heart. Three marine integrators shared their unique perspectives on the challenges of installation in the galleys. Electronic Integrations • Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. • Owner and President Jeff Wheeler says that besides possessing the skills and experience required for success on land, it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of sea background. “I was

The Importance of Cash

I recently spoke at the Home Entertainment Source (HES) conference in Dallas, where HES President Bob Cole, CEO of Hatfield, Pa.’s World Wide Stereo, gave an opening address that touched on numerous ideas that make his business great. It isn’t the brands you carry, he stressed; more importantly, it’s the other things, such as your people and your brand image, as well as taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. I concur, especially when it comes to taking maximum advantage of opportunities. Identifying them can be difficult, but when you do, you need to make sure your financial house is in order to

The Odd Couple

Leon Shaw likes to sell. It’s one of the reasons he got into the consumer electronics retail business 29 years ago when he opened Audio Advice in Raleigh, N.C. As every successful business owner discovers, however, being “the guy in charge” can separate you from the very things that drew you into the game in the first place. So recently, when Shaw was offered a chance to bring a new partner into his company, he took the risk of changing things up so he could refocus on his first occupational love: selling. At first glance, Shaw and his new business partner, Scott Newnam, seem

Your Builder Needs Something from You, But Doesn’t Know It

A 48 percent cancellation rate was the new home construction industry’s dirty little secret in the first quarter of 2007. Almost half of the time, a buyer purchased a home, agreed upon a price, signed a contract, picked out a few options and initiated construction—and then actually cancelled the deal and walked! How does something like this happen? Take this example: A home buyer puts $4,500 down on a $450,000 home, but soon realizes another local builder has an existing, very similar spec home. So the buyer offers to purchase the other home if the builder comes down in price from $450,000 to $400,000.