If You’re Going to Control It, Why Not Sell It?
I have been in the audio-visual/technology integration industry for 25 years, met a lot of owners and executives and have been involved with numerous groups and associations. With few exceptions, the recurring theme of annual budget meetings for AV companies has always been “What can we possibly do to increase revenue by 5%,” or “What can we do to control margin erosion,” or, too often, “What can we do to prevent another loss?”
The unfortunate truth is that having more of the same does not add overall revenue nor does it help margin. In most cases, it only adds to the cost of managing relationships and diminishes the value of any limited brand loyalty programs that some manufacturers still promote.
The AV business is a tough business!
Low voltage lighting solutions offer visionary AV integrators a unique opportunity to capture the entire lighting revenue at significantly higher margin than traditional AV technology. In fact, lighting offers a greater revenue opportunity than the typical AV package, which therefore creates the opportunity we all look for: adding significant revenue to existing projects through complementary solutions that utilize, to a great degree, existing resources, experience and competencies.
Once limited to programming and the “control” of nightmarish LED lighting products, AV integrators now find themselves in a favorable position to leverage relationships and the ability to deliver a complete low voltage technology package, including the lighting package. As a further benefit, Colorbeam NorthAmerica dealers are now becoming relevant to specifiers, something AV integrators in general have always struggled with.
Colorbeam NorthAmerica, founded by Maurice Gaudio and myself, delivers a unique, tunable, low voltage, UL-listed lighting solution. Powered and controlled over a single CAT6 cable, the system delivers flicker free dimming from 100 down to 0 percent, is tunable to any kelvin, has RGB and white light engines, and is compatible with major lighting control manufacturers. The solution is designed, engineered and manufactured for the mid to very-high-end market.
Born Out of Necessity
As integrators, we wanted a complete low voltage lighting solution to sell that would differentiate ourselves and allow us to move away from simply controlling other manufacturer’s problematic lighting components that were never designed to work as a system. As AV integrators, we got none of the revenue but all of the headaches in controlling incompatible LED lights, drivers and so on.
Five years later, the solution has been implemented in hundreds of luxury residential and commercial properties throughout North America. Residential applications of 45,000 square foot homes valued as high as $50,000,000, and in prestigious venues such as the Ritz Carlton Montreal—to name a few.
In 2016, the time came to bring the solution to the North American market. Colorbeam NorthAmerica was founded to lead the innovation in low voltage tunable lighting. With our background, we selected the pro AV channel as our go-to-market strategy. We wanted to bring the same opportunity and benefits low voltage lighting did for our own integration company to other key dealers across North America who would embrace the technology and recognize the opportunity. In just 14 months, Colorbeam NorthAmerica has expanded its presence to include 15 rep firms across the US and 150+ dealers.
It’s really exciting to see other forward thinking AV integrators understanding the opportunity before them and utilizing it to alter the course of their business’s in a positive way. Most, if not all of our dealers were not in the category prior to coming on board with us, but within months our most successful dealers are driving significant revenue and closing projects as large as $500,000+ dealer cost.
We work hard with our dealers to get them ramped up. Our lighting design team assists with lighting design services and our programming and technical team assists our dealers with the technical design of the hardware, much like an AV project. We tell our dealers, bring us opportunities and we will assist in closing, implementing and supporting them.
2017 will be a big year for us as we continue to diversify our product line and expand our dealer channel with forward thinking AV integrators that share our vision that low voltage lighting is the next great opportunity for our channel.