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Vote Now for Residential Systems Stellar Service Awards Nominees

Based on your votes this week, the fifth-annual Residential Systems Stellar Service Awards will honor manufacturers and distributors for their exceptional customer service and communication, dealer programs, sales and marketing support, training programs, warranty/return policy/tech support, and web portal/online training tools. 

Please check out the categories and entries below, and vote for no more than two companies per category that you think offer the most stellar service. This is an opt-in program, so clearly not all companies are represented.

Winners will be announced before the end of the year and profiled in the January 2018 issue of Residential Systems magazine.

Voting will close December 12, 2017.

Vote Here!

Here are the candidate descriptions:   

Customer Service/General Communications

AVAD: AVAD offers unmatched customer service support through regional representatives located nearby or with a convenient call to services support. AVAD has expanded their call center and regional representative efforts to reach more dealers, in more markets with more efficiency to assist integrators with any technical, shipping or logistical problem they may be facing. AVAD’s exceptional and personable customer service doesn’t end at a toll-free phone number. Value added services such as the AVAD System Design Group provide customers with a full range of design services, including needs analysis, AutoCAD presentations and product selection. The opportunities are limitless with AVAD’s customer service and range from professional assistance on general questions or support, to help designing a professional AV integrated system, lighting system, and more. Integrators are never left in the dark with AVAD’s top of the line customer service solutions over the phone, online or at a local branch.

Capitol: Capitol is committed to being a true partner to our customers by supporting them throughout the sales process, no matter what is needed. While it would be easy to simply hire salespeople to move product, Capitol takes an alternative approach by employing Technical Sales specialists who not only understand the intricacies of ever-changing product trends, but who, in many cases, come from the dealer side of the business, and are in a position to help our customers develop proposals, design systems, and troubleshoot potential issues. Even when the sale is complete, Capitol follows up with both live phone assistance as needed, and a multi-tiered training and information program that covers the gamut from on-site manufacturer-led sessions to an extensive and growing collection of archived 20-minute webinars and “Minute with Mike” short-form videos.

Crestron: At Crestron, providing the highest level of customer satisfaction is our first priority. That commitment drives our product ideas and development and is at the core of our first-class service and support. We communicate with our dealers on a regular basis, providing them with concise and informative information through email, phone calls, and our help desk. In addition to keeping open communication with our dealers we also provide monthly tech updates, weekly webinars, offer a direct line of communication with senior management, annual summits, and training events.

Luxul: Luxul offers its dealers a complete line of professional-grade solutions that simplify IP network design and deployment, making them easily scalable to accommodate any installation. You have Luxul’s design team to custom design the network and provide a comprehensive layout along with a quote ready for you to use directly with your customers. All Luxul products offer a unified user interface for fast and easy configuration and set up. The company’s solutions are backed by a three-year limited warranty, which is among the best in the industry, in addition to free lifetime support. An invaluable resource, Luxul’s techs are available via chat, email, and phone to assist with configuration and troubleshooting. To protect dealer margins, Luxul products are not available online; they are only sold through authorized distributors.

Peerless-AV: Peerless-AV’s Solutions Support Unit, known as the Customer Care Department, is committed to providing an exceptional customer experience with every touch, while maintaining one-call resolution. Every Customer Care Representative obtains full Peerless-AV product training, as well as technical education, allowing them to resolve customer issues efficiently and effectively. For highly technical issues, Peerless-AV relies on its team of “PeerTech Pros,” a group responsible for providing support surrounding all of Peerless-AV’s emerging technology and wireless solutions. With comprehensive and ongoing training, every representative can confidently commit to each call successfully, resulting in the industry’s finest customer service team. Peerless-AV’s Solutions Support Unit provides multiple options for customers, including live chat, phone, video chat, email, and fax. With this expertise and detailed training, Peerless-AV’s Solutions Support Unit continues to provide exceptional support, creating a positive customer experience, year over year.

Portal: Portal is a web-based product catalog that allows AV Integrators to find product information and make wholesale purchases from all of their suppliers in one place. Portal makes it easier for integrators to find what they need, build accurate proposals, and purchase products from their suppliers. Portal Select, dubbed “Amazon Prime for the Industry”, provides dealers instant access to industry products from participating suppliers. Products labeled “Portal Select” are guaranteed to ship for free, arrive within 3 business days or less, and in most cases pay additional rewards via Portal’s industry-wide rewards program. Portal’s “Dealer Happiness” team provides customer service through live chat on the Portal website. The Dealer Happiness team keeps the average response time on the in-app chat to less than 90 seconds. As mostly former dealers, the Portal team makes every effort to provide the type of customer service that they needed when they were integrators.

PowerHouse Alliance: The PowerHouse Alliance distributor members offer exceptional convenience and product accessibility to their dealers with over 40 warehouse locations nationwide. Next day delivery is guaranteed anywhere in the country and many warehouse locations additionally provide same-day delivery, with plans to increase locations with those shipping capabilities in 2018. All locations are fully-stocked and inventory is easily obtainable. Same day will-call is available at all locations, with several offering 24 hour will call, providing additional flexibility. Taking guidance and customer service the extra mile, dealer support is offered at every PowerHouse Alliance warehouse location including staff to help with product suggestions, system design and technical support. When time is money, having fully-staffed convenient warehouse locations allows dealers and integrators to best serve their customers and complete jobs and installations in as little time as possible.

Vanco: Vanco International is a family owned company with a 60-year legacy of service to the AV Industry. Backed by a team of knowledgeable company representatives and technology experts, Vanco offers outstanding customer support and training resources including telephone support, live chat and email, as well as innovative video solutions and training guides to ensure all products are installed and functioning at optimal quality. Committed to providing only the highest quality products, Vanco tests 100% of their active products at the factory and again before shipping them to dealers and distributors. Vanco is dedicated to assisting the dealer and distributor community in producing high-quality customer experiences across home theater, premium audio, and commercial installations, and a real person is always a simple phone call away for any kind of assistance required.

Dealer Programs

Core Brands (Dealer Rewards): The Core Brands Dealer Rewards, open to all CI channel direct dealers, offers up to 12.5% in quarterly rebates on purchases of ELAN, SpeakerCraft, Panamax, Furman, Gefen, Niles, Sunfire and Xantech products. Rebates start at 2.5% for quarterly purchases of $2,500, and increase up to 12.5% for quarterly purchases of $50,000. Also, all orders placed on the Core Brands Portal receive free shipping. In addition to quarterly rebates, when dealers achieve annual Premier and Elite volumes of $50,000 and $100,000 respectively, they earn discounts on product purchases of up to 12%. These discounts extend into the full calendar year after the Premier or Elite level was achieved. All dealers benefit from discounts on demo gear to help them outfit their showrooms, with additional discounts available to Premier and Elite dealers. Whether large or small, the Core Brands Dealer Rewards program helps dealers to increase margins and maximize buying power.

Crestron: At Crestron, we continue to invest in our partners’ businesses by offering the most comprehensive and powerful programs in the industry to support their growth and success. We offer a total of 31 dealer programs including our Partner Rewards Program that helps our partners grow their business, our Partner Investment Fund that selects qualified Crestron Technology Professionals (CTPs) and allows them to request for funding from Crestron to invest in their business activities to drive growth, End-User Upgrade Incentive which allows homeowners to receive significant discounts when upgrading their existing Crestron solution with our newest technology, Travel Credits for Training, Dedicated Learning Program, New product Discounts and Shading Right Size Guarantee allowing our partners to sell and install Crestron shades with complete confidence thanks to our Right Size Guarantee.

ELAN: The ELAN New Home Program helps technology integrators who serve production builders, custom home builders, architects, designers, and developers of MDUs to sell more smart home control systems through the growing builder channel. ELAN’s New Home Program provides the solutions, marketing services and support to help its dealers maximize builder revenue and delight clients. The program makes it easier than ever for dealers to make ELAN solutions available to homebuyers through homebuilders. By partnering with builders through the program, ELAN dealers gain an entirely new means of generating recurring revenue, selling even more smart home control solutions to production builders and custom home builders. Thus far, the program has been extremely successful in the market, resulting in a consistent revenue stream for ELAN dealers. Since introducing this program in January of 2017, ELAN has generated millions of dollars in new pipeline business for its integrators.

Powerhouse Alliance: In addition to multiple industry-competitive rewards programs across the country, all distributor members offer ongoing factory-sponsored incentives and a continuous cycle of weekly specials. With the debut of the new A2V line of AV accessories and speakers, the PowerHouse Alliance also introduced a unique ‘Try Me’ program. The highest reward discount program available in the industry today, dealers and integrators automatically receive 10-percent automatic rebate off dealer cost on any A2V racks, mounts or speakers they purchase with no limit on quantities. The discount program serves as a thank you to the dealers and integrators for supporting the A2V brand and gives them the opportunity to try the new AV line at the lowest price point possible without having to wait for rebates.

RTI: RTI’s highly anticipated Integration Designer APEX programming software recently became available, dramatically reducing programming time while making customization easier than ever. For dealers, APEX provides an enormous head start on every project and the scalability to compete in new residential and commercial markets. To protect profit margins, the programming software is only available to authorized dealers. Likewise, RTI’s Certified Dealer program helps ensure the company’s products are only sold by trained technology professionals. Products purchased from an unauthorized seller or website are not eligible for any type of warranty, service, or support. RTI also provides its dealers with incentive programs, such as Control Bucks, which are given to integrators who complete on-site training courses, and can be redeemed for RTI products and other merchandise. In addition, the Dealer Accommodation program offers very aggressive pricing for dealers who want to invest in RTI demo systems for their showrooms or personal use.

Sales and Marketing Support

AVAD: AVAD has embraced a hybrid approach to new sales operations, which includes the expansion of digital web and mobile tools, central and regional call centers, a design and technical services group, a regional market-based sales force, will-call locations in many new markets and the continued use of company operated physical locations in many existing markets. AVAD is also announcing the launch of updated Interactive Catalogs. AVAD’s award-winning Interactive Catalog, featuring four editions, Video, Audio, Accessories and Home Automation, provides dealers with more product details than ever before while highlighting the top video manufacturer and vendor partners. Dealers can access videos, spec sheets, installation details, tools and other product information on their mobile device, tablet or computer from anywhere in the field through the Interactive Catalog. The Interactive Catalog, which debuted in 2015, continues to be a dealer-favorite by providing them with critical information with the touch a button.

Crestron: Crestron has the most dedicated sales force in the industry. Our nationwide sales team is committed to providing the best quality service to every customer 24/7. To ensure each member of our sales team is up-to-date on all of our latest products and services Crestron provides training on all products and solutions. Our sales team also works hand-in-hand with our well versed marketing department to guarantee our dealers receive dedicated marketing support through specially designed social media programs, dealer portals where they have 24/7 access to all marketing assets, print and video case study opportunities, webinars and annual summits and training events.

At Crestron we also like to highlight the projects our dealers and partners complete utilizing Crestron technology. This led us to create annual award programs for all dealers to submit their most extravagant and creative projects for the opportunity to win case studies, media coverage and more.

Luxul: Luxul supports dealers with best practices and finished designs for product and topography layouts, while the dealer portal offers all the training, sales, and marketing tools they need. With wide distribution dealers gain access to the complete line at the location of their choice. Very active with Azione, HTSA, and ProSource, Luxul provides dealers with the most reliable products at the best margins. The marketing team regularly engages in co-marketing opportunities to put dealers in the best position for growth. Soon to be released, the Customer Assurance Program is a standardization of the activities already being provided to dealers at no additional cost, including designing the right systems, using the right equipment, and the right remote access and system management tools. All backed Luxul’s guarantee: if the design does not perform (wired or wireless), we will make it right by providing any additional equipment, at no cost to the dealer.

Peerless-AV: Peerless-AV’s sales and marketing teams work together to develop easily digestible and aesthetically pleasing marketing collateral that the sales team relies on. Customer support is a top priority at Peerless-AV and this focus can be found in all aspects of the company, including sales and marketing. Highly connected and cross-trained, Peerless-AV’s sales team extends unified messages and quality support. With a focus on education and strategy, the team presents holistic, cohesive technology solutions from a single supplier. This efficiency and reliability has continued to be proven as a great benefit to partners and customers. Peerless-AV’s marketing team continuously looks for new and exciting ways to promote the company’s solutions. The team works closely with all of the industry publications and organizations, and has a strong foothold at all industry tradeshows. Together, Peerless-AV’s sales and marketing teams present winning solutions that exceed customers’ expectations, time and again.

RTI: RTI’s sales support begins with the company’s website, which offers potential customers an interactive day-in-the-life timeline that allows them to explore how RTI simplifies the home, office, and business through state-of-the-art automation. A highlight of the website is the “Projects” section, which features stunning real-life installations to inspire dealers and their clients alike. Dealers can submit details about recent projects for inclusion in the showcase — in addition to social media efforts and marketing collateral — through RTI’s Case Study Program. Additional support programs include the newly formed RTI Dealer Experience Team, which are an excellent resource for integrators looking for assistance on high level project and technology implementations.

Shipping and Freight Policies

AVAD: AVAD’s National Freight Program enables integrators to conveniently pick up or ship orders to streamline their operations and timelines. AVAD offers free freight via UPS Ground for orders of $750 or more and free freight via truck with waived service fees for a single order of $3,500 or more. With its personalized freight program, AVAD assures the product arrives to customer’s offices or jobsites both on time and in good shape. In addition, AVAD offers integrators in select markets the ability to pick up products at a designated depot, giving them access to inventory more quickly and efficiently than ever before. The new model allows AVAD to serve more customers in existing and emerging markets by providing top-quality products to any location. Tailoring a shipping program to align with customers’ preferences allows AVAD to better serve their dealers.

Crestron: Crestron has online order tracking that sends customers an email including a tracking number for their orders when their order ships from Crestron’s distribution center whether partial or complete. Because of our streamlined order processing strategy customers who place an order on a Friday shipment will receive an email notification delivered to you on Saturday. This ensures that our customers do not have to wait until Monday to call and ask about their order, we ensure notifications seven days a week.

Core Brands: Core Brands offers free shipping to CI Dealers on all orders placed on the Core Brands Dealer Portal. This creates significant and projectable savings, enabling dealers to plan and budget accordingly. Plus, US orders placed before 7 pm Eastern Time are shipped the same day, adding convenience for dealers. Based on order size, dealers can still earn free shipping for phone or emailed orders as well. And with two warehouses serving the east and west, dealers can get prompt delivery of all orders.

Vanco: Vanco International offers some of the most aggressive and competitive free freight policies in the industry. A responsive and nimble team, Vanco is willing and able to expedite shipping for urgent orders and immediate installation needs on any of the 3,000+ SKUs they stock. In an effort to provide distributors with live shipping updates and protect pricing, Vanco recently implemented a state-of-the-art scanning and tracking process, which has significantly improved efficiency and customer communication. As orders are selected, pickers scan each product and the corresponding purchase order numbers in order to track a serialized product with their purchase order numbers. This elaborate process is a way to protect pricing, distributors and to identify if distributors could possibly be selling to a re-seller who is violating MAP pricing. Vanco values the rights of distributors and does not sell to any end users. 

Training Programs

Capitol: Capitol offers invaluable resources to help its customers to become experts in a multitude of specialties, including Networking, the Connected Home, home controls, Panasonic phone systems, and cutting the cord. For example, the company is famous for sponsoring an extensive series of training sessions in its Eagan, MN headquarters, and it often hits the road for a program on site at a customer’s facility. However, since customers’ needs don’t always coincide with a formal program, Capitol goes the extra mile by sponsoring an ongoing series of detailed webinars on the products and technologies that are leading the industry, and those with the potential to do so in the short term. Also, Capitol’s growing collection of “Minute with Mike videos” that provide a concise overview of the most relevant and lucrative products affecting customers’ profitability. Both of these series can be found on Capitol’s YouTube channel along with manufacturers’ videos.

Crestron: The Crestron Technical Institute (CTI) offers the best training in the industry through our regional and worldwide offices, as well as through our online training. Attendance at CTI not only provides personalized face-to-face training, but also solidifies relationships and opens lines of communication with Crestron technical staff. Our ever-expanding online training offers convenience and 24/7 access to information about installing and programming systems. Crestron Technical Institute offers a variety of learning opportunities regarding product, software, and industry related information. The topics found here are designed to offer a convenient way to set the foundation and enhance one’s learning experience of Crestron hardware and software. Our online courses are a great way to gain essential knowledge that will benefit any system designer, installer or programmer. Lastly, our certified programmers have access to a library of resources covering a variety of topics that supplement our curriculum and expand on product information.

Control4’s Pakedge: Practical, hands-on training for networking has been lacking throughout the connected home and custom install industry. To support growing connected homes and need for networking expertise, Control4 released the Pakedge Certified Network Administrator (PCNA) program to ensure networking competency for its Control4 and Pakedge dealer base worldwide. The unique hybrid learning model comprises Pakedge hardware, combined with online interactive coursework, instructional office hours, and a proctored certification exam, to enable more efficient design and installation of home networks. The PCNA course curriculum provides step-by-step instruction on the logical processes for designing networks for predictable, reliable performance, and makes it easy to learn the fundamentals of how TCP/IP works, directly experience the material differences between types of Ethernet cables (CAT5e, CAT6, CAT6a, CAT7), and drill down into the workings and configuration options of network routers, switches, and wireless access points.

D-Tools: New D-Tools Online Training sessions give systems integrators the knowledge to use even more tools to help them maximize their investment in the System Integrator (SI) platform. These live, instructor-led series of courses bring comprehensive D-Tools training via the web using GotoMeeting, enabling clients to take advantage of in-depth training from anywhere, through any internet-enabled device. The courses bring the D-Tools Professional Services Group (PSG) expert instruction straight to users’ desks or smartphones, without the added expense of travel or the hassle of spending time out of the office for training. Available as single-day or individual half-day sessions, the live, online training courses are designed to facilitate a broader use and deeper understanding of the full feature set of D-Tools platform and enable those using the software to become proficient, efficient, and effective. The sessions cover three major areas of D-Tools: Sales, Design, and Operations.

Just Add Power: The Just Add Power (J+P) Training Days Program combines the skills of J+P’s experienced staff with a relaxed, bespoke, and integrator-centered experience. Led by Education Director and Engineering & Support Team Manager Eric Martin, the three-day training sessions stays true to the evolutionary product philosophy of the company -covering the entire chain of use including product tutorials, system design, installation scenarios, and troubleshooting. The course allows integrators (and their families) to enjoy a beautiful Florida beach-side setting as well as giving them access to the expert staff at all levels of the company, including meeting with the President, Ed Qualls. Dinners with the team lets attendees witness first-hand the culture of J+P, valuing a deep product knowledge, teamwork, collaboration, and making the job fun.

Luxul: Networking is an ever-evolving field, so Luxul is dedicated to keeping its distribution partners and dealers up to date on the very latest technologies and practices. Training sessions are hosted monthly from the company’s corporate office in Draper, Utah, while scheduled on-site training are held at Luxul’s distributors nationwide. Offering dealers various ways to expand their IP networking knowledge and master the company’s products, Luxul aims to arm them with all the tools they need to design complete solutions that help win new business. From CEDIA-accredited educational sessions to webinars and industry events, Luxul is committed to education. Dealers continuously learn about networking and IP principles; wireless basics with proper access point deployment, including site surveys; remote monitoring and management services; internet filtering and scheduling by device; and more. Dealers also receive training on best practices for switches and PoE, deploying and troubleshooting networks, and solving other common issues.

PowerHouse Alliance: The PowerHouse Alliance distributor members keep their dealers nationwide knowledgeable and on top of the latest in consumer electronic, security, automation and networking products, plus installation methods and system design, with ongoing hands-on trainings and certification programs. Each month, the 12 distributor members host certification and training programs as well as events, open houses, and webinars online and across the country; they also provide advice and support for dealers from each of their 40 locations to help them select the best products for their customers’ installations. Trainings are available for every stocked manufacturer, and recent popular training series from members have included networking and integration, Luxul, Samsung, Yamaha, KEF, JVC, 2GIG training and more. Beyond courses that are hosted each week, dealers can benefit from special annual and semi-annual events hosted by members throughout the year that showcase new vendors, manufacturer product demos, and additional on-site trainings at each location.

RTI: RTI is well-known for offering a variety of training options for its dealers. Perhaps the most recognized of these is the CEDIA-accredited Advanced Control University (ACU) training program, which educates dealers on RTI products and software capabilities through on-site training, pre-recorded support videos, technical bulletins, CEDIA and ISE show floor training sessions, and much more. Recently, the program received accolades for what it accomplished before the launch of RTI’s Integration Designer APEX programming software. When APEX became available, the company had already begun offering training for its dealers. In the week of July 24, RTI trained more than 1,000 dealers in 10 separate webinars, and thousands of copies of APEX were downloaded. Additional training programs include RTI Tech Talks, in which integrators can learn about a specific RTI technology or control driver.

URC: URC is committed to delivering industry-leading training for our global network of systems integration professionals. We value the thousands of loyal URC dealers who spend their time and resources attending our live training events, joining our webinars and actively engaging with our eLearning curriculum. Throughout 2017, URC dealers showed up in force for our coast-to-coast live training events including hands-on integration of the latest URC and third-party smart home technology. The URC tech services team and sales engineers connect daily with our installer network to provide onsite training, product support and systems design consultation via in-person, call center, live chat, online, forum and email communications. The URC Dealer Portal hosts training schedules, registration and self-paced courses. We sincerely appreciate our dealers for their dedication to our brand and their desire to excel as best-in-class systems integrators and programmers.

Vanco: Vanco International provides customized training programs tailored to fit any audience. Whether it be in-person at a distributor location, or online via webinars and videos, Vanco’s trainings are flexible and convenient with dealer and distributor needs in mind. With every new product introduction, Vanco provides an in-depth training program to ensure distributors and dealers have the tools they need to confidently sell and install Vanco products. Vanco also offers training follow-ups and refresher courses to keep distributors up-to-date. For beginners, Vanco also runs educational instruction on topics such as HDMI technology to help advance industry knowledge and provide the confidence to sell and install products.

Volutone: Volutone Distributing Co. exceptional Customer Service has kept us in business since 1902! Our Service Strategy focuses on system design and dealer education. The purpose of our Industry leading training programs is to enable Volutone dealers to stay educated on emerging technologies, trends & practices. With a line card consisting over 125 Vendors, our monthly technical trainings are a must attended event amongst our dealers. With 7 locations throughout Southern California and Las Vegas, Volutone remains the leading distribution in Automation, Surveillance, Commercial AV & Networking.”

Warranty/Return Policy/Tech Support

AVAD: AVAD offers top quality warranty and return policies and tech support because, after all, we’re customers too. We understand the importance of exceptional return and exchange policies with minimal struggle, which is why we offer a 90-day “good as new” return program for any current product and, in the instance any product fails within 30 days, integrators can exchange it hassle-free. AVAD Tech Support offers integrators unparalleled product knowledge from an in-house team of experts, aimed at helping dealers hone their competitive edge and troubleshoot system integration. Integrators can take advantage of AVAD’s Tech Support through their regional representative, a recently expanded call center service or through the enhanced web-portal, allowing integrators to connect directly with vendors. In addition, AVAD’s valuable support includes assistance from the AVAD System Design Group, a team of technology experts who provide residential and commercial design services including needs analysis, AutoCAD presentations and product selection.

Capitol: As a customer-centric distributor focused on growing our business by helping customers grow theirs, Capitol treats tech support as an essential benefit for all its customers, whether it is a casual conversation, system design, or follow-up to a sale. Rather than employ a support staff that is vaguely familiar with our vendors’ products, Capitol employs a team of Sales Engineers that provides deep support on all brands. Every Sales Engineer brings a wealth of knowledge in multiple essential categories, including networking, telecommunications, light commercial integration, A/V, and more. For example, as a Panasonic telecom specialist, Capitol is authorized to provide Tier 1 Panasonic phone system support – a distinct advantage for custom pros who may be new to the intricacies of the technology.

Crestron: Crestron has a 24/7 global tech support team that is broken up into three tiers ensuring that there is a Crestron Specialist available to answer all of your questions. Our advanced technical support group is comprised of Crestron Master Certified programmers who are prepared to perform onsite visits and resolve customer issues free of charge when remote assistance is not enough.

We have created a variety of platforms for our customers to ask questions and receive high-quality customer support via E-mail, phone, our online help knowledge database and our online chat on

Luxul: Luxul’s solutions are backed by a three-year limited warranty, which is among the best in the industry, in addition to free lifetime tech support. An invaluable resource for issues in the field, Luxul’s techs are available via chat, email, and phone to assist with configuration and troubleshooting. Luxul values integrators’ time and that’s why tech support managers try to keep their hold time to under 2 minutes. In 2017 Luxul heard its dealers and extended its tech support hours from 9AM – 7PM EST. The company’s warranty policy, customer service practices, and tech support provide significant value adds for integrators when selecting a network solution.

RTI: Demonstrating RTI’s commitment to product quality, reliability, and support, the company recently extended what had been a one-year warranty to a three-year warranty on its portfolio of control and AV solutions (one year on batteries), including remotes, processors, interfaces, audio distribution system, amplifiers, accessories, chargers, and cradles. Furthermore, the new warranty policy is retroactive for anyone who has bought the company’s products within the last three years. In addition to demonstrating RTI’s rock-solid confidence in its products, it also inspires confidence in end users and provides another great selling point for dealers. To help ensure its products are sold only by RTI or its dealers and distributors, the warranty does not apply to any product purchased from an unauthorized seller or internet site.

Vanco: Offering one of the most aggressive warranty terms in the industry, Vanco provides a lifetime warranty on all Vanco cables and works one-on-one with their distributors and dealers to provide flexible warranty and return policies. With our advanced tech support programs, Vanco can test specific applications within the QC test lab to immediately identify problems and provide optimal support. Numerous sources and displays are tested in conjunction with Vanco products to guarantee compatibility with the latest upgrades and updates to the most popular devices and technologies. Partnered with JVC, Yamaha, TrendNET, Vivotek and other leading manufacturers, Vanco has immediate access to troubleshoot a variety of products and potential issues. All Vanco HDMI active products are tested twice, once at the factory, and then again before products are shipped out to ensure minimal performance issues.


Web Portal/Online Tools

AVAD: AVAD has invested heavily to create an enhanced website with added features to ensure their dealers have access to the tools necessary to best serve their customer base. The new AVAD site includes upgraded searching functionality, access to detailed order history, easy-to-access promotional pricing and custom product recommendations. Designed to provide dealers with a simple, more efficient search, the new site allows dealers to utilize an advanced search functionality with more accurate results and simplified interface. In addition, dealers can access an extensive order history, displaying 24 months of web, branch and phone orders, as well as shipment tracking or schedule a pickup at an AVAD Depot location. AVAD’s improved site is the beginning of many digital enhancements, including the AVAD Mobile app, as the company continues to invest in tools for valued customers.

Capitol: Capitol remains on the forefront of supporting its customers through a variety of means and programs, none more important than its online portal. Registered dealers have access to an extensive and continually expanding selection of tools and resources to not only simplify the ordering process, but to learn and analyze technology and market trends through a library of tech tips, manufacturers’ spec sheets, and links to Capitol’s library of webinars and short-form “Minute with Mike” videos, manufacturers’ links, upcoming training and other events. Other website features include Quick Order, ability to create multiple My Favorites lists, and reorder past orders. As packed as the web portal may be, Capitol worked long and hard to ensure that using it is an entirely intuitive process, guiding dealers through product specials and other popular pages quick and easy, while offering up background and related information along the way.

Core Brands: Core Brands’ user-friendly online Dealer Portal helps to simplify the ordering process, saving dealers time so that they can focus on their customers. Through the online Portal, dealers can check inventory status and place orders at their convenience — anytime, from anywhere. Once orders are placed, dealers can track the processing and shipping status. Orders placed before 7 pm Eastern Time ship the same day, and of course, all CI direct dealer orders placed on the Portal earn free shipping. The Core Brands Dealer Portal offers product solutions across all categories important to CI dealers to fully equip them for any project. Authorized dealers have access to products from ELAN, SpeakerCraft, Panamax, Gefen, Sunfire, Furman, Niles and Xantech, plus the full library of product manuals, installation guides and other support materials to help with their installations.

Honeywell: The LCP500 (iOS and Android) apps were designed to allow security and connected home professionals the ability to fully demonstrate the Honeywell Lyric LCP500 self-contained security and home automation system controller without the need for a live system. It showcases ease of operation when arming and disarming plus the smart home integration that is available to today’s homeowners. The app has three sections: a Presentation section that showcases the basic functionality including the magic finger showcasing exactly what the user should do to engage the function. The Interactive Guide emulations the interface showing how a simple arm or disarm command can control a scene and make a typical home into a smart home. The Connect Home section showcases all of the technology (tstats, garage doors, ceiling fans, leak detectors, cameras and more) that can be added to any system. Search for LCP500 in iTunes to download the free app.

Portal: Portal is a web-based product catalog that allows AV Integrators to find product information and make wholesale purchases from all of their suppliers in one place. Portal makes it easier for integrators to find what they need, build accurate proposals, and purchase products from their suppliers. Portal Select, dubbed “Amazon Prime for the Industry”, provides dealers instant access to industry products from participating suppliers. Products labeled “Portal Select” are guaranteed to ship for free, arrive within 3 business days or less, and in most cases pay additional rewards via Portal’s industry-wide rewards program. Portal’s “Dealer Happiness” team provides customer service through live chat on the Portal website. The Dealer Happiness team keeps the average response time on the in-app chat to less than 90 seconds. As mostly former dealers, the Portal team makes every effort to provide the type of customer service that they needed when they were integrators.

URC: The new URC Dealer Portal is a comprehensive resource for URC dealers and integration partners. This includes order entry, account management, software downloads, training, marketing and technical resources. The portal offers online ordering of URC and third party products, including seamless access to account information, order tracking and support. Product manuals, photos and marketing materials are included with each product, directly supporting the dealers’ training, programming, system design, sales and marketing efforts. The site also features comprehensive training support including online training registration, schedules, self-paced courses, certificates and more. For the new URC Total Control 2.0 line, the portal features a consolidated landing page with all necessary resources such as two-way modules, software, installation guides, integration guides and user manuals.

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