Control systems manufacturer RTI celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, in part, by hosting the 2012 RTI Global Partner Summit, which welcomed some of its most valued international partners from 14 different countries and six different continents. This event, help right after CEDIA EXPO in September, allowed RTI’s international partners from all over the globe to attend seminars covering a broad range of subjects, including RTI products, programming, and sales strategies, as well as enjoy what VP of marketing Pete Baker said were “fun-filled, Midwestern-style evening” in the Twin Cities, where the company is headquartered. With the company hitting its 20-year milestone, Baker said it was only fitting that RTI was also experiencing its best first half revenue performance in company history.
“RTI has really never been in a better position in our 20 years in business than we are today,” Baker said. “We have the best team–internally and externally– supporting and promoting our products, and are very proud of the talented dealer network that installs and programs our devices worldwide.”
Here’s what else Baker had to say about RTI’s anniversary and plans for the future in an interview with RS.
Pete Baker, RTI, VP of sales and marketing
Take us back in history. How did RTI come about?
RTI was founded by John Demskie, our fearless leader and president, from a modest one-room apartment in Minnesota. John is a skilled hardware engineer and has always been a home theater and consumer electronics enthusiast. Many years ago–prior to starting RTI–John was flipping through some magazines featuring luxurious homes and noticed that all of the coffee tables in these beautiful new “home theaters” were littered with remotes. He had a vision of creating a customizable touchscreen control device to provide users with a more intuitive and enjoyable experience when controlling their electronics. This vision started with the launch of one successful remote control and developed into what you see today–a world-class control systems manufacturer with a broad assortment of professional control devices and related audio distribution systems, with video distribution systems soon to follow.
In your opinion, what are the most notable automation and control industry changes during RTI’s lifetime? What about the residential custom install market as a whole?
The control industry has changed considerably–with very sophisticated features such as bi-directional control becoming more and more mainstream. While bi-directional control has certainly been around for a while, in the past it typically came with a big price tag and was limited to more complex and luxurious projects. With the enhancements made to the RTI Integration Designer programming software, many of the more advanced programming techniques–such as time-based events, bi-directional control, IP control, and remote access through smartphones, PCs, and other devices–have now become more available to the consumer than ever before, and at a fraction of the cost.
What innovations still make RTI’s products relevant in the competitive AV home control market today?
RTI prides itself on making the programming process as efficient as possible by streamlining the most complex applications and techniques for its dealers. So while there are countless innovations RTI has developed over the years with our hardware and affordable touchscreen control technology, a lot of credit must also be given to our award-winning programming environment, which pulls all RTI applications and devices into one extremely powerful and intuitive ecosystem for dealers to leverage on every project they are involved in. The award-winning products and programming platform from RTI allow our dealers to present their clients with options that they may not have had in the past, such as full automation of lights, security, HVAC, AV, and so much more from our handheld and in-wall controllers, iPhones, iPads, or Android devices.
What would you say has been RTI’s proudest achievement in its 20-year history?
Our proudest achievement is the dedicated professionals we have at RTI and worldwide through our dealers and distribution partners; all of whom passionately promote RTI daily and help us to strive to be better than yesterday.
Beyond products, explain how RTI brings value to the businesses of its dealers.
We are dedicated to developing great programs to support our dealers, such as the Control Bucks program, Certified Dealer program, and Advanced Control University. All of these initiatives ensure that our dealers receive the best training, support, and education possible when installing our products.
What does RTI have planned next?
We continue to push the envelope when it comes to developing innovative, cool products for professionally installed electronic systems. Stay tuned, for countless cool new products which will certainly be coming in the next 20 years, with many already in the works!