More than 230 Azione members gathered in Las VegasRichard Glikes has successfully built Azione Unlimited into one of the country’s preeminent consumer electronics buying groups in a relatively short amount of time. Gathering more than 200 people in Las Vegas October 18-20 for the uniquely titled, “Veridic Vistas in Vegas,” Glikes yet again assembled some of the country’s brightest and most successful integrators/dealers and manufacturers.
“Veridic Vistas” means “a truthful and accurate view or perspective of the future” and “truthful passageways,” and the three-day event included just that, in an interweaving of discussions and presentations on an industry driven by explosive technology and how attendees can establish a more decisive path and business strategy in an increasingly challenging environment.
“That is one of the things dealers like the most about an Azione Conference, the opportunity to sit and have valuable face time with other integrators and manufacturers for frank discussions and idea sharing and building stronger businesses and partnerships,” Glikes said.
Azione has gone exactly as Glikes envisioned and is right on target in terms of total membership numbers, now with 174 dealers. “The dealers and vendors are happy, and we are delivering profits, sharing ideas, and have mutual support of each other,” Glikes noted. “We do try to ‘keep it real,’ and prior to the start of each conference we say to check your egos at the door. This conference we had 153 people in the dealer meetings and 70 vendors attended…but the work is only just beginning as we want to deliver even more creative marketing solutions to our members and look toward services that can make our members even more profitable through recurring revenue and more AR.
Richard Glikes Several home technology professionals spoke about keys to success, including Troy Bolotnick, from Interior Technologies, on very successful event planning scenario that netted big dollars in future business. Eric Thies, from DSI, talked about how to appeal to the wealthy client, who will, “spend any amount of money to make themselves happy,” and Jason Voorhees, from Cantara Design, talked about how to offer superior customer service.
The dealer and vendor meetings began with a panel discussion, titled “Where Will the Industry Be in Five Years?” moderated by EH Publishing’s Julie Jacobson and featuring CEDIA’s Vin Bruno, Sony’s Frank Sterns, Savant’s Angie Larson, Access Networks’ Hagai Feiner, and BDX’s Tim Costello.
During the panel, Bruno noted that integrators are moving to being the managers of technology and that with voice recognition being the hot topic at CEDIA, “We are seeing very expensive pieces of equipment paired with more entry market pricing.”
Sterns noted the “huge success” of 4K” and predicted that 8K will become a future trend. “Sony has already sold out the first three runs of our 100-inch 4K displays,” he said.
Costello, whose company survey’s the builder channel, pointed to a thing he dubbed “cognitive control” for aging-in-place clients, explaining, “Sensor arrays for passive monitoring are right in the integrator’s wheelhouse.”
Michael Bridwell, Digital Projection and Sean Weiner, Starr Systems Focusing on the home network, Feiner said that “processing is greatly improving…you are going to have so much connectivity and networking power. Integrators have to become the managed service providers for the home,” he stated.
Larson, added that “Entertainment still drives a lot of what the Savant customer wants, then you can attach your lighting, drapery, and energy control.”
Wednesday began with a highly anticipated presentation featuring dynamic guest speaker, Tim Costello, who spoke about “Virtual Reality—Applications for the Technology Integrator.” Costello demonstrated selling “the experience” with VR technology. Later in the schedule Costello presented again on “Sales & Marketing in a One-On-One World.” A recurring topic was that “data is going to be king,” with the idea that one day home builders might discount their products in exchange for data collected from sensors and smart devices throughout the property.
Other presentations included, “Creating an Exit Strategy for Individuals and or the Group,” led by Brad Stanek, senior VP of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. And the clever and thought provoking, “Sheconomy: Appealing to the Female Buyer,” by Melissa Morman, at BDX Builders Digital Experience.
The agenda for Azione Unlimited’s Fall Conference incorporated dealer presentations, dealer/vendor one-on-ones, roundtable discussions, great guest speakers, and exceptional dining experiences. “The group’s energy, enthusiasm, and participation have enabled us to deliver a program jammed with the content and substance our dealer members and vendor members relish,” Glikes said. “We pack a lot into three days, and we also manage to have a lot of fun.”