On Thursday, March 24, Martin Plaehn and Victor Pak, the CEOs of Control4 and Pakedge Device & Software, respectively, held an online “fireside chat” to discuss the implications of the control company’s acquisition of the networking brand for dealers and distributors. The takeaway: there will be no disruption to previous distribution practices.
“We believe in consumer and dealer choice,” Plaehn said. “Our automation platform works very well with leading networking providers. Likewise, Pakedge works with numerous connected home and connected business solution product lines, not only for Control4 but also some of our more significant competitors, and we think that’s good.”
Plaehn said that as his company works to enhance the performance of both its control products and Pakedge products as it develops products together, Control4 will continue to offer other networking brands through its portal, providing a choice to its broad dealer networks. “Our continued intent is to provide networking dealer choice,” he reiterated.
From the Pakedge side, Pak said that the brand—along with all of its management, engineering, and support staff—will remain intact and will operate as before. “Open integration with all control platforms will remain strong,” he said, “whether you use Control4, Crestron, Savant, or any other system.”
Pak also emphasized the commitment to autonomy for its established dealer network: “Pakedge dealers won’t be recruited to sell Control4,” he said. “If they do, you can call me on my cell phone and let me know.” He also said that Pakedge dealer program policies with regard to its multiple levels and pricing tiers won’t be modified to correspond with Control4’s single-tiered approach.
Currently, Control4 and Pakedge’s combined dealer network consists of 1,700 independent dealers and networking specialists, but only 400 of those distribute both brands.
In terms of product development, Plaehn said that Control4 has allowed the Pakedge brand to continue its platforms as before. “We’ve never stopped or diverted the Pakedge team from its existing roadmaps,” he said. The companies are, however, working to develop future roadmaps involving the co-development of products.
Plaehn said that Control4 is also working to consolidate both companies’ warehouses, to increase efficiency of delivering all products to dealers within three days.
In conclusion, Pak reaffirmed the preservation of his brand. “The Pakedge brand and everything you loved about it before the acquisition is not going to go away,” he said. “Control4 made a very strong commitment in networking. They’re becoming a networking company, as I like to put it.”
Pak also stated that he intends to remain at the helm of the networking brand. “Two, three years from now, we’re going to look back on this, and look at the offerings, and say ‘wow,’” he said. “And I definitely want to be a piece of that.”
A recoding of the full chat can be found on Pakedge's website.