A lot has changed in the seven months since Ed McConaghay was hired as CEO of RTI. Following the sudden death of company founder John Demskie, at the age of 48 last fall, McConaghay was brought in to help the control brand find its focus for the future and to bring products to market that had been promised but never delivered.
One of those products — to be showcased at CEDIA — is Integration Designer APEX programming software, the much promised but long-delayed backbone of RTI’s control and automation solutions. RTI’s now-shipping new programming platform combines time-saving automation with the complete freedom to design custom control experiences that RTI hopes will set dealers apart from the competition. The new software features automatic generation of the graphical user interface and programming.
Getting APEX to market was a result of McConaghay’s initiative to get products to market faster.
“We’re trying to step up the speed in which we get products out the door,” McConaghay said. “Some of that is cleaning up products that we’ve announced for some time but that really needed to be completed and launched. It’s more rapidly completing new products that we need to have in the marketplace.”
Not only was the APEX launch much anticipated, but it was unique for the company in that when that product came out, it had already been announced to distribution partners. In fact, distribution partners had already been trained on how to use APEX, and the company had already begun offering training programs for dealers.
“In the week of July 24th, we trained more than 1000 dealers in 10 separate webinars, and thousands and thousands of copies of APEX were downloaded,” McConaghay said. “That training continues, and the unsolicited accolades coming into the training department have just been wonderful and very rewarding.”
At CEDIA, RTI also will be introducing its integrated 10-inch, touch-capacitive 1280x800 WXGA-resolution LCD screen. The now-shipping CX10 goes beyond control, also serving as a vibrant HD video display supported through an integrated HDBaseT input and stereo speakers. Easy to mount on a countertop or beneath a cabinet, the display has a tilt range from 10 degrees to 90 degrees for the best viewing angle possible. Additional user-friendly features include video intercom support and a built-in composite input to view video from security cameras and other devices. For users’ convenience, a proximity sensor automatically brings the unit to life when it is approached, while an ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the backlighting for the best visibility.
Under McConaghay’s guidance, RTI developed a “roadmap” to help keep the company focused on quarterly product development goals, as well as informing distribution partners about their plans. Company executives traveled around the world over the past seven months reconnecting with distributors and dealers in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
“We wanted to reinforce our distribution strategy,” McConaghay said. “We go to market with our distributors, who then feed product to our dealers, we need to be a company that is easy to do business with and is responsive. We also want to be more transparent with our distribution partners so they know what we’re doing. So we’ve got a marketing campaign system that’s up and running that’s giving a lot of our partners a lot insight into what’s going at RTI, what’s going on with product, what���s our direction — the kinds of things that make communication with our people much easier.
RTI also has added a new director of training to lead the company’s curriculum. They also hired a chief financial officer, a new logistics executive to run the company’s global supply chain, bolstered its tech support and engineering teams.”
The company also extended what had been a one-year warranty to a three-year warranty for all of its customers. This is a warranty policy that is retroactive for anyone who had bought product within the last three years to protect against the usual manufacturer defects.
So, going into CEDIA, RTI is much different company than it was at the start of the calendar year. And due to its communication efforts, the company expects that its dealer and distribution partners at the show will arrive there excited about the whole new level of ease of doing business and excitement coming from the company. And they’ll know exactly what to expect at the RTI booth.
And while he says he feels like the company’s work is never really done, McConaghay feels good about its progress.
“About seven months in, I’ve never been more excited about a company,” he said. “I’ve never been happier with a team I get to work with. We’ve made a really good start at changing the dynamic within our company and among our partners.”