RUSSOUND LOOKS TO SUPPORT RETROFITS WITH NEW PLC-BASED SYSTEM
Russound, the New Hampshire-based multi-room audio innovator, featured one of its biggest rollouts of new products at the 2008 CEDIA EXPO in September, including two completely new speaker lines, a high-performance entry-level fourzone/ multisource controller/amplifier, HDMI zone extender, and a Web-based touchpad control that is the company’s most advanced touch control to date. But, an even bigger story came out of the company’s off-site product preview at Denver’s Grand Hyatt, where Russound demonstrated a new IP-based system that utilizes the Home Plug Alliance’s Power Line Carrier technology. Russound’s director of product development, Andy Lewis, recently took time to answer questions about that product and other initiatives that the company has implemented to keep growing despite a difficult economic environment.
“Our market focus is the same as our dealers’ focus: find new opportunities for retrofit solutions that offer an unbeatable value, reliability, and performance”
—Andy Lewis, Director of Product Development, Russound
Generally how well were your goals for CEDIA met this year?
This year’s CEDIA EXPO was a big success for us. Not only was it our biggest new product showcase in years, but it was easily one of the biggest product rollouts at the show. Our booth on the main floor was brimming with new products like our new E-Series touchscreen and RF remote control, Acclaim speaker series, and feature-packed CA4 controller/amp, all of which were shipping as of last month, or will be available in 90 days or less.
But, an even bigger story was our technology demo at the Hyatt, where we featured the new Collage system, which is an IP-based system that utilizes the Home Plug Alliance’s Power Line Carrier technology. At a time when every dealer, integrator, and installer is looking for ways to build business without having to rely on new housing starts, Collage presents a simple, easy-to-install room-toroom solution with a slew of interactive features. The best part is that even the biggest multi-room Collage installation projects can be finished in two days or less, with practically no disruption to theclient’s daily routine, and the price will be a fraction of what you’d expect.
What makes this a compelling product for integrators?
Collage is a unique product with a very clear value proposition—advanced technology, access to today’s digital content, minimal disruption, ease of use, quick and painless installation, and a reasonable price. At its heart Collage is a simple, PLC-based solution for homeowners and apartment dwellers who for one reason or another has not yet signed on for true multi-room entertainment.
How does Collage differ from your previously launched Avenue system?
At its heart Collage is a simple, PLC-based solution for homeowners and apartment dwellers who for one reason or another has not yet signed on for true multi-room entertainment.Avenue is another PLC-based solution that allows our dealers to retrofit the traditional and hugely popular CAV6.6 based systems, whereas Collage is a true stand-alone, modular solution. Avenue also caters to the consumer who already has a number of RNET zones and is looking to expand the experience to additional rooms without the need for new long wire runs.
Could you explain the concept behind your Sphere-Certified Integrator Program?
Sphere certification is a program that requires Russound dealers, integrators, and installers to prove they can handle installation and service of our most advanced product line (E-Series) to date. We make it possible for CI professionals to gain Sphere training in any number of ways—on-site at their office, in our New Hampshire headquarters, and on the Web. By the end of the program, they’re either among an elite group of qualified professionals with the best possible understanding of our most advanced line, or they can go back and try again. We are very strict about ensuring that Sphere Certified dealers know the intricacies of the E-Series cold.
Finally, please explain your expanded market focus beyond your traditional core.
Our market focus is the same as our dealers’ focus: find new opportunities for retrofit solutions that offer an unbeatable value, reliability, and performance. Every one of our products has to offer a specific benefit, while headlinerslike Collage and the E-Series give our dealers the tools they need to keep sales coming in, no matter what is happening on the street.