AudioControl: In Full Control of The Path to Success

Strata-gee’s Exclusive All-Access Tour of AudioControl

When invited to visit AudioControl some time back, I was intrigued. While AudioControl is a secondary supplier, one step below the major electronics manufacturers, it has carved out a unique niche for itself with a solid and growing hold on the AV and mobile audio installer and integrator segments. They’ve had a long record of success, which in the last three years or so has actually increased in intensity with impressive double-digit annual sales growth, according to CEO Alex Camara.

When the stars – and our schedules – finally aligned, Camara offered Strata-gee unprecedented access to the company, including granting me the opportunity to be a “fly on the wall” and sit in on operations meetings, a company-wide CIP meeting, and even an engineering meeting to discuss current and future products – no holds barred. What I learned made a big impression.

See what we discovered in our visit to AudioControl… Continue reading

Smart Appliances are Still Looking for a Home

Samsung family hub

Samsung Family Hub


New research shows that while a majority of internet users own some type of smart device, almost no one owns a smart appliance – even though many manufacturers like Samsung have been pushing the category for a couple of years now. If consumers believe in “smart” technology, what’s going on with smart appliances??

See more on the lack of adoption of smart appliances in the home… Continue reading

Gibson, Protected from Creditors, Still Loses Money

News of Gibson’s $10M Monthly Loss Gives Some Pause

Photo of Gibson CES promoGibson Brands, Inc. declared bankruptcy on May 1, 2018, thereby placing themselves in Chapter 11 protection from creditors. Now under the guidance of bankruptcy court, the company buys itself time to put a plan together to present to the judge offering a path out of bankruptcy for the company. During this time, debts are frozen until the judge determines the final disposition – a disposition that typically includes some level of payment to debtors, both secured and unsecured.

So how is Gibson doing? According to a story by the Nashville Post, Gibson posted a loss of nearly $10 million in May – its first month under bankruptcy court protection from creditors.

See more on the bumpy bankruptcy road upon which Gibson finds itself… Continue reading

Gibson Investment Gone, Onkyo Sells Off European Operations

In Restructuring, Company Scales Back to ‘Core Competencies’

onkyologoAll the way back in 2012, Onkyo Corp. and Gibson Guitar Corp. came together to partner in what both hoped would become an entity where the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. Just months after their announcement, Onkyo forged ties to another Japanese audio brand, Teac/Tascam – just as Gibson stepped in to buy a majority share of them…and the combined entity began to grow.

Little did they know that just six short years later, Gibson, the investor in Onkyo, would implode into bankruptcy – forced to extricate itself from its Onkyo aspirations. Onkyo was hit as well, losing its Gibson investment – forcing them to reassess their direction. We now learn that Onkyo has sold off its entire European operations to an accessory distributor known as Aqipa GmbH.

See more on this surprising announcement by Onkyo… Continue reading

Como Audio Launches SpeakEasy at CE Week

CE Week logoSolid niche player Como Audio launched a new music system at last week’s CE Week called the SpeakEasy. Como Audio owner Tom DeVesto has practically invented the high quality small shelftop system – first at Tivoli, now at Como Audio – a category that most others fill with cheap, low-Fi junk to be sold in your local drug stores. SpeakEasy shows how DeVesto intends to retain their leadership in the arena by adding the latest and greatest technology.

See what Como Audio’s SpeakEasy has that is unusual in shelftop systems… Continue reading

The Buzz About B’z T

Photo of Ms. Nam of B'z TIn another example of a practical application of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, at CE Week last week the company B’z T showed a line of children’s clothing with hidden sensors that make your kids truly trackable – in fact they call them “Trackable Ts.” Offering a wide range of styles, colors, and designs, the company has already seen its products picked up by Amazon and other dealers, creating a bit of a buzz.

See more on what I learned about B’z T… Continue reading

CE Week Panel: The Future Will Be Lead by Smart Speakers

CE Week logoOne of the more interesting conference panels that took place at CE Week last week in the Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan was a panel called, “Listening in the Living Room: How Smart Speakers are Striving to Be the Next Great Planform.” This panel featured Gary Schultz, Director, Business & Product Development, SDI Technologies Inc, the parent company of iHome and Andrew Vloyanetes, Sonos’s sales manager. The panel was moderated by John Quain, a contributor to The New York Times.

Some of what this panel had to say was in line with what you might expect – they are both pretty high on smart speakers and the category’s conjunction with voice control.

But there were some other interesting tidbits that emerged… Continue reading

TPVision and B&W Partner on New Philips TVs

Philips TV logoTPVision, a principal licensor of the Philips brand of upscale TVs in Europe, announced today that is has partnered with Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) in a new multi-year agreement for a new line of products representing the finest in video and audio quality. The announcement noted the reputation both companies enjoy for excellence in engineering and suggests this partnership will set a new reference standard for visual and audio performance in televisions.

See more on this announcement from Philips and B&W… Continue reading

NY Times Tech Reporter: Cryptocurrency ‘Scams are Everywhere Online’

Cryptocurrency ATM machines

Cryptocurrency ATMs [Photo: icopulse]

Just days after Strata-gee published its skeptical assessment of the new ICO (Initial Coin Offering) of Monster Money cryptocurrency contemplated in a recent S-1 filing by Monster Products, Inc. – a new article appears in today’s New York Times (originally posted online last Friday) by tech columnist Farhad Manjoo proclaiming this about cryptocurrency, “Scams are everywhere online. Never let your guard down.”

We did NOT say that Monster Money was a scam in our article. We DID say that cryptocurrencies are risky, risky investments to be approached with caution. The prevalence of several large scams in the supposedly safe world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies serve as a stark reminder of this need for extreme caution when investing in something new.

See more on this cryptocurrency cautionary tale in today’s Times… Continue reading