EXCLUSIVE> CEDIA Executives Address Issues Raised by strata-GEE.com Readers

As long time readers of strata-GEE.com (and the previous stratecongroup.com) know, for the last three years, we have conducted a survey of our readers on their attitudes of both the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the CEDIA EXPO. Last month, our CEDIA EXPO survey saw a dramatic increase in participation – up over 90%.

Over 80% of the participants completed the entire survey and a review of the survey results showed that we got a lot of great comments on our open-ended questions. Whether positive or negative, it was clear that strata-GEE.com readers were serious, thoughtful, engaged, and concerned about this event.

Now, in a first for us, CEDIA responds to our survey – and more – in an exclusive interview… Continue reading

Nortek Names New Chief Supply Chain Officer

Nortek LogoNortek, Inc. announced today the appointment of Scott Campbell to Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer. A newly created position, the company says that the executive will be responsible for “creating, driving and implementing” an enterprise-grade, global supply chain strategy. Continue reading

Pioneer to Use Contract Manufacturers in Indonesia to Produce Car Sound Systems

Pioneer_2012CES_2The Nikkei reported today that Pioneer Corporation is planning to use contract manufacturers in Indonesia for the production of its automotive sound systems starting next spring. According to the report, the company is “facing a shrinking market for its mainline car navigation equipment.”

See what Pioneer feels they gain by making this move… Continue reading

D&M Sells McIntosh Labs to Italian High-End Marketer Backed by Private Equity

McIntosh LogoNews emerged today that Italian holding company Fine Sounds SpA has acquired 100% of McIntosh Laboratory, the Binghamton, NY-based high-end brand most recently owned by D&M Holdings. The announcement – which came from Fine Sounds, contained only a short statement from Charles Randall, President of McIntosh, with no other comments attributed to D&M Holdings or its parent Bain Capital.

Fine Sounds, backed by private equity company Quadrivio – also based in Milan, Italy – is the owner and distributor of other high-end brands such as Sonus Faber, Audio Research Corporation, Wadia Digital, and Sumiko. According to the company, their strategy is to “offer products that are the best in the world in their category.

But does this strategy make sense for McIntosh?…

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Start-up ube Wins $1 Million People’s Choice Award

Launched earlier this week at DEMO, the high-tech conference in Silicon Valley that just wrapped up, start-up company ube won the People’s Choice Award and $1 million worth of media from IDG properties. We profiled ube in our post here…saying that they just may be on to something and the DEMO judges apparently agree.

Learn more about this win here… Continue reading

Japan Moves to Set Worldwide Standard for Residential Energy Storage

Photo of Joe Piccirilli of Rosewater Energy Group

Joe Piccirilli, Rosewater Energy Group

At last month’s CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis, we learned about – and reported on – a new venture by industry stalwart Joe Piccirilli to sell a residential energy storage hub under the Rosewater Energy Group brand. Their hub uses rechargeable batteries to store energy from the power grid, or from renewable sources (i.e. solar panels, wind turbines), or even from a back-up generator to condition the energy and power your home.

Now news comes out of Asia that Japanese industry, in conjunction with the Japanese government, is preparing a proposal for the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to set international standards for the fledgling residential storage industry.

Why is Japan focusing on residential energy storage? Read below to see why… Continue reading

NEC & Partners Launch Program to Drive Adoption of Residential Energy Storage

Photo of NEC's residential storage unit.

NEC’s residential storage unit

It seems that a great green wave is sweeping over Japan as the government and several businesses partner to drive adoption of, and set standards for, the residential energy storage (RES) system business. In a separate post, we reported on a story out of Japan of an effort by Toshiba, Hitachi, and the Japanese government to persuade the IEC, an international standards setting commission, to set an international standard for RES systems based on their proposal.

And on the same day that this was reported, separately the NEC Corp. announced that they have partnered with Orix Corp. to roll-out a national program (in the domestic Japan market) to lease NEC residential energy storage systems to consumers. Although these systems are not new, they have struggled to grow their share of the market – largely because the systems tend to be expensive.

But that’s all about to change… Continue reading

3vNet Hires Training Manager and Training Company

3vNet LogoIn a rash of fast-paced announcements, it is clear that 3vNet continues to push forward with their rapid business ramp-up. Newly independent from former parent, Russound, the company has moved quickly to establish their own identity with an all-new website and several new executives joining the organization. On Monday, we learned that 3vNet has hired Timothy Dunigan as Manager, Training and Education.

But wait, there’s more… Continue reading

Former Harmonious Head of CEDIA Delivers Disruption – Launching ube Today

BREAKING NEWS – ube Launches Today at DEMO

For several years Utz Baldwin worked to further the cause of the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA), first as a member and – from 2008-2011 – as CEO. As the head of the CEDIA, Baldwin worked hard to ensure that the organization was aware of, and responsive to, the needs of its members and other associated stakeholders. However, ousted from the organization in 2011 under circumstances that were never fully made public, Baldwin seemed to disappear from view…until now.

Now, Baldwin is back…and his new company, with the happy-go-lucky name ube (pronounced yoo-bee)…is launching what they promise will be market-changing “disruptive technology”… Continue reading

Sharp, Struggling to Survive, Provides Banks with a New Plan; Ratchets Up Painful Cuts

Photo of Sharp booth at CESSharp Corp., once a high flying superstar of Japanese manufacturing might, finds itself engaged in a multi-front battle for survival as it seeks to replenish its depleted capital reserves. Recently, the company had announced that it was negotiating a partnership deal that included the sale of factories and a capital investment from Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. But these talks stalled when Sharp’s share price dropped to a value less than half the agreed-upon level.

Now, in a series of announcements, the company has submitted a new plan seeking the support of its banks by “upping the ante” in its restructuring plans, more than doubling staff cuts, selling off company assets, and offering several Sharp-owned properties as collateral – including its headquarters facility.

Sharp’s new plan cuts deeper and will be more painful…but is it enough?… Continue reading