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

CEDIA’s Seer was Right – Driverless Car Moves One Step Closer to Reality

Photo of Dr. Michio KakuAt the CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis earlier this month, the event’s keynote presentation was by the well-known physicist, author, and TV personality Michio Kaku who presented his rather dramatic view of the future – complete with a rash of technology predictions. Kaku’s presentation covered a lot of ground including military technology, the home of the future, the office of the future, future medical technology, and even the future of car technology.

Today, we found out that at least one of Kaku’s predictions is coming closer to reality, faster perhaps than even he imagined… Continue reading

Batteries Big Enough to Run Your Whole House from Rosewater Energy Group

Photo of Joe Piccirilli of Rosewater Energy Group

Joe Piccirilli, Rosewater Energy Group

At this month’s CEDIA Expo, no sooner had I finished an interview on the show floor when I saw what looked like two huge caskets standing on end and side-by-side. That’s a little dramatic, they didn’t really look like caskets, just two huge rectangular racks standing about eight-feet up in the air. Curiosity drew me to Rosewater Energy Group’s booth where I discovered an old friend: Joe Piccirilli (formerly of AVAD and Sound Advice).

Those monstrous boxes (actually a little over 7-feet tall, the display base they were shown on made them look taller) really contain a lot of technology and take power conditioning to a whole new level.

See why Rosewater’s “Storage Hub” was even more impressive than it looked… Continue reading

Energy Squad Wants to Help Integrators to Catch the Green Wave

Photo of Energy Squad Founder Jonathan Stovall

Jonathan Stovall, Energy Squad Founder

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. When I ask business owners and executives to tell me why they started their business, you’d be surprised at the mushy gobbledy-gook I’m often offered in response. So when strata-GEE.com readers at the CEDIA Expo pointed me in the direction of the Energy Squad booth – I was skeptical. Was this another tech head playing with toys who’ll be here-today and gone-tomorrow?

Boy was I in for a surprise… Continue reading