Deep Dive: New Dana Innovations HQ & Training Ctr

Strata-gee Goes Through Dana Innovations 2-Day Training

For some time now, I’ve been picking up a lot of buzz about the new San Clemente, CA headquarters building of Dana Innovations, said to be a major upgrade from their previous digs and outfitted with an optimized, multi-room training center. Dana Innovations, parent company of power CI brands such as Sonance, iPort, and Trufig, is one of the top custom integration solutions providers of in-wall/in-ceiling speakers, multichannel amplifiers, keypads, touch panels, and more. They also are renown for their dealer training program, which the company runs year round.

So when I got an invitation to visit their facility close-up, I jumped at it. I’m not sure I knew what I was getting myself into…

Dana Innovations puts me through their intense 2-day training regime… Continue reading

Savant Partners with AVAD in Push for Market Expansion

New Tools & Partners Open the Door to Entry-Level Buyers

Savant logoSavant Systems LLC, one of the leading control and home automation brands in custom integration, has made two significant announcements recently, both sent within just a matter of three weeks between them. First was the announcement of new software tools: Savant Central Management, a new cloud-based management software, and Studio, an iPad-based field configuration tool. This announcement was followed with a second one – Savant is partnering with AVAD, a national custom integration-focused distributor with 20 locations across the U.S.

It turns out that the two Savant announcements are related. Read on to see how… Continue reading

ISE Formally Announces Show Move to Barcelona

‘Welcome to Barcelona’ Press Conference Reveals Motives

ISE logo

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) held a formal press conference today at 7:00AM Eastern to present more details on their plans to move ISE – the show, that is – to a new facility in Barcelona, Spain starting in 2021. Speaking at the press conference were local government officials, representatives of the owners of the ISE show (CEDIA and AVIXA), and most importantly Mike Blackman, the father of the show.

See what we learned about ISE moving to Barcelona… Continue reading

SnapAV Launches Scalable Media over IP Solution

Binary MoIP controller

SnapAV, the unique national manufacturer/distributor of custom integration products based in North Carolina, announced on Tuesday that it has launched a media over IP solution designed to offer a uncommon combination of tremendous flexibility along with simplicity. Part of their Binary line, this 900 Series Media over IP solution delivers 4K UHD content with HDR support from any number of sources to any number of displays.

See more on SnapAVs new MoIP solution… Continue reading

Senators Call for Govt. Investigation of Smart TV Industry

Graphic of digital TVWith all that’s going on in the world of politics – or perhaps because of what’s going on in the world of politics – two senators are calling for an investigation of the Smart TV industry, citing concerns about a potential compromise of privacy for users of which they are unaware. This move is in response to news that emerged a few weeks back suggesting that Smart TV makers were tracking users viewing, unbeknownst to them.

What are Smart TV makers doing to get Congress riled up?… Continue reading

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