Gibson Successfully Sells Memphis Factory

Gibson's Memphis factoryFrom our boy-that-was-fast department, Gibson Brands announced it has booked a deal to sell its Memphis factory/showroom. This facility, which is located in the heart of Memphis’ downtown right near the main entertainment district, had just been put on the market as we told you in our post of November 2nd.

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Portal Adds Origin Acoustics; Gains Exclusive on Valet Amp

Portal logoPortal announced today that it has secured a deal with Origin Acoustics which will allow dealers to select and purchase Origin products through its unique, brand-agnostic, proposal and purchasing web portal for integrators. The deal includes not only Origin products, but iRoom brand models as well. And Portal says it will be offering “exclusive access to the award winning Valet Amplifier system.”

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More Thiel Turmoil – Is It Closed? Is It Open?

Significant Staff Terminations Drop Headcount

New Thiel Audio logoWe are hearing from multiple sources both public and private that Thiel Audio has ceased operations, effective November 30, 2017. If true, the news would be a sad punctuation to the end of the story of a once proud  high-end audio brand that since 2012 has endured multiple CEO’s and their changing business plans. Current CEO Elyse McKenna is, by our count, the fifth CEO at Thiel since the end of 2012 – a year which started with co-founder Kathy Gornik as the CEO who then sold the company to David B. Griffin, a wealthy farmer and landowner according to our sources.

But, apparently, the answer to the question posed in our headline is that it depends on who you ask. CEO Elyse McKenna, in a telephone interview this afternoon, denied that Thiel is closed and tells us the company remains open for business.

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Long Simmering Sonos vs. D&M Lawsuit is Now Boiling Over

Trial is Next Week; Sonos Makes Big Mistake

Sonos logoEver since Sonos filed their patent infringement case against D&M Holdings – in reference to its then new HEOS line – things started out like the opening salvo in a boxing match. That was over three years ago in October 2014 and after an initial flurry, including the filing of a countersuit by D&M Holdings, the event went on to settle down into more of a wrestling match, as opposed to boxing. Each side jockeyed for leverage on the other, with our judgment giving a slight advantage to Sonos, whose legal team seemed just slightly better in their approach perhaps even winning over the judge in a series of mostly favorable rulings.

Now, on the eve of trial and in front of a new judge, things are really moving from its long, low simmer to a boil – in fact, boiling over in the days leading up to trial next week starting December 11.

See recent developments just days before commencement of trial… Continue reading

Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs – How We Do RMR in the Big City

We continue on with our new Strata-SERIES:RMR Programs series of articles. Smack dab in the middle of Manhattan you’ll find Union Square and in Union Square you’ll find Cloud9 Smart, a leading New York City integrator in both commercial and residential installations.

[Note: this article is part of a series and will make more sense if you read Installment 1 first. You can find it at this link…]

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Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs – Just What Kind of Business are You In?

Topic Introduction – RMR Programs Can Change the Game

First installment of RMR seriesWhen given the assignment to check up on the state of recurring monthly revenue (RMR) programs, it seemed like a pretty straightforward task. After all, everybody embraces RMR…right? We began by randomly reaching out to custom integrators around the country – including a few large, high revenue businesses. The simple request…tell us about your RMR program.

[This is the first post in a series of articles we call Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs. Read about why we created this series here…]

First problem? Nobody wanted to talk to us! Read on to see why… Continue reading

Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs – Not Just Revenue, A Redefined Client Relationship

Introducing A New Article Series on RMR Programs

Cover of Residential Systems December issueHave you seen the December issue of Residential Systems Magazine? I wrote the cover story, “Maintaining Customer Joy” (online as: Maintaining Customer Joy Through Service Plans), a detailed article about the benefits and challenges of implementing a recurring monthly revenue (RMR) program in an integration company. In that story, I interviewed four top integrators who all had successful RMR programs, about the trials and tribulations of establishing that program…and the benefits they derived from it.

In researching RMR programs, I learned that they are much more than a revenue stream – they literally redefine the relationship with the client. I had uncovered more than I expected…so much more…

A new Strata-SERIES on RMR programs – redefining the client relationship… Continue reading

Samsung’s Graphene Ball Battery Breakthrough

Fully Recharge Batteries in Just 12 Minutes

Samsung logoKorean media is touting a major breakthrough in battery technology from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) called graphene ball. Said to dramatically improve both charging capacity and charging speed, the breakthrough could have a real impact on consumers who have come to rely on their battery driven mobile devices. And there are implications as well for electric automobiles and other applications.

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Gibson Stuns the Music World, Shuts Down Cakewalk

Acquired in 2013, Cakewalk was Killed for Philips, Gibson Says

Cakewalk logoIn what many in the industry are suggesting is yet another indicator of struggles at Gibson Brands, the company announced a little over a week ago that it would wind down operations at Cakewalk Inc., a popular music creation software company it owns. Music industry-centric websites around the internet exploded with largely critical coverage of the move, and comments on Cakewalk’s website are decidedly negative – both sad and angry – as customers seek to process the shocking news.

See more on yet another move by struggling Gibson…

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Toshiba: Beginning to Slip From View

Company Pulls Monster LED Display from Times Square

Top of Toshiba's Times Square displayStruggling Toshiba Corp. has made what is undoubtedly a difficult decision and a big blow to their corporate ego  – they will abandon their giant LED display overseeing Times Square. The huge lighted billboard was a prominent showing of the Toshiba logo all year-round, but especially during the dropping of the ball on New Years Eve, when it served as the countdown shown on network TVs as cameras broadcast the ball drop around the world. The Toshiba logo has literally lit up Times Square for ten years, having been first erected there in December 2007.

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