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Check back here often for the latest news on our new product releases, awards, recognitions, and other exciting achievements.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #49: An Industry Q&A With Gordon Van Zuiden

Next Step: Energy automation & management

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Gordon Van Zuiden. Recorded live on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Gordon Van Zuiden

Gordon served as a CEDIA Board of Director for 6 years. He also wrote articles about Home Networking topics for Residential Systems magazine for almost 20 years.

In 1999, he founded cyberManor. He also constructed a full Control4 Certified Showroom home at our corporate headquarters in Los Gatos, CA.

Interview Recap

Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Gordon:

  • Gordon’s background in the industry
  • The impact of voice control on our integrated home technology solutions
  • Energy Management solutions in the home (solar, battery storage, etc)

  • The role of being a total home technology advisor

SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #48: A Custom Integration Industry Q&A With Seth Evenson


Ron:  Hello everybody. Ron Callis here with another episode of Automation Unplugged. It is currently Wednesday, August 15th. We're just about 12:30 and I hope this recording finds you well or if you're live even better. Let me jump over to Facebook as I do every week just to make sure technology is cooperating. Let's see here. Let's see if we are live. All right. There we are. It looks like we're live. We are going to jump right into it. I'm going to bring in my guest, longtime friend of mine and friend of the industry, Mr. Gordon Van Zuiden. How are you sir?

Gordon: I'm doing very well. Thank you for the invitation, Ron. I'm looking forward to spending the next half hour or so together with you.

Ron:  Yeah, likewise. I appreciate that. Audience, if you're out there please like this show. Please give us a comment if you're going to have any questions for Gordon as we go through a bunch of fun topics. Definitely I'll do my best to read those off to Gordon and get some replies. If not, then we'll do it after the fact. The comment section of the recording, but Gordon, let's jump into it, sir. So you are the owner and operator of Cyber Manor out there in Northern California, correct?

Gordon: That's correct. Been at it for about 20 years now. So on a fun ride.

Ron:  Well, I always love to get into the background of my guests and I know a lot of the folks that are watching and listening to this recording are also enjoying hearing about the backgrounds of the people that make this industry tick. And you have been a mover and shaker in this space for a long time and a thought leader. So where did you come from? How did you end up landing in this crazy industry?

Gordon: Well, it it is a crazy industry. Landed in it coming actually from an IT background. I had an IT integration company here in Silicon Valley through most of the 80s, in the 90s. And had the opportunity to sell that and kind of the mid nineties, mid to late nineties and right about the same time broadband internet was coming to our residential area revising AOL dial up if you remember those days. So I was always in the local area network wide area network space from my commercial IT background and it seemed like there was an opportunity now that we had an always on it and that connection to introduce that service to the home. So the early days of Cyber Manor were essentially to create a small local area network in the office so that everybody could share one line for email for serving files for printing and the birth of Cyber Manor before Cisco Linksys and NetGear and all the rest were to take routers that were off the shelf and program. And so that we could share that broadband access across two to three PCs that all could be network ready and it created for the first time a live, always on non dialup way to to be on the internet in the home. And that seemed like that had a lot of promise, not just for the sharing of data, but pretty soon perhaps the sharing of audio, the sharing of video control and the like. Sure enough for the next 10, 15, 20 years, the home is now completely a digital infrastructure. And that birth that happened in '98 '99 has now matured into a smart home that we talk about today. So that was kind of the background. And my kind of introduction into CEDIA and the channel was actually courtesy. I would call very clear of Jeff Hoover. I was on a Cisco integration group with him back in the late nineties, early two thousands and he was writing a column for residential systems magazine on inter networking in 2001. He'd done it for a couple of years and he says, I've kind of run out of ideas on what to write. You need to write this for me. So I said, okay. And then he said, you have to be part of CEDIA to do this. And I said, what's CEDIA? And kind of the rest kind of fell into place. And here 18, 19 years later, I still write for residential systems cause I haven't run out of things to talk about. And it's been a lot of fun. So that's quick history.

Ron:  I know that when I was introduced to you, I got involved with CEDIA maybe back around 2010. I have been attending CEDIA since 2000. So, you know, this would be my, I don't know, I got to do the math maybe my 19th show. Yeah, so maybe a similar timeframe to you. Of course I was just coming out of college and your business was a few years old at that point. But in terms of my introduction to you, it was kind of as the app guy, but before apps were cool. Right. You know, this was back at that time I was with I think Crestron. Lutron or Crestron and we were out there talking about this universe of controlling the home with apps. Where did that come from? And do you still have that? Is that the way you practice your integration business today?

Gordon: That's a great question. And like somebody thinks in technology, if you kind of look back over the years, they seem to swing back and forth like a pendulum there. They kind of go mainframe to micros, micros back to the cloud. And I think kind of shift back and forth over time depending on the technology and what makes sense. And I think apps fall that same logic. We were doing a lot, a fair amount of Control4 in about 2006, 2007 timeframe when that had first come out for all the reasons you do a single kind of total control platform. And we're just finding that at that time that platform was difficult to maintain, keep up and running with all the new entries into the smart home space and get that done in a timely fashion. When the alternative back then was just put Sonos in with the Sonos app or Lutron with the Lutron app or, Nest with the Nest app. So in those early days when there were just three or four or five critical well-performing apps and manufacturers, it seemed like there was a lot of overhead associated with doing total own control of the goal was just to have a simple graphical interface for those devices. So that really nurtured my belief in that kind of late 2007, '08, '09, '10 period that apps were the way to go is just driven by our experience with it, our customer's reaction to it. And and that resonated with everyone. Well, fast forward to 2018 that smart home now realistically probably has 10 to 15 apps in it. I mean, we have everything from irrigation controllers to fan controllers digital art controllers. I mean front door locks front door entry station. So that app has grown from three or four to now 10 or 15. So the same creep we saw with remote controls on the coffee table, we see the same creep in the home. So now the homeowner's face with 10 to 15 different apps or 10 to 15 different remotes for their skylights or their fans. And the like, and this has gotten to be too many. And so you combine that with the maturity of a platform like Control4 and Savant could be the same way. And a lot of it now starts to make more sense in my opinion, both for ourselves and for our clients to bring that together who want to interface and it's not just the interface that relates to the gooey and the richness of the gooey. Whether it's on an app or their own proprietary screens, but increasingly by voice, and we'll talk about that too. But having them as kind of the conductor, the mediator between the devices and voice allows us to do some really cool things, let's say in this case with Control4 as a platform to all these devices and these voices of front end. So the pendulum has really swung the other way now and we're back to the traditional core great strength, I think of the customization businesses that provide these really intelligent, robust home automation solutions.

Ron:  As a business, do you choose to take the fully integrated home customer as a client? And turn away, if someone just needs a door lock automation system or a singular system multi-room audio maybe? Sonos maybe thermostats Nest. Do you turn that business away today or do you find most of those customers that C4, type fully integrated operate, you know, control system is the way to go?

Gordon: You know, it's interesting, I think that as the visibility of companies like Control4 others have gained traction, them going public and doing well lately a lot of people. But increasingly, a greater percentage of an audience knows about that company, knows at least to ask some of those questions. So I think we see more people inclined to leverage that kind of platform. But having said that there's still a ton of people out there that just want to sell solar, our system just want Nest. Maybe just want Lutron the light. I think to directly answer that, if it's Sonos you know, our core strengths, like most people is in audio and video and distribution of audio, video and lighting control and light. And we'll do those systems. But if all they wanted to Nest thermostat and we were down that path when Nest first came out and we were one of their first resellers and on their portal that just didn't work. Basically somebody is calling us up to put $150 thermostat and then we're responsible for the HVAC system after that. It's just not a good fit. But they want to do a solar system of responsible for their music system. Well that is a good fit. So that's how that works.

"As a marketing agency, I have all shapes and sizes and businesses knock on our door."

Ron:  That's interesting. You know, as a marketing agency, I have all shapes and sizes and businesses knock on our door and I think it's fair to say that in the, you know, I'll say 2010, '11, '12, '13, '14, I was having these companies kind of surface that were these app based integration firms or at least that's how they imagined themselves. Right. And I haven't seen that lately. I certainly haven't seen that in the last 24 months. And I'm wondering if they've experienced what you just described, which is serving a customer or trying to service a customer. If you've gone in and just put in an app in a very low cost system, how do you take care of that customer long term or it sounds like that'd be challenging.

Gordon: Yeah, I think, you know, I equate it to platforms take a while to really gain traction. The ultimate goal for a manufacturer is to have kind of the established platform. I think of, you know, the early days of Microsoft and you could do a WordStar program and be outside the Microsoft environment, probably do well on the PC. But as the years went on, if you came out with a word processing package and you didn't write it into the Windows environment or the Mac environment, you were going to be isolated. And so that kind of pendulum or that fork was swings is when you get to be large enough and significant enough that let's say what is an example?

Ron:  I think we just had the video freeze?

Gordon: Okay, let me let me log out and come back.

Ron:  So the audience knows we, in testing, we had this freezing. I think there's a an internet issue maybe on his side, but the good news is he comes back in about five seconds as he relaunches. Hey, look at that, like magic. Snap your finger and he's back.

Gordon: Oh yeah. The point I'm trying to make in terms of when I think of it's almost like a seesaw, when you know, you get to the point, you're large enough as a platform that instead of you as the platform have to write the drivers and the interfaces to make these third party systems work within your platform, you're big enough that the third party people realize that if they don't write it for that platform, then they're not going to gain the market traction that they otherwise would. And I think Control4 and probably Savant and others now begin to enjoy that. So we're seeing increasing, I'll give you an example. We're not really in the outdoor heating space. Yeah. There's a company called InforTech Heating out of Southern California that actually was at a tech home expo that came with their people and their product. And they said, you know, normally this outdoor heating is just sold through kind of our outdoor eating channel, but we've now had developed a Control4 interface for it, so he as a Control4 and an Alexa interface. Now we're talking about something that attaches to the network and attached to the voice and it's a different skillset to get that part of it working for an end user. And they came to us and our channel to be able to do that. And that's a great example where in the past Control4 might've had to reach out to extend their umbrella to this product and now they're coming to them.

Ron:  What is outdoor heating, by the way?

Gordon: In Florida you probably have enough of it, but here in California, you know, people want to spend more time in the evenings and kind of the shoulder periods fall and spring. A lot of our affluent client base looks to these outdoor heaters. I'm, you see them in restaurants all the time, but increasingly these are basically electronic based infrared heating systems that the best way I can express it is, you know, we're in the business of outdoor entertainment as well as indoor. So people can enjoy their outdoor entertainment another two to three hours longer because they're comfortable and warm. And we facilitate that through an easy interface. Then we're doing our jobs better.

Ron:  Let's jump topics. Voice. I know C4 had a big announcement at, you know, their integration with Alexa. Obviously magnificent news. I think for our industry. Mr Charlie Kendall has joined C4 for those that are watching you know, just Google Control4 Charlie Kendall, you'll read all the news. I haven't looked at their stock recently, but Control4 had like a 20% stock jump in a single day. When that news, I'm actually gonna check it out right now. See if I can get to it quickly. When that news was announced not till, see if I can look at it here. Yep. There you go. So Google C4 stock and you'll notice this launch north and it's then plateaued. That happened when Charlie joined C4 couple of what, a week or two ago? So what's your take on the Alexa integration and voice and the demand from the consumer?

Gordon: So it's a really interesting topic, I guess. Just again, try to put perspective on these things. Voice has been out there only for the last couple, two, three years. Comes in a lot of different form factors now and different manufacturers. And I think it's like all relatively new technologies. I'm always good to understand what it can do, what it can't do, what it could do, you know, in the near future. But certainly it's gained a lot of traction getting a lot of momentum, a lot of interest. I think I read somewhere there's now 50 million households, the United States that have an Amazon Echo product. So incredible acceptance rate on that product as it relates to what we do. A couple of interesting tax on that. One is you know, obviously none of us make any money selling an Echo product. That's not the point here. The point is not the margin on the product, but what has been really attractive for us is we've built this Control4 certified showroom at our office and we built it with the intent to showcase the best of what these various intelligence subsystems can do. And what I mean by that is it's got Lutron motorized shades and it's got distributed audio and it's got distributed video. It's got a Hagu fan. It's got a motorized skylight from Vox. It's got an intelligent front door station, it's got an Eco thermostat. It probably has a dozen intelligent devices in the home. And when we walk into that home and we say, Alexa, turn on home and it goes, I have Alexa here so she can kind of go wake up that she wants to reach, that's one of the problems. But anyway when we say that we basically showcase how we go into this house and it goes from a dark uninviting, closed, you know, colder place to within 30 seconds lit, fan turns on if necessary, cause it's warm. Music turns on, shades come up, you go within a 30 second period to a cold house to one that's already there welcome with the music that you want and turn it on. And it's a very powerful demonstration to our clients of what integration really is about. I mean, before that part of the story, we could create those kinds of scenes going to the touchscreen and saying, welcome home and do the same thing. But when you can do it by voice, and I can tell anybody to do that by voice. I don't have to tell him where the touchscreen is, what button to push, whatever and just say, talk to the EcoB in this case and make that happen. It's very compelling and it's compelling also in the reverse case as you leave the property you can imagine, this is only a thousand square foot down home, but if you have a four or five, 6,000 square foot house and in one voice you can arm the house, you can turn off all the lights, you can turn down the shades, you can turn off the fan, any AV systems, all those things within three or four words. It's the best of what we can do. And to make that happen with a $50 Echo probably requires a six figure back end system to make it happen. So we're just facilitating our products to work better with voice. And that's really been encouraging how that's worked out.

Ron:  So you find the addition of voice and I feel there's demand from the consumer? But there's a number of integrators I've spoken to that have resisted or we'll try to talk the client out of it due to other challenges. You find it more good than bad if I'm interpreting you correctly because it requires a robust back end? And that's all that should be really good business opportunity. Is that okay?

Gordon: It does, yeah. I think that's it. For the most part, robustness also applies to the network itself, right? The wireless infrastructure and the wired infrastructure. But I think the most important part is to understand it's not even that relevant whether you think voice is appropriate today or not. Because it's all part of a platform that just continues to scale up. We're always gonna have to connect all these devices across the network. There are always going to be talking to the internet. We're going to create that as robustly as possible and we're going to have graphic touch screens on the wall and mobile devices as well. So adding voice is, a very, very simple layer upgrade. In fact, almost the end user could do with themselves except that the ones I've customized seen. So it's not a question of whether, I mean we want to showcase the full range and depth of our solutions and then we can scale it to whatever is appropriate for the client. And then they can know if the voice, they don't feel like the language or the lexicon is appropriate for them and what they want to do right now. Fine. It's something that we can add very easily at six months, a year, two years down the road. And that's kind of the approach.

Ron:  If you're out there, ladies and gentlemen, please post a comment please. Like please share this feed. That's the way your friends and peers in the industry are going to hear this content and hear what Mr. Gordon Van Zuiden, one of our industry experts and rock stars has to say. So please do that. I'm looking forward to seeing some comments posted. Gordon, I want to change topics again. And this has actually an interesting tie in from the show, right? You were watching one of the shows last summer and can you tell that story and I'll let you lead into what you know, I want to talk about.

Gordon: Sure. So I don't even have, this was kind of happenstance, maybe one of your emails or something like that. And I saw that you were going to have Blake Ricotta was going to be on your show. And I've always been kind of intrigued by Blake and it's a lot of people are with his personality and his enthusiasm. And so I say I'll tune in to your Unplugged show and listen to what Blake has to say. And I heard firsthand about kind of his initiation with Lutron and it's kind of starting of the channel with lighting control and then moving to Tesla with battery technology. And now most recently this company called Sonnen out of Germany with the also battery technology for the home and his strong and fervent belief that the field of energy management and control was going to be a next great opportunity for the custom integrator. And that was Kool-Aid I had already kind of drank even 40 years ago because I was involved at Westinghouse as a young engineer on what's called solar assisted heat pump technology, which was, I lived in a house that had solar panels that were air based and they were pumping the air into rocks. The rocks were heating up so that if you couldn't use the hot air during the day, the heated rocks would flow the air through the house and you'd have the hot rocks providing heated air during the evening hours. So the same concept of harnessing the sun when you couldn't use it at that time in some kind of storage medium. And that's of course fast forward to today we have photovoltaics and now we have battery technology for storage. And Blake told a story on your show about what Sonnen was doing uniquely in that space and their history and the quality of their products. And we had put solar panels up at Cyber Manor and I thought.. And we had Control4 there as kind of our operating system. And Blake was saying, you know, we now have a product and we're coming to the integration channel because we're more than just battery for solar. We're now going to leverage platform products like Crestron and Control4 to understand things like the energy usage in the home, which those platforms have. To understand weather forecast and to integrate that into what you might want to store or not store from off the grid and start leveraging that. That home control platform and its intelligence and its programming capabilities to maximize the functionality of a battery. In terms of how much grid power should you get, how much solar power should you get with the ultimate goal. Like you want to create almost as much energy as you can from the sun and use it across 24 hours and if you can't, purchase it at the cheapest electrical rates as soon as possible. So that's what he was discussing on the show. And I was fascinated by it. I reached out to Blake and said, we're really interested in what you're doing. And that product like said, this is exactly what we would like to do as well. And so about a month ago we got one of their Eco Links 10 products. It's a 10 kilowatt hour battery. We put it in the showroom and we've been testing it for the last couple of weeks. And for the showroom itself, the 12th solar photovoltaic panels that we have on the roof pretty much provide now all the solar that we need across a 24 hour spectrum using the Sonnen battery. So as opposed to having solar that was just kind of excess and then had to go back to the grid, it was kind of wasted during the day. That fully charges the battery over the course of the day. And then our showroom consumes that battery storage over the early evening and evening hours ready for the next day when it gets stored again. But a great experience.

Ron:  Are you running the electricity in your office during the day from the solar panels on your roof? Or do you purchase power during the day and then during the night, run it from the battery?

Gordon: So it turns out, fortunately we're in sunny California, as you are aware in Florida with those 12 panels, we get an excess of solar energy during the course of.. certainly in the morning more than we need for the consumption of the showroom. So all that excess is really what uses to charge the battery. So the battery may start at 10 or 15% in the morning. It gets charged to 80 or 90% because of the excess solar that we don't need for consumption. And then when noon hits, that's our peak rate time of day. We pay 53 cents a kilowatt hour at noon between noon and six as opposed to 12 cents a kilowatt hour during off peak. So at noon we make sure we don't use any grid power at all. So from noon on we'll use solar power. But as the sun starts to set, we're going to get less and less of that and then we have to turn to battery. So at that point it shifts the battery. That battery that was about 90% starts to decline 80 70 60% over the course of the day. But we never use green energy during that period of time.

Ron:  So how is that configured? I'm curious, let's say that you know, you don't want to be using purchased power at peak energy costs times. How do you define where is that configured? Is that configured inside of a Sonnen dashboard online or is it inside of a C4 dashboard or does it all happen automatically? How do you set that?

Gordon: Great question. Some of the initial configuration stuff is done through Sonnen. So you basically tell Sonnen what your on peak and off peak tariff times are. So I can tell within the battery software that do not use any grid energy at noon and only use grade energy again, maybe at 8:30 or 9:00 at night when the cheaper. So that level of functionality is built in. There's also a level of functionality that says don't let the battery drain past 10 or 15% cause I always want to use it as a potential backup source to our networking gear, irrigation, garage door in case there's a power failure. So it creates kind of a backup for the whole house in that sense. Right? But when you want to start doing more sophisticated things such as understand what the weather's going to be like for the next day and the consumption rates and back that into how much grid power you're going to get during the previous evening versus how much you can expect that you get from solar and what the demands are going to be. That becomes more of a C4 related software item and gentleman named AJ Brunson at US Integration is doing a lot of that software work for persona and then C4 I will say today we find really useful and this is really the initial bridge between a Control4 platform and Sonnen and these energy management platforms, has written a driver that you can see on any C4 screen right now, exactly what your solar is producing, what you're consuming and what the batteries charging or not charging and what's going to and from the grid. And I call that the Prius screen that we could show the same screen that we're doing lighting control and shade control and thermostat control. You click another icon and we have what I call quote unquote the prescreen, which means you could tell when your foot's on the pedal or not on the pedal and the pedal I define as, you know, you turn lights off, you can immediately see your consumption go down. You can see what your solar's producing, you see what your battery level is at so you can start modifying your behavior in real time to adjust your energy usage. And I think that's very, very powerful, especially when we have it on all these C4 screens around the house. That means at any given moment somebody can see exactly what they can do to improve the efficiency of their homes electrical usage.

"If you simply give people visibility of usage that they can, it will likely tend to change their habit or give them an inclination to change their habit."

Ron:  There's good science on that. Isn't there? That if you simply give people visibility of usage that they can, it will likely tend to change their habit or give them an inclination to change their habit.

Gordon: Yeah, I think one of the side, there's proof. I mean there's 10 to 15% reduction. It's just when people know that if they do something at that current time that will save them, you know, gas or fuel, electrical consumption, they're more inclined to do it, otherwise they really don't know what's occurring. So they're not going to make those changes. So I think that's really promising and that's where the bridge is between what we call our expertise in home automation and management to energy automation and management. And I think those dovetail very closely together. Now with products like these.

Ron:  What do you think the business acceptance rate by integrators looks like? What do you think your peers, how do you think the folks listening and watching to this.. How should they, I'll ask it a little bit differently? Is this a category they should pay attention to? And if so, why?

Gordon: Well definitely category pay attention to, and I think they're gonna hear it pretty loudly at CEDIA expo this year. Cause I think Sonnen's going to do a pretty major rollout of their product or I know they are. You know, it's one of those things where as it relates to energy, it's, I think it's very much regionally dependent. You know, it's obviously going to be motivated. It's motivated by doing the right thing for the environment obviously. But here in California, there's a lot of proactive programs as they relate to solar in all homes built by 2020 and real drives to kind of reduce these peaker plants is that, you know, we're facing right now. It's almost too much sun during the day and not enough people having any kind of storage or in evening hours heard that from Blake. So everybody's rushing utility for the same amount or more energy utilization. And that's not helping their story out. So I think what you find areas that are combination of good sunshine and a high disparity between their on peak and off peak rates, you'll start to see the economics really start to make more and more sense. And those tend to be, I certainly know from California's perspective, that may be true in Florida, but interestingly enough, that also tends to be the strong holds of a lot of the integration channel as well. So I think in your given area, if you have an affluent base that has those kinds of features certainly, you know, look to clients that are driving Teslas and have solar panels on their house and you're talking Control4, well, it seems like a pretty natural augmentation of what you're now doing.

Ron:  No, I agree. And so for everyone out there, and I'll put this down in the show comments Mr. Gordon Van Zuiden is actually going to be on a panel and I'm going to be on that panel as well on Friday at CEDIA. On let's see, where's this going to be? This is going to be called the Smart Stage on the show floor at what, 12 o'clock on Friday?

Gordon: Yeah, I think 12 to 12:45 yep.

Ron:  So I look forward to hanging out with you there, Gordon. And I am, I guess I'm honored to be up there with you. But I also feel like I was a bit of a connector here. I think I introduced Blake to you. I think I introduced him to AJ over at the C4 coding operation and then Troy over at Pantech who is creating the Crestron driver for Sonnen. I think.

Gordon: I'm glad you mentioned Troy's name cause there was activity across other platforms as well. Yep. Yeah. So yes, you had a great connector for that stuff.

Ron:  For sure. Yeah. There's a new Netflix, it's newish Netflix show called Bill Nye Saves the World. Been a Bill Nye fan you know, since my youth when he had his science show on PBS and Bill's mantra is, you know, save the world and I think, you know, we're doing our little part here to save the world and make it a, a more energy conscious place and bringing this technology to this industry.

"This is an approach towards doing something for the planet. We leverage our intelligence as it relates to programming and automation and control and display technology. And we just can do better things for the environment and for the planet."

Gordon: Yeah. The way, you know, it's sometimes the way I look at it is, you know, we have this great fun industry and we have great, really wonderful entertainment, comfort, secure environments for our clients. But in many respects, it's just making really wealthy people just have nicer lifestyles. This is an approach towards doing something for the planet. We leverage our intelligence as it relates to programming and automation and control and display technology. And we just can do better things for the environment and for the planet. So that's a nice offshoot of this stuff.

Ron:  No, I agree. Let's close on this. So CEDIA is around the corner. Obviously there's big there's a big Sonnen release you're going to be at their party and on the show floor and potentially. I see a comment that was posted, so I'm gonna read that here in one moment. But what else has you excited about CEDIA around the corner?

Gordon: Oh, meeting the people again, you know, every year..

Ron:  You just froze Gordon.

Gordon: Oh let me do a quick restart.

Ron:  He'll be right back. Folks

Gordon: Back, back in motion.

Ron:  You're back.

"We're always in a space where we have our tried and true products, but it's probably never been more important to understand what are some of the peripheral products."

Gordon: You know, it's always fun. It's like an extended family, a few times a year, people like yourself instead of seeing you on the screen, I can actually shake your hand and all that stuff. So that's probably the most fun. But secondarily kind of cruise around the floor, meeting with the vendors we work with always in the past. Maybe seeing some new ones looking at what Julie has to say about upcoming technologies that are the show that are interesting. You know, we're always in a space where we have our tried and true products, but it's probably never been more important to understand what are some of the peripheral products and most specifically I think with Emeral buying the show and this now new cooperation of design and National kitchen and bath group in our show room, we've got actually a fair amount in the master bath suite as it relates to technology. We have an automated valve that works wirelessly with voice. We have a TV behind the mirror, we have an electronic new heat floormat, motorized shades, music, and a whole range of things that make the bathroom a high technology space. And I think that's another room of the house that we can really add some value. And as we understand it, the designers and the integrators understand it. We can share that vision with our clients and I think that'll be a very dynamic space for us. So there you go.

Ron:  That's awesome. And Gordon, I also look forward to seeing you at the show and all the other friends that we've been hanging out with and playing in this fun industry for the last 20 years. So I look forward to that. I will mention Gordon, Kelly posted a comment. She said she can't wait to hear more about how energy management progresses. So it sounds like we're hitting a chord there with one of our viewers.

Gordon: Well, I'll tell Kelly one of the things I've had the luxury to do in the last week and a half is we actually wrote a detailed case study of our experience with the Sonnen equal extend battery at our facility. So we really take a deep dive into its functionality, how it works, the software parameters, the cost parameters. So stay tuned. That shall be distributed at expo and I'm happy to share the knowledge we've gained through through our friends at expo.

Ron:  I definitely will. And you froze again on me there, Gordon.

Gordon: Okay, one last unfreeze here.

Ron:  Yeah, one last unfreeze. Let's see here.

Gordon: Okay, there we go.

Ron:  Awesome. Well Gordon on that note, I want to sign off. We'd been on for 35 minutes. You've been very generous with your time pre show and here live with our audience. So it was great having you on man.

Gordon: Oh, likewise. I really appreciate it. I appreciate what you're doing for the industry by having these shows put on a regular basis. It's great.

Ron:  Oh, it's my pleasure. All right ladies and gentlemen, that was another episode. Episode 49 of Automation Unplugged. So what am I going to do here? I'm going to give you some show art so you can see, ah, here's our lineup. We're going to start doing this every show so you can see who we're going to go live with that month. So here you can see Gordon with show 49. Next week we've got Tres from HDMI Staffing. We had a bit of a false start with them a couple of weeks ago with some technical difficulties, so he's agreed to reschedule and come on with us. And then we've got the infamous Jimmy from SurgeX. And he's a industry rock star. If you don't follow him on Facebook, you'll learn how to do some good barbecuing just by following him. And let me clear that. So folks have yourself an awesome rest of your day and awesome rest of your week and we'll see you next time. Next week, 12:30 Wednesday here east coast time for another episode of Automation Unplugged. Thanks for joining. And I will see you soon. Thanks guys.

Show Notes

Gordon served as a CEDIA Board of Director for 6 years. He also wrote articles about Home Networking topics for Residential Systems magazine for almost 20 years .In 1999, he founded cyberManor. One of his other notable accomplishments includes constructing a full Control4 Certified Showroom home at thevcorporate headquarters in Los Gatos, CA.

Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly became the leading marketing firm specializing in the integrated technology and security space. The One Firefly team work hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution, Mercury Pro.

Resources and Links from the Interview:

You can also learn more about cyberManor at Make sure to follow them on Facebook and LinkedIn.