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Join Ron Callis, Owner & CEO of One Firefly and industry veteran, as he talks business development, technology trends, and more with leading personalities in the tech industry. Automation Unplugged (AU) is produced and broadcast live every week.
An AV and integration-focused podcast broadcast live weekly
Join Ron Callis, Owner & CEO of One Firefly and industry veteran, as he talks business development, technology trends, and more with leading personalities in the tech industry. Automation Unplugged (AU) is produced and broadcast live every week.
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Home Automation Podcast Episode #61: An Industry Q&A With Michael Restrepo

The cost of sustaining cheap gear

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Michael Restrepo. Recorded live on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Michael Restrepo

Michael Restrepo has spent more than 19 years working in the AV field and perfecting his craft. 

His passion for all things technology and AV leads Restrepo Innovations in utilizing cutting-edge technologies while delivering reliable systems and easy-to-use interfaces.

Restrepo Innovations specializes in ultra-high-end and uniquely challenging projects. Recently, Micheal led Restrepo Innovations in being recognized for the “Best Integration with a Crestron Partner” award for North America.

Interview Recap

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

  • Michael’s background in the industry
  • Cooperative Competition
  • Power management
  • Investing in quality equipment

SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #60: A Custom Integration Industry Q&A With Marie Devlin


Ron:  Hello everybody. How are you doing out there? Ron Callis with another episode of Automation Unplugged. Today is let me see here. Today is Wednesday, December 5th, 1235. I hope all of you are getting in the holiday season. Of course I'm down here in Florida and it's sunny and warm outside and but despite that, people still decorate their palm trees and you know, they get in the mood and I think for our friends that are up in northern climates, it's a little bit easier to do. So anyway, I am super excited. This is show number 61. I have a great guest Mr. Michael Restrepo out of, I think he's out of New York. We'll get him on here in just a second and he'll tell us exactly where he is from. But you know, I am, as you know, we run this show on Facebook live and then we put it up on our website and put it up on YouTube. But I'm always an avid watcher and observer and consumer of content out there in the social media sphere and kinda see who's who's doing what. And this fella, Michael is quite active. In fact, we'll put all a lot of his, the ways for you to follow him and, and kind of follow him on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and all that stuff. We'll put that out there because he's very active. Both with expressing his opinions, putting out live content. He's a big believer in helping his fellow integrator run a successful business. And I am super excited to have him on the show. Let me do this. I'm going to bring this down then we'll put this up here. I was going to show you don't forget One Firefly is now on Instagram. So please if you're on the gram and you'd like to follow content, we've got a pretty live feed with all sorts of fun content going up there. So you'll go to at One Firefly LLC and you can follow us on Instagram. So feel free to do that. Without further ado, let me go ahead and bring in the one and only Mr. Michael Restrepo. Michael, how are you sir?

Michael: Very good. Very good. Thank you very much for having me. Super appreciative and love your show. Love what you're doing. And again, thank you so much for having me and have me on board to talk about things. You know, I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.

Ron:  Oh well Michael, I've been an avid I know you and I haven't spent a lot of time. We've met each other I think in passing a few times. But I appreciate how active you are out there to help this community help this industry grow. And you know, not many people, if you look to your left and right out there in the industry are doing that, many people are focused nose down to the grindstone, cranking it out and not really trying to so I appreciate that.

Michael: Thank you. Thank you. And honestly, it's a family thing. You know, we're a family company and I think our community's a big family. And as, I would never let a family member fail another business. I don't want them to fail cause you know, maybe it's a little selfish at the same time, but we all feel each other's failures and I don't like to fail, you know, I don't fail.

"Failing sucks. Let's not fail."

Ron:  Failing sucks. Let's not fail.

Michael: Nobody wants to fail. But you learn a lot from failures. So I failed a lot and a lot of things and I tried to pass along my knowledge so that others don't need to feel the same pain as I did.

Ron:  Okay. Look at this Michael, we get the ability to throw up comments. So we got Chris Gamble, he says hello from London.

Michael: Yeah. Hey Chris, how you doing buddy?

Ron:  Awesome. Let's see who else we got. We got Jessica, Jessica Weiss, she's the channel manager, a biz dev channel manager for Sonnen. And I actually popped her a message and told her that you were going to be on the show. She's like, well, I got to watch.

Michael: So she knows I'm with Sonnen lover. I have been watching their product for a long time and everything from the makeup of their batteries, the look of it, you know, that whole Tony Stark's thing has gotten me nuts. That black case, the Crestron. I could go on and on and I love it. And honestly it's their product is one of those things that going forward it's going to, I believe, will make some of us almost recession proof. And looking at these upcoming technologies, they're definitely here. So I love her to death. She's the best.

"We've got an audience coming to us from around the world that come from the CEDIA space. They're CI folks of all shapes and sizes and levels of experience."

Ron:  We're going to jump into sound and I want to, I know you just came back from some training with Dan Schoen and I want to share your thoughts and feelings and ideas there. But before I do that, let's keep in mind we've got an audience coming to us from around the world that come from the CEDIA space. They're CI folks of all shapes and sizes and levels of experience. And so I always like to start with my audience, learning more about you. Who you are, where you come from in this industry and how you landed here running Restrepo Innovations. How did you land here? Do you mind sharing with the audience, your background?

Michael: Well I had been doing IT for years and I had various partners, you know, and, and I remember right before the whole, everything crashed before the crash, the info we had was AV+IT= equals dollar signs. And you can only imagine when everything was crashing, everyone was looking in every direction. IT turned into this four letter word. It just all became bad. So we started merging. I had a different company name at the time. It was a different business. We started merging to doing more AV work and we were growing. And you know, I always knew what Crestron was and I, and you know, I always looked at them and I wanted to emulate that. I wanted to be that. I always wanted to be the best, you know, and I'm not trying to say we're better than anyone or anything like that, but we were in competition with ourselves to push ourselves so that we felt we were the best company and I wanted to put these products that would really push us and Crestron is one of those things as most know. It's one of those things you're sink or swim. So we knew we wanted it to be there and you know, we started various AV companies and you know, we did different things and like I said, we even partnered with some Alarm companies. We did all kinds of weird stuff. And you know, I learned a lot about greed. I learned a lot about profit. I learned a lot about process.

Ron:  Did you learn how to make profit along the way? That's one of the important ones.

Michael: You're telling me. Cause you know, I know a lot of AV guys and gals, they don't understand how to run their business. They know how to do the equipment, but they don't get, there's a business here and you know, things have to happen and you know, everything from taxes, insurances, you know, it was a rough class and we learned a lot, you know. So this time around, I remember sitting there thinking, because you had all these things going on and I stopped and I was like, I had my Jerry McGuire moment and that was the only way I can explain it. I was literally like, you know what, we're making as a company, millions of dollars right now and we're doing all these people helping all of these people, or as I thought we were helping. And I was like, but again, I felt like Jerry Maguire, I was like, we're just grabbing more and more people. We can't, we're not really helping, we're just generating money. And I was just like, I don't care so much about the money. Like, this is not making me happy. I'm hating this. And I literally I woke up one day to the next and I said, you know what guys, I'm out. I don't want anything. I walked away 100%. I let them keep everything. And I said, you know what? No hard feelings, but I'm out. I'm going to do my own thing. You guys can keep everything. I don't want anything. So I lost it all. I gave it all back and and it was one of the best things I ever did. And I remember sitting in my kitchen table talking with my kids and I'm like, you know, Papi is going to do something new and we're going to do it. Something from the heart. It's going to work. And you know, I was like, what are we gonna call ourselves? What are we going to do? And I remember my daughter telling me, like, I'm probably, we're going to call it Restrepo. We're going to do it. It's about you. And I was just like, you know, I was scared, you know, scared. I was like, what am I going to do? And I, and I thought about, I said, you know what? If I learned anything, my kids come out with the best ideas. They're, their idea is not, it's not damaged by your life, by the things that happened to you was it was real. And I was like, you know what, you just gave me some of your magic that we all lose as we get older. And I was like, I'm going to do that, exactly what you said because I know in your heart you know that it's right. And I know you're right. So we did that and that's where we came out with Restrepo Innovations. My last name being Restrepo my family and our family being so dear to us and it being so important and also making it known that there is someone at the front and I'm going to stand into the light and I'm going to protect my people and I'm going to say this is the right way and I'm not going to hide behind some other misconstrued. I am the person you want to be mad at someone, my name is right there. You know exactly who to point at. I'm right here. And it was again, what do we do? We create innovations. And I remember even starting with like, well we call it innovation. And then my kid was like, but you don't do one thing. Say you know what? You're right. We do lots of cool things. So it should be Restrepo Innovations.

Ron:  And where are you based out of, where does your business operate out of Michael?

Michael: We have an amazing office based out of Paramus, full fabrication shop, you know, woodworking, metal rack fabrication, amazing location. We do recreate lighting fixtures video walls. We've got all kinds of sound things that we can, you know, test for acoustics. I mean, it's a lab for cool stuff to play with.

Ron:  What is a typical project? And I want to actually just real quickly address our audience. I appreciate everyone that's watching live and, or if you're watching on replay or listening on replay, thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Always great to have an audience. And if you have a question for Mr. Michael here, Mr Restrepo, please post that into the comments and stuff. You want to know more about his business or more of his opinions on various topics that we're going to cover here. Be sure. Don't be shy type those in and I'll put those up on screen and we'll have Michael answered them live. But Michael, I've got a whole list of topics that I want to try to get your feedback on. If you will allow me

Michael: Please, please do.

Ron:  Awesome. All right. First thing is I want to give you an attaboy. I was reading online, I was doing a little bit of homework and I saw that you just were recently given some public acknowledgement and you won one of the big Crestron awards. My notes here say that it said "Best Integration with a Crestron partner" and you won here for North America and now that's going to be entered into the global awards. Can you tell the audience, hear more about that?

Michael: Yeah, yeah. Again, I love dealing, working with partners, especially partners. I want to integrate and really push it. And so we had this job site, we had a house and it was.

Ron:  And by the way, there's a big chandelier over your shoulder. I'm assuming you're out at a job site now?

Michael: I'm at, here's the beauty, I'm at the site that won the award. I'm actually here again, you see the beauty of happy customers, they keep doing stuff. So we're here further advancing the site and doing even more things. And that's also one of the beauties of Crestron. There are so many options.

Ron:  Well what was this? I don't even know what this means. So help me in the audience, understand it says best integration with a Crestron partner. What does that mean? What did you do?

Michael: So we had we have a home that's not necessarily in the most expensive area, so we didn't want the home to really stick out too much. When we went to the front of the home, they wanted a doorbell, but they needed something a little bit more. Now the customer was really, they kept seeing these Ring ads and they were like, it looks so cool. It looks so simple and it's not like too grandiose where it's just going to look like too much. I said, you know what, we can I said Ring at the time it wasn't a hundred percent integratable, it didn't play friendly with the touch screens. Where anything else, anybody outside of their ecosystem now I reached out to all tech pro. I, they, I knew they were developing a sip server and they had some stuff. I had seen it and I told them, I say, Hey, I got the perfect project. I have a customer, they want to use a Ring doorbell. They need to integrate it into the system. We need to be able to see it from the panels, have it when they ring the front, it rang and it for it to know like you're ringing from the front. They said, no worries Mike, we'll get you something really stable. And they did that. They did exactly what they said. And I've, I'm knock on wood, I haven't had to do anything. It's just been working so stable and I've been so appreciative. So they gave us a sip, not gave, we bought a sip server and a well that in essence will do, is allow the Ring doorbell to call in. It will connect to that session and connect it to all our panels within the home in a consistent way. So everywhere we'll bring the beauty is this, the Ring app out its own will still function. And I know we've been looking at a lot of Intercom's situations like solutions that Intercom anywhere and all that stuff. And so with Crestron we gave, we were able to even recreate that. You kind of, because you had the Ring app that you could be using anywhere and then, but at the same time, inside of the home, if someone ranked on the front door, it would ring inside the home and you can answer it. So it was the best of both worlds while still maintaining a more simple front of the house and it just didn't look so opulent. Even though we have a massive, massive Crestron system throughout this house. I honestly, the Crestron system in this house is probably more expensive than the house next to it.

Ron:  Wow. Well help my audience understand what is a typical project for you? You know, you are my notes here. Say that you're a six-person company at the moment and I know that goes plus and minus depending on, you know, kind of where you're at. But that's where you are right now. Is that accurate?

Michael: Correct. Correct.

Ron:  Well what is a normal project for you? And you and I were talking offline, there's, you know, businesses of different sizes that tackle projects regularly have different sizes. So what are the types of projects you tackle?

Michael: We really try to attach ourselves to extremely big projects, you know, the ultra difficult, the very special, you know, we just did a historical home. Customer was very scared of anyone touching anything in this house. Like literally the house went from was from like 1770 and you know, it had to be perfect. Those are our kind of projects or a house like this. The customer wanted something amazing. They wanted it, they wanted there. He's a big gamer. He wanted to make sure he had the best gaming in every room. He loved audio. He's big into working out. We made an amazing gym for him out there. Audio needed to be something special and they wanted lighting control everywhere and ease of use and we were able to provide all those things but also consistency and stability. That was one of the most important things for the customer that he wanted to make sure. He's like, Mike, we do this. You can't start living in my house. I don't know how many dealers, I swear they move in. He's like, Mike, you can't live in my house. All right, let's say this and you cannot live in my house. I need to finish. And your stuff better work. Cause I'm telling you, the more you add zeros, the less the patience goes away.

Ron:  Well, I would say the more you add the zeros, the more that consumer is used to the integrator moving into their house for extended periods of time.

Michael: And never leaving like it. Like never works.

Ron:  So how do you not act that way or how do you not operate that way? What's different about your business or your approach that you're able to get in and get out?

"Too many dealers are rushing to get out. I'm not, I'm on the opposite. It has to be perfect."

Michael: I'm not trying to get out right away. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but too many dealers are rushing to get out. I'm not, I'm on the opposite. It has to be perfect. We're going to do this at the best ways. I don't care if it costs more. I don't care if it takes longer, we're going to do it once and we're going to get done and when we're done, we're going to leave and we're not coming back. So it's like there is no return. You better do it right or we fail. That's it. It's that simple.

Ron:  Got it. Understood. And by the way, Mike, I've been able to hear you this whole time, but the video, the bandwidth here, I think Facebook is struggling with both of us and so we're rather super pixelated. But as long as everyone can hear us, I think we're good. If you're out there and can hear us, throw us a comment, let us know. You can hear us, it'll be appreciated. So I want to keep moving here and I've got a topic and I've watched some of your videos, Mike. So I know you are very active in terms of offering insight or assistance. You will even go on other integrator job sites to help and or call integrators to come into your projects if you need any assistance. And so, you know, it's this, this concept of cooperatician you know, can you expound on that and kind of what your, your, your frame of mind is around your, you know, competitors aren't, are there such a thing as a competitors? Are you guys all on the same page?

"It's a big industry and we all come at different levels and we're looking for different things. But when we come together, that is when we all win. That is when we learn from each other."

Michael: It's almost like a bunch of brothers and sisters. Like we're naturally going to be competitive with each other. But cooperative competition is a real thing and I think we see that in the very, very large. I don't want to pull out any names or anything like that and may be inappropriate, but we see some of the largest dealers in our industry and if you look behind the curtain, you'll see that they're actually a bunch of other dealers helping them. Now on my side, I have a different outlook. I look at it like this. I say, Hey, you know what? Come on my site wear your shirt, because I'm proud that someone else is doing good. I'm proud that others are achieving and we're all working together and I'm happy to show. I share other companies constantly on my business site and people are, Mike, you're insane aren't your cousin was going to go to them and I'm like, maybe, but what does that matter? Let them go wherever they're going to go. I want them to be with me because I'm the right person. I don't want anyone to be trapped, that's not good business. You should be happy. I want to be happy. That's all I want. So again, this cooperative competition where we can all work together and we can help each other because it's a big industry and we all come at different levels and we're looking for different things. But when we come together, that is when we all win. That is when we learn from each other. That is when we, our businesses grow because even me, there are projects that I don't, that come in that I don't want that I'm like, you know what, this is not my type of job. And you know what I do? I give them to those who helped me. So I hand out work nonstop, nonstop to other companies.

Ron:  Now, one of the thing you do regularly, and I'm going to throw up some links here if I can make my technology behave. And that is you are regularly streaming just as we're streaming live here on Facebook. You are regularly streaming, you have the little doodad holder in your car and you're driving to the job site and you're streaming. Who is the message that you're delivering? Who is that message for and who should follow you?

Michael: Honestly it's a little bit for everybody. You know, it's from dealers to homeowners, you know, to the hobbyist to business owners. I try to talk from the heart. I try to tell you this is what I'm feeling. Here are the things that are going on. This is what I'm seeing, you know, this is the things that are helping me and these are the things that aren't helping me. I don't win all the time. Not everything is great, you know, like sometimes we've ruined stuff and things don't work out. And I learned from those mistakes and those failures and, and I try to translate that so that other people know don't do this. You know, this was a pitfall, but this works for me. And again, that's back to this cooperative competition and I'm really just trying to stand into the light. Let people know this is real, this is genuine. I want others to understand that we can all do this together. It's a community. We're all a family. And if we all just talk very frankly with one another, we'll all be better off in the end.

Ron:  All right, so, and I just threw up the Facebook and the Twitter address. I'll post here shortly. The Instagram and LinkedIn address for Michael if you want to follow him. Now, Michael in terms of technologies, as you look forward, you look into the next 12 plus months, I'll say 12 months and more into the future. What technologies have you excited and you think are gonna really have an impact on this industry?

Michael: Now I've been looking at products and also looking at the market in general. Now there are some scary things if you look at our market and as you know, as the economy, everything and you see that there, you know, we're getting talks about recession and all that. So once I hear things like that, I focus on value, I focus more on things that give money back. And what are our pains as a society power and where are our myths in essence, solar green energy and what are they? People just assume I get this. So I get the solar thing. So the next time we have a storm, my lights are gonna work. And it's like, no, that, that's not really how that works. And and having to explain and you start looking. So if that's what's happening and we see green technology pushing, then what is that piece that's going to be that disruptive? What is that piece of it? Bring it together. Sonen. That was the thing. Now I've been watching them for years and understanding the value that they brought to the system because again, another pain point, we have infrastructure in America. Infrastructure around the planet is an issue. It's aging, it needs to be developed. You know, we have peak loads, you know, what about baseload there's all these different things. And also pricing is changing around, where now we have an area that has peak pricing, peak pricing charges even more money, which creates even a bigger situation. So Sonen to us is that device that can really have customers in essence take themselves off of the grid, getting energy. And even if they don't have solar, they can grab energy when it's under the least, the cheapest and it's the least the least load onto the infrastructure. And if doing that and saving that energy locally to be used as you like, to me, that is, that hits so many points, that is the solution. That's the disruptor, that's the revolution. And that's the thing that we all need to start looking at because energy management, energy storage and how to maximize our infrastructure, these are going to be the points that we're all going to as climate change and our weather becomes crazier and crazier. We're going to have to start doing stuff and not only just to resolve the immediate issue, but also get us to net zero, get us to even net positive where we're pushing energy back into the grid. We need to get there. And I think having a solution that is not only green but it's green in the essence that it makes dollars and cents, that's the way that the masses and also the elite will start jumping onto these things. And is the reason why I go for Sonen.

Ron:  Interesting. Have you attempted talking to any of your customers yet about the concept of a battery, battery storage or energy automation? And if so, what? What is what seems to be the talking points that the customer is finding interesting.

Michael: Honestly, it's at the higher end it's high availability is to make sure that any home you go to no matter what the weather is like, it's always going to be in a usable state for you no matter what's going on. Maybe you have a house in Colorado, you have a house down the shore or you have some ultra mansion in, you know, New York or Franklins or something. And so it shouldn't matter. So being able in an infrastructure to tell the end user, you know what, you are in 100% of control of your home. Don't worry about what the weather does. We're going to keep your home at high availability for you all the time. And at this level, you know this is what customers want to hear. This is what they need. They want to know that after spending all this money that none, a little rainstorm or some snow or something else is going to affect them. Because the reality is a lot of these ultra large homes, you really don't see solar panels and things like that. You don't really see that. Now you do see generators and things of that nature, which Sonen will actually manipulate and use as part of the system. Again, this forward thinking and also with load shedding and you know after Troy from Adapt they did and Adapt is great. I can't say enough amazing things about Troy and his team that they created this bridge with the Sonen links that now we can even get even more analytics. So imagine this, let's go through this. So the customer buys this system now, there are probably 75, maybe 60% understanding of what they really bought. They understand that this is something they should be getting, but they're not quite sure what is it they're getting now. We can now with this Adapt product mixed with Sonen, we can put those beautiful analytics right on their touchscreen. They can manipulate them systems, they can see, you know, the cost effectiveness. They can see the dollars coming back, you know, the return on investment and they can, they can understand and control it right from any touch screen, nevermind from an iPhone and the iPad and any one of their homes. So this ease of use,  this metrics, the accountability and the high availability, those are the key points that I think the homeowners at this level they really want to hear about.

Ron:  So do you see, just out of curiosity. Sonen has been at the last two CEDIAs. I've had a couple of people on from Sona and I had Blake a year and a half a year, year and a half ago on the show. And I had Jessica on just, it may be a few shows ago. Do you see for your business and I'll say your business and or you could extrapolate out to the industry. Do you see 2019 being a year where energy automation is a part of the discussion? And, or what do you see as really that, that time horizon for this being a category that's meaningful to the industry?

Michael: I think by the time it truly becomes ultra meaningful, it's going to be too late for some of, for most of us, because the reality at that point, to really have market share, you're going to have to really be in bed and understand what's going on. I do see us maybe two to three years out before this is right in everybody's face and now we're in it. But at that point as dealers, the market is going to be what it's gonna be. And the players who are already involved are going to have their connections and their ties and they're going to take over the market and it's going to be very difficult at that point to come in. And that's why I'm always looking at trends and where we're going so that we, as a company, we get behind it right away. We understand. So once that click happens, we're in it. We're not just, we're not playing catch up. We're actually at the edge and we're pushing the product forward and customers can know that, yeah, we're there. We're not doing this the first time for you. I know everything you know, so that the customer at that point will be in the rush to get it done. And they don't want to be hearing that you're, you're using them as the guinea pig and you're just, you're still working on training wheels. They want to know you're an expert. You've been doing this for years, understand the pitfalls. You have these relationships with the manufacturers, and the only way you get there is through experience and time. And that's why now is the time.

Ron:  So you're going to be an early adopter. You're going to go out there and figure this out and figure out how to, how to sell it, how to install it, how to make your clients happy,

Michael: That is the goal. You know, we've grabbed up other products in this same way and it, and it is worked out amazing. Even this Maplewood job site, we were one of the first people in our area to grab onto Crestron NVX while everyone else was like, Oh, we're still going to be doing DM. I was like, no, if NVX is the future, I want to be a pioneer. I want to go on the path less traveled. I want to understand it. I was, I, you know, we got certified in it. Even in the earliest stages. We were in one of the first classes and now we've been working with NVX per so long. This point, I can tell you all kinds of little detailed nuances. We have in essence, a magic sauce. This makes us run through these projects because customers want us to be done. They don't want you living in these houses. They want to move in like anyone else with a cool toy. They want to play with it. And understanding your tech really being familiar is the only key to getting done.

Ron:  No, that makes sense. Michael, can you believe it's been almost 40 minutes.

Michael: Oh wow. Great talking to you. I can't lie. This is great.

Ron:  Yeah. We got a, by the way, Chris just posted a comment. He's actually Jamie. Jamie your daughter?

Michael: Jamie is actually my wife and she's in operations. She's our Operations Manager and she does a lot of our social stuff. Jamie is, honestly, she is the heart of the company. She keeps me in line. She keeps the boys' line. She keeps, you know, the ladies in the office, she keeps everybody moving around and you know, I get very laser focused on what I'm doing and there's not many people that when I'm in my zone that can pull me out and be like, you got to go this way, Mike. And she's one of less, they can do it that.

Ron:  All right. Well Chris, Chris has given her a shout out saying she's awesome. So I wanted to make sure I put that up on the screen. I did want to ask one more thing. I noticed in not too distant past you did you are promoting online something called The National Smart Home Day. Can you talk about what that initiative is and kind of what your goals and will we see more about that? I mean, is that something you're hoping to make an annual event?

Michael: Yeah, and even more than an annual event. Well, national smart home day and national smart home dot org what it's about is giving a friendly place that dealers, manufacturers and homeowners can go through to see content, see what's going on, learn about what's going on, learn from each other. You know, and National Smart Home Day was a beautiful, beautiful day. Literally like we did something that most people said was impossible and it, and it was so easy. We literally had the biggest control systems people that, honestly, I say this after the fact because we were sitting scared of saying it before cause we thought we may ruin it, but we didn't even think these guys and gals would be able to stand in the same room next to each other. Nevermind going to this perpetual podcast and on Facebook and and be part of the whole thing and be so open and happy about it. And it was humbling. It was heartwarming but was like that moment where the whole industry came together. It didn't matter where you were, even if you were again competing, it was all about this cooperative competition. Everybody came together. Dealers, manufacturers, you know, homeowners to con somewhere to literally make a safe place that we can talk. We're not competing with each other, we're just here to give information. And that was one of the, also the big criteria. It's like, Hey come talk. Keep it positive. Do not bring up a single other brand unless it's there to praise them. Let's keep it nice, let's keep it fair and let's keep her with love.

Ron:  What was that website?

Michael: NationalSmartHome.Org

Ron: I'm just going to put that up on the screen for everyone.

Michael: And please check us out on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter. And you know a lot of you may know Rob scuba. Rob is an a, you should have Rob on your show. I'm telling you, Rob is amazing individual and his forward thinking, cause he was the catalyst. He's the brainchild of all of this. He came, I remember him coming and he's like, Mike, I've got this idea. He's like, I actually bought the holiday. I was like, dude, you bought a holiday? Like I've never heard of that. He's like, it's real. It's real. It's going to be on the calendar now. I was like, no way. He's like, it's real. We paid for a real day. It will be on, it's going to be nationally recognized as Smart Home Day. And I'm like, that's amazing. That is genius. He's like, yeah, and, and I got to give all the credit in the world. Rob was amazing. Our boys over at Time Homes and Time Creative, they came down and it was this trifecta.

Ron:  Yeah, you got to help me get those guys on the show. Those guys are our machines. They're pumping out amazing video content every single week. Some of the best content in our industry. And they're just,they're doing some really amazing things over there.

Michael: Montgomery brothers they are amazing. They are a breed of their own, you know, and let me reassure you that there's still more to come from all of us. And even as a collective group, we have all, we have more cool services and more things to help our industry. So, and that's why we all came. It was almost, and here's the thing, nobody made money. It costs all of us thousands of dollars to do this. It was a pit and we would just don't spend money into this thing. And, and I mean, if you looked at it in a business sense, it's like, what are you doing? Like there is no gain. And to me, I was like, no, I'm, I have the world to gain from helping others. And if I need to invest my own dollars to show that I'm serious and I'm putting my own skin in the game, then I'm going to do that. I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and I'm going to make this happen. And the beauty in was it was not just me, you know, it was all of us. Time, Rob. You know, we all came together, the manufacturers, everybody came together and, and you know, I'm a big Crestron lover, you know, I'm always saying pressure on all the stuff on, on that string. Crestron, Savant, Control4 like, those three are not supposed to be like, you can't even say those three in the same breath. Like they're not supposed to get along. And they were like best friends. It wasn't a problem. We had Vitoria, we had Origin, we had you know, Domo, we had, who else? Audio control. I mean, the list goes on and on. You know, Josh AI was on and and it went on and on and it was beautiful because we had some honest opinions.

Michael: We had people talking about voids about different products and you know, what worked for them. And, and yeah, there is definitely a bunch of Amazon lovers, Alexa lovers. What is that portal lovers, you know, and a lot of people showed a lot of love for Alex at Josh and when his platform is doing and explaining the differences between voice, because it's not that one is better than the other is the problem is they're all actually different voice. It's like saying car, what is a car? There's a lot of different cars, can't say, buy me a car. Like, what do you mean? And voice I believe is the same way. People say, well, I want to get voiced, wait a minute, we got to qualify this a little place means a lot. You know, we've got to figure out. And I think that day we were able to illustrate more of this in a more and again, in an open, clean way with love and no, no weirdness and talking about it openly and frankly. And it was, it was a beautiful time. It was a beautiful space.

Ron:  Well Michael, I think on that point, that's a great way to wrap up this show. Show number 61. I appreciate everything you do and I appreciate you taking time for our show and for our audience. Learn more about you and hear your thoughts and ideas. It was pretty awesome to have you on.

Michael: No, thank you. Thank you. And rest assured, I'm going to reach out to my boys over time and let me see if I can link everything.

Ron:  I'm probably, you know, I ran into Robert CEDIA, but I don't have his contact information, so get me hooked up and I'll have those guys on the show right away.

Michael: Yeah I know Rob and at the tech reps, if you guys aren't, if you don't know who the tech reps, you should find out. Rob has the tech reps, he's, you know, also had national smart home and he's also connected with Reva theaters and you know, again, Vin Bruno over at Reva, a lot of cool stuff and you know, they're all amazing and I don't have to tell you Ron, you know, everybody kidding me? You know, everyone thought those guys are amazing.

Ron:  I agree. Michael, have an awesome rest of your day, sir. I'm going to wrap up here. Tell your crew. Thank you and my apologies for taking so much of your time today in terms of getting prepped and then having you on. But that was, you're an awesome guest and a wealth of information and ideas, so thank you.

Michael: No, thank you. And and if you ever want to do this again, I'm always open to talk.

Ron:  Awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. That is show number 61 we had Michael Restrepo from Restrepo innovations. I hope you guys and gals have a fantastic rest of your week and it's been my pleasure to spend some time with you and if you're watching this on replay really appreciate that. Don't forget to leave your comments post show and both Michael and I will be responding to those and and feel free to reach out directly. So here is our information, our contact information at One Firefly. And if you're listening just with audio you can visit our website at and you'll find all sorts of good information there. So until next time, we will see you soon.

Show Notes

Michael Restrepo is the owner and CEO of Restrepo Innovations. He has spent more than 19 years working in the AV field and perfecting his craft. His passion for all things technology and AV leads Restrepo Innovations in utilizing cutting edge technologies while delivering reliable systems and easy to use interfaces. Michael believes in working together and forming a sense of community in the industry.

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.

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