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Automation Unplugged

Automation Unplugged is a Facebook Live show recorded weekly with our host Ron Callis, Owner and CEO of the digital marketing agency, One Firefly. In each Automation Unplugged episode, Ron speaks with leading industry personalities and technology professionals to discuss all things business development, technology trends, and more. These interviews are designed to help our clients and members of the custom integration industry keep up-to-date with the latest news as well as learn from experts in the field.

Watch Episode #115: An Industry Q&A with Henry Clifford

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Henry Clifford, Co-Founder of Parasol and President of Livewire, shares his strategies for virtual communication and sales as well as Parasol's methods for team training across many vendors.

Watch Episode #115: An Industry Q&A with Henry Clifford

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Henry Clifford. Recorded live on Friday, May 1st at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Henry Clifford

Returning guest, Henry, started Virginia based integration firm, Livewire, in 2001 after identifying the need for simple home technology in Central Virginia. solutions provider in his market.

Under his leadership, Livewire has acquired 5 competitors since 2011 and is now the largest home technology integrator in Central Virginia. Livewire also made the Inc 500 out  5,000 list in 2013 and 2014 along with the CE Pro100 and RVA 25 lists in 2014.

With 250 dealers under Parasol, Henry and his co-founders, Greg Simmons of Eagle Sentry and Ted Bremekamp of ETC, provide 24/7 remote support for home technology integrators and their clients.

Interview Recap

  • Changes Henry has made within Livewire due to COVID-19 regulations- from virtual calls to pivoting communication strategies
  • Henry’s approach to prioritizing internal communication and putting his team and client safety first
  • Tools Henry uses to gain prospects and sell from home, such as Vidyard email integration
  • Parasol’s “For Integrators, by Integrators” approach
  • How Parasol works to keep their keeps their team trained across many vendors

Watch Episode #114: An Industry Q&A with Rob Hopper

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Rob Hopper, President of Beacon Audio Video Systems, shares the importance of product trainings made available through vendors as well as marketing strategies for the CI industry.

Watch Episode #114: An Industry Q&A with Rob Hopper

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Rob Hopper. Recorded live on Wednesday, April 29th at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Rob Hopper

With nearly 25 years of experience in the custom integration industry, Rob got his start in car audio before moving to the residential space.

After the great recession, Rob founded Ohio-based Beacon Audio Video with a mission to bring a higher level of service and experience to custom integration clients.

At Beacon, Rob and his team aim to focus on the client experience, quality of design, and craftsmanship from the first meeting through the project life cycle. 

Interview Recap

  • The rise of consumer interest in solutions such as outdoor entertainment and home networking 
  • Rob’s opinion on 5G and how it can benefithelp end-users stay connected
  • Ways Rob and his team have been taking advantage benefiting from of all the recent educational resources and webinars being offered in our industry
  • Rob’s previous experience with marketing and website design and what stood out to him since working with One Firefly

Watch Episode #113: An Industry Q&A with Curt Hayes

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Curt Hayes, CEO of Blue Dog Group, shares the importance of data documentation for custom home integrators for a streamlined business process to retain clientele and provide accurate scoping.

Watch Episode #113: An Industry Q&A with Curt Hayes

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Curt Hayes. Recorded live on Thursday, April 23rd at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Curt Hayes

With 30 years in the audio/video and automation industry, Curt got his start in the late ’80s when he founded Preston Trail Audio in Dallas with his father.

In the early 2000’s Curt founded Florida based Audio Designs, a systems design and engineering company serving integrators throughout the USA.

In 2015, Curt used his experience in the industry to Co-Found South Florida-based BlueDog Group where he now helps streamline and accelerate proposals and system designs for residential and commercial integrators.

Interview Recap

  • The history behind the founding of Blue Dog Group
  • The opportunity to improve the broken project scoping/budgeting process used by many integrators
  • How Blue Dog Group’s new app allows integrators to provide quick estimates to their clients 
  • Approaches integrators can take during COVID-19 to improve their business process 

Watch Episode #112: An Industry Q&A with John Clancy

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, John Clancy, Crestron VP of Residential, shares exciting news about Crestron Home and ways Crestron is helping their dealers and clients during this pandemic.

Watch Episode #112: An Industry Q&A with John Clancy

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing John Clancy. Recorded live on April 22nd, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. EST. 

About John Clancy

With almost 30 years in the custom integration industry, John has experience as both a manufacturer, integrator and has served two years on the CEDIA Board of Directors.

John started his career with New York-based Audio Command Systems, working his way up from installer all the way to becoming Executive VP, CTO, and co-owner.

In 2016, John joined Crestron as VP of Residential where he uses his unique understanding of what his channel needs and what end-users want to continue positively impacting Crestron’s place in the global market. 

Interview Recap

  • Ways John is seeing COVID-19 impacting dealers throughout the world
  • Steps Crestron has been taking since February to keep his global team and consumers safe
  • Exciting updates Crestron is making as a response to the lifestyle changes caused by COVID-19
  • How Crestron is adding value to the industry by offering virtual resources, such as virtual product trainings and CEU course offerings

Watch Episode #111: An Industry Q&A with Matt Lien

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Matt Lien, VP of Sales at DES shares his two-goal approach for integrators during these difficult times and perspective on how lighting for wellness can be used in smart homes.

Watch Episode #111: An Industry Q&A with Matt Lien

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Matt Lien. Recorded live on April 15th, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. EST. 

About Matt Lien

Matt got his start in the custom integration industry as an installer at Missouri-based integration firm, The Sound Room, before joining Crestron Electronics as a Regional Sales Manager for Residential Products.

During his seven years at Crestron, Matt met the team at Arkansas based DES and later joined them as VP of Sales in 2013. DES is also well known for developing the HomeSuite iPad app for Crestron systems, which has won the Crestron CEDIA Integration Award five years in a row. 

Interview Recap

  • How DES supports multiple smart home platforms including Crestron, Savant, and Control4 
  • Matt’s thoughts on LED and tunable lighting and how it’s resonating with his customers
  • Why they started offering electrical contracting services
  • Matt’s two-goal approach to taking on projects and how he’s using that to create a silver lining during these difficult times

Watch Episode #110: An Industry Q&A with Wim De Vos

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Wim De Vos, Thunder Lizard at Genesis Home Technology, shares his thoughts on how the custom integration industry can make it through this pandemic.

Watch Episode #110: An Industry Q&A with Wim De Vos

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Wim De Vos. Recorded live on Friday, April 14th, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. EST. 

About Wim De Vos

Wim and his team of ex-custom installers have been growing Genesis Home Technology Architects for over 10 years. Defined as a B2B service company with a product offering, Genesis provides solutions from design, training, and marketing programs. Their premium branded products are exclusively sold through a select network of 300 certified installation partners in France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

Interview Recap

  • Update on how COVID-19 is affecting European Installers
  • Video marketing and how he’s sharing resources and knowledge to his Facebook audience 
  • Steps that Wim and his team are taking to make it through this crisis and ways our industry can prepare for these upcoming months 
  • Wim’s concept behind digital transformation and how it can affect small businesses 
  • The power of marketing and how it benefits businesses and strengthens their overall visibility and messaging