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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.

Articles in Category: Integrators

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #224: An Industry Q&A with Jeff Goldstein and Mark Hoffenberg

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Mark Hoffenberg, President at AUDIOVISIONS and Jeff Goldstein, Head of Sales at Sony share about the role marketing plays in positioning a company in growth markets and downturns.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #224: An Industry Q&A with Jeff Goldstein and Mark Hoffenberg

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Mark Bolduc. Recorded live on Friday,  September 9th, 2022, at 12:30 pm. EST.

About Jeff Goldstein

As head of sales, Jeff Goldstein oversees Sony’s relationships with leading audio and video integrators. With decades of Sony experience in numerous executive-level positions, including director of sales for the Consumer Integrated Systems division, as well as vice president of marketing for the company's Home Audio/Video and Television divisions. He most recently served as a strategic consultant to premium custom installation and optical companies, helping to expand their distribution channels, and refine customer engagement. Jeff brings deep experience in product development and planning and was instrumental in creating Sony's home theater projector line, as well as driving custom integration features for Sony ES, Home Video and TV products. 

About Mark Hoffenberg

Mark Hoffenberg founded AUDIOVISIONS in 1989, and led the company’s rapid growth to becoming one of the nation's largest and most respected home automation companies. In 2005, Mark directed the acquisition of AUDIOVISIONS to Best Buy, the world's largest consumer electronics retailer. For the subsequent 9 years following the acquisition, he served as Vice President of Services for Best Buy while remaining President of AUDIOVISIONS. In 2014, he successfully navigated the re-acquisition of AUDIOVISIONS from Best Buy. Today, Mark leads a talented team of nearly 100 employees in four geographic markets from Orange County to the San Francisco Bay Area in California. He is responsible for the company’s overall vision, business strategy, partnerships, ventures and key initiatives.

Interview Recap

  • Retail sales are the canary in the coal mine
  • The role marketing plays in positioning a company in growth markets and downturns
  • How to think about your brand when also driving a manufacturers marketing program
  • Builders, Architects and Designers as the source for local project forecasting

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #221: An Industry Q&A with Mark Bolduc

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Mark Bolduc, Founder and President at Wicked Smart Homes shares the lessons learned during the Great Recession that have helped his business thrive.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #221: An Industry Q&A with Mark Bolduc

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Mark Bolduc. Recorded live on Wednesday, Wednesday August 24th, 2022, at 12:30 pm. EST.

About Mark Bolduc

Mark is an accomplished systems integration specialist with 18+ years of experience working with architects, builders and interior designers on large-scale residential and commercial projects for a broad client base throughout the U.S. 

Founded in 2009, Wicked Smart Homes is one of the highest-volume Lutron dealers in the country.

Interview Recap

  • Lessons learned during the Great Recession that have helped their business thrive.
  • Mark’s entrepreneurial journey
  • How and why he has focused on growing his Lutron and Ketra business

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #220: An Industry Q&A with Hovik Mirzakhanian

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Hovik Mirzakhanian, Founder and Vice President of Engineering at Matrix Audio Visual Designs shares more about how he has seen the AV industry evolve throughout his 30-year career.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #220: An Industry Q&A with Hovik Mirzakhanian

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Hovik Mirzakhanian. Recorded live on Wednesday, Wednesday August 10th, 2022, at 12:30 pm. EST.

About Hovik Mirzakhanian

Hovik is a 30-year AV veteran who founded Matrix Audio Visual Designs in 1991. Matrix AV specializes in integrating technology-based solutions like AV distribution and building automation systems for private businesses, educational institutions, houses of worship, the military, and the government. 

As VP of Engineering, Hovik uses his extensive engineering knowledge to recommend products and design concepts that create the perfect environment for end users. He seeks to delight customers and find the best technology solutions that help businesses meet or exceed their short and long-term goals.

Interview Recap

  • Hovik’s background story and how he has seen the AV industry evolve throughout his career
  • How he has been managing the current supply-chain issues 
  • The importance of diversification as a strategy to help manage risk

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #215: An Industry Q&A with Håkan Olsson

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Håkan Olsson, CEO and Founder at Beemer Smart Home shares how he uses his home as a showroom for his business.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #215: An Industry Q&A with Håkan Olsson

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Håkan Olsson. Recorded live on Wednesday, June 15th 2022, at 12:30PM EST

About Håkan Olsson

Håkan started Beemer Smart Home in 2005 as a side business while he was pursuing a career at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA. As a classical musician and former Audio Engineer, his initial focus was on audio solutions, which then transitioned into home theater solutions a few years later. 

In 2016 after successful projects with several architects and builders in the Seattle area, he decided to take the business full- time and expand the solutions to an all-encompassing Home Technologies solutions. 

Today, Beemer Smart Home has added more solutions, like Lutron luxury lighting and motorized shades, an invisible speaker line from Stealth Acoustics, and whole home control solutions through Control4. In 2019 Beemer Smart Home also became an integration partner to Stratis IOT for multifamily smart building solutions after completing several highrise projects. In 2021 Beemer also earned an HTA certification.

Interview Recap

  • How Håkan uses his home as a showroom for his business
  • His method of using his home to demo Ketra tunable lighting and invisible speakers
  • Selling single app solutions vs App Mania (ie. using many apps)

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #214: An Industry Q&A with Dustin Kerns

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Dustin Kerns, Branch Manager (Colorado Springs) at ListenUp shares his personal journey in the AV industry and the different influences he has met along the way.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #214: An Industry Q&A with Dustin Kerns

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Dustin Kerns. Recorded live on Wednesday, June 1st 2022, at 12:30PM EST

About Dustin Kerns

Dustin has over 20 years of experience in AV. He got his start working for his uncle's AV business in the Northwest Arkansas region, where he learned the foundation of his knowledge and passion for the industry. Since then, he has gone from working as a technician, to project management, then into sales and executive leadership. He currently manages the Colorado Springs branch for ListenUp,  a company with an amazing 50-year legacy.

Interview Recap

  • The history of ListenUp and different events that marked the company
  • His own personal journey in the AV industry and the different influences he has met along the way
  • The current state of the industry as we face supply chain and staffing issues

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #213: An Industry Q&A with Ed Gilmore

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Ed Gilmore, CEO and Founder of Gilmore’s Sound Advice, Inc. shares a personal story and why his showroom was designed with such warmth.

Home Automation Unplugged Episode #213: An Industry Q&A with Ed Gilmore

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Ed Gilmore. Recorded live on Wednesday, May 25th 2022, at 12:30PM EST

About Ed Gilmore

In 1988 Edward Gilmore, a professional classical musician, began a parallel career as an audio consultant to a leading Architectural and Interior Design firm. By 1991, he formed his own full-service company, Gilmore’s Sound Advice, Inc. For many years, Gilmore’s Sound Advice strictly adhered to a word-of-mouth recommendation policy to ensure the company’s commitment to superior installation and client support. 

Now, directly responsible for an impressive, high-profile client resume. With the move to an 8,000-square-foot facility in 2016, Gilmore created one of the most unique showrooms and event spaces in New York City. Their new workspace allows GSA staff to build, program, and test all systems before leaving the facility. An active member of CEDIA, HTSA, and HTA, a commitment to ongoing education and certification underscores GSA’s commitment to providing clients with an informed assessment of the industry’s best available options and practices.

Interview Recap

  • Ed’s professional background in classical music 
  • A personal story from Ed and why his showroom was designed with such warmth
  • A few celebrity stories including the work he did for Richard Gear and Cindy Crawford back in the 80’s and 90’s